I am the graying saver. I stumbled upon the concept of FIRE (financial independence/early retirement) at an age (46) when many people in the FIRE community are either graduating to financial independence or have been that way for several years – and more power to them!
Lacking ready access to a reliable time machine I’m starting my own journey to financial independence from right where I am (47). And I’m bringing my warts, gray hairs, sciatica, and Crestor prescription with me! Can I get a hell yeah!
My wife, son and I live in North Carolina with our goofy German Shepherd mix – Maximum – who will make frequent visual contributions to this site. He has a lot to say, but due to his huge front paws his typing and penmanship are lacking.
We live on 3 acres of land that we purchased through a tax foreclosure auction in 2000. We completed our home on the property in 2003.
We like to think of our spread as a suburban homestead. In addition to growing lots of veggies we also keep chickens. Our flock is currently at 12, which is more than enough to keep us in eggs almost year round. We also have about 20 blueberry plants that provide me lots of exercise in the summer months as I chase away birds and squirrels who end up with most of the berries.
Why am I Doing This?
My journey to financial independence is propelled more by the idea of independence than by desire for great financial gain. Getting rich for the sake of being rich isn’t my goal. Getting to a point where I’m free to spend my time pursuing my own passions and projects without the need to bring home a paycheck is what I’m working towards.
The one thing we all have in common regardless of background or socioeconomic status is that we only have one life.
Time is our most precious resource and the only one that isn’t renewable. Money lost can be regained, time lost is gone forever. To those who say “you only live once” to justify extravagant spending, I turn that around and say, “you only live once” so you might as well do it on your own terms.
Was I Born a Saver?
I wish I could say that I’ve always been a saver but that simply wouldn’t be true. Growing up and in my younger days whenever I came in to some money I was always looking for something to spend it on. Usually there wasn’t a lot of looking required as I had 5-10 ideas at the ready.
What I grudgingly came to realize was that those things that I got in return for my hard-earned cash weren’t always delivering the sustained satisfaction and happiness that I thought they were supposed to. But no worries there was always the next thing that would surely make good on that sense of wholeness and completeness promised by the marketing materials.
I have turned the page since those days and now realize that spending my time how I want to is a lot more likely to lead to lasting happiness and fulfillment than just spending money.
What I Write About
I make no claim to being an expert in financial planning or investing. I go into some detail on this site about the financial decisions we’ve made but only in the interest of telling our story and what’s working (or not) for us as we embark on this journey a little later in life.
We are extremely fortunate to have built a second home in the mountains of North Carolina that also makes frequent appearances on this site. Our cabin was completed at the end of 2010 and building it was a dream come true.
Yes, it was a dream come true, but I can also tell you that owning two homes is unequivocally un-frugal. As a result we have an ongoing tug-of-war between the fact that we truly enjoy the cabin but also realize that owning it is delaying our goal of financial independence.
We’ve set a goal of paying off the cabin in 5 years (starting in February 2017) which has been a huge help to me in establishing a point of equilibrium that I can return to whenever the pull for or against cabin ownership gets my head spinning.
I also write about trying to find happiness and figuring out what it looks and feels like for me. We’re still several years out from our FI number but I know that hitting that number alone isn’t going to instantly bring us deep and enduring happiness. That has to come from within.
Alright, enough about me!