Old Guy 2: It’s the first of the year and as with many things, we also fall into the trap of kicking things off on this arbitrary date. We’re (nearly) old and ready to lay down tracks to retirement, sip drinks with umbrellas and enjoy all the possibilities that time and money provide. What could possibly go wrong?
This initial post covers the inevitable question of WHY do this blog. Old Guy #1 and #2 (going forward referred to as OG1 & OG2) have been friends and colleagues for a decade. We’ve worked on the same projects at our job from time to time, share a couple of out of work hobbies and have learned that our lives have a lot of similarities with wives and kids. Many of these commonalities will lead to future blog posts as a shared passion, humor or frustrations in life. In 2017, OG1 and I began having daily walking talking breaks at work centering on topics to do with preparedness. Preparedness in the sense of what do we do if we lose power, water or other essential services. This also spanned into discussions on what to do if we get stranded away from home or if the event became prolonged. We even went as far as studying and passing the first two tests to be HAM radio operators. We keep meaning to circle back on this one item to become more educated and proficient, but it’s currently stuck in the To-Do bin. Over the course of the year, we took significant steps to ensure that our families were prepared in case of emergencies (think tornado/hurricane) with the tools and essentials we would need to survive such an event.
As 2018 rolled around, OG1 and I seemingly came to the same realization independently that we both wanted to retire in about 7 years. We have our reasons, some shared, some unique. But nonetheless, we knew where we wanted to end up. The question became how. We started hammering on this question as I think many do… how do I create a business that can sustain my current income? We postulated on standard businesses, franchises and the like. Conversations went to the fringe to include CBD oil. I even had one crazy idea to create a LEED certified high rise, with pot grow houses on the sunny side of the building, residential on the other and retail on the ground floor. Not only self-sustaining, but the residents would never need to leave. I’m not promoting one side or the other on the topic of the marijuana debate. I’m not even a participant. This is only to point out, over several months, how we were willing to entertain any idea that could generate (legal) income. By the end of spring we were petering out of ideas and it didn’t seem like we were going to come up with anything viable. By happenstance one morning while getting ready for work, I heard the TV in the other room promote an interview with a couple of local guys who were retired at an extremely early age. I made a mental note, only retaining the name of their podcast, ChooseFI. Several weeks went by when I found myself on a road trip alone. Recalling the podcast, I made a couple taps on the phone and started listening to the first few episodes. By the 3rd episode I texted (by voice!) OG1 and told him I had found our path. Brad and Jonathan have created a wonderful brand of content that truly provides all sorts of avenues to achieve your financial and life goals. Within 90 days I had consumed nearly 200 hours of their podcast to catch up. During this time OG1 and I shifted our daily walking chats to the topic of Financial Independence (FI)I. Interestingly enough, from time to time colleagues of varying ages would join us based on one topic or another. This has led to an informal group at work where we share information, questions and general support.
So, why do a blog? There are a handful of reasons. To start, it’s for skill building, attaching to an array of communities, having a place to share our thoughts and to have a place to point those we interact with when they have questions. Our initial foray is NOT to monetize the site. This isn’t to say it won’t happen down the road, but it isn’t a part of our efforts this initial year. The biggest reason is that we feel our little slice of the world is not well represented in the FI community. Most of its online participants skew younger, just starting their FI journey, etc. Yes, there are some folks in our age demographic who are well known and have touted their success. As mentioned above, we haven’t retired yet, but are well on our way. Additionally, from time to time in the FI community there’s a bent that if you haven’t retired by some early age you’ve messed up or failed. We’re here to show that isn’t the case. We have done things by the (old) book in saving money, not living paycheck to paycheck and planning for our futures. We have sizeable 401k’s, mortgages on their way out and the like. As we’ve learned in this short ramp up to this blog, we could have been doing a lot more and be in an even better position than we are currently. Lifestyle inflation, not monitoring where every dollar is going and splurging more often than we should are only a few examples of making improvements. Yet, we’re still good. Based on FI math, we could both retire today, providing our families with what they need. However, we will continue to work for the next few years in order to position other items in our lives. Things like aging parents, disabled children, expedited loan payoffs and building generational wealth. These will be covered in future posts. In short, we’re here to say ‘hey, if you’re on the back half of a standard career, there’s still a lot you can do and you didn’t necessarily do anything wrong up to this point’.
And honestly, we don’t feel, look or act old… the candles on the birthday cakes just look like forest fire.
Old Guy 1: So, apparently I am OG1.
Not sure if this is in deference to my age, wisdom or OG-2 simply needing a shield to catch the flames but, sure, I’ll roll with OG1.
My first question to myself is: “Why on earth would I blog anything?” I am no expert on FI and I’m not convinced that “MY” insight is so amazing that others ‘should’ defer to it. That said, EVERYONE is new to this at some point and a variety of perspectives is absolutely valuable in developing our unique views. So, there you have it…my value in blogging is in my perspective and the fact that it will almost certainly be different from your own. I hope that you will find it to be of value.
Perspective begins from one’s current location. So that you have some ability to understand where I am coming from, I am 51, married and have two children. My career is nearing 20 years, I ‘own’ a home and new cars that would likely melt the minds of some younger FIRE walkers. I come to this community grateful to learn of it, albeit a bit later than I would have preferred. I feel I have done a lot of things right in life, but new insight from the FI community has shown me better ways and I am looking forward to the new direction. Thankfully, I have enough years for the effort to make a difference and a wife that is supportive of MOST of what we have begun laying out.
My ‘FI’ goals are simple. Do what it takes to enable a smooth transition out of a career and into a life where my activity is self-directed by July 1, 2027. Certainly, there is a lot more to this, but this one goal is my guiding light. Along the way I expect to learn a lot. I see a lot of changes and optimizations that I am interested to try and I am excited to share whatever experience comes along. My hope is that my experiences can help others…even if they are simply to warn you of what not to do!