Retire Early…For You | EP 278

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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. Disclosures.

Amy Blacklock

What You’ll Get Out Of Today’s Show

  • Don’t fall for the misconception that financial independence is just for 20 and 30-year-olds. It is for everyone at any age and it’s not too late to get started.
  • Amy had a wake-up call in her early 40s. With a meager net worth, through flexibility and adaptability, she reclaimed decades of her life.
  • Amy describes herself as a trier of many things. She used to wonder how other people do it. How do other people drive new SUVs, live in a large home, dine out, and save for their kids’ education and their own retirement? She says most people don’t do it all.
  • You have to select for yourself what’s important and save wisely to spend on it.
  • Previously, Amy was trying to keep up with everybody else, thinking that she needed it all to be happy. She was buying all the stuff but wasn’t saving for the future.
  • She heard something on the radio one day about needing to save a million dollars for retirement and thought it didn’t seem possible to get there. She and her husband were in their 40s and she knew something had to change.
  • Amy began looking at what other people were doing but what she didn’t know if that everybody was just like her, trying to keep up and not saving for the future.
  • She had grown up with a single mom who had a lower-middle-class income. She always wanted more because she felt like she was always lacking. When she got a job and was earning money, she worked hard and thought she deserved all those things everyone else had.
  • She had fallen into the trap of thinking money equals happiness and once in, it was hard to get out of that trap. While she had a mortgage and car loans, she didn’t have much other debt. However, she was spending almost everything coming in and her net worth wasn’t moving forward much.
  • After a divorce a the age of 43, Amy’s net worth was approximately $150,000. The desire to get out of a job she hated and start her own business lead her to examine her spending.
  • She began researching methods and ideas for saving money where she found Mr. Money Mustache and many other personal finance blogs and websites.
  • Though Amy realized she and her new husband were older, she thought that they could make significant changes and create the financial space they needed to retire early for them.
  • Trying to keep up with everybody else wasn’t getting them anywhere, but she might be able to learn and try to keep up with the people saving money and retiring early even if they were far younger.
  • Originally, they had been thinking they would don’t retire until 67, so retiring in 10 years in their 50s sounded much better.
  • Trying to convince her husband to get on board with the changes that needed to be made meant that his habits had to change. They had to reframe their thinking. Amy says the Dave Ramsey quote sums it up, “Live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later.
  • They realized that despite chasing happiness by going out to dinner and buying things wasn’t actually making them happy. Cutting back didn’t feel like deprivation because they weren’t things that weren’t meaningful or lighting them up.
  • Amy and her husband reevaluated where their money was being spent. She thinks making communication a foundation of their marriage was essential. It was hard to talk about what they wanted their lives to look like 10 and 20 years down the road and how they were living five years ago wasn’t going to get them there.
  • Using the 25 times expenses rule, Amy guessed they would need a million dollars to retire and targeted 2024 for retirement.
  • To do it, they cut expenses, got rid of their newer vehicles, and refinanced to a 15-year mortgage. To increase their incomes, they both changed jobs twice.
  • With all of the changes they made and a phenomenal stock market, they have been able to cut their timeline to financial independence down. They considered themselves FI in 2019, just six years from when they started.
  • Amy was able to increase her income during those six years by finally completing her degree after going to school part-time while also working. It gave her the confidence to try and find a better paying position.
  • Because she was a hard-worker and stayed in touch with people on LinkedIn, she was approached about a new position. She then negotiated significant salary increases.
  • To prepare for salary negotiations, Amy used Glassdoor and LinkedIn premium to see what other positions were paying.
  • Amy says you have to believe it’s possible never too late to start. You have to be flexible, willing to embrace fear and go for it. Give up the ego and be willing to learn, even from a 25-year-old. Stop worrying about what other people think.
  • Stuff isn’t going to make you happy, but having your family safe and secure and being able to retire will. The changes Amy made were sacrifices, they were changes that gave her options later.
  • If you’re in your 40s and you’ve never questioned drift, there’s probably 30% you can cut without missing it.
  • Initially, Amy and her husband cut too far, but then they added some things back in. Now they mindfully choose when to go out and enjoy craft beer or eating out.
  • Amy says happiness ebbs and flows. Her happiest moments are with her grandkids. She works a lot on her passion projects which brings her a lot of joy.
  • Her blog, LifeZemplified.com shares a little about her story, what she is doing, and how important it is for others to take action.
  • WomenWhoMoney.com was started as a safe space for women to learn about personal finance from a female perspective, though 40% of their audience is now male.
  • The content on Women Who Money was leveled for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advances personal finance knowledge with over 400 articles.

Resources Mentioned In Today’s Conversation

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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. Disclosures.
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