A New Beginning

Hey there, I'm Joel! Three years ago a simple question changed my life: “How many years do you want to work?

I thought I knew the answer. Most people retire in their 60s and 70s, while some people work really hard and finish in their late 50s. Anyone who retires earlier than that either inherited some serious money, or got wealthy launching a successful Silicon Valley startup, right?

Around her 30th birthday, my wife was in a serious car accident. She only had minor injuries, thankfully, but the car was totaled. After the ordeal we were shaken up, and had a heart to heart about how precious time is. We discussed our careers, and how they left us feeling unfulfilled. The thought of spending thirty more years in a cubicle every day deeply troubled us!

When we eventually discovered the Financial Independence community and read about people retiring after less than a decade of work, we were excited, but had some serious financial issues to resolve:

Although daunting, we were determined to turn our finances around and learn as much as possible. We devoured the FI blogs. We read every book we could find on the subject. We trimmed our spending month by month and tracked our net worth as it grew. This helped form a mission statement for my blog: to document our journey, and help as many people as possible save up their own FU money, replace fear with flexibility, and avoid all the mistakes we've made in the past!

Our hard work paid off. We are now less than two years away from our FI date! What does this mean in plain English? It means I can quit my job before my 35th birthday and spend my days doing whatever I want, no longer a slave to the 40+ hour workweek! (UPDATE: I finally quit!) I’ll be able to spend more time with friends and family, and work on creative endeavors with no pressure to turn a profit. I’ll be able to spend more time on my health and fitness goals and less time sitting in meaningless meetings waiting for the clock to set me free.

About Me

So who the hell am I to give you financial advice? Well, I could try to impress you with my numerous graduate degrees and M.B.A., but honestly these credentials didn’t keep me from spending my money like a lunatic, so they won’t help you either. What I have to offer is experience and perspective. I’ve been poor, and I’ve been wealthy. I’ve been spendy, and I’ve been stingy. I’ve been fat, and I’ve been skinny (more on Fat Joel in a future post!).

Don't I look cool in my $5 sunglasses?

The point is, no matter what financial mistakes you’ve made, I’ve probably made them too, or at least something similar. Through my posts, I’ll share with you details of my household’s finances from the past decade, the mistakes we’ve made, and how we fixed them. I’ll cover topics ranging from real estate and investing to expenses and my views on debt. Most posts will have at least one juicy example of how I did things exactly wrong, and then how I managed to turn things around. I am pretty passionate about this stuff, so stick around for some great new posts every few weeks.

How did we go from broke college kids to six-figure spenders, and how exactly were we able to turn things around? For that, you’ll need some backstory… on the next Financial 180.

Disclaimer: I'm not an accountant, financial advisor, CFP, or fiduciary. I'm just a guy, typing stuff on the internet, hoping to help you avoid financial mistakes I've made in the past! This blog doesn't give specific financial advice; it's just me documenting my lessons learned. I'm not liable for any losses incurred from the use of the free information provided on this blog. Please read our privacy policy for more details.

Interested in starting your own Financial 180? You've come to the right place. The math is easy: create a gap between what you earn, and what you spend. If you can save half your income, your working career will only be around a decade long! Want to shorten it even more? Read on to see exactly what expenses the wife and I cut from month to month. Track your progress against the milestones of FI, and gradually build up your own savings snowball. Check out the books and links in our resources section and jump-start your journey to FI. The you ten years from now will be glad you did!

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Blogging about our dramatic financial turnaround as we approach Financial Independence!

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20 thoughts on “A New Beginning”

  1. I can’t wait to read your stuff, and to listen to the story on the RPF podcast.I would imagine something like the car accident would be one of those triggers that would cause one to re-assess their approach to life and money.

    I’m definitely a little jealous that you guys are so close to FI, but I also like having the “move out of state” or “move out of country” option in my back pocket to cut down the timeline if I get super antsy. 😀

    1. Thanks TJ. Yeah, the car accident was a wake up call for sure. It is so easy to get preoccupied in the day to day minutia of life that we forget about the big picture. Sometimes these life changing events snap things back into perspective.

      I do like the geo-arbitrage idea. I have family that retired to Colombia and love the affordability. Have you seen https://www.theearthawaits.com ?

    1. Thanks Jonathan. We did an interview with Joshua from Radical Personal Finance, and at the end he asked us about our blog. When I told him it was still in the planning phase, he said I had a week to get it up before the show notes got published. So it was some much needed motivation!

  2. New blog, exciting things in the works, podcast around the corner… why do I get this fantastic feeling that this is going to be the start of something killer? I can’t wait to read more!

  3. Congrats and nice read! We’re looking forward to reading more about your transformational journey and how your outlook changes as you quickly fit FI. We’ll race you there 🙂

  4. FI in just 5 short years? That’s extraordinary. Even the couple from Root of Good took about 10 years and they had two incomes. I think you guys are going to be the up and coming stars in the financial blogging community. Keep up the good work.

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