Welcome to I Dream of FIRE! I’m glad you’re here.
As Isaac Newton found, a body at rest stays at rest without the help of an outside force. That is as true in finance as it is physics. We tend to exhibit the same behavior we’ve settled into unless something gives us a reason to change. On the flip side, a body in motion stays in motion. Once that initial nudge gets us moving in the right direction, it becomes easier and easier to keep going.
I got my push toward the financial independence/retire early (FIRE) scene about three years ago (more on that later). What I’ve noticed is so many FI bloggers and early retirees were able to get started relatively early in life, often before they had kids or certainly when they had very young kids. Not me. I’m 37 and have been married for nearly 7 years. I have two older stepsons, one soon to be in his final year of college and another who just graduated high school, and a 5-year-old daughter headed to kindergarten next year. When I first learned about FIRE in mid-2014, my wife and I were paying for college for our oldest son, a car for our other son, and diapers and daycare for our daughter. Fun fact: Daycare and college tuition cost the same over a 12-month period.
Fun fact: Daycare and college tuition cost the same over a 12-month period.
We didn’t have outrageous debt, major spending problems, a lavish lifestyle or anything like that. But we weren’t maximizing the money we did have, which meant there was a lot of room for improvement. Plus, we have the major child expenses for all phases of parenthood. My path so far has been to really evaluate everything we were doing to optimize our investments, cut down on unnecessary expenses, and truly understand what we are doing with our money. I will write about how we plan for recurring, occasional and one-time expenses; what we’ve done to reduce normal expenses and spending; homeownership and DIY projects; saving money at home; investing; and whatever else the muse delivers.
I’ve considered starting this blog for years. Some of the post drafts I have were written in 2015 and so much has changed since then they’re almost a complete rewrite. Coming up with a website name is a lot like coming up with a band name. It seems really easy until you start throwing out ideas. Suddenly, everything you think of is either taken or ridiculous. But eventually some spark of inspiration flashes in your head, everything clicks and your identity is born. As soon as I Googled I Dream of FIRE, I saw just how perfect it was. Instead of a taken domain, I saw search results for how to interpret dreams about fire (you know, the burny stuff). One site says the Chinese believe “fire is closely related to luck and wealth in a dream,” or to leading a rich life. Another says: “To dream of something being on fire represents issues that you are consumed by. A strong passion or prolonged obsession.” Sold! (Quite literally, since I bought the domain name.)
My prolonged obsession with financial independence has been going strong since 2014, when it became abundantly clear that I wasn’t paying attention to my money and my future was going to suffer for it. That set me on a journey to learn how this retirement stuff really works and how I can set myself up for the best outcome. Every day, I listen to financial podcasts, read dozens of articles and books, and plot a future free of financial worry. I Dream of FIRE is one way I hope to “stay in motion” along the way. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you come again!