As many readers of this site know the previous owner Evan was doing an excellent job documenting his Journey on the path that is personal finance. Evan has found another opportunity to share that story through, and I am excited to be the new owner of MyJourneyToMillions.
My goals for this site are to continue the No BS style of financial information that Evan created with deeply personal insights into not just my journey but to share some of the journey of fellow readers, and to dispel some of the oh-so-popular rhetoric that comes out of the popular financial media.
I hope today is the first step in that direction.
I’m sure most readers are interested to learn a bit about me and my personal finance story, and I’d like to share that with everyone today.
I am a 35 (36 in a couple of weeks…Yikes!) year old Husband and Father of two wonderful children (3 and 5). My career used to be focused around the healthcare space and specifically in research and in sales, but I’ve recently take a pretty major step away from the corporate world and become a full time Entrepreneur. This is another story entirely, but the short version I’ll say that I had a significant issue with time inflexibility, work travel, time away from my family, and generally working “for the man”. So my wife and I undertook a multi year process to set us up for the time, headspace, and financial freedom that we need to undertake this journey.
The planning phase ended and the real adventure started about 3 weeks ago. Since then it’s been a bit of an emotional whirlwind tour as I quit my high paying job, we’ve sold our house and most of the things in it and are spending the next few months visiting Europe. We’re documenting that story on our family blog if you care to share along.
With our children being young and still “impressionable” in a good way, my wife and I want us all to be able to really experience what other cultures are like and what else this great big world has to offer. Just like in personal finance I think in life we get so caught up in our own sphere of a world that we forget all of the other aspects of life out there that we can all explore, if just given the opportunity and space to do so.
My wife and I have been getting ready for this trip for a long, long time. In fact you might say that we’ve been getting ready for it ever since we met. When Amanda and I met her house was for sale and she was planning to move to London. Well needless to say I spoiled her plans and a few years ago we found ourselves running in the rat race that so many are familiar with.
Convinced that there are so many better ways to spend our years, especially those early years with the kids, we set on a plan to change things dramatically.
In terms of our finances we cut our spending by about 35%. The first big one was to sell our house and downsize into a rental house that was just fine for our family of 4 but much less lavish than where we lived before. This was a bit hard to swallow for me and my pride.
As with most folks the big house in the gated subdivision honestly did things for my ego. But it also did things for my net worth…not good things. Keeping up with the Jones’ it turns out may be the most expensive game there is to play. Endless trips to Home Depot for the garden, and furniture for the house, and blah, blah, blah is a never ending cycle of “never good enough”, and finally we’d had enough.
With some solid equity in our house we decided to sell and ‘cash out’ of our largest investment. And looking back almost a year I’m convinced we didn’t leave a dime on the table. Housing prices in the New Orleans area are essentially stable in the last 12 months, but the velocity of sales has decreased noticeably.
In addition to the bit of money we made from the sale of the house I worked like a dog at my sales role and had several really great quarters, resulting in great income last year and substantial savings for us as a family.
What we found though is that you can’t outsave your spending habits. Much like dieting where just exercising for 6 hours a day won’t make you skinny we realized that we had to just be smart about our expenses.
I’m not a fan of “frugality” in the sense that you just go without and are proud of driving a 14 year old truck that doesn’t work and eating Ramen every night. I am a fan of not spending money on crap that you don’t really want, is just bought to impress a bunch of people who don’t like you anyways, and getting into the hamster wheel that never ends.
So we cut out the super expensive private school in favor of a great Montessori style one, shopped on the days where the grocery stores had sales (but still ate essentially what we wanted), and shopped hard for deals when it was convenient, and for the big purchases. I continued to drive my 6 year old Altima (which may go down in history as the most reliable car ever) until we left for the trip and it had well over 200,000 miles on it.
Overall the plan worked out great and I was able to quit my job with plenty of money for us to enjoy this trip to Europe with the kids, for us to go back to the States (unless we continue to really love Spain!) and find a place for them to grow up, and for me to own my time again as an entrepreneur.
I can’t overstate how big of a deal this was to me personally and for my pride. To tell the company I worked for that I no longer required their services was so empowering that I’ll never be the same person. It took over a year of planning, of careful execution (mostly on my wife’s part), and an eye on the big goal down the road.
But now that we’re on the road I can’t be happier.
What’s Your Journey
One of the comments from a recent post (which I really appreciated Paul, by the way) was about what this site is going to be all about now that I’ve taken over the reigns from Evan. To be honest I want to hear more about other people’s journeys.
I find my own story honestly pretty satisfying because for now it’s got a pretty good ending (even though I think we’re at the beginning of that road), but the real power of Personal Finance isn’t about the tactics and data as much as it’s about the story and the vision that people have. Habits form your actions, and those actions are the ones that ultimately will get you where you need to go.
So I have a favor for you the readers. I’d like to hear from you.
I would like to regularly feature a reader story that goes through your own personal finance journey. Where you are on the path, where you started, where you’ve hiccuped along the way, and where the path will take you. If you’re interested head on over to our Contributor page and shoot me a message.
I look forward to hearing from you.