The do’s and don’ts of resigning

A huge part of personal finance is the cultivation of your career.  While your goal may be to reach Financial Independence, you do still need to do something to get there.  Your career will undoubtably be the biggest area of earnings for a large portion of your life and will, for years, throw off more income than your investments will.  It’s because of this that I’m a firm believer that nurturing your career is absolutely essential to the personal finance mission.  Part of this is knowing when it’s time to grow out of your current job and company and move on to a new place.  It’s almost always going to be tough if you’ve spent years in the same place, with the same people.  They become your friends and family.  But they also become your comfort zone and your security blanket, allowing you to coast a bit.  Going hand in hand with that coasting is most likely less than you’d like raises.  Typically, in a career, the only time you get big raises are for big promotions and moving on to a new job.  If you stay in the same job, you’re likely to see standard 5% raises year after year, if you’re lucky.  Maybe a bonus here or there but overall, not too much.

While I know that much of the personal finance world focuses almost exclusively on getting out of the office and into your own world, doing what you want, neglecting how to best play the corporate game is, well, negligent.  As I said before, this is where you get started making money.  When you get out of college and get your first job, you will likely be making more money than you’ve ever made before.  And when it is time to move on, there are some definite rules to follow.  Over at the people2people blog (an awesome Australian recruiting company that a friend of mine happens to work for) wrote about the 15 rules to resignation the other day and, since I recently resigned from my job to accept a new one, I thought I’d weigh in on the matter. Here are what I believe to be the top 5 items to think about with resignation.

1.  Never burn bridges: I’ve talked to people who, for some reason, want to leave their job and just piss everyone off.  Don’t.  Never ever do this.  The best currency in your life is your reputation and if you burn bridges, it’s gone.  You may have heard that before but it’s true.  Always be amicable on your exit, give good notice, and never badmouth your previous employer.  That’s just bad taste.

2.  Don’t take anything with you: I don’t mean the stapler or some notebooks, I mean sensitive client information or other such documents.  They don’t belong to you, they belong to the company.  If you take them and they find out, not only will you also be violating rule number 1 above but you could end up being sued.  Not the best option, if you ask me.

3.  Don’t ask for a counter if you don’t mean it: They mention this on the people2people blog and I 100% agree with it.  If you’re head is fully out of there, just go.  When you give your resignation to your boss, let him or her know that they don’t need to make a counter offer.  Making a counter offer actually takes a lot of work (conference calls with other bosses, taking money from the budget, maybe reducing future headcount somewhere else to keep you on) and it’s honestly not fair to put your boss through it if you won’t be staying.  On the other hand…

4. If you do want a counter, give them more than 24 hours: Like I said above, it takes time to put this together.  As a boss, you have to consult a lot of people, budgets, etc.  It’ll take time and honestly, your boss deserves a few days.  You did just tell them you may be leaving!  Which brings us to number 5.

5.  Say thank you and goodbye: people2people also mentioned this and once again, they’re spot on the mark.  You’ve spent years with these people.  Thank your mentors and give them your new contact info.  Just because you’re not there anymore doesn’t mean they won’t still help you.  If you’ve built up a good relationship, they will likely stick with you for the rest of your career.  Also, say goodbye to everyone you can but tastefully.  Never boast.  One of the things I hated most about leaving my previous job was that one of my favorite coworkers had gone on maternity leave and I wasn’t able to do it in person.  To this day, big sad face over here.

Leaving your comfort zone and moving to a new company can be a tough change, especially if you’ve been in the same place for a while.  But it may also be the change you’re looking for in your life, whether it is culturally, location, or financially.  Just remember, never burn bridges and always be a polite and courteous person when you’re leaving.  It always helps.  Until next time!

 

 

Why do student loans suck so much?

We’ve been over this before.  My hatred of student loans and debt in general is well known.  But now I feel I have some new reasons to despise them.  I’ve been working with some people lately on building their credit and during this time I’ve found out that student loans like to screw with us in ways that, quite honestly, don’t even make sense under normal circumstances.  Of course, in the insane world of banking they make perfect sense but that’s a story for another day.

