In 2008 when I first started working for myself as an independent contractor, I went from a decent salary to a very decent salary almost accidentally. I had just left a terrible work situation that put a dent in my self-confidence and was feeling shell-shocked*. I was fortunate to return to work at a former employer to help with a merger project. It took a few weeks for me to get back to my normal rhythm but I did eventually. Better yet, I began receiving some nice pay checks.
In the early weeks of my new job I was still feeling the sting to my self-confidence left by my former employer so I partook in a classic American pastime: retail therapy. On one of my work trips to Chicago, I came upon a pair of fantastic $600 shoes at Nordstrom’s. I became obsessed with these shoes. I needed to have them. They would prove that I’d made it. They would prove that I was worthy**. So I bought them.
This is another post from Mrs. Buck who is proposing an app that I think would sell like hotcakes to our community. Any Google Glass developers want to sign up for this one?
We’ve been living in our house for 8 years now. I consider our neighborhood pretty nice, although far from fancy. The homes are plenty large enough to raise a family. Sizes range from 1,600 to 2,600 square feet, come equipped with 3 or 4 bedrooms, and are typically priced from $210K to $350K. We’ve been here long enough to notice an interesting trend. Many young couples stay in our neighborhood for about 5 years, then leave to “upgrade” their homes. It’s made me wonder if we should be doing the same thing.
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.