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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” – Poverty, Divorce and FI by 43  
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