Look at this accident I got into while contemplating my student loans.  Truly horrific stuff.

Look at this accident I got into while contemplating my student loans. Truly horrific stuff.

You see, when you’re going through your few years at school, whether it is undergrad or graduate, and you have student loans paying for everything, you’re hurting your credit score.  Most people will tell you that by taking on term debt, which is what a student loan is, that you’re going to help add credibility to your name in the eyes of the banks.  While this may be true traditionally, it fails to take into account the years you spent in school, not paying that term debt down.  Even though you’re in school and either no payments or just some interest payments are required, you’re dinging your credit score.

What?  No one has mentioned this to you?  Yeah, I didn’t know either.  What happens is that because your term debt goes years without declining, the algorithms at Experian and TransUnion (and that other one whose name I can’t remember) look at it as though you are a bad payer.  It doesn’t matter that no payment is required, just that the balance is either not changing or going up (if the interest accrues while you’re in school).  While I completely get it…wait  no I don’t.  Nothing is due!  Gah.

Ok ok, this is fine though.  Sure your credit score went down but you saved up a lot of money in your first job post school and you have decided to be super responsible and pay off your student loans early.  Sure you lose the tax deduction but who cares!  No debt!

The banks care, that’s who.  And because you paid the student loans off early and they didn’t receive their interest, you’re going to get your credit score dinged.  Insanity.  Despite the fact that you just paid off your debts and have proven yourself to be a good risk for the banks in terms of them receiving their principal, you have made yourself a risk to them.  A risk that they will not receive their profits off of the interest.  Once again, insanity.

Normally, I don’t rant like this.  I get the system has quirks and I accept that.  However, coming across these to items while trying to help people improve their credit makes me furious.  There’s just no reason for this to hurt you at all, especially when a student loan is considered “good debt.”  What this does whole experience has told me is that people need to keep track of their credit!  There are two websites that can help you do this.  The first is www.creditkarma.com.  This site is run by TransUnion and gives you your score and a quick rundown of your report.  It’s a good free way to make sure you don’t have any derogatory marks on your credit.  The other site is the government’s annual credit report website.  Government regulations require the three credit bureau’s to give you free credit reports once a year.  These reports will be thorough and will tell you everything about your credit, including the names and numbers of the firms that gave your derogatory marks.  These two websites can help you sort everything out.  Often, you will only need to make a few calls to remove derogatory marks from your record.  Not the student loans, just people saying you didn’t pay on time.

Hopefully this post makes people think twice before adding another $5K or $10K in student loans when they may not need them.  Looking back, I wish I had done more to prevent getting my student loans.  Until next time folks!

 

Photo courtesy of Rool Paap

Everything is going to be just fine

Turns out that 2013 is the first year since 2005 that the percentage of 18-34 year olds living at home has declined.  This actually is GREAT news when you think about it.  When you look at the chart, you see that the percentage of that age group starts growing in 2005, several years before the recession actually began.  2005 is the year that homes started getting too expensive for people in that age group, creating the logical conclusion for those folks to move back home in order to save up for a downpayment.

So what does this mean?  Well, we can look at two factors that most likely matter:

1. The unemployment rate for this age group is dropping, allowing people to afford to move out

2. More people in this age group are getting married! And married people can’t live at home with their parents.  I mean, they can but that’s just weird.

With people beginning to move out of their parents’ basements or the apartments above the garage (I’m looking at you Kirk Cameron), we’re brought to the age old discussion of renting vs buying.  Right now this is an interesting discussion for me in particular, as I may or may not be moving to a Northern California city at some point in the next three or four months.

Or Argentina.  Argentina looks nice.

Or Argentina. Argentina looks nice.

