Today we share another community member success story. Jeff grew up in poverty. It was not uncommon during his childhood for his family to worry about where they would be living, figuring out how to heat the house and meeting other essential needs.
Jeff’s parents, who were factory workers, never had expectations for Jeff to attend college. There was an assumption he would enter factory work as well after high school. Which he did.
However, it became clear very early to Jeff that the job was not for him. He was miserable. But he was also inquisitive and his search for information was the start of a journey that changed his family tree.
Jeff saw another gentleman at the plant who had a better paying, more skilled position that didn’t involve standing at a machine for seven hours a day. He inquired about how he could do that job and learned that the community college had certificate programs that partnered with his employer for an apprenticeship. Unfortunately for him, there were not any open positions. Jeff did not let that stop him. He went ahead and began the certificate program and waited for his opportunity for an apprenticeship to open. Because of his drive and dedication, it was not long before Jeff landed the job.
After he completed his apprenticeship, he made more money and had opportunities for advancement. He has been working in the field as an industrial mechanic ever since.
A LESSON IN INTEREST
Jeff and his wife worked hard and eventually bought a home but at the time still knew very little about finances. After paying on his mortgage for some time, he looked at his balance and was extremely confused. There had to be a mistake. He knew he had paid much more than what was reflected as his balance. Interest was the culprit. Frustrated by his lack of knowledge, he began to learn about interest and how it was calculated.
Then, while on a business trip, Jeff noticed a book at the airport. The title intrigued him, Life Without Debt. He dove into the book, reading it in four days.
The experience with his mortgage combined with finding this book changed everything for Jeff and his family. They dedicated themselves to frugal living, living within their means, and emulating people who lived on very little. They purchased investment properties which enable them to purchase their forever home with a substantial down-payment. By living on less, saving more and increasing their income, Jeff and his wife are now “lean-FI.”
They reached this incredible milestone without ever earning more than six-figures and with only one full-time income. Which is AWESOME!
For those new to the FIRE community, there are a few stages used to describe where one is with respect to FI (Financial Independence) – all of which are based upon the Trinity Study. You can read more about that HERE. At it’s most basic – it simply means you have saved twenty-five times your expected annual expenses at retirement.
Example: If you believed you could live on $40,000.00 a year at retirement, you would need $1,000,000.00 saved to be financially independent.
40,000 x 25 = 1,000,000
If you are wondering what LeanFI is or FatFI, HERE is a great article that explains how these terms have emerged as the popularity of the FIRE movement has gained popularity.
JEFF ON THE FINAL QUESTIONS
The one lesson about Jeff learned about money as a child that he has carried over into his FIRE journey is that money cannot make you happy, but a lack of it can sure make you miserable.
The one lesson he would like to pass to his children is to begin early. Live like a broke college student for as long as you can, don’t let life-style creep happen.
FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE IS FOR EVERYONE
We hope that you are encouraged today by Jeff’s story. Our goal here is to educate others and show them that by making a few critical changes in your life with respect to your money, you CAN achieve Financial Independence.
If you need help or are just beginning your journey, we offer a FREE 7-Step Money Challenge that will help you build a solid foundation as you begin your journey.
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We want to connect with you and our community. The Facebook Group is the place to do that, to get to know us better and to get the support you need on your FIRE journey! We are glad you are here!