About Me

Me. A Real Model American.

Hello Everyone. Thank you for your patronage to my blog.

My name is Eric and I started this blog in 2014, at the age of 29.

I grew up in the Midwest; born in North Dakota, then Iowa, then spent my formative years in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I had a very good upbringing. My mom was of the stay-at-home variety and when all us kids (older sister and younger brother) got in school, she cleaned houses to keep us well fed. My dad worked for the Boy Scouts for what must have been a decent salary, because I had my own room, a Super Nintendo, and a big backyard.

Today I realize that we were firmly entrenched in the middle-of-the-middle class, but life was good. I could regale you with trumped-up stories of adversity from my childhood–but I assure you they would pale in comparison with perhaps your own and certainly most others. My parents stuck together. We had more campouts than I could count. Every summer meant a two-week Griswold-style roadie to every corner of America. Life was very good.

Me and My Dad.

I started working at McDonald’s three weeks after I turned 15. I quit a year later only to quickly realize that I really needed money. Two years of working for the Colonel (KFC).

At the age of 17, I was sitting in our basement when I got a phone call from an Army National Guard recruiter. Not having a great sense of direction at the time, I made what was probably the most prescient decision of my life–joining the Full-Time Army.

I’m the one on the left.

I left home with $2,200 of the Colonel’s money in my pocket and I remember telling my dad I had more money than I knew what to do with. The next seven years were spent in standard Army fashion. Basic Training in Oklahoma, two years in Alaska, a tour in Iraq, and four years at the NSA in Maryland. I finally decided to leave the military in 2009. I spent a few months finishing my Degree at University of Maryland before I started working for defense contractors. During this time I met, dated, and married my out-of-my-league wife, Natasha. I also went on to complete my MBA and a Master’s Degree in Finance–both of which are sitting in a box somewhere. I couldn’t say exactly.

My wife and I did the smart things. Bought a home, had a baby, made her a stay-at-home-mommy (just as we both had).

In the spring of 2014, I had a revelation. A trio of inaugural posts covers this in greater detail, but in summary, I began to question the whole work-life structure that I grew up understanding. While I was looking at a man standing in his boat on a Tuesday afternoon, I realized that only one of us was truly living–and it wasn’t me.

I set out that day on a mission to retire from the normal grind of work before my daughter goes to her first day of school. I’ve made a high level plan (now updated) to accomplish this goal, which is essentially building a huge three-legged stool of 1. Expense Optimization, 2. Passive Income Creation via Dividend Growth, and 3. Side Hustlin’ (financial writing and maybe even a little money from this blog).

The timeline is aggressive, the goal is aggressive, but the drive to succeed is within me. This blog will be a diary of these efforts, as well as a conduit to meet others in the financial independence community and an outlet to voice my rants on random topics. Thanks for reading.




  1. Great story Eric, and certainly while there isn’t the ‘classic’ tale of trouble, you’re in a great position to accomplish this goal of really living life by the time your daughter hits school age.

    Best of luck, I’ll be following along.

  2. Hi Eric!! I briefly hit some points on your blog today… NICE WORK on setting your goals and documenting them. I’ve on the verge of launching a blog myself, but the 7-5 day in day out.. gets in the way… I think having a road map that keeps me honest will be the best plan and help keep me accountable.

    I recently moved to California which was a bad move for finances and living cheap since I too came from the mid-west. However this new career role and job I just could not pass up being a part of this piece of history!!

    cheers to you and your family!! Look forward to seeing the progress!

  3. Read your guest post on 1500 today and loved your writting, started reading all your posts and then found the about me page here. I’m looking forward to following your story and listening to your random topics. I’m also striving for financial independence (why else would I be reading these blogs) but due to certain circumstances I have to go about it what I’m referring to the long way around still much faster then most but not as fast as those in this community.

    • Hi Tyler,
      So glad you found me! I really am. I look at Carl over at 1500 Days and so many others and I just think, “wow, I am WAY behind.” Until I remember that “behind” in this community is still “light years ahead” in the general population. Keep a broad perspective. The journey is all the fun, anyway!

      Looking forward to keeping you as a reader!


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