My Dream Life:

Without knowing where you want to go, you will surely get lost along the way, wandering aimlessly. The same can be said about your finances & every other aspect of life. Before you start your conscious journey, Where are you going? Where do you want to end up? What does your dream life look like?

Here is mine:

  • I’m healthy in every way, including being spiritually enlightened.
  • Prioritize my relationships; non-toxic folks only.
  • Be debt free! And have the choice to never be employed again.
  • Do what I can to support a more sustainable environment.
  • No more social media, except Pinterest, I want to vanish from it.
  • Help others financially through the Money For Everyone podcast, this blog, my time, & donations.
  • Have a child.
  • Our house is minimalist, updated, and full of books, plants, & love.
  • Have a large garden in our backyard.
  • We have one car, that is 100% electric & have 2 bikes.
  • Travel to at least one new place every year.

I encourage you all to do the same, write it out. Then plan out how you can achieve each of those goals; create actionable steps.

April 2021 Financial Update:

Hello & Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne! Spring weather is finally here so we’ve spent quite a lot of time outside this month. It feels so amazing to finally get some natural vitamin D again! Some things that happened this month: Brandon (my husband) is now fully vaccinated and so is a lot of our family now! So we’ve been spending time with them. I got my first shot and have my second shot in a couple of days, then we’re good to go! Also, I passed out for the first time in my life the other night after standing up to get out of my bath. And no, it’s not from the vaccine, I got my first shot 2 weeks before this even happened & haven’t gotten my second shot yet. When I did, I hit my head hard and scraped my arm on the stone accent trim around our bathroom. So that wasn’t fun, but somehow I didn’t really have any pain & didn’t get a concussion, so that’s good! It was scary waking up naked on the floor of my bathroom not knowing what happened though. I now have a mark on my forehead that’s going to be there for awhile.

Anyway..

In April, my friend Eric & I released two more podcast episodes, so feel free to check those out on Apple or Spotify at Money For Everyone. We upload bi-weekly on Monday Mornings. ๐Ÿ™‚

Some unexpected expenses did happen this month. Last month, we had the fence fall over & some plumbing issues (we still haven’t paid for a new fence, we are waiting for lumber prices to go down again). This month, I had to get some maintenance done on my car that cost a total of $240 (now I have an electrical problem too I have to get checked out & pay for, so who knows how much that will cost.), Leo (our cat) is going to the vet on May 1st, but that should only be about $100, and then we got the bill for Brandon’s Car Tabs we will have to renew soon ($198). Also, our annual billing for our life insurance came out this month to for $120. So it was a frustratingly expensive month.. BUT

On May 1st we are still putting an extra $2,000 on Brandon’s car, so that will be calculated in on next month’s financial update. This is a part of our plan to get it paid off by the end on August! After this check, we will only owe about $8,000 on it. Progress! We did not invest any money this month. We are pulling back on investing for a while & focusing on paying off the car for now.

Also, we are on track to hit $100,000 Net Worth in August! My Birthday, our Anniversary, and a rescheduled concert (that we’re super excited about) from 2020 are in August as well, so there will be a lot to celebrate, we’re looking forward to it!

We are still planning on selling my car, since it is older & can’t haul as much when compared to Brandon’s car. Once we sell my car, we will get a bike & put the cash we get towards paying off Brandon’s car or in savings. I have driven my car maybe 10x in the last year, and a lot of those times could have been avoided anyway, so it just no longer makes financial sense to keep it. We are still paying for insurance, new tires, oil changes, wiper blades, tabs, etc. to only use it 10x a year… So we’re finally going to bite the bullet and just have to get more creative with getting to & from work sometimes. The amount we have been spending on the vehicle does not make sense for the use we get out of it. Even though the car is paid off, it is still costing us on average $100/month because of insurance and other car maintenance. So if I only use my car once a month, that’s $100 per ride!! I’d rather have one of us pay $8 once a month for a Lyft to work or just drop each other off. BUT with restrictions lifting, I may have to start going back in the office more. So we might wait until next year to sell it.

