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My FI Journey » About

About

This blog is a chronicle of my quest to achieve early financial independence via passive income.  In other words, becoming a rentier.  The steps to reaching this goal are simple to understand.  Namely, coupling a high savings rate with a dividend growth investment strategy.

How high of a savings rate?  50% of my net income.

Why dividend growth investing?  Because it works with my personality and life situation.  Other investment strategies, for example real estate, could work just as well, but aren’t currently a good fit for me.

Given how late I started in the game of actually having a career (thank you, needless amounts of education and training), I aim to achieve financial independence by around age 45.  Why 45?  Because some quick back of the envelope math suggests that while this is an aggressive target, it is doable.

On Achieving Financial Independence

Every two weeks my employer kindly deposits money in my bank account for services rendered.  Money is nothing less than raw potentiality.  It can become whatever I want it to… a roof over my head, food on my plate, an adventure in a foreign land.  But perhaps the most interesting of all is that, through investing money can become more money.

Every month I invest in stocks with a consistent history of increasing dividend payments.  With each investment my dividend stream increases.  Eventually, the cash flow from dividends will be large enough that it will be able to cover all of my basic living expenses.  At that point, I’m financially independent.  My day job has bcome an option rather than a requirement.

I’m Only Human

Despite my best efforts, I remain only human.  Which is just a highfaluting way of saying that I’ve got both advantages and obstacles when it comes to my journey.

Advantages:

  1. Relatively high income, somewhere in the low-six figures.
  2. Zero debt.
  3. Naturally cheap frugal.

 

Disadvantages:

  1. I’m stuck in a high cost of living area.  No way to escape this without quitting my job.
  2. I require a certain minimum standard of living to be happy.  I have exactly zero desire to take extreme austerity measures.
  3. I’m fully aware that material things are the only way to achieve status and be taken seriously by a better portion of the population.  I have no desire to be perceived as a bum or a weirdo.
  4. Not having a real job until my mid-thirties means that I started saving and investing relatively late.

 

Why Financial Independence

I’ve always worked hard.  Through school, through college, through graduate school, through post-doctoral training. And now, finally at a real job.  The simple fact is that hard work only goes so far.  My salary could vanish in an instant with a round of layoffs (rightsizing!).  My job could rapidly transition from cool to horrific with departmental reorganization or a new boss.  So long as someone else (my company) is paying the bills, I have no choice but to grin and bare it.  And scramble like a headless chicken trying to find another job in the event of layoffs.

For me, financial independence is about insurance and freedom.  Not freedom from having to work, but freedom from the stress and worry that comes with career insecurity.  Insurance against having to make a post-layoff dash to a new job that may not interest me, in some new city where I may not want to live.  Just to pay the bills.

In today’s economy insecurity abounds.  Companies don’t care about their employees.  The government isn’t going to be there for me in any meaningful way.  I am on my own.

Long ago in one of my first jobs, I had a horrible boss.  Had I been older and more experienced at the time, I could have gotten a lawyer and sued the company and my boss for all different flavors of harassment and creation of a hostile work environment.  But I needed the job, so I stuck with it for far too long as I searched for new job.

In another job, my continued employment was always in question.  Maybe they would have money to pay for me.  Maybe not.  To make matters worse, they waited just a week or two before my contract would end before they bothered to tell me if they found more money or not.  I got a one month extension, followed by a three month extension, another one month extension, a six month extension.  You get the point.  This repeated until I finally moved on to another position.  I liked this job and I liked my boss.  I still feel bad that I wasn’t able to focus on just doing good work because I was living in a state of perpetual anxiety over my employment.

Currently, I have a great job and a great boss.  But I’m always cognizant that those things could change, especially since I work in a labile industry.  Financial independence means that what are existential crises to most people become mere annoyances to me.

Blog Policies

I’m told that every blog needs a boring section outlining policies that should be common sense.   I won’t be offended if you skip this section.   All policies are subject to change without notice.

  1. Investment disclaimer. I am NOT an investment professional.  I do NOT claim to be an investment professional. Everything I know about the worlds of personal finance and investing is the result of self-study.  This blog is my attempt to share what I have learned with my readers.  You, and you alone, are responsible for doing due diligence.  You need to do your own research and analysis before making investment choices.  If you aren’t comfortable with that, seek out a fee-only investment professional.  I am not liable if you lose a bunch of money.
  2. Guest posts.  I would be delighted to host your guest post provided that you are a blogger or commenter with whom I’ve interacted with in the past.  Please don’t waste your time pitching “unique and original” posts that are nothing but spam in disguise.  I will not dignify your request with a response.  It’s not worth the effort.
  3. Privacy policy.  I do not share personal information with third-parties.  Information collected is used to analyze content performance and to run the commenting system.  This occurs through the use of cookies, which you can deactivate at any time by modifying your Internet browser’s settings.

 

Want to contact me?

Feel free to send questions, comments or suggestions.  You can email me at myFIjourney at Gee Mail Dot Com.  Or use the form below.

14 Responses to "About"

  1. mysticaltyger says:

    Material things are the only way to be taken seriously by other people. Personally, I don’t care about those types of people. You must be an extrovert. Introverts tend not to cared about social status, especially the INTJ personality type.

