Welcome: What’s in a Name?
My wife and I have recently come to a conclusion that we need to drastically change our lifestyle. We are in our mid 30’s, have a one year old daughter, a great marriage, an active lifestyle, a supportive and loving family, awesome friends and a strong Christian faith. However, we feel smothered by standard 40 hour work weeks that dominate our lives, and we are tired of living for the next weekend or vacation while neglecting these things that are most important to us on a daily basis. We want to work less and live more! However, there are many unknowns in the equation that make this a daunting decision.
What do we want our futures to look like? Will one of us choose early retirement from our current professions entering our peak earning years? Will we both retire early? Or maybe both work part-time? Or maybe we could pursue seasonal or project based work allowing more flexibility?
The uncertainty and potential high costs of buying our own healthcare for the first time in our lives and the cost of it for the next 30 years are daunting. This is the single factor that we feel most has us bound to the 40 hour work week.
We’re also examining how much is enough to have saved/invested before we stop working or at least stop adding to our investments. When and under what circumstances should we begin to tap into our savings? Are we currently making good decisions to limit our tax burden, how can we improve in this area and how will this change when we change our work situations? Do we have adequate (or too much) insurance to protect us from potentially harmful occurrences? What is the cost of giving up the security of our current comfortable, but often unfulfilling, lifestyle for the opportunity to pursue what we believe will be something much greater?
Faced with answering these many questions and making large, life altering decisions, one could look many places for inspiration and guidance to get started. I found these things in a most unlikely place. At work, I was trying to entertain some kids who were in our office with a Highlights Magazine when I came across a riddle. Q: What is the best way to eat an elephant? A: One bite at a time. The kids were not entertained or amused at all, but I couldn’t get this thought out of my head. If we are going to change our lives we just need to start by taking one bite, answering one question, making one decision, taking one action at a time.
Our plan is to make this blog a part of our journey. We will share our experiences and the knowledge that we acquire in a thought provoking, honest and entertaining way. Our goal is for this blog to become a place for exchanging ideas for people who look to use their finances in unique ways to develop a better lifestyle than the standard “American Way” of working 40+ hours per week until you retire at 65 just to support a lifestyle of consumerism. So if you’ve read this far, we hope you’ll continue to join us on this journey as we eat this “financial elephant”, one bite at a time.