Welcome to our little space on the internet where we share our personal path towards financial independence. The FI Exec is a blog that documents the journey to financial independence from the perspective of a high-income-earning and high-spending family. We launched the FI Exec in 2017 after stumbling across the stories of many before us.
We’re a couple that work hard, earn in the top 5% of income earners, enjoy nice things, raise two kids, and think that we judiciously save money, too. But every time tax season comes around and we sum up our total adjusted gross income, we say “It doesn’t feel like we make that much money.” Literally, I think Mrs. FI Exec says this every single year.
We honestly didn’t think we made or spent that much money. We also thought we were doing well saving for retirement. In fact, financial adviser after financial adviser would say as much after punching our numbers into their planning calculators. So what gives?
We were doing well… assuming we both continue to work until we’re 65. But as we both turn 35, the idea of having no choice but to work another 30 years in order to retire comfortably doesn’t excite us. In reality, we were consumers and became accustomed to a certain lifestyle.
After inspiration struck in the form of others’ stories of financial independence much earlier, on much less annually, and with much less saved than we have been fortunate and worked hard to achieve, it’s time we took more control of our future – so why not write about it and share our journey!
We hope this blog will accomplish a few things:
What We Hope Our Readers Get From Our Blog:
We hope that our personal story can connect with others that are in a similar lifestyle situation to our own. By sharing our experiences along the way, we hope to show and inspire others to get started on their journey to financial independence. After all, we imagine decades of retirement can be a lonely place if there are no other couples to enjoy it.
There are a few awesome bloggers that helped influence the path that we will ultimately share through this site, but one distinct difference between their situation and ours continued to pop up – our cost of living is substantially higher than others covering this space. We don’t say this as a good or bad thing, just fact.
Many bloggers in this space talk about the 4% safe withdrawal rate (SWR), or “The 4% Rule”. If you have amassed sufficient net worth such that you can live off of a 4% annual withdrawal on that stash, you should never run out of money in your lifetime. When put into such simple terms, the idea of financial independence and early retirement seems like a realistic possibility.
So how much do we need? Well, in 2016 our total expenses were $142,464, which is 4% of $3.56M and a lot more than we currently have. There is certainly some lifestyle expense optimization we need to figure out, but in general, we enjoy what our current cost of living affords us. As we begin our journey, we’ll squeeze our annual budget in some areas and reallocate into other areas that give us greater enjoyment. But we fully expect that we’ll need around $10,000 in today’s dollars per month to become financially independent. We have a ways to go!
What We Hope to Get From Our Blog:
We hope to achieve financial independence. No, not from the blog. But from writing about our experiences and progress. You see, in order to write this all down, we’re going to need to have a clear plan and some accountability to stick to it. I’m a firm believer that writing down your goals increases the likelihood of achieving them. And sharing the goals increases the likelihood even more.
We’re by no means experts on the topic of wealth building. If there was a way to quantify that, we’d probably end up slightly better than average at knowledge and demonstrable expertise at acquiring and building wealth. We intend to learn from the major thought leaders in this space, others on the journey, and our own experiences. Expect a bumpy ride!
More About Us
I’m the FI Exec. I do most of the writing around here. I learned about the FI/RE community and started this blog in the same year at the age of 35. I’m a product director at a high-tech software company and a perpetual learner and doer.
Mrs. FI Exec would be keen to point out that she is younger than me, despite it being all of six weeks younger. She pulls a full-time marketing job while also being an amazing mother..
We live in a suburb of Austin, Texas with two kids and a dog. Our family lives all over the country as we’re both transplants to Austin circa 2004.
What motivates us as a couple to become financially independent is the same, but different. We’d like to achieve financial independence so that we have the ability to do what we truly desire to do, that brings us the most happiness, at that current moment in time. We each derive happiness in our own way. But having the freedom to pursue happiness is the motivation that binds us.
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Helpful Resources That Got Us Started:
- Mad Fientist – Great, in-depth content, but I really appreciate the podcast interviews. He was the second resource we came across, but the first that really opened our eyes to financial independence.
- Radical Personal Finance – Another great podcast on the topic. Some great interviews and a huge list of recorded podcasts.
- Jim Collins – Jim (JL) Collins’ name continued to come up no matter which podcast I was listening to or person being interviewed. After binge reading his Stock Series, I understand why.
- Mr. Money Mustache – Surprisingly, MMM was not the first name or site we came across, but he is the “All Roads Lead to Rome” of financial independence. So much so that many people have coined the term “mustachianism” referring to a way of life.
- Retire by 40 – Joe said I had to blog, so he gets partial credit if this sucks. I loved his insight on getting started on the path to financial independence.
- Go Curry Cracker – Go Curry Cracker gets the trophy for first influential resource that I discovered. I’ve been a satisfied subscriber to his newsletter since April 2015. I love his deep, but digestible tax strategy insights. It’s also been awesome to see him transform his blog from 2015 to today.
- Reddit /financialindependence – Motivational stories, ideas, and a great community of leaders in this space.