We’ve spoken about renting vs buying before but I’ve started to get slightly annoyed with some people lately.  I won’t name names, mostly because they’re not online people, but in general, they don’t get the concept.  Here’s what I typically hear from them:

“Houses aren’t great investments because your money would be better off in the stock market.  The housing market went up like crazy before but you missed out on the recovery.  Besides, in the long run houses only appreciate at 1% a year, adjusted for inflation.  So why bother buying a house?”

Nope, nuh uh, no.  See, my problem here isn’t the whole housing appreciation thing.  I get that.  That number, however, is based off of housing appreciation from 1890 to 2011, adjusted for inflation.  That’s a pretty serious long term timeline there.  Longer than I will likely be alive but that’s beside the point.  The point here is that the alternative to buying is not investing that money in the stock market.  It’s renting.  And renting is the WORST.  There is 0% return on renting.  In fact, you’re just a consumer there, paying for someone else’s lunch.  I’m tired of people comparing buying to investing.  When you buy a house and your mortgage is comparable to what your rent would have been, you’re always going to come out ahead.

And with that, I think I’m officially in the market for a house, depending on where it is.  Preferably one with a gold leafed Eucalyptus tree in the backyard.

Leaving LA

Got your attention, didn’t I?  Sorry for the hook there but it’s not necessarily a true statement yet.  Right now, the Fiancé and I are starting to evaluate our options.  Since I work remotely, it means that she can find a job she wants, anywhere in CA she wants, and we can go there.  Even better, it means that we can seriously re-evaluate how much money we are spending on our apartment, gas, etc, and find a place that can save us thousands of dollars a year.  Maybe, just maybe, we can even find a place where we can buy a house.

Unfortunately, most of California is pretty expensive.  The cool places to live (San Francisco, LA and San Diego) are all ridiculously expensive and don’t accomplish much with respects to saving us money.  That leaves the more inland cities of California and really, that means only one place: Sacramento.  We’ve been looking into Sacramento as a potential place to move eventually for a few weeks now and might even take a trip up soon in order to check it out.  I know, I haven’t even been there before but I’m considering a move there.  It’s crazy talk!  But remember, I’m a bit of a crazy person in the first place.  Besides, Sacramento has a couple of things going for it!  Things like:

  • Friends!  Some friends of ours have already moved up there and they LOVE it.  Always good to have a built in base when you move.
  • Lots and lots of legal positions.  It’s the capital of the largest state economically and population wise in the US.  The laws that get passed here tend to have a much wider range of influence than what happens in Providence (Sorry Ted).  This means lawyers galore!
  • Right between Tahoe and San Francisco.  Two places that are seriously awesome.  The fact that I could easily drive over to Tahoe, one of the best places to snowboard in the country, makes me a bit giddy.  Just saying.
  • Cheap, Cheap property.  The median 3 bedroom home price in LA right now is $524K.  In Sacramento it is $186K.  Not only that but the schools, in the right neighborhoods, tend to be much better than anything that the LAUSD has to offer.  I’m just saying, it’s a big difference.
Definite small city vibe

Definite small city vibe

Seriously, the house prices kill me.  Looking at homes in LA is just awful.  You can’t find a house in an OK area in LA that is under $450K, which by the way is WAY over any budget I could possibly ever come up with.  In Sacramento, we could buy an actually starter home in a good neighborhood for under $250K.  That means a 3 bedroom, two bathroom house with a bit of a yard for roughly the same amount or less that we pay now for a 1 bedroom apartment we do not own.  It may just be me but I definitely like the thought of owning rather than renting.

Mostly though, Sacramento (or San Francisco or San Diego) would just be a good change of pace from Los Angeles.  I’ve been here for four years now and the Fiancé has been here her whole life.  And quite honestly, LA has never been my place.  Some of you out there probably know what I mean.  It’s just never felt like a permanent home type place.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  Even with my current apartment, the dog, my Fiancé, LA still is just not quite the right place for me.

