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- Reader Case: Feeling Disheartened about FIRE.Please help! - August 15, 2022
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.
I have to admit, when I first heard about this best-selling book, my reaction was skepticism, followed by a lot of eyerolling. I mean, how could something as simple as just tidying up be classified as “life changing”? Apparently, according to Kondo, tidying caused major life changes in her clients’ lives, like ditching a job they hated to find their passion or gaining the courage to finally ditch the relationship that wasn’t working. Basically, the book espouses that tidying up your space has the transformative effect of tidying up your life.
If you’ve been reading this blog and our book Quit Like a Millionaire, you’ve probably gotten the sense that as an extreme pragmatist, I’m not a fan of “woo woo” books.
I’ve since read the book, and I can see why it’s so appealing. Marie is a great character—she’s adorable, relatable, and every time she says her signature phrase “does it spark joy?”, unicorns are galloping across the universe, spewing rainbows and butterflies. It’s a well-written book with low-hanging-fruit advice for those who want to feel like they have control of lives by tidying their closet and sock drawer into submission.
Would I say that it’s life-changing though?
But then again, I’m a tough customer. I can count on one hand the books I’ve read in my life that I would consider truly life changing.
Few things in life truly deliver what they promise. That’s because most “life-changing” concepts are short-lived. You get the thrill of seeing a tidy closet, but then you acclimatize, and it’s no longer remarkable or surprising.
What I discovered is that Financial Independence is not one of these things. I can honestly say, without a doubt, that FIRE is the most significant and life-changing idea I’ve ever came across.
Because without FIRE, I would still be at my old job, crippled with anxiety, hopped up on anti-depressants, and never knowing what it’s like to truly live the life of my dreams without ever having to worry about money.
Recently, in an Amazon review, a reader described Quit Like a Millionaire as a “love letter to the FIRE movement” and it’s true.
I’m obsessed with the transformative power of FIRE and whenever I love something, all I want to do is shout about it from the roof tops.
This is a big idea and I believe it has the potential to change people’s lives—not just in the US and Canada, but all over the world.
Especially now that it’s an international phenomenon, as we’ve recently been feature on the front page of The Guardian, and readers from all over the world—including the UK, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, West Africa, New Zealand, and the Netherlands have written to us.
I would like to share one of these e-mails with you now, coming from a reader who, after discovering the FIRE movement, went from a net worth of $-130,000 to $500,000 and an investment account that jumped from $50K to $350K in in just 2.5 years!
Kristy and Bryce,
Good afternoon. I have just opened the envelope containing my copy of Quit Like a Millionaire! I felt compelled to write to you and tell you how your site has changed our life.
First – I am the guy that racked up $25,000 in credit card debt when I was 23. Then, went through a divorce in which I happily traded the credit card for the best dog in the world. I finished graduate school in 2009 with more than $130,000 in student loans. My parents have made well over $200,000/yr since the 90’s and live paycheck to paycheck with hardly any retirement money, and they’re 70. My example growing up was you bought anything you wanted on a whim and worried about how to pay for it later because more money was always going to come in.
My wife, on the other hand, spent her formative years in a poor family in South Africa. They immigrated to the U.S. and spent months living on one meal a day and bananas for the rest. Her parents both worked hourly wage jobs. Even with all of that, they were able to save $40,000 literally under a mattress and live out the American Dream of purchasing their own home. My wife has never had any problem saving, budgeting, etc. even though she had never made much money.
The extent of my retirement planning by the time I was 30 was to meet with a friend that is a financial advisor and tell him, “I don’t know what I’m doing – please help get me set straight.” He, of course, had me purchase a whole life plan that made him a fortune in commission. He also took over the little bit of money we had in our Traditional IRA’s that were rollovers from previous employers. I spent three years with one employer and they were giving me 6% into a 401K and I had never moved the money out of the settlement fund because I didn’t know any better… My wife had $30,000 in a work 401K and we eventually rolled that into a traditional IRA with him once she left that job. He invested us heavily into high fee index funds and even higher fee managed funds.
We found Millennial Revolution. We were on vacation and had just arrived in London from St. Tropez. St. Tropez is opulence on steroids. Our hosts in London are heavily invested in rental properties and talked incessantly about hating it and loving it all at the same time. We came to realize in St. Tropez we have no desire to be billionaires and we realized in London that we had no desire to get into rental properties. But, we had no idea what else to do.
While not being able to sleep in London I stumbled across your website. I read EVERYTHING on your site at that point during that night. I’m not sure I slept at all. This was in August of 2016. All these things aligned to create OUR path. After reading your story it was clear to me that we had an excellent opportunity to do something very similar.
- We already owned an inexpensive house that we had earned a lot of equity in.
- Our mortgage is lower than a 1br apt in our area.
- We purchased the house for less than $100,000 and remodeled it ourselves and now it is worth well over $250,000.
- My employer pays 20% of my salary into a 401K, approximately $22,000/yr currently.
- My wife has her own S-Corp (small business).
- I was already paying more than triple the minimum payment on my student loans and they were going to be paid off within 3 years.
- Officially paid off in 2/19!!
- And more…
The opportunity we had did not become a clear picture until I began to read your Millennial Revolution. After, we implemented a plan based on the info you shared plus Simple Path to Wealth and a few others. By January 1, 2017, we had our plan fully implemented.
In 2017, we saved more than $75,000. In 2018 we saved more than $90,000. In 2019 we are on pace to save more than $100,000. Our investment accounts went from under $50,000 to more than $350,000 in the last 2 1/2 years. Our net worth is almost $500,000. We are tracking our finances to find our FI number. We are on a path now that we couldn’t have ever imagined, and it all started when this guy without any knowledge or background in Finance stumbled onto your website and consumed everything you had to offer.
Thank you for everything you have done. Your work to make this a reality in more peoples lives has truly started the “movement”.
Thanks, MRF! We are humbled by how much this blog and Quit Like a Millionaire has changed your life. You are proof that you can pay off debt, build up a portfolio and be on the path to FIRE no matter where your starting point is. Thank you for sharing your inspirational story!
What do you think? Do you think FIRE has the potential to change the world? Has it changed yours in anyway? Share your accomplishments below so we can all root for you!
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