Total Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $900,000 Invested
  • $36,000 In Savings
  • $0 Debt
  • Both of us have the choice to leave any & all employment

Our Partial Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $25,000+ In Savings for Emergencies.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Our Current Numbers as of May 1st, 2021:

  • $39,377.69 Invested.
  • $11,562.90 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, we will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$138,939.92 Total Debt. (House & Car)
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach partial F.I. Goals: $212,999.33

Total amount needed to reach total F.I.R.E. Goals: $1,023,999.33

Our Podcast Money For Everyone Has Been Released!!!

On February 15th, 2021 we released our first full episode of Money For Everyone on Apple & Spotify. Today, we have five episodes out. We upload a new episode bi-weekly on Mondays.

A bit about the Podcast:

We have a vision of a world in which everyone knows how to manage their money to achieve their dream life. As two finance nerds who have a lot of knowledge and success for our age, in regards to all things personal finance, we want to help educate as many people as we can. In this podcast we will cover just about every topic that relates to personal finance, from student loan debt, to investing in your retirement, and current events. So, whether you make $20k/year or $200k/year, are in high school or are nearing retirement, this is Money For EVERYONE.

I started the podcast with my old co-worker & friend Eric. I had been wanting to start a financial podcast for about a year, but couldn’t find the right person to do it with & didn’t have the resources (time, space, & money) to do so. Then Eric and I reconnected in November 2020; we realized we had the same vision when it comes to money, he also wanted to start something like a podcast, and we both were now done with our formal education, so it worked out perfectly.

Since we both graduated from college in 2019, we are gearing our podcast more towards beginners, like college students and high school students, but the information we share can easily help anyone. It has even helped people we know who are in their 50s. We’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback from many people, which is so amazing. We love the feeling of knowing we’re actually making a positive impact in people’s lives. We love doing the podcast. We love discussing finance, answering questions, and I even love editing. As long as we are helping at least one person out there, it’s all worth it. Obviously, the more people we can positively impact, the better. So I am going to add links below so you all can check it out & share it with your friends & family. Thank you so much for your love & support. ๐Ÿ™‚

Easy Changes You Can Make to Live More Sustainably:

Hello & Welcome back! I’ve been obsessed with environmental sustainability & wanted to share some simple changes my husband and I have made so far:

We are planning on doing a lot more, but this is where we are at right now. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll share updates as we make more changes towards a zero-waste life.

A saying I love is:

We don’t need a few people doing sustainability perfectly, we need a lot of people doing it imperfectly.

March 2021 Financial Update:

Welcome back and Happy Spring! (Hopefully.) Here in Minnesota, you never know when Spring is actually here. The past two Winters, it has been warmer & less snowy than usual, which is concerning, to be honest. Also, last summer was not as humid either, it was very dry, at least where I live. Now that I am already talking about weather & climate, one book I read this month was Bill Gate’s: How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. It was extremely informative, concerning, and hopeful. I’ve already been obsessed with environmental sustainability for the last year or two. I’ve always known it was important, but only over the last year have I truly changed my behavior & consumption. I highly recommend Bill Gate’s new book, it has so many intense facts and he describes what the world, governments, companies, & individuals need to do to help fight against climate change.

In March, we also went on a short vacation down to Tennessee, we went to Nashville & Chattanooga. The best part for me was going to the Johnny Cash Museum! Also eating good food. ๐Ÿ™‚

In Downtown Nashville

The last weekend in March, we had 2 leaks in our house we got fixed on Monday for $240, then later that day, 1/3 of our fence that surrounds our backyard fell because of strong winds. :/ So there goes at least another $1,000 probably. Ah… the joys of home ownership.. If my husband and I never bought a house, we would be so much closer to financial independence, so much closer. BUT we really love our home, enjoy doing projects on it, and like the idea that nobody can tell us what we can or can’t do. We’re in control.

