Frustrated? Fed up? Inspired to make a change? Ready to achieve financial freedom?!
Maybe This Sounds Familiar…
Back in the mid-2000’s, we graduated from college, eager to grow up and start our careers! We’d only been waiting our whole lives for this moment in adulthood! Woohoo!
With college degrees and jobs in stable fields, we achieved what was supposedly everything that hard-working professionals should have as young adults. So with our professional lives in order, we felt the pressure to “settle” and buy new cars, a house and stuff to fill a house.
After We Woke Up & Took Back Control
After tackling a personal health crisis, we thought there has to be more to life than accumulating tons of debt and working lots of hours to pay off a mortgage, student loans, etc.
Our old mindsets toward debt are what kept us in debt. Our old mindsets had us spending every dollar we’ve ever made (and then some).
Our new mindsets have us thinking about minimalism, essentialism, and investing in our future rather than our past. Consequently, our new mindsets have us setting lofty goals.
While money is an important component, the mental shifts we have undertaken are the reasons why we’ve made so many significant changes. We’re not advocating that everyone take this same exact path — personal finance is personal, so make your own adventure!
- We self-reflected and recognized that we had a problem with spending.
- We realized that we didn’t know how to budget our money.
- We spent tons of time reading personal finance blogs to figure out how to budget our money.
- We set up a realistic budget we could live to track our spending.
- We stopped going to restaurants (mostly).
- We started cooking meals at home.
- We stopped buying clothes.
- We started a side hustle.
- We dropped the attitude that it’s “just another payment.”
- We put our big house up for sale.
- We moved into a smaller house.
- We donated or sold most of our belongings.
- We challenged monthly expenses, such as our electric bill, water bill, and cell phone bill.
- We applied the savings from our reduced expenses to our debts.
- We make every debt payment into a celebration of our success!
- We set a lofty goal to pay off all debt by
the end of 2016April 2017 and we became debt free in March 2017.
- We set a lofty goal to be financially independent May 18, 2019!
- We started a business to teach others our side hustle!
- We take frugal vacations to places like Texas and Oregon.
- We sold the big house and shed its mortgage in May 2016.
- We paid off the small house mortgage in November 2016!
- We became a one-car household.
- We became 100% debt free in March 2017!
- We’re still side hustling while we save and invest for financial independence.
- We’re doing more action verbs.
- We’re investing for dividends.
Lofty Goal #1:
Debt Freedom in December 2016 April 2017 WE’RE DEBT FREE!
Lofty Goal #2: Financial Independence (& TRAVEL!) by May 18, 2019
So, You’ve Decided You Want to Pursue Financial Independence/Early Retirement?
Welcome aboard! We have a few tips to help you get started.
1. Set some SMART goals.
What would you like to achieve personally, professional, and financially? Create a SMART goal for each.
What’s a SMART goal?
Specific: State exactly what you want to achieve.
Measurable: This could be the amount of time or money required to achieve your goals.
Actionable: Outline the steps you’re going to take to achieve these goals.
Realistic: This part is critical to keep you on track, but without feeling overwhleming — I’m all for lofty goals, but make it realistic so you don’t stress.
Time-bound: Give yourself a date by which you want to achieve your goals.
2. Organize your finances so you know where you stand.
Use a free tool like Mint.com to help you figure out how much money you have, how much debt you have, and how much you have invested.
Once you have visibility in Mint, create a household budget. Give every dollar a job — bills, debt payments, everything…assign dollars to it all.
3. Sell stuff, downsize your space, and find ways to make money.
When you declutter your house or apartment, chances are you’ll find stuff you can sell to make extra money.
If you can live in less space, you might be able to save money. Every dollar you save on your recurring expenses like a mortgage, rent, and utilities will give you more money for your goals.
Start a side hustle to make extra money, too.
With all this extra money, put it toward a financial goal like paying off debt or investing for the future.
4. Invest for the future.
Learn about all the ways in which you can invest money for financial independence/early retirement. We’ve decided to invest in dividends, but you might find another strategy you like. Either way, you will need to think about how to fund financial independence should you decide to go “work optional.”