Welcome to Smart Fi,
I am a father of two boys, a husband, and a Registered Nurse. This is a blog about my family’s journey to financial independence. Our Family story is probably not much different from yours. We followed the script of a typical American family. That is, until we started our path to F.I.R.E. (financial independence retire early)
I met my wife in college while attending nursing school. We graduated from college and moved from rural Pacific North West to the Seattle suburbs. We rented an apartment and started spending our money. With our new careers and no debt we were flush with cash. We ate out often. We bought anything our heart desired and our hearts desired new cars. Almost immediately after starting our careers we piled on $50,000 in auto loan debt.
No worries though, we had good jobs. After a couple of years of living in an apartment we no longer wanted to rent. Now we needed a house. With very little down payment saved, the bank let us take out two loans on a house. One for the down payment and another for the mortgage.
Fast forward a couple of years and now we have two children. We needed a bigger house. This is where we made our biggest money mistake. The year is 2007, homes are at peak value. We took out a loan for $450,000 for our 4 bedroom, suburban McMansion. Then, the housing bubble burst and our home value fell by half. To this day, our home has not fully recovered in value.
Our journey to financial independence was not some epiphany or some light bulb moment. Our journey was born out of a sheer need to cut expenses after my wife quit her job to care for our children.
I had never heard of the financial independence retire early(FIRE) movement in 2006. I don’t even think it was a thing back then. After our first child was born in 2006 , my wife put her career on hold and became a stay at home mom. Almost immediately we felt the financial strain of only one income. During those early years of marriage, before we had children, we really experienced some lifestyle creep. Through trimming some low hanging fruit like vacations, cars and eating out we unknowingly started our journey to Fi.
As our children grew my wife slowly began to return to work on a part-time basis. As our annual income has grown we have been able to resist the urge to spend more. By avoiding lifestyle creep, we have saved the extra earnings to the point where we now save 40% of our annual income.
I hope to use The Smart Fi blog as a conduit to motivate, educate and inspire. For every person that knows about financial independence there are many more that don’t. So take a look around the website. Leave comments. I would love to hear your feedback and opinion.