When it comes to achieving our financial goals, we are switching our strategy up a bit. We are now pausing all investing and going to focus on paying off all of our debt ASAP. With this new change, we are going to pay off his car by the end of this year, hopefully by the end of August (or earlier), and probably going to be debt free about 4 years from now. (If our house/property decides to stop falling apart, haha….ha..ha…..ha……) I’ve done the long term math on different financial strategies, but they all make us reach the same goals at the same time, so we prefer to be debt free ASAP. To help with this, we took our entire stimulus checks and put it on his car, $2,800, and are hoping to put an extra $2,000/month now on his car until it is paid off. Again, if we stop having unwanted, expensive house projects.

Along with pausing our investing, we are still toying with the idea of selling my car, are going to pause any unnecessary house projects (other than painting), and are pausing all travel, so we can put as much money as we can towards our debts.

Total Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $900,000 Invested
  • $36,000 In Savings
  • $0 Debt
  • Both of us have the choice to leave any & all employment

Our Partial Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $25,000+ In Savings for Emergencies/Baby Fund.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Our Current Numbers as of April 1st, 2021:

  • $37,712.57 Invested.
  • $11,559.40 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, we will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$139,716.53 Total Debt. (House & Car)
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach partial F.I. Goals: $215,444.56

Total amount needed to reach total F.I.R.E. Goals: $1,026,444.56

February 2021 Financial Update:

Hello and Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne! I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, writing, & reading over this last month & my mindset has evolved, yet again. In February, I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, How to Become CEO by Jeffrey J. Fox, theminimalists.com by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, and The 4-Hour Workweek (the expanded & updated version) by Timothy Ferriss. To be honest I don’t know how I went this long without reading these books, particularly The Power of Now and The 4-Hour Workweek!

I am continuing to hone in on what is MOST important to me in life and then trying to stay focused on only those things. I do not care about not working, just doing what I’m passionate about, on my own time, and from wherever I prefer. My friend and I have started a financial podcast, but there are only two episodes out right now. Once there are a few more I will add a post on to here all about it! We are uploading biweekly on Mondays, which started on February 15th, 2021. I have a goal to be self-employed ASAP and then eventually hire people to help once the business(es) grow.

I still want to keep investing & saving as much as we can, but now I don’t care about living off of my investment accounts. I would rather do work I love, am passionate about, & fulfills me. Like talking about personal finance & helping others with their financial plans! I of course want some money invested & saved if my business plans don’t work out or I take awhile to make enough money off of them. So as of right now, I’m thinking once I give birth to our future child (No, I am not pregnant yet.) I will either leave my job completely & work on my side businesses as much as I can or continue to work part time & then part time on my businesses as well. We’ll see! I’m just not going to wait to hit some arbitrary number before I start living my life how I want to anymore!

Side Note: We got our tax return back, only $1,130, so we just put it all on my husband’s car loan.

Total Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $900,000 Invested
  • $36,000 In Savings
  • $0 Debt
  • Both of us have the choice to leave any & all employment

Our Partial Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $25,000+ In Savings for Emergencies/Baby Fund.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Our Current Numbers as of March 1st, 2021:

  • $35,849.50 Invested.
  • $11,181.04 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, we will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$143,643.28 Total Debt. (House & Car)
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach partial F.I. Goals: $221,612.74

Total amount needed to reach total F.I.R.E. Goals: $1,032,612.74

January 2021 Financial Update:

Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne! The first month of 2021 is over & so much has already happened in the world since the start of the year.

This month, we put all of our stimulus money & $100 we got for Christmas towards our car to get a head start on our goal of paying it off this year ($1,300 total). We now only owe $15,055 on it. My husband bought this over priced car before we got married when he was 21 and we are now paying the price. No 21 year old needs a new/newer car that is over $20,000. You live & you learn. Only used cars from now on bought with cash and only if we NEED a different vehicle.

