Fight Club and the Financial Path Less Taken

My goal of starting this blog is essentially to document our journey to financial freedom as a late bloomer. To illustrate how your everyday middle class family can reach a level of financial freedom through conscious efforts and some practical financial applications. To change the mindset of the accepting masses that there is another option, a way to live life on their terms.

I am a 35 year old who works at a financial company (don’t get too excited, it is basically just a corporate call center) and my wife, 28, is a nurse. We live a very middle class life in Phoenix, AZ. We own a house with a pool, have two cars, two cats and our first child on the way (My wife is literally 36 weeks pregnant at time of writing). Pretty standard Americana. Middle class as you can get. Suburbia at its finest. We were plodding along the road of life, checking all the boxes of adulthood along the way.

However, there was something that was gnawing at me. There was a moment about a year ago where I began to question the life I was living. I was making the standard decisions of your average Joe. Get a degree, get married, buy a nice house, have kids, work a lifetime at a well-paid, respectable job, retire, die. That is just the way is it, right?

There had to be more to this life than to work in the name of consumption. More to life than going to work for a lifetime and living out the twilight of your life in retirement. More to life than spending a majority of your hours working at a place that is unfulfilling to your soul. More to life than checking the boxes…

I call this my “Fight Club” moment. There is a scene in the movie, Fight Club, where the main character, played by Edward Norton, is describing his apartment and explaining how every piece of furniture was carefully picked to build the illusion of himself. Norton has a great line in this scene where he states, “Like so many others, I had become a slave to the Ikea nesting instinct…. I would flip through catalogs and wonder, ‘What kind of dinning set defines me as a person?’” (Youtube video below)

What had I become? What type of future was I setting myself up for? A lifetime of work and for what? To keep up with the Joneses? Am I trading in the hours and days of my life working when I could be spending time with my wife and son and doing something that I am truly passionate about? I needed to find a way to get out… and NOW!

40 years of sitting in a cubicle and living for the weekends was not going to cut it. I was only a couple of years into my “forever” career and I was already looking for a way out. I began searching the Internet for ideas and other people with the same predicament as me and ended up diving down the Internet rabbit hole of early retirement and financial independence. I HAD FOUND IT. This was the answer. The FIRE (financial independence retire early)/Stealth Wealth community who could help me break the cycle and get out of the rat race.

After pouring over page after page and site after site, I noticed something. I noticed that the online financial independence community didn’t really have a strong presence of John Everyman. I am not a minimalist, someone with a particularly high paying job or someone who has been feverishly saving or paying into a 401K since college.

I bounced around from job to job in my younger life trying to find a career I would enjoy for the long run. What ended up happening is I was spit out the back end of my 20’s with far too many nights out on the town, too many music events and too much credit card debt. Now in my mid 30’s, trying to atone for the financial sins of my past.

So what is my plan? How can I achieve the level of financial freedom that I would need to maintain a sustainable lifestyle that allows for living life on my own terms? Well using some broad-brush strokes…

1. Pay off debt

2. Develop a lifestyle that allows us to live below our means. Shunning consumerism.

3. Make moves concerning our jobs. Whether it is to go for that promotion, switching jobs or creating a side hustle. All while considering income, work-life balance and quality of life as factors for the decision.

4. Have our money work for us through thought out investment and real estate strategies

5. Live a happy, free and simple life

I know this sounds a bit Dave Ramsey-esque but we plan to go way more in depth, as we are not anticipating working until we are 67 years old. Urgency to implement this plan is paramount. We are diving in with both feet as time is of the essence. We are buying TIME back from our work lives.
We plan to show you the successes and the failures of the strategies. Life comes at you fast as a young family. Let’s change the mindset and flip the script on the check boxes of adulthood. I hope to inspire, teach and empower those who want to create a better life at any age and stage of life that you may be at.

Break on through to the other side and follow me on this journey.

 

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9 Replies to “Fight Club and the Financial Path Less Taken

  1. Absolutely love this first post!! Can’t wait to read more and share this journey with you two! Great ideas and information!

  2. Thank you very much! i am looking to put a new post up about once a week and eventually have a weekly email. stay tuned!

  3. Great job Vinnie. Life happens and fast. I am trying to swim as fast as I can to retirement island but I just entered the water and I have zero time to float.
    I’m anxious to read your next post.

  4. Aunt Gail! Great to have you join the community! Post should be coming weekly. I am a bit off schedule because my wife is being induced Monday morning. All good things!

  5. Great first post, I will follow your blog and your steps along the way. I am also late-start (40, started at 39) so you’ve done a better job already 😉

    Best regards from The Netherlands

  6. Wow! The Netherlands! Welcome aboard! Glad you could take some value from these first few blog posts. It means a great deal to me that I can address the Late Start community of financial freedom seekers! Please let me know any topics you would like me to touch on and I especially would like your take on the state of financial freedom seekers from an international perspective! Thank you again and feel free to share this blog with your friends!

  7. @Vinnie In the US it seems to be much more common for people to take on loans for cars, stuff etc, also buying everything with creditcards is common stuff for “you”. While in The Netherlands we seem to be much more frugal by default, I only use my creditcard to pay my rental car when on holiday 🙂 Other stuff like keeping up with the Joneses is something we certainly have in common, as is student loan debt. Our financial systems somewhat differ, we do have “Social Security” (which I will start receiving at 71 FFS), when employed you need to make sure your employer has benefits like a pension because SS won’t be enough. When self-employed (like I am) you need to take care of everything so pensions, insurances etc.

    Topics which would be of my interest: your saving / investment strategies. Your planning; how long to point “X”, how will you combine your fatherhood with your plans, is your wife “on board” etc.

    How’s your wife doing btw?

    Best regards,

    Mr FireMe

  8. Great stuff Fireme! I plan to cover all of those topics that you suggested. I actually already have a ton of blog post ideas but have not written them out fully. Once this baby comes (4 days past due at this writing!), I will post more often. I really want to involve more of the mindset aspect and what the essence and peace of financial independence can mean. So expect some deeper blog posts from me in the near future… or as new fatherhood will allow! As always I like speaking with you and please keep reading and posting! The international state of financial affairs is invaluable!

    btw… the wife is doing well! Just anxious and ready for baby to come. He is also a Late Start as you can see!

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