    1. Actually, I’m a textbook INTJ. I’ve spent a lot of time on the outside looking in and trying to understand why people act the way they do. Additionally grew up as an outsider in a very status conscious region of the US, so I also learned a lot through the school of hard knocks. I may not care about materialistic people, but I’m not foolish enough to think that their opinion of me doesn’t matter, because I’ve learned the hard way that it does.

  2. Mr. 1500 says:

    I live in a neighborhood now where everyone tries to outdo each other with cars and other crap. It is a toxic environment, especially since we have kids. We hope to move this spring.

    “I’ve spent a lot of time on the outside looking in and trying to understand why people act the way they do. ”

    Yeah, me too. I don’t think most are truly happy or have it figured out. Good times with friends and family trump a nice car any day.

    1. I grew up in a place where status was important. Strike one against me was that I and my family were outsiders. Strike two, my family didn’t pretend to have more money than we did. We didn’t drive expensive cars, and I was the only kid without expensive brand name sneakers. I think the best correlation to today’s kids would be being the only kid without an iPhone.

      The result of my lack of status was a subtle but painfully apparent ostracism. I do not miss living there.

      1. I was also one of the few kids in my school without expensive trainers/sneakers and it totally consumed me – I was furious at my parents (who also didn’t drive expensive cars) and felt devastated that I couldn’t keep up with the “cool kids”

        Difference was, my parents could afford this stuff but just lived frugally (dad grew up in the war and mum grew up in 3rd world poverty), albeit in a nice house. I swore that once I earned enough money I wouldn’t “cheap-out” like them…

        But, painful as that childhood peer pressure was, it ultimately gave me the confidence to seek contentment and happiness in non-material things. I still to this day lust after a pair of Nike Air Max but I’ve not owned any yet!

        Good luck on your journey!

        1. MFIJ says:

          Thanks for stopping by!

          My parents could afford all kinds of stuff too. They just didn’t buy it. So I didn’t get the cool clothes, or jackets, or a car for my 16th birthday or anything else. I also pledged that I wouldn’t be as cheap as they were. We can see how well that pledge turned out.

          But we live in a world where our material goods define us to others and thus dictate how others interact with us. I’m quite certain that I could get a lot farther socially if I spent most of my money instead of saving it. I have yet to figure out the best way to deal with this.

  3. I fully sympathise with the balance you’re referring to – its vital to get to a place where you’re comfortable with and accept your social position and personal image (especially when we weren’t able to materially invest in our image during childhood)
    That said, I’m not sure that material items can progress this journey significantly. Even if a social door was opened because you drove a new BMW, I don’t think I would feel comfortable or “at home” in such an environment, knowing that I would not be there on personal merit but because I had a debt-funded status symbol. Personally it would feel like I wasn’t being true to myself and would make me quite uneasy
    Obviously we wouldn’t get far walking around in rags (I await backlash from the truly ecofrugal on this one!), but spending thousands on status, gadgets and fashion is unlikely to pay back
    I think you probably believe this to a degree already as you’ve refrained from excessive spending so far after all, but we’ve all got to find our own balance
    So it looks like we’re disagreeing to an extent and neither of us has “the answer” unfortunately. Perhaps a “keep up with the neighbours” experiment would be insightful? Rent a new car and some expensive suits for a month and see what happens?
    All the best
    Perry

    1. MFIJ says:

      About the only real certainty that I’ve discovered in the world of using material goods for social status is that you have to dress well. Not necessarily Armani suits well, but at least at the level of everyone else in your work environment (if you’re a white collar professional with an office job). I’m still embarrassed at how late in life I figured this one out.

      My current goal is to pump some money into my one bedroom apartment. It’s not a dumpy place, but it needs some nice decorations, plants, and the like to make it much more presentable as it’s rather sterile looking at the moment. Also, a fully stocked liquor cabinet and wine rack. Anything I can do to make guests feel comfortable here. I figure this is a lot cheaper than renting a bigger apartment or a house.

  4. Ezequiel says:

    Hello MFIJ:

    I have just discovered your blog and I find it very interesting in fact.

    I am Spanish and I live in Seville, a beautiful city of the southwest of Spain. As you, I am trying to become in a long-term investor and I am looking for my financial independence too. My first equity have been purchased two years ago, so my portfolio is too young!

    I have a portfolio with some Spanish stocks, of course (like Telefonica, Banco Santander, Red Eléctrica Corporación, Ebro Food…) and I am introducing in your market with KO, NYX and INTC.

    Thanks for your blog and I am going to read your interesting articles and enjoying it!

    P.D. Sorry for my English, I am improving it! ;)

    1. MFIJ says:

      Ezequiel,

      I’m glad that you’re enjoying the bog so far. It’s great that you’re taking steps to becoming an investor. I don’t know much about Spanish stocks, so I can’t offer much advice there, but I’m sure that the same kinds of evaluation techniques can be applied to stocks anywhere in the world.

      1. Ezequiel says:

        Thanks for your reply. Although I have Spanish stock, I am trying to purchase stock in NYSE.

        I am going to read you with attention ;). Thanks for your work and I am waiting for your next analysis…

        Greets from Spain

  5. Jillian Ashby says:

    Hi.
    Do You Have A Rss Feed? If So, Is It Posted Somewhere That I Can Find It?

    1. MFIJ says:

      Yes. Click the RSS logo on the right hand side.

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