Actually, whenever I can fully work from home, or one of us doesn’t need to work anymore, or we go down to part time, we are planning on selling my car to only have one vehicle. Through out this pandemic, I have driven my car approximately once every two weeks for about 10 min, sometimes not even that much. I really don’t need it. I’m sure a lot of people are in a similar boat right now & I suggest just cutting out anything in your life that does not serve a purpose or is unused. I’m waiting until after the pandemic to see what my work situation is, and if I don’t need to go into the office like I used to, then I’ll probably sell it. If I do need to go into the office once in a while, I’m sure my husband and I can coordinate sharing the car (we work a block away from each other) or I can get a ride with my boss. I basically get to choose my own work hours, so I could just plan them around my husband’s work hours. I also just realized that our town has Lyft, so even if we can’t coordinate the car or a ride in some way, Lyft can always be our back up plan. When I sell my car, we can get about $5-7,000 for my car and then save money on gas, tabs for my vehicle, car insurance, and other car maintenance like oil changes, new tires, windshield wipers, etc. Then we can put all of that extra money towards paying off our other car! Then eventually snowball that money into paying off our house faster! Every thing you own is something you have to take care of/pay for, keep that in mind with any purchase. While writing this, I’ve convinced myself to sell my car haha. So I’ll update you all whenever I decide to do so.

It is so easy to just follow what others are doing around you without thinking, and to accept it as the norm and what makes the most sense, but does it? I guess I just saw how most American households have 1 vehicle per adult and never stopped to truly think: But do WE NEED more than one vehicle?? Back when my husband was a delivery driver & I had to drive an hour away twice a week for work, yes we did, but now… not so much. I think it’s important to recognize what matters most to you & what is most efficient for you and your lifestyle. Even pre-pandemic the only thing I’ve ever used that car for was to get to work, that’s it. I can easily be more creative with ways to get to work, especially if I’m going to be mostly working from home.

Anyway, here is our monthly financial update:

Total Financial Independence & Retire Early Goal Numbers:

  • $900,000 Invested
  • $36,000 In Savings
  • $0 Debt
  • Both of us have the choice to leave any & all employment

Ourย Partial Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $25,000+ In Savings for Emergencies/Baby Fund.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Our Current Numbers as of February 1st, 2021:

  • $34,178.19 Invested.
  • $10,802.46 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, we will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$145,713.73 Total Debt. (House & Car)
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach partial F.I. Goals: $225,733.08

Total amount needed to reach total F.I.R.E. Goals: $1,036,733.08

Consumerism Is Ruining Your Life:

Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne! ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband and I have been going through some major mindset changes about how we view life, and one of the biggest is how we view having stuff, and how much “stuff” we purchase or, consume. This shift in values has been growing in our subconscious for the last year or two, but I think it has finally blossomed.

Ever since I learned about climate change in my science classes in middle school & high school, I have been trying to improve myself & my household’s sustainability. Now that I’m an adult and own a home of my own (& have more control over my life), I finally feel like I’ve made good progress when it comes to consuming less & making more sustainable choices. Now, I’m not an environmentalist and there are people that are far more qualified to talk about the sustainability of consumerism, or lack there of. Today, I’m just going to tell you how consuming less can help your mental, emotional, and financial well being, while also helping the planet. I will make a different post talking about all of the environmentally friendly swaps I’ve made, and how they’ve not only helped the Earth, they’ve also saved us a lot of money, since this is a finance blog.

Sneaky Marketing:

We see advertisements many times a day, and even though some people think they are mentally strong enough to not be impacted by these ads, they still are, even if it is at a subconscious level. Ads are smarter & more efficient than ever before. Google, Facebook, and many other companies track absolutely everything we search, like, view, purchase, etc. and use that information to continuously market products or services to us. I’m sure most of you know about this, but it is important to remind ourselves of this. We need to be mindful and think through a purchase before making it, because consumerism is wreaking havoc on our mental health and our wallets, let alone the Earth.

