People get rarely born being fully convinced of the vlaue of a FIRE journey. So, what got me fired up? I can’t remember who started this seriesThe Money mine started this series, I liked most post that I read. It shows that there a phases you go through, you can identify yourself and sometimes adjust where needed
The younger years – learning from the parents
At home, my parents were always frugal. There was money, not always in abundance. This meant that some times, we needed to make some choices on certain activities.
At a rather young age, I got an allowance that should cover for all my clothing, party and travel expenses. I did some weekend and summer work to complete my budget.
This period is the basis of my personal budgeting and intentional living.
I now try to pass this measure to my kids…
There was some windfall as well. My parents brought me in contact with the bank and I discussed with the ranch manager on how to invest this money.
The first job – Doing what is expected – splurging a little
At my first job, I kept living at home. I did pay a monthly allowance. My first salary went towards a really nice car-radio and speakers. My brother in law helped out installing these in my car.
As explained by my parents, I started pension saving. At that time, it was 550EUR per year… Not a lot, so, I started. ever since, I never missed a year.
That year, I also went twice on a ski holiday. One part was actually paid by capital gains I made on an nasdaq fund. This was 1999, I not only missed the big peak, I also missed the great crash. I prefer the ski trip anytime – guilty pleasure!
Second round of studies
After the first job, I went back to school to get an MBA. This was surely a challenging period as I paid all out of my own pocket. I still am thankful that my parents decided to refund me the allowance I paid them to live at home. That covered a lot of my expenses. and kept me debt free. I required some budgetting to stay within my means, especially compared with some other students. I managed to stay debt free.
Second job & third – living the good life
My second job was rather intense: I traveled each weak, sometimes between continents. During the week, I lived on company expenses and went out to eat almost every day. The travel did put a lot of stress on my relation and I moved back in with my parents… Life happens… and then moved into a bought apartment and changed jobs.
I had some budgeting issues: No more company expenses to pay the restaurants. Luckily, I found this out rather soon and was able to control myself and push my spending lower so that I lived below my means again. This was a key moment! The budgeting got firmly into place and living below my means became a habit.
Travel and parties with my friends were the main budget items that I had. Really good memories…!
Meeting Misses ATL
At the time of yet another job switch, I met miss ATL. Quite soon, she moved into my apartment. At this time, my career really took off. Income increased big time, expenses dropped as they were shared between the two of us. With hindsight, this is where the seeds for our Early Financial Freedom could grow further: we avoided life style inflation. At the same time, we enjoyed life with travel, diners and get aways with friends.
We did not invest, we saved for a house.
Looking back, I have been a big part of my life very risk averse. Cash and a main house were my go to assets, and then some funds from the bank. At that time, I did not call it an asset allocation, I did what I saw at home.
The classical next steps
after a house and a wedding, we got kids and we still managed to live below our means. Fitting in daycare in the budget was doable as we were living frugally already before and had a big monthly surplus. Once the daycare was over, that money went into saving again.
I started to feel more and more secure on our situation and got more interested into investing.
The big change here is that I became a landlord. My mother and wife convinced me to keep the apartment (and the mortgage on it). Most of my bonuses went to an accelerated paydown of the mortgage. At one point, the mortgage was gone! Cashflow was good!
Getting FIREd up!
At one point, we had many plans and ideas for the house and garden. We had cash. My risk averse me wanted to keep our cash. When the the tenants divorced, got into payment problems and finally moved out, I decided to sell the apartment. I got a good price, higher than I estimated the property. It was sold in one week, close to the estimate of the real estate agent. As a plus, I did not need to spend time and money on refurbishing the apartment. It was now 12 years old and could use some paint and improvements.
Some of the money went to our house mortgage, some went to the garden. The left over needed a destination. This is where I started to google about how to invest and finally stumbled upon the FIRE community.