I’ve always thought I was great with money. I learned how to budget from a really young age, made smart decisions, rarely wasted money (so I thought), and got to be really sanctimonious as a result.
However, a few weeks ago a coworker mentioned a blog she read and followed called Millennial Revolution, which advocated renting and saving massive portions of your pay, and that the author had been able to retire in her early 30s as a result. I scoffed. I was sure there was more to it. I’ve been working for approximately 15 years, and I’m great with money, and I’m no where close to retiring. She must make a fortune, or cheat in some way. It’s just not possible.
Curiosity got the better of me, though, and I ended up googling the site. I read, and read, and read. I learned about the FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early). I learned that the stock market isn’t a scary place that eats money, like I’d grown up believing. I found links to other blogs about saving and investing, and read some more. I went to the library and got a stack of books about money and investing. When I came up for air, I realized that I just might not be so smart about saving after all.
My background had led me to believe that financial security came from two things: home ownership and money in the bank. Stay out of debt, buy a house and pay it off as soon as you can, work as long as the good Lord lets you, and you’re set up for life. Now, my background also tried to tell me that 4-6 kids was an average amount and that city life was for suckers, and since I rejected those ideas by the time I was 9 I’m not sure why it was such a shock that there may be other inaccuracies some of my more traditional leanings. It’s not that my parents set me up for failure: by the standards of most people that I come in contact with, my husband and I really have a good thing going. We own three properties (two rental and the house we live in), both have full time professional jobs, and are able to take nice vacations every year. However, we could be doing so much better.
So that’s why I started writing all of this. I’ve got a few half-baked plans fermenting in my brain, and have a whole bunch of new google sheets that show that if we start investing money, save to an even greater degree, and track everything religiously, we could both have the option of quitting work in 10 years. That probably doesn’t mean we’re going to kick back and lay on couches for the rest of our lives, but we’ll able to choose our own hours, work (and not work) when we want, and never have to leave the house at 7 AM in the middle of a Canadian winter again.
Holy crap, that sounds amazing. Let the count down begin!