In addition to new marketing tactics, debt is more normalized in our society than ever before. You can get “financing” for anything, even smaller things like a mattress, it is truly ridiculous. Most people are quickly & efficiently digging themselves into a hole of debt. This issue has never been more prominent & widespread, especially in the United States. We are conditioned to get everything we want NOW, even if that means going into debt for it. We think we “need” it NOW. Obviously, sometimes you may “need” to go into debt for things like school or buying a house, but I’m referring more to unnecessary debt, like credit card debt or owing money on a couch.

The Key to Happiness:

As humans, our minds make us mentally stuck in the past or future, we are rarely truly present. We are always thinking about what we are going to do in 5min, after work, this weekend, this next year, etc. We build the future up in our mind to always be better than where we are at in that present moment. Or we are in the past, longing for what was or allowing past problems to bother us in the present. We chase “happiness” and “fulfillment” all of our lives, but never seem to really get there. We feel brief moments of happiness, but it never seems to stay. We consciously or subconsciously think: “Once I update my kitchen, then I’ll be happy” or “Once I have new shoes then I’ll be happy” or “Once I have that new car, then I’ll be happy” or “Once I get a raise, then I’ll be happy” or “When I have a grandchild then I will be totally fulfilled & content with my life”, but is that true? Or will something else just come along and replace whatever goal you set to “finally be content with your life”? It is a never ending chase, the list can go on and on infinitely. When we do achieve the things I listed above, we do receive a dopamine hit, which does feel nice in the moment, but the high wears off and we’re looking for another hit. While in this cycle, you will never truly be happy or content. You need to recognize you have everything you need & express gratitude daily for what you do have. If you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, someone out there that loves you, and food to eat, you are already so lucky & blessed… These ads, our society, and even our own minds, want to make us feel like that is not enough, that it is not even adequate. This is an endless cycle of unhappiness, discontentment, and over consumption. You need to let go and surrender to what is, otherwise you will keep chasing happiness & wait to start living your life until it’s time for you to leave this Earth. Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

We have strayed so far from how we are meant to be as humans & have lost sight of what is most important. Real human connection is what matters, having friends & good relationships. Being in nature matters, for thousands of years we have been immersed in nature, now we spend long hours staring at a screen in 4 gray walls & rarely go out in it. Our health matters, mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional. We are prioritizing the wrong things. Over consuming causes you to waste money which keeps you shackled to your work desk for 45+ YEARS of your life. This then forces us to prioritize our job over our family relationships, our health, etc. because we can’t afford to not be there. But what if I told you, you have the power to make that choice?

So, now that you are conscious of this, what can you do to break the cycle?

  • Remember to express gratitude & thanks everyday for everything you have in your life, even the challenging things. Challenges make us stronger, teach us lessons, and make us appreciate non-challenging times.
  • Get off Social Media. You can try your best not to, but you will compare yourself & your life to the rich celebrities or influencers you follow. Products and services you don’t need will be marketed to you in every scroll. It also wastes a ton of your precious time.
  • Reconnect with what matters most to you in your life. For example, time with friends & family, traveling, being in nature, your health, etc. Be present in the moment and recognize when your mind starts to wander and think about the future or past, even if only 1 minute from now.
  • It’s not “just a $20 pillow”, it’s $20 being taken away from your freedom. The freedom to have enough money to leave your job, the freedom to travel, the freedom to afford another child, etc.
  • Remember that your worth, your memories, your value, and your happiness are not tied to any thing, not even other people.
  • When you do want something that is not a NEED, ask yourself: why? Example: Why do I feel the need to buy a $20,000+ vehicle? Questions to ask yourself with every purchase: Do I need it? Do I already have something similar? Where will I store it? Will I use it often? Can I rent or borrow this from someone? Can I buy it second hand? Do I love it? Will I still love it later? Is it possible that you want this thing just because others have it? Do you think you will be happier once you have this tangible item? Will it really add value to your life? Chances are, you will walk away from whatever it is you were about to buy.
  • Before you buy something, think about the lifecycle of the item. How it was produced, all the time, energy, and materials that went into it. Then think of how you are going to use it & for how long, and then what will happen to the item once you are done with it or once you pass away. Will loved ones have to struggle with going through literal tons of your possessions, sorting for days, or will it be easy for them to clear out your home?