Now, obviously I need to visit Sacramento.  I’m not going to move to a place sight unseen.  The last time I did that, I ended up here in LA!  And lived in a fairly ghetto (although cheap) apartment for years.  But I at least feel confident that if we make a move, it will be the right one.

Money doesn’t equal happiness

I feel like this should be obvious but let’s just get it out there: Money does not equal happiness.  Happiness is attained.  It’s a state of mind. Money is simply a tool that we use to help us attain happiness but even then, it’s not necessary.

I mean, I wouldn't be mad if someone handed me this bankroll, it just wouldn't solve everything going on

I mean, I wouldn’t be mad if someone handed me this bankroll, it just wouldn’t solve everything going on

You don’t need Financial Independence to be happy.  Yes, becoming financially independent will be amazing and it will be fantastic to not have to go in to a 9-5 everyday but if you’re not happy before you get there, then you probably won’t happen once you arrive at your destination.  You’ll probably be excited for a little bit but then that will wear off and you’ll be left just wondering what the hell to do.

Take a lottery winner for example.  We all know that they have a higher tendency to go bankrupt than a normal person but are they really happier?  I doubt it.  Before they had money, often, they were slogging through their day to day lives, waiting to hit that retirement boat at the end of the journey, the one they most likely hadn’t saved up for.  When they won the lottery, they attempted to use the money to buy themselves happiness.  They buy fancy cars, big houses, and go on spending sprees.  After about 5 to 8 years, all the money is gone because they didn’t know how to take care of it in the first place.  And they still aren’t happy.

My point is that, like I said above, money is simply a tool to help us in our journey for Financial Independence and, ultimately, some sense of happiness and contentment.  It’s not going to simply provide it for us.  Just as we have to work on our budgets and investments, we have to work on being happy.  We have to put ourselves in positions where we know we can be happy.  Are you happier if you’re working out?  Join a running group or a crossfit and be a part of a team.

I think the biggest thing any of us can do is to make sure that every day we do something to make us happy.  Otherwise, we’re wasting our own time!  If you’re scrimping and saving and investing wisely, all to reach financial independence, then you better be happy.  If you haven’t reached some measure of general happiness with yourself, money will not suffice as a substitute.  It will only treat the symptom and not the disease.  Take some time and think about what has been dragging you down lately.  Think long and hard and try to see if this is something you can change.  Chances are, you’ll find that it’s within your power to fix.

 

Image courtesy of 401(k) 2013

Taking risks like an Actuary

Yesterday I wrote a ridiculously abstract post about taking risks.  In it, I provided no numbers, no facts to back up my belief that taking risks can be worthwhile, particularly on things you truly desire.  Today, I’d like to try to bring it back to basics and talk numbers with you, especially with respect to Financial Independence.  So, let’s look at this whole risk process more like an actuary.  Don’t know what an actuary is?  Well, have you ever seen the movie Along Came Polly?  Basically, Ben Stiller’s character is an actuary.

Heavyweights remains my favorite Stiller film.  Dodgeball and Zoolander after that.  I think he only has two looks.

Heavyweights remains my favorite Stiller film. Dodgeball and Zoolander after that. I think he only has two looks.

In real life, an actuary tends to be someone who measures risk.  They have dive into massive amounts of data to figure out when people will die, how much money insurance companies need to have on hand in case of massive natural disasters, and will even determine what sort of asset allocation insurance companies should have in their portfolios.  Really, they are very, very, smart people (David Merkel at the Aleph Blog is one of my favorite guys in this arena.  While he isn’t an actuary, he’s worked with them all his life and understands the field).  And they are extremely good at figuring out if risks are worth it by utilizing math and logic.

So let’s take Financial Independence and think about that. That’s one of my constant themes around here and is something I’d like to achieve in the next ten years.  I’m obviously a ways away but still, I think about it.  But rather than look at the risks normally associated with quitting your job in order to live a stress-reduced life, let’s look at how our everyday choices can affect our goals.

