ChooseFI Logo

Habits for Wealth Building | Rich and Regular | EP 298




Martin and Ayesha with Julien and Kiersten

What You’ll Get Out Of Today’s Show

  • We are checking back in with our Households of FI family, Martin and Ayesha, who have been paired with mentors, Julien and Kiersten of Rich and Regular.
  • Kiersten and Julien live in Atlanta and started working toward FIRE before they married five to six years ago and have paid off $200,o00 in debt, including their mortgage. They now share their journey on their blog rich & REGULAR.
  • Ayesha and Martin live in Chicago and found ChooseFI in January 2020 and jumped in with both feet. Martin is a natural saver and had been a positive financial influence on Ayesha before finding FI so they had done a decent job managing their money.
  • Martin was researching dividend investing after it was recommended by Ayesha’s uncle who retired at 55. Ayesha felt like her aunt and uncle had the most fabulous retirement life she’d ever seen. Thanks to his example over the last 25 years, their goal is to get to where he is.
  • Julien had a similar retirement role model in his life. A close family friend was a Registered Nurse who retried early and showed him that there is a lot of life left after 40.
  • Since finding FI, and partly thanks to Covid, Martin and Ayesha’s savings rate has increased. It has made them aware of all the frivolous, non-essential ways they spent money before.
  • Ayesha hates budgets and doesn’t want to track every penny of her spending. She was out of work for four months during Covid and they found that they didn’t miss her income and it showed them that they could save a good amount of money without feeling constrained or deprived.
  • Having a quantifiable goal and a clear target has helped provide clarity in what they are trying to accomplish.
  • Martin enjoys trying to optimize their spending and counting the dollars they save. When they decided to get a new television, he used Offer Up to do his research and purchased a flat-screen plasma HDTV for $40.
  • Julien used to track every single expense and look for new savings opportunities each quarter. But now, optimizing their spending has become such a deeply ingrained habit that he no longer feels the need to look at their budget. He says it becomes like muscle memory once you sort out your own system.
  • Ayesha feels like when you can simplify your life and have good habits, your life can smoothly and asked what Julien and Kiersten’s top habits are.
  • Kiersten says doing laundry regularly keeps them from having a ton of extra clothes. She and their son have a capsule wardrobe with 20-30 pieces of matching items. She also keeps the kitchen sink clear of dishes to cut down on kitchen accessories.
  • Julien says they have just the right amount of things they need and notes that there is stress associated with the quantity and clutter in our lives.
  • Having too many things adds to decision anxiety and analysis paralysis. Instead, whether it is life or a financial strategy, find a handful of things you can nail every single time and ignore everything else.
  • Julien also says that he has never made an investment in himself that hasn’t paid off handsomely, no matter if it is exercise equipment, a book, or a course. Don’t allow frugality to prevent you from paying to learn new learning opportunities. New skills can improve your ability to earn more income or make you more marketable.
  • Kiersten likes to save receipts. if the item she purchased sits for several days, she didn’t need it and will return it. She also purges the house of items regularly.
  • As far as community goes, Ayesha and Martin are doing okay. In addition to family, they have a group of friends who meet to share ideas on investing and becoming financially free. However, they aren’t as familiar with the concept of FI so Ayesha feels like they don’t have a like-minded community
  • Julien notes that, especially for black people, the pursuit of financial independence can be a very lonely experience. Telling people about FI doesn’t work. You have to show them, like when you get to the point where you can take a two-week vacation or a month off from work.
  • Kiersten and Julien suggest focusing on influencing the next generation. They use their freedom to step up and help out and pick up the slack with their friends’ children.
  • When it comes to building community, stay open-minded. It takes time to find your best friends and others whose values closely align with yours, but you don’t need to divorce yourself from your social circle.
  • Like their budget, Julien doesn’t check his investment portfolio very often because they won’t be touching that money for 10-20 years. His attention is better spent on building the business and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They make decisions on where to invest income every quarter.
  • You can see the crash coming on other people’s lives despite the advice you may have given. Still, Julien says to leave the gate open and don’t be judgemental. You may not have been the right messenger for that message.
  • Before starting rich and REGULAR, Julien was working for a company he loved but was underpaid. When his company paid an influencer $10,000 for posting a photo on Instagram, it motivated him to start earning income in other ways.
  • Since they already had rental real estate, he was confident he could earn more outside of work. He was eventual led into the world of digital entrepreneurship.
  • When Kiersten was finally comfortable enough to leave her job, they were not yet at FI, but a year’s worth of runway that enabled her to quit and devote that time to building the blog.
  • The FI community often talks about what number is needed to hit FI, but that number is arbitrary. A single dip in the stock market can impact the number. Julien and Kiersten ask if you were counting on drawing down that money, what would you do for money now?
  • Most people only earn income one way, through earned income. They don’t know enjoy the quality of that income over any other.
  • Kiersten and Julien attend FI meetups in Atlanta and other places and encourage Martin and Ayesha to do the same when they are able.
  • Julien had challenges at the beginning of his journey. He grew up poor and was judgemental about his beliefs on spending. He found virtue in saving and said hurtful things to Kiersten because he felt she was spoiled. He’s since learned leading with shame creates barriers.
  • Whether a natural saver or a natural spender, everybody is spending. Spending today can be rewarding and motivating.
  • Kiersten was also judgemental in a different way. She thought she knew how her life was going to be and was closed-minded. She struggled with seeing a different version of herself. She had to be open and let go of her ideas of what certain aspects of her life would look like.
  • If they came into a windfall of money and weren’t allowed to invest in themselves or their business, they would invest the money in low-cost index funds and then let it grow and forget about it.
  • Discipline equals freedom. When you set up a framework for life by setting up non-negotiable things, it allows you the freedom to spend time doing the things you’d rather be doing.
  • Brad agreed with Julien’s sentiment about investing in yourself and that the spirit of frugality can get in the way of that. Watch out for it.
  • The local groups are the heartbeat of the FI community. They aren’t made up of podcasters and bloggers. They are regular people who are getting together and trying to live better lives.

Resources Mentioned In Today’s Conversation

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.
More To Explore
woman tracking personal finance in notebook
Personal Finance
076R | Race or Journey

Brad and Jonathan brainstorm ways to implement local adventure into their own lives and the lives of the ChooseFI community, chat about high school reunions

Read More »
You Might Be Interested in...
Something New at ChooseFI harnessed the power of AI to provide in-depth transcripts for all ChooseFI podcast episodes. Each section of the transcript is clickable so you can listen to the podcast at exactly the point you’re looking for

Other episodes
Share This Post