[Editor’s Note: This is an independent post written by JJ. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.]
I haven’t been completely upfront in our motivations for Jack and I starting this blog.
Yes, we want this blog to serve as a motivator to continue on our journey during the difficult times that surely are ahead.
Yes, we hope that our site traffic hits a high level so we know our story is helping people.
And, yes, we want you to see that living this journey to Financial Independence (FI) can work for anyone.
My wife and I don’t make a lot of money, we have a child, and we still have debt — trust me, anyone can join us on this journey. The most important part of this journey is starting; and we want to help you start and continue on this journey.
The real reason we started this blog is to help people understand their finances and plan for retirement. For years, I considered becoming a financial advisor to help people with financial management and planning, but like most things in my life I don’t want to charge people money to help them.
When I’ve talked with friends and family about the idea of FI, I get some common questions or push-back.
“I don’t make a lot of money so it’s probably not possible for me.” Well, we don’t make a lot of money either. I’m a teacher and my wife works for a law firm (not as an attorney). Trust me, those two jobs are not in the high-pay category.
“I have a child or children and they cost a lot.” I agree, they do cost a lot, but we also have a child so I’m right there with you.
Oh, but look how cute he is!
“I live in a city where housing costs are high.” When we started this journey, we lived in a very expensive area. Our rent was the majority of our monthly expenses. We now live in a lower cost of living area, but our salaries are also lower.
“I have no idea where I would even start.” Welcome to our blog, let’s get started! Jack and I are both educators who love to learn and love to help others learn. We want to help you. Message us anytime with any question and we will do our best to help!
The journey to FI is not dependent on having a high income. The journey to FI is dependent on being honest about spending habits, tracking every dollar that leaves your hand (or is charged on your credit card), and minimizing your non-essential spending to boost your savings rate. It’s a lifestyle change.
Check out this awesome article by Mr. Money Mustache’s (MMM) called The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement. This is where it all started for me. The day I read this article is the day we started our journey to FI.
Mr. Money Mustache’s annual spending is $25,000. MMM says that if you save 25x your annual spending and save up to that number using low cost index funds, then you can use the 4% rule to become financially independent, and possibly retire early.
For example, If your annual expenses are $25,000, you need to save up $625,000 to retire. If your annual expenses are closer to mine at $35,000 then you need to save $875,000. For the record, there are additional calculations that can be done if you’re a teacher who will receive a pension. But, I’ll discuss that and our strategies in a future post. For now, to keep things simple, multiply your annual expenses times 25 and according to MMM, that’s the amount you need to save to retire.
If you’re interested in starting this journey then begin educating yourself…or subscribe to this blog and we’ll educate you. Remember, please reach out to us with any questions. We want to help.
The next step should be to understand how much you’re spending each month. Sit down and look at your spending from last month, do you know where every dollar went and how many of your dollars went out the door? The goal is to analyze and track your spending on a regular basis to reduce your monthly expenses. Is it possible to cut all of your non-essential spending?
Then determine your current savings rate. If you were in my class, I’d tell you that your homework for this week is to:
- Analyze your spending over the past few months to determine where every dollar is being spent.
- Calculate your current savings rate.
- Determine which non-essential expenses can be cut from your spending, and actually cancel those items.
- Calculate your new savings rate and use MMM’s chart to determine how many years you need to work before you reach FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early). If you can get your savings rate to 65%, congratulations you’ll become financially independent in 10.5 years!
You may be overwhelmed and not sure where to start. If that’s the case and you need some help getting started, just let us know. Please also know that we’re on this journey together. You’re not alone in your quest to become financially independent.
We hope this blog serves as an outlet for us to help you begin or continue on your journey to FI. All of the content we publish on this blog is FREE! We do not charge you anything to read the strategies and recommendations we provide on teachfi.com. We do not charge you anything to reach out to us either. Remember, we’re teachers and we love to help people learn. There are ways that you can support us and we would really appreciate your support.