115 | Poverty, Divorce and FI by 43 | Bonnie Truax

Bonnie Truax, a blogger and early retiree, shares her story of growing up below the poverty line, scraping her way out of inherited debt, reaching financial independence without knowing what it was, and understanding how to talk about money with your spouse.

  • Bonnie grew up with family income that was technically half of the poverty level, but always debt free.
  • In a town of only 35 people, W2 jobs were hard to come by, so Bonnie worked any odd job that she could find – mowing lawns, decorating cakes, roofing.
  • What did Bonnie do with the income from her side hustles?
  • Bonnie got married shortly after college and inherited significant debt.
  • The first step to getting out of that debt, was learning spreadsheets and prioritizing which debt she would tackle first.
  • Bonnie was managing thousands of dollars of debt and got back to broke, even as her spouse was actively spending and maxing out credit cards.
  • What is Bonnie’s financial advice for people before they get married?
  • Financial literacy isn’t distributed evenly throughout the country – not everyone understands how to manage finances.
  • Not everyone is comfortable talking about money, even with their spouse. If Bonnie could do it again, she would start by talking about fears associated with money.
  • When Bonnie started over she was 30, earning about $25k.
  • Bonnie learned IT with her free time at a reporting job, eventually becoming the manager of an IT team.
  • Before she got remarried, Bonnie and Trin had become very close friends at work and had already talked about finances, so she was confident about their joint approach to money as a couple.
  • Trouble doesn’t have to be a disaster.
  • Getting out of debt on a low income is possible – you shouldn’t have to eat rice and beans your whole life, but if you’re getting out of debt, you might have to them for a while.
  • Bonnie and her husband automated their finances and didn’t give much attention them; they found a comfortable way to live regardless of their increasing incomes.
  • Bonnie didn’t plan to retire, but when work became toxic, their savings gave them the freedom to leave work.
  • Instead of just leaving money in their savings account, Bonnie and her husband began purchasing foreclosed home and renting them out.
  • Without a knowledge of the financial independence community, how did Bonnie determine that she and her husband were financially ready to leave their jobs to retire?
  • Bonnie and Trin are traveling the world for a few years before they decide where to retire abroad.
  • It’s never too late to make tomorrow better.
  • Anything that comes into Bonnie’s blog goes to support a safehouse in Ecuador.
  • Fear of missing out is just an excuse; you are always choosing what you miss out on.


Links mentioned in today's show:



“Financial Independence Without Ever Writing a Budget” – 43BlueDoors.com

Poverty, Divorce and FI by 43


Your Financial Resilience Toolkit

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9 thoughts on “115 | Poverty, Divorce and FI by 43 | Bonnie Truax”

  1. Wow this is really inspirational. She shows what toughness and tenacity can do. I like that she learned Excel on the job. Using any downtime at work – even a lunch break – to play with tools is a great way to expand a skill set. It comes down to initiative and drive.

    • Thank you, Dave! I have always loved the name of your blog and how you woke up one day in your 40’s to realize you were FI. It happens! Thank you for your kind words above.

  2. Damn, I admire this woman. Her life has been crafted from her own hands. I’m not religious but God blessed this woman with the tools to make it work. I’ve just had a heated exchange over two vacation days and then I stop to listen to this woman’s story. She’s crafted/crafting a life from scratch with the right focus and mindset. My issues are small compared to what she has already overcome. I have a better perspective on my own problems from listening to her story of trials and success. She is tenacious and inspires confidence for those of us who feel downtrodden. Gettin’ the t-shirt: Trouble doesn’t have to be a disaster!!

    • Jannette, Your comment brought tears to my eyes. I don’t often talk about my story, my hope was that it would give hope to others. Thank you for your encouragement.

  3. Very inspiring story. I am a Filipino-American as well thus I connected when you mentioned about your husband. Where is he from in PI? (Tranlation: Taga saan siya sa Pilipinas?). Now, me and my wife wanted to help fellow Filipinos and/or nurses thus we opened this website… https://nurseandmoney.com/

    • Thanks Mark! Funny thing is that a) yes, I was at Jonathan’s so it was a slightly better mic b) I was actually fighting a cold and my wife and one of my good buddies both told me, “wow, you didn’t sound like yourself at all!”
      You’ll hear the same great sound on this coming episode too 🙂

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