I have a car payment that is $471 a month and I detest.  It takes away from my investments and I seriously want it to just go away.  In addition to this, I spend about $200 a month going out to eat, getting drinks with friends, etc.  This is hugely reduced from what it used to be (greater than $600 a month) but it still kills me to see it.  Beyond this, about $100 slips out of my hands every month somehow.  My guess is that the gnomes take it but more likely, it’s little things that just add up.  So, in total, I personally have wasted spending of $771 a month.  If I continue to waste this each month for ten years (not entirely realistic, since the car loan is paid off in another four or so but bear with me) I will have missed out on a full $142K in principal and investment gains.  That right there could mean the difference between retiring in ten years and retiring in fifteen.  That’s not an insignificant number!!

But that’s just me.  Let’s look at someone else.  Let’s take a coffee habit into account here.  Let’s say that Sally gets a coffee every workday, Starbucks, and it costs her $5 total.  Sally works 50 weeks out of the year so she’ll average just about $105 a month.  Sally isn’t interested in Financial Independence so she works for 40 years and retires.  How much money did Sally end up losing?

$369K.  She lost $369K dollars in 40 years.  And truth be told, it will actually be more.  Forty years ago, a cup of coffee cost a fraction of what it costs today.  In forty years, assuming constant inflation of 3%, it will cost $16!!  So really, Sally will lose WAY more than $369K in real dollars.  But in 2013 dollars, it’s close.

The point is that in the long run, every decision we make, whether small or large, has a consequence.  Every dollar could and should be invested and put to work for you, earning you more money while you are off doing something else, getting you closer to your goals.  Every $100 we spend is worth $220 in ten years.  That adds up each and every month.  We need to scrutinize every dollar we spend and ask ourselves “does this help me?”  If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know” then put the card or the cash away.  If you’re going to take risks, take cheap ones!  Like cliff diving

Yup, it's actualy me!  And yes, Cliff Diving is awesome and everyone should try it.  Just, you know, don't get hurt.  That's when it starts costing you money.

Yup, it’s actualy me! And yes, Cliff Diving is awesome and everyone should try it. Just, you know, don’t get hurt. That’s when it starts costing you money.

Taking risks like a champ

Most people don’t like to take risks.  They prefer safe.  Safe investments, safe neighborhoods, safe countries. Safe safe safe.  But at some point in our lives we all need to take risks.  It’s bound to happen.  And the thing is, a certain amount of risk can be a good thing.  It allows us to break free from our constraints and hopefully grow towards our goals.

The reason I’m getting into this is because most of the people I know are stuck in a rut.  We’re all in our mid to late twenties, still in the early stages of careers, and we don’t know what we really want from our lives.  You’ve probably read somewhere that this is the point in our lives where we’re supposed to take risks because we have enough time to make our comeback from any failure.  But that’s not the goal here.  I’m talking about calculated risk, good risk, risk that moves things two steps forward.

The first step is just making yourself open to change.  I’ll give you an example.  I graduated college in 2009 and was searching for a job.  Knowing that the Texas economy was still growing while the rest of the country was in shambles, I moved to Dallas from Boston.  From there, I got a job in Los Angeles and have been here ever since.  The only reason I was able to make either of those moves is because I put myself out there and was open to new places and new things.  If you’re not willing to accept the risks inherent in life changes then nothing can change.

The next key to taking risk is that you have to want it.  Most people don’t get that when it comes down to it.  You need to want something so badly that you’ll actually go for it.  Want to move to New York City?  Contact that recruiter!  Want to be a lawyer?  Set up shop and start practicing.  Want Financial Independence?  Go read Mr. Money Mustache and make it happen.  If you want it bad enough, you’ll take a look at the risks and figure out ways to make it work.  Maybe you’ve got to get a second job in order to pay off your student loans early enough to truly retire.  Maybe you need to just get out of the city you’re in and go to Fiji or New Zealand because that’s what you want.  If you want it badly enough, you’ll look at the risks and laugh in their faces.  You’ll make it work.

