Reading hundreds of blog posts surrounding the personal finance community, it’s easy to get a little jealous of others’ success. I mean, on a daily basis I read about people going from rags to riches, or having a $1M income, or people retiring at an obscenely young age. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I think it’s time to step back and focus on all the reasons I have to be thankful.
I may be the world’s least fascinating personal finance blogger – but don’t stop reading! I don’t have a compelling story like those mentioned above. I’ve been too damn lucky. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some good decisions along the way (quietly pats back). When life choices work out as well as they have, there is nothing to say but “I’m lucky.” Here are a few examples:
- I was born in a society that allows me to grow my wealth and pursue happiness
- I’ve never known what it was like to be homeless
- Or hungry
- My grade school education was entirely paid by taxpayers
- Thanks to my parents generosity and choosing a less expensive state university in my home state, I never needed student loans
- While I’ve made plenty of financial and other mistakes in my life, none of them have caused significant harm
- My biggest financial hardship was being unemployed for just a few months. At the time, we were able to pay the bills with my wife’s salary and had plenty in an emergency fund in case we had a shortfall.
- I’ve never been stuck paying credit card interest
- In fact, the only interest I’ve ever paid has been on my mortgage
- I never overspent on a car purchase or lease. Actually, I have never made a car payment. I inherited my 2006 car in 2009 and the Mrs. and I still share it today. The savings from no car payments have taken me a long way toward financial independence without sacrificing anything of importance to me.
- I also never bought too much of a house, which is one of the biggest financial roadblocks in society today. Many people buy as big of a house as they can “afford” and then try to keep up with their neighbors. Our home purchasing decisions have been well below the “most we can afford” and I’m thankful for the flexibility that those choices have given us.
- I’ve never spent more money than I’ve made in a year and as such, my net worth has increased every year of my life.
First and foremost I’m thankful for my wife. Mrs. WPF is the backbone that holds our family up. She’s smart, fun and much better looking than me. We have always been able to communicate well. Even when we have a difference of opinion (which is often), we always find a way to sort through it without resentment. Being with her has by far been the best decision I’ve ever made, financial or otherwise. Thank you for putting up with all my craziness.
I have two wonderful healthy sons
They both drive me a little nuts, make my hair gray and bring me more joy than I can describe. They inspire and motivate me to be my best so I can give them the best.
I’m thankful for my parents
I am who I am today because of them. While I did not have everything growing up, I had everything I needed and much more. They have influenced who I am today more than I even know. From a financial perspective, my father introduced me to the stock market and investing. My mom taught me that you don’t need the latest and greatest of everything to be happy, along with how to buy only the things that are really important to you. This blog is a combination of the best of what my parents taught me about personal finance and the lessons I’ve learned from their financial mistakes. My parents provided the trampoline that I jumped off of when becoming an adult. I’d never be where I am today without that bounce.
My Friends and Family Put Up With Me
And it can’t be easy. I have the best group of friends and family I could ever ask for. There are so many wonderful people in my life I can’t begin to name them all. Many good times have been had. I’ll say this, if I ever need help – with anything – I know there are a number of people I can count on. You can’t put a value on that.
From a blogging perspective an extra big thank you to the friend that edits these posts pro bono to make sure they actually make sense… in English. Also a special thank you to those that have challenged or suggested improvements to my blog posts. I really appreciate your critical eyes.
I’m certainly not one of those people that loves their job and would do it for free. I doubt most people on the FI path are. Still, I’m thankful for my job, career and skills that allow me to earn a healthy income. Personal finance would be damn hard if I did not have it.
My Financial Education
I’m thankful that I stumbled into the “magic of compound interest” at such a young age.
For those that don’t know, the “magic” is how your investment returns earn their own returns. For example, if you invest $1K this year and it earns 10% annually, at the end of the year you will have $1.1K, a profit of $100. The next year, when that $1.1K earns 10% you will have $1.21K, a profit of $110. You see, the returns on your investment the first year drive even more returns the next… just like magic! Try this exercise for 45 years and see what your $1K becomes. OK, fine I’ll tell you. It’s $72,890! Crazy right?!?
Because of this concept, I knew the importance of investing early and often. I developed a workable investing strategy before ever earning a real paycheck! I’m on track to achieve FI at the age of 45 without ever having to make any sacrifices because I practiced an imperfect version of Winning Personal Finance from the age of 22.
Personal Finance Blogs
As I wrote in “Less Stress More Happiness,” being fired once and becoming a one-income family added more stress to my life then I realized. That stress led me to get serious about optimizing my finances and building as much of a safety net as possible. That goal led me to find: Retire by 40, Mr. Money Mustache and the Mad Fientist. These blogs clarified some personal finance ideas that were fuzzy in my head and, more importantly, drove me to document my goals. I now have a new view of the world after clearly defining and actively chasing my financial goals. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Personal Finance Blogging Community
The support that I’ve received from the personal finance blogging community has been incredible. A three line email from Pete at Do You even Blog gave me some focus and led me to connect with many other fantastic bloggers on Twitter and the Rockstar Finance forums. If this site ever becomes something, it will be because of this community. The ideas and inspiration I’ve received from working with these wonderful people has been amazing.
Lastly, I’m thankful for all of my readers. For a little while, I was writing only to my mom (hi mom) but eventually, my readership increased beyond the fingers on my hands. The purpose of this blog is to help each of you improve your finances in some way. While I talk about some personal experiences at times, this site is really about you. Many blogs tell the author’s story to entertain the audience. We are not really about that here. I may tell a story but the purpose is to help. I’m thankful for your readership, since I enjoy an extreme amount of satisfaction by helping you (at least trying to) help yourself. If there is ever a way I can be of more direct assistance, please use my contact page to be in touch. Making money for my employer (a corporation) is nice, but not nearly as fulfilling as improving someone’s life.
Before this, I’ve never written about my gratitude. I’ve found it really uplifting. I tend to spend most of my time focusing on fixing problems. Realizing how lucky and privileged I am while writing this was just amazing.
Enjoy your holiday.