Start here

I just turned 30 a few months ago, and my son (below) just turned 1 a few days ago. Both of these milestones made me reflect on my life and my family’s future. I decided to change the path we are taking and blog about it.


What is this blog about?

I’ll be writing about personal finance, financial independence / early retirement, minimalism (decluttering), family, and whatever else comes across my mind. I set a goal of achieving financial independence for our family by the time I am 40, or by 2025. This will be particularly challenging living in a higher cost-of-living area such as NoVA (northern Virginia), but I believe there is power in setting goals.

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” – Zig Ziglar

I’ve been learning so much from the websites, blogs, and podcasts I’ve been reading and listening to. Here is a small sampling:

  • Dave Ramsey – a Christian money guru who helps people become debt-free. He also has a podcast and great budgeting software / app called Every Dollar.
  • Mr. Money Mustache – Financial Freedom through Badassity is how he describes his site.  He was able to retire with his wife at age 30 on two normal salaries.
  • The Minimalists – I recently discovered these guys. They talk about living meaningful lives with less stuff and have a great podcast as well.

I hope that in this journey to financial independence, I will be able to increase the quality of my relationships with family and friends, grow in my Christian faith, and continue contributing and providing value in this world. I will be writing a good deal about money. Money isn’t the answer to all the problems, but it can definitely be used for good.

Love people, use things. The opposite never works. – The Minimalists

I currently work as a patent examiner full-time and as a realtor part-time. As much as I think that patent examining is a great fit for my skills and personality, I really can’t see myself doing it for the next 30 or 35 years, or even 20 years. I want to do other things with my life. I want my wife to be able to explore her passions freely and not have to worry about whether or not we will have enough to live. I want to be able to spend time with my son (and any future kids) and pursue other passions without having to worry about what’s going on at work.

The main idea with financial independence / early retirement is that if you can live a simple, sustainable lifestyle that involves less spending and more saving, you can achieve financial independence much earlier. Having and needing less stuff also speeds up the process considerably. Eventually, your assets generate more income than your expenses. I know. Easier said than done. Especially in NoVa.

Right now, we are debt-free except for the mortgage on our condo and have a little bit saved in our retirement accounts. We’ve been tracking our spending this month, and I’ve been continuing to sell things we don’t use anymore on craigslist,, and Amazon, throwing stuff away, donating other things, and giving stuff away. Through this journey, I hope we can learn to live a much fuller life with a lot less stuff.

That’s all for now. Ciao!







5 thoughts on “Start here

  1. Sounds like a good plan. I like the goal setting. So, what do you want to do when you retire? How much do you need to be happy? What is the problem with living a yolo lifestyle? We get packages from online shopping everyday. How does accumulating stuff affect your life? Thoughts? Interested to see how this goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, drivemanuellee.
      When I retire, I want to keep spending time learning and working on things that interest me. I want to be more available for my family and friends and others in need.
      I think people don’t really need much more than the bare necessities and good relationships to be happy, but we are so distracted by the trappings of this world that it’s easy to think we can’t be happy without those things.
      There’s nothing necessarily wrong with living the yolo lifestyle, but I’ll address this more in a future blog post.
      We get packages from online shopping quite often, too. I think the key is to really assess what things provide value to your home and what things don’t. I believe we need to declutter or remove the things that take up space to make room for the things that matter most.
      Thanks again for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post and goals here! I’m at a similar life stage but more than early retirement, financial independence is the goal. We all want the freedom to pursue (and fail) at other passions, interests and hobbies without the looming cloud of a mortgage/rent (fill in the blank) payment. I really hope you reach your goal. But even if you don’t, sounds like you’ll still learn a ton from the experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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