Let’s get FI

Financial independence (FI) versus retirement
Financial independence and sunsets
Sunsets are better with FI

When I finished graduate school I knew I had to learn something about finance. I bought the obvious, “Personal Finance For Dummies” by Eric Tyson. It turned out to be a great starter finance book. From this book I set a goal of being able to retire in 20 years. It seemed a pipe dream at the time. In retrospect if I knew then what I knew now, I would have set the goal of 15 years. After a lot of reading and podcasts I have come to understand that retiring to a life of only leisure is probably not for me, I’d like to have a creative outlet that earns money. Don’t get me wrong I like leisure, just not 100%. So for me the goal is financial independence (FI), not retirement.

Why get FI?

Work can be unpredictable. One day things are going great, then next you get an email from your Boss saying “Can you meet this afternoon, we need to make some changes and it will include (fill in the blank – really bad stuff)”. Or maybe you’ve been working very hard for 20 years and you start to run out of gas, it happens. Or maybe you have a serious health issue. The bottom line is things can go bad fast, and very unpredictably. It’s nice to have financial security.

FI also improves the dynamic at work. As you start to reach FI your philosophy at work changes. People who are not close to FI and have large mortgages often don’t speak up and don’t take risks. Being close to FI can give you the freedom to do the job the way it should be done.

Notice the word freedom in the previous sentence. FI is freedom. Once you are FI you are no longer a wage slave. You have choices. This is the main reason to be FI, to increase your freedom. Who doesn’t want to have more freedom?

Freedom, here I come, let’s get FI

Below are 5 major steps to FI. If I could go back in time I would have educated myself about these steps and made them a major priority. There are also links to resources to get you started. Continue reading “Let’s get FI”

Idaho loop

Map of road trip through central IdahoRoad trip overview

This is a road trip we did in Summer 2015 from the Palouse through central Idaho and a little bit of Montana. We camped three nights, stayed in a hotel one night, and stayed in a vacation rental the last two nights. It was a nice balance of roughing it and comfort. Idaho is an amazing state and we had a great trip with several hikes and enjoyed some fun eateries.

First stop: Boulder-Louie Lakes loop

We had a 7:30 am departure and got to the trailhead around noon. The drive itself was spectacular, particularly the drive from Grangeville down to Whitebird. It was a Tuesday and the first part of the loop from the trailhead to Boulder Lake had quite a few people. After we got to Boulder Lake the trail runs along the side of the lake before heading uphill and the traffic dropped off.

Boulder Lake Trail near McCall, Idaho
Boulder Lake

Continue reading “Idaho loop”

Blogs I like

My entrance into the blogosphere has been via personal finance and financial independence (FI) blogs. One of the first blogs I read was Mr. Money Mustache. I started reading a few of his articles, then started to devour the content. Then I found more FI blogs, and let my magazine subscriptions expire.

My top ten favorite blogs:
  1. Root of Good. Justin has great articles about personal finance and frugal living. Favorite post: $150,000 Income, $150 Income Tax”. Who knew some people could contribute to a 403b and a 457? This blog has saved me a lot of money. If only I’d found it sooner.
  1. Mr Money Mustache. A ton of great content on frugality and how to break free from a consumer society. Favorite post: “A Millionaire is Made Ten Bucks at a Time”. Ten bucks IS a lot of money.
  1. Mad FIentist. Detailed articles on strategies to optimize the path to financial independence. Favorite post: “How to Access Retirement Funds Early”. No you don’t have to wait till age 59.5 to access your retirement accounts.
  1. Early Retirement Extreme. Jacob Lund Fisker has a great blog about principles for lifestyle design and achieving financial independence. Favorite post: Here I am going to diverge a bit and say my favorite content is the first chapter of his book “Early Retirement Extreme” which can be previewed on Amazon.
  1. The Finance Buff. Great concise articles on numerous financial topics. Favorite post: “Why Investors Don’t Realize CDs Are a Better Deal Than Bonds”. I own Bonds and CDs.
  1. GoCurryCracker. Travel and financial independence blog. I like their tax articles, they show their forms and it’s very helpful to see exactly how they minimize taxes. Favorite post: “Never Pay Taxes Again“.
  1. My Money Blog. Jonathan posts about investing, money saving tips, and credit card rewards. Favorite post: His latest deal/tip.
  1. Millionaire Educator. Not oxymorons. They document their path to FI. Favorite post: “How We Saved $500,000 in 4.5 Years“.
  1. Interstellar Orchard. Took till #9 to get to a non-FI blog. Becky documents her full time RVing in a Casita trailer. I don’t plan to full time, but I’ve gotten some great tips on buying an RV and traveling. Favorite post: “Boondocking Answers”.
  1. Doctor of Credit. The latest credit card and financial deals. I’m addicted. Favorite post: The latest deal/tip.