A log of our journey towards Financial Independence

Hi there! As a young couple, we moved to the US from the Caribbean to pursue our professional careers after graduating from college with engineering backgrounds. We enjoy travel, fitness, cooking, and of course personal finance! We started our journey towards Financial Independence in 2019 and created Dear Money Diary to document that journey.

“This is fine”

Like thousands of other recent graduates, I was spat out after 5 years of college into the vast, dark sea of adulthood. I had just started at a full-time job and had ZERO clue as to how to manage a 401K or just adulting in general, mostly the money part. Even though I spent 5 years earning a bachelor’s degree, there were no courses on how to manage a retirement investment portfolio, submit taxes, or invest in the stock market. Maybe I chose the wrong extracurricular courses. I should’ve signed up for “Personal Finance for Dummies-101”. That would’ve served me better than Physical Chemistry.

Like every other 20 something year old, I sat there trying to figure out which retirement plan to select. Should I opt-in or out of benefits? I decided to just start selecting anything that said “recommended” or set to default. Once I got to the 401K part it defaulted to a fund of some sort. “Hmmm… 2060 Target Date Retirement Fund, this is fine”. “Click”.

My knowledge of retirement savings was nonexistent, which led me to want to learn more about personal finance. Then, like a true millennial, I turned to podcasts.

Hooked on Financial Independence

I learned about financial independence while listening to a financial podcast during yet, another commute from work. It was first introduced as the financial independence retire early movement, or FIRE for short. The sheer fact of having those four words together piqued my interest. I could be financially independent and retire early? Honestly, it sounded too good to be true, but I kept listening. As the podcast guest continued to explain and lay down how it worked I felt as if I’ve just found a gem. Why had I never heard about this?

 I was immediately hooked with Financial Independence. It was life-changing to learn how implementing some simple changes could help retire years -if not decades- ahead of our peers. We could reclaim years that would otherwise be spent working. Never would I have imagined that two words would have such an impact on my life.

In simple terms, being Financially Independent means that you have enough money saved up to cover your annual expenses and therefore no longer need to work. Generally, you hit FI status when you have saved 25X your annual expenses. A world of possibilities opens up when you no longer have to trade your time for money. Do you want to go save the polar bears, slow travel around the world or maybe just focus on finding what your hobbies and passions are? Go Ahead! Achieving Financial Independence doesn’t only get you out of the rat race. It provides an opportunity for us to do what we truly want to do with our time.

Why a Blog?

A better question is, why not?

I’ve always believed in the power of putting thoughts to paper, and what better way to hold ourselves accountable than documenting our progress and struggles online. We will be sharing what actions we’ve been taking as we’ve embarked on the journey to achieve financial independence. Some of the topics include:

I’m not and don’t claim to be an expert on any of the topics above. However, I hope that by documenting and sharing our wins and our mistakes, we’ll all learn together.

The value of the journey

When planning to achieve Financial Independence you will probably start keeping an eye on your cashflow. While you are revising your budget, cutting expenses, and tracking your money you start to learn what brings value to your life. Learning what brings us joy is just as important as having our financial life in check.

Financial Independence is not about depriving ourselves and amassing money just to see our net worth rise. Instead, it teaches us how to use money as a tool that will free up our time to discover and follow our passions. At the end of the day, whatever amount of years we reclaim will go to waste if we don’t learn what drives us.

Thanks for reading! We hope that you’ll join us for the journey, that’s the most exciting part anyway! Sign up for our Newsletter if you’d like to get a monthly email with a list of our posts delivered to your inbox.

How did you discover the financial independence movement? Is there any content that helped you out when first embarking on your FI journey? Let us know in the comments below! See you all in the next post!

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