The other day I was wondering what my life would have looked like now had I taken a different path right out of college. At the time, I thought about postponing my job search for a year to travel the world with nothing but my backpack and sandals.
I had visions of being like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the movie The Beach (the first half anyway) and wandering around Southeast Asia and beyond*. I probably would have ended up as one of those guys with blonde dreadlocks working odd jobs in farmer’s fields and cleaning hostels to try and scrape together enough money to fund my travels. This sounds pretty horrible to me now, but at the time this was my idea of a dream job.
See, the problem with “dream jobs” for most of us is is that they either have ultra-low pay, are highly unobtainable, or are some degree of both. Unless you have a world-class talent that can carry you to riches doing something you absolutely love to do, I suspect most of us are just average people doing rather ordinary things for a paycheck (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
This Spring I ran in a 5K race with some friends. I should clarify that I’m not really a runner. In fact, my high school soccer coach would joke that I was at the top of the sprint matrix, top of the bottom that is. I like to stay fit and running short distances is my quick and inexpensive form of exercise. I don’t train with a watch, so I have no clear understanding of my pace.
Come race day, I set out to pace myself with a friend who expected to run 9 ½ minute miles. This seemed like an okay pace to me. Within the first quarter-mile one of my shoelaces came undone, I had to stop and tie it while my friend continued. Once I started running again, I felt as though I needed to pick up my pace in order to make up for lost time. I ended up maintaining this faster pace for the rest of the race.
It was not until later that evening while I was reviewing race results online that I found out that I finished 3rd for my gender and age group. Yes, there were more than 3 people in this grouping…in fact there were 35 others. It turns out that I was running at an 8 ½ minute mile pace. Better yet, a few weeks after the race I received an actual bronze medal in the mail – a lovely and unexpected surprise!
I’ve come to realize that this race is a fair analogy to our family’s approach to saving and financial independence.
Because my good friends over at 1500days.com recently referenced this site in their latest post, I’m starting to get my first, real substantial traffic and it is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.
What’s this blog about?
My family and I have been gunning for financial independence for a little while now and we think we see a faint glimmer of light at the end of that tunnel. We’re hoping it is financial freedom and not an oncoming freight train.
We’ve started socializing a bit with our immediate family and friends our desire to be financially unchained (I hesitate to use the word “retired”) and the things we plan to do once there. Like many of us that share this goal and happen to mention it others, we often receive looks like we had just said we were getting tattoos on our face a la Mike Tyson.
A minority of those we inform are intrigued and tend to ask follow-up questions. I expect more of this and thought it may be useful to start documenting our journey so for those who genuinely ask “how did you do it?”, I can point them to this site.
Where Should I Start?
For starters, I’d encourage you to check out the About page or visit My Wealth Manifesto to get an idea of where I am coming from.
Thanks for taking the time to browse around. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or leave a comment. Part of the fun in this is interacting with other folks that have similar goals and discussing ideas with those who are doing it differently and better.
Here it is, Buck’s manifesto to becoming wealthy*. Follow these do’s and don’ts and you will be bucking-the-trend better than the majority of Americans when it comes to being financially savvy.
They are black and white for a reason – they can be followed by anyone and are not dependent on income level. I’ve purposely omitted calling out a specific savings rate – this is largely a personal choice and is often variable and difficult to stick to given life’s peaks and valleys.
Whenever I travel to a new place, my initial reaction is to quickly survey the land and look for the nearest, highest point that I can somewhat easily scramble up. There is something orienting about understanding the lay of the land. It helps me acknowledge where I am, where I want to go, and what I want to see. Tracking your net worth serves the same purpose – you need to understand financially where you are and where you want to go.
“What gets measured gets managed.”
I’m a big believer of this statement and it can be very beneficial or an absolute disaster if the wrong thing gets measured.
I promised this blog wouldn’t be full of a bunch of advice as there are multiple ways to skin the wealth-building cat. However, it seems any PF blogger worth their financial salt has their go-to wealth-building tip that they feel most helped them get to where they are.
For some, it is to never own a car and live in an area where you can bike to work. For others, it may be that dividend, index fund, or peer-to-peer investing trumps all else. Further yet, buying rentals and becoming a landlord is another silver bullet that some may preach.
All of these are doable and great options. However, the only way to get to a point where you can do these things is to have the money to do so first.
To say I’ve led a charmed life is an understatement. I was born healthy to loving parents in a middle class household in a safe neighborhood in the U.S. On a global scale, I entered this world in the extremely privileged 1% given just about any metric. And I try to minimize the number of days that go by when I don’t count my blessings. Continue reading “What’s in a Name?”