So, how will this blog come into play and practice?
I believe wholeheartedly I can achieve my greatest goal of retiring the day my eldest daughter starts kindergarten, but there is obviously a lot of work that I need to do between now and then to make that a reality. It’s rather easy to type up some numbers and gin up a chart, but I want to hold myself accountable to the world, hence the blog.
There are a ton of really, really great personal finance and early retirement blogs out there. A few of my favorites include:
The folks running these blogs are very smart individuals and are all either A.) financially independent already or B.) are on an unavoidable path toward doing so. What’s more, a lot of these folks have come from very dire situations with high goals in mind—I commend them for that, I really do. What I haven’t seen a lot of, though, is somebody who is truly working themselves out of an absolute train wreck dumpster fire of a financial situation and documenting it along the way. I want to voice my struggles and triumphs with the world and to put on paper what so many have told me is unrealistic (and unrealistic it may be! Let’s find out!).
There’s something to be said about taking advice from those who have succeeded in their efforts toward financial independence–they’ve got a proven track record of success. I can’t take anything away from them; I only want to make myself accountable and take account during my journey, rather than only reflecting on my (hopeful) success later on.
So, what will this blog be?
#1: Talking about reducing my expenses and creating streams of passive income. (Categories: Expenses, Passive Income).
#2: Discussing retirement, the mentality toward retirement, and true happiness. (Categories: Get Inspired)
#3: Admonishing the lifestyles and examples of consumerism and materialism that so many have come to covet. (Categories: Web of Shame, The Only Post, Random Writing)
#4: Educating myself and others on personal finance and investing. (Categories: Finance, Investing Ideas)
#5: Tracking my progress toward my goal. I’ll update regularly (at least quarterly) my movement along that chart at the top
I’m certain the size, scope and function of this blog will change with the phases of the moon, but from this vantage point, this is generally what I expect to be writing to you about.
The biggest reason I’m writing this blog, though, is that I really, really want this to happen. The hardest part of my day, by a wide margin, is telling Mrs. and Baby29 “Bye, I love you” in the morning. I really (really) want to limit the number of times I have to say that.
There’s something different about saying something, or thinking something, and actually writing it down. And a whole different level is actually publishing those words and making them known to others. This is why fitness clubs work. This is why people often work harder in teams than individually. There is a greater sense of motivation and actuality when others are expecting something from you. I want to be the best husband and dad I can be—I think retiring early is the way to do that. And, I think making those goals known, and documenting my system for accomplishing those goals via this blog is the best bet I have to making them a reality. Maybe I’ll inspire a few others along the way.
I’m going to go ahead and get a big disclaimer out of the way at this point. I completely recognize that I am making a large number of assumptions with my plan here. The stock market doesn’t go up in a straight line, emergencies happen, the addition of extra children will push expenses up. I get all that. I get that there are a lot of things that could derail this plan:
- Market crash
- Unexpected layoff
- More kids
However, there are also a lot of things that could go right:
- Big raise or promotion
- Streams of passive or additional active income
- Market booms (or good stock picking)
- Lower Tax Bills
- Many, many more
I’m not relying on anything like this to happen. I’m not even relying on the market to go up on par with history. There are a lot of variables in predicting the future, and I can’t pretend to know them. There are significant risks inherent in this plan, but (and this may be the subject of a future post) are there any risks to not undertaking this plan? Is there a risk in working an extra few years? Is there a risk in working an extra decade? Is there a risk in staying ultra-conservative in my investments? I think there is. I consider missing out on more time with friends and family a risky proposition. If I retire at 35 and I have to work a few months because of a market downturn a few years later, that doesn’t sound so bad. I don’t know, just food for thought…
Well, this concludes the introductory series to this blog. I’ll try to publish at least one post per week from here on out (hopefully more). Thank you so much for reading. Good luck to you and happy reading!