After spending more than two years reading posts about financial independence and early retirement, we’re happy to report that we’ve made significant progress on our FIRE journey.
Lower expenses? CHECK!
Fewer responsibilities? CHECK!
More time to do the things we want to do? CHECK!
Passive income? Not yet, but EVENTUALLY!
Part of what’s awesome about being debt free including the mortgage means our expenses are super low (obvi). With low expenses, we don’t have to work crazy hours each week like we were before when both of us had full-time jobs AND our side hustle.
So now what?
After a lot of consideration and a little trial and error, I put pen to paper and outlined our Quality World, the lifestyle we aspired to live once we achieve financial independence.
Once it was on paper, it was obvious that we could make financial independence part of our daily lives starting right meow.
Financial Independence on Independence Day 2017
With all this free time, we’ve dusted off some passions that sat on a shelf…and picked up some new ones along the way, things that align with our Quality World that help bring us closer to a life of financial independence on Independence Day (and beyond).
Every weekend, we’re exploring a new county park (or two).
Since starting this personal finance journey, we’ve been making multiple trips to the library each month, something we never did before. Reading has led to even more positive changes in our lives that helped us identify new opportunities and launch a business.
Garrett joined the local makerspace. If you’re not familiar, makerspaces are non-profit or for-profit places that provide access to equipment that most people wouldn’t have access to, like 3D printers and laser cutters. As a lifelong tinkerer, makerspace and Garrett go together like peanut butter and jelly. I look forward to sharing his latest project later this summer.
I’m launching three new blogs that aren’t in personal finance. Call it a hobby. Call it a side hustle. Either way, I’m having fun and learning tons in the process.
Entrepreneurship affords us the opportunity to be creative and the opportunity to make progress on the financial part of financial independence. I’m SUPER excited to share with you in future posts all the cool new things we’re working on because entrepreneurship also serves as our path to increasing our income.
As much as I’ve written about cutting expenses, everything from our cell phone bill to our laundry, it would take us years to frugal our way to financial independence.
If we’re going to hit our next lofty goal, financial independence by May 18, 2019, we need to increase our income. I’m transitioning out of trading time for money in the typical fashion with by way of a second business in digital marketing. Watch out, world!
Financial Independence By Independence Day 2018
To us, FI is when our passive income exceeds our expenses, so we’re shooting for $30,000 annually derived from a source like real estate.
That means we’re just $30,000 in passive income away from achieving 100% of the goals we set out to do when we started our personal finance journey in 2015.
So…could we actually become financially independent by next year?
I used to think that putting in more and more hours was the BEST way to increase our income, so I’ve been working with several digital marketing clients each month in that “trading time for dollars” fashion.
However, the personal finance community has shown us what’s possible when we use our time differently. We’re looking to increase our income in a new way, one that makes us money daily without having to punch a clock. Using my digital marketing skills in different ways will help us do just that.
Focusing on increasing our income instead of cutting our expenses any further will accelerate our ability to invest in the REI that will yield the passive income we need to FI. Simple, right? But not easy.
Neither of us is particularly interested in getting into debt to purchase real estate since we JUST got out of debt. (I know, I know. It’s not the same. But still.) We’re tabling the real estate investment plans until we have a little more distance between us and debt (oh yeah, and more down payment $).
In the meantime, we’ve set our sights on investing via Vanguard taxable brokerage account. Once our emergency fund is complete, we’re going to invest a little each month in this account. We’re really just dipping our toes in the water on this, so if you have posts to suggest on dividend investing, please post in the comments below.
Today, I’m thankful for the freedoms we have that have allowed us to take the steps we’ve taken to change our lives. Who knew we’d be able to come so far, so quickly? Incredibly lucky to be here and have the opportunities we have.
How are you celebrating Independence Day on a Tuesday?