We live in a world of over consumption, especially in the United States. We mindlessly purchase things without a second thought. We have more cars, more TVs, larger food portions, go shopping “for fun” every week, etc. We also have high consumer debt, we are one of the unhealthiest first world countries, and we rank 108th out of 140 countries for happiness. Consumerism is destroying our planet, your happiness, and your financial well being.

Less is More (Clichรฉ, I know):

Start by going through your house & get rid of anything you haven’t used within the last year, (other than sentimental items) maybe 2 years just because Covid-19 threw a wrench in any 2020 plans. When I say get rid of, I mean to start with asking family & friends if they need what you have, sell what you want to try to get money for, donate everything you can, recycle what you can, and finally, throw away what can’t be donated, sold, or recycled. After that, its just about not bringing more things into your home/life. The bullet point list above will help dramatically with this part. Keep in mind that memories are in your mind, not in things & things cannot make the past come back. The first declutter will be the hardest, but it will be 100% worth it. Then I suggest repeating the declutter at least annually. It will feel so easy and most likely enjoyable, compared to the first big declutter.

When it comes to decluttering & organizing, we’re not experts, so here are some people whose methods we use:

When you have less, you know where everything is, you appreciate & use what you have more, and you have more space to breathe & just be. When you know where everything is, everything is more efficient which results in more time & less stress. Imagine: No more stressing out trying to find the kid’s backpack, shirt, or toy. No more wasting time digging through a messy pantry to find the one can of sauce you need for dinner. No more accidentally buying something you already have because you forgot about it because you can’t see it or find it. All of your clothes in your closet fit you & you love them all. The planet is thriving because we are all only consuming what we need. This is the reality of the life you will have once you let go & be in the now.

This is where we’ve been at mentally. I hope this post motivated at least one person to positively change their life. I know it has changed my life & many others. I’m looking forward to how this will play out in the long term.

Some resources that inspired this blog post a.k.a. what I’ve been reading & watching:

P.S. -Overall, I’m just sick of the hyper-consumerism that is perpetuated & promoted in the media, including on YouTube & in our daily lives. I think a lot of people are starting to feel like we’ve been feeling recently, just over the stuff & the fluff. I want real meaning in my life and focus on what I care about most rather than buying things I don’t need. I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comments! -For more specific financial advice, check out my other blog posts!

Thank you so much for reading this, until next time!

-Meghan

You don’t need a six-figure income to achieve Financial Independence

Hello and Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne. There are some major misconceptions that to achieve Financial Independence and/or Retire Early, you need have a household income of $100,000+ and no kids, but I am here to tell you that is totally false. Obviously, if you have a higher income is it easier, but it is still not impossible if you make only $30,000/year. I understand there are factors that complicate this, such as having children. If you have kid(s) and think that F.I.R.E. is unattainable, please read Mr. Money Mustache’s blog post about how much it cost for him to raise his son (while retiring very early). It is from 2011, but is still very relevant. I plan on following his advice once I have a child.

My Husband & I’s Income:

We bring in $4,800 a month, after taxes. -$3,050 for our expenses ($1,200 Mortgage Payment, $340 Car Payment, $400 for food, etc.) -$750 put into savings for short term goals, and finally, -$1,000 invested every month. Together, we make less than $60,000/year after taxes, we do not have high earning jobs by any means, yet we are still on track to be financially independent by 2034 at the latest (we will be 36 & 38 years old then). This is with us just rounding up our monthly debt payments by a tiny amount & not putting ANY other extra money towards our debts. If our income goes up and/or we put additional money towards our house & car, we will get there even faster. 2034 is when our debt will be paid off & we will have $600,000 invested so we can safely withdraw 4% a year to cover our expenses, if we just keep doing what we are currently doing & don’t make any more money.