Next?  Keep trying.  We encounter risk every day of our lives in little, tiny doses.  We also see it all the time in big, potentially crushing doses.  The point is, you have to keep after it.  This goes right with the prior step of wanting something so bad that you’ll do anything for it.  If you keep taking risks and they’re good, calculated risks, you’re going to succeed.  There is a reason that some people are serial entrepreneurs.  Sure, they may just be wired differently than everyone else but there is something encouraging about people who just keep taking shots.  Wayne Gretzky famously said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  Well, it’s true.  Plenty of people sit back and watch as friends, family and those around them succeed in love and in life.  They complain that it should be happening to them, that they could do it too.  Well my friends, they’re not taking their shot.  And if you don’t take yours, things will rapidly slip out of grasp.

I'd really like to know why the person is the Great One's "special friend"

I’d really like to know why the person is the Great One’s “special friend.” I’m going to mullet over…

Most of the risks we see in life are made up of our own fears that we’ll be inadequate or incapable of success.  The more you try and put yourself out there, the more you’ll learn about yourself and see that it is simply not true.  But without trying, without wanting it, you’ll always let the risks overwhelm you.  So get up and start a company or talk to that pretty girl or cute guy.  Take a chance and don’t let the potential risks get in the way.

 

Image courtesy of Wayne Gretzky’s “Special Friend,” Jeffrey Simpson.

The Importance of Communication

Communication
Communication

Communication courtesy of P shanks

Communication may not seem like something that is important to Financial Independence or Personal Finance but to be honest, you’d be surprised.  It’s obviously important in both relationships and business but how can it really affect the other aspects of our life?

Well, as with everything else we talk about, everything is connected.  If you’re able to communicate the things you truly want in life to the people who can help you, well, they will help!  For example, I had my review earlier this year and I expressed some unhappiness with my compensation.  Not my salary per se but the fact that I was not receiving a quantified bonus structure with goals and other items that I could hit.  A few conversations later and I now have a structured bonus plan for 2013 that can earn me as much money as I earned in my first year at the company.  Granted, I have a good relationship with my boss but still, he would never have known without me telling him.  And because of this, I’m getting that much closer to Financial Independence.

That’s the point of this post: we don’t communicate well as a society.  Many of us just assume that those around us have our best interests at heart.  The problem is that while people may have your best interests at heart, they don’t know what you truly want.  For this, you have to actually talk to them and communicate clearly what your goals are.  I’m not saying you have to go to your boss and express your desire to retire early or switch careers.  But if your goal is to maximize your personal earnings then you have to go for it.  You’ve got to express that goal, in a positive and not at all threatening way, to your boss and find a way to justify it.

It’s one thing in life to ask for a raise or a bonus because you just want it.  It’s an entirely other thing when you quantify it with hard data and facts about what you have truly done for the organization.  If you’ve saved the organization $200K last year, why shouldn’t you receive 5% as a bonus?  The heart of the matter in situations like this is the justification.  You’ll dealing with someone that has likely done your job.  What’s more than that, they are most likely tasked with keeping their bottom line growing.  If you’re able to positively contribute to that growth in a measurable way, it’s easy to get a bonus from even the most difficult of bosses.

At the end of the day, numbers are numbers and if they are in your favor, you can communicate them efficiently to give yourself an advantage.  The basic thing here is to communicate.  If you’re in constant communication with those around you, they’re more likely to help you achieve your goals.  As you achieve your goals and communicate them to your boss, you’re more likely to receive the raise and the bonus you desire.  And both of these get you one step closer to Financial Independence and to a state of personal finance that you can be happy with.  So the next time you’re in the office, talk to your boss.  Talk about their career or where they think your career is going.  Find out what you need to do to get somewhere else.  Tell them what you want to do!  It’s worth a shot and improving your ability to communicate will only take you further and further professionally.  Because when it comes down to it, everything is run by people and people need to talk.

What are we working for?