Now some of you may be thinking, “Well I’m not married, so I am in a single income household.” Here are what my expenses/income/debt would be like if I were single:

Income: $2,700/month. Debt: $0 because I wouldn’t own a home & my husbands car is the one we owe on. My Monthly Expenses: $350 Rent, $200 food, $120 energy bill, $70 Car Insurance, etc. I’m not going to list out everything, the total would be approximately: $1,000/month. I would live in a small, one bedroom apartment or a two bedroom with a roommate. We live in a cheap town where that is the average rent for a decent apartment, and what we were paying before we bought our house. So I would still have $1,700 left over that I would be investing on my own. I would actually achieve financial independence twice as fast this way, because I would have less debt & much lower expenses. Now obviously, there are people out there who probably have an income that is similar to mine, but they have kid(s) to take care of as well. Again, I highly suggest you check out Mr. Money Mustache’s blog. I will also link a post where The MadFientist interviewed a couple who have 13 kids, yes you read that right & how they manage their expenses. I’m redirecting you to these folks because I do not have a child & don’t want to pretend I know what I’m talking about.

(Update, that couple now has 14 kids & are retiring later this year (2021) at 53 & 57 years old!)

A good place to start with all of this is: I challenge you to go through every charge in your online banking for the last 3 months, evaluate where your money is going, and see what you can cut out/cut back on.

So as you can see, even if you are single, have kid(s), make only about $30,000/year after taxes, you can still do it. I believe in you! Now if you don’t have any kids or have a higher household income, you have a major advantage. It is never too late to start!

Here is a link to more of my (hopefully) helpful posts.

December 2020 Financial Update:

Happy New Year! Hope you all stayed safe & healthy while entering 2021 & celebrating (or not celebrating) all of the different holidays that happened in December. I’ve heard a lot of people actually preferred this year’s holiday season over the usual, because they didn’t need to go to lame office parties or see family members they dislike/hate. I personally am not much of a party person and large gatherings usually make me anxious (or annoyed) anyway, so I really loved being by only immediate family I really care about this year. Instead of going out or being by people, my husband and I just spent the last week working on cheap house projects, like painting our 2nd bedroom & tearing up the old carpet. What’s with older generations covering up gorgeous original hardwood floors with carpet?? I’ll insert a photo of after we painted & tore up the carpet.

In addition to updating our 2nd bedroom, we majorly decluttered our whole house top to bottom this last weekend. We have a couple huge boxes going to goodwill this week & have boxes of different things going to family & friends. We realized while cleaning out our house, that 90% of the stuff we have was gifted or someone gave it to us for free. So from now on, we are going to ask to not receive anything for Christmas, Birthdays, etc. unless the person insists on buying us something then we will tell them something simple that we will use daily/weekly. Also, we want to try to not accept something from someone just because itโ€™s free, if we donโ€™t need it, we donโ€™t need it. We are working on becoming more minimalist, not hardcore minimalist where everything is black and white and you only own 4 plates, but just only keep things in our home that we 100% use at least annually. If it’s been sitting in a storage bin for 2-3 years… you probably don’t need it and won’t even notice if it is gone.

Since it is a new year, here are some financial goals we have placed for 2021:

  • Pay off our car. (Only debt will be our house then!)
  • Max out our Roth IRA contributions, like we did in 2020 & 2019.
  • Add $750 to our savings account each month for future travel & future baby fund.

Our Goal Partial Financial Independence Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $25,000+ In Savings for Emergencies/Baby Fund.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Our Current Numbers as of January 1st, 2021:

  • $32,857.28 Invested.
  • $10,049.04 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, we will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$147,948.32 Total Debt.
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach Partial F.I. Goals: $235,042

Thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ™‚