What most people see every day

What most people see every day – Photo credit to Flickr user archie4oz

I feel like this may be a broad question but it’s been on my mind like crazy lately.  There are some obvious answers: we work for the weekend and so the bill collector doesn’t come knocking.  But, without getting to existential here, what are we really doing?  I mean, you’ve got weddings, kids, school tuition, electricity, funerals, vacations and a whole host of other things that you really want.  But, again, what is your or my goal?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.  During my annual review, I posited a similar question towards my boss: “What am I working towards here?  What can I really grow in to?”  I’ve been with this company for three years and in general, I’m doing well.  But, my upward mobility is pretty limited.  I already report to the CFO, who is a pretty young guy in his own right.  I could work there for fifteen years and the entire time it would be “Well, Brian reports to the CFO.”  Sure, the title might change and I might gain responsibilities but overall, nothing would really change.  But even then, we get back to the other question: What am I working for?  What am I working towards?

If we go by what we see around us or by what our parents had, have, or will have, then it’s simple really.  Nice house in a decent neighborhood, enough money to go on vacation and put the kids through school.  All admirable things to want.  But the house, the vacations, the school tuition, all of this comes at a cost.  So many people have mortgages and credit card debts that they can’t afford.  If you try to force some of the finer things in life too soon, you end up like the $30k millionaires we spoke about a few days ago.  So is there a right way to get these things without killing ourselves working 50, 60, 100 hours a week?

In a way, there is a lack of structure and focus in the corporate world.  It leaves most people feeling empty after a day’s work.  Now, I don’t mean to say that companies themselves lack structure or focus.  They know exactly what they want: profits.  And they know how to get there.  What I mean is that companies rarely know how to give their employees focus for their own lives.  Their idea of focus is that if you work for 45 years, you’ll retire and live a few years doing nothing.  But that’s not focus, that’s not a goal.  There is a whole lot of in between that not many people are paying attention to.  We grow up in a school system that has set goals and benchmarks.  You always know where you stand.  In athletics, there are goals. You have championships and personal bests to conquer.  In the professional world?  Well, you’re trying to make rent next month.  You’d like to eat dinner tonight.  If you have room on your credit card you’d really like to take that trip to Alaska you always hear about, you know the one.

The point I’ve been getting at is that, after a lot of think and soul searching, working for a retirement years and years down the road doesn’t really suit me.  Neither does the thought of buying an overpriced monstrosity of a house with a mortgage that is 75% of the value.  I’ve already established earlier in the year that I hate my car loan and, well, debt in general.  I think it’s time to add a new goal to my 2013 and beyond: I’m working towards Financial Independence.  It’s a crazy goal, I know.  And I’m way, way far off.  But there is more to my thinking so hear me out.

In general, I’m not a huge fan of the corporate world.  While I like where I work, I can’t say that I enjoy it every day.  It’s not as satisfying as I’d ultimately want it to be.  That in mind, it makes sense that I should strive for Financial Independence.  If I could work for another ten to twelve years in Finance and save up enough to buy a home with no mortgage, plus some income producing assets (bonds, dividend stocks, a rental property), then maybe I could do something.  I could start consulting or do some freelance stuff without having to worry too much about the bills.  I could coach track, something I already know I love to do (and know doesn’t pay anything at all).  The point is, if this is my goal, if this is what I’m working towards then in my late 30’s, I could start doing something that makes me truly happy and isn’t a huge burden on my life or my health.  Instead of working behind a desk for fifty years, I get to be outside and influence young people for thirty or forty.

I think most people want to attain some measure of financial independence.  Saving up some serious Eff You money can make life decisions significantly easier.  You’re not going to stand there and take BS from someone when you know you can leave and not miss a beat.  So I guess this really will come down to if this is a rational idea or a crazy one.  If it’s attainable or a pipe dream.  Who else out there is trying to get to Financial independence?  What are you doing to get there?  Let’s see what people really think when it comes to this.