I’ve been wanting to start the blog I wish I’d discovered at the beginning of my financial independence research for a long time.
It’s not that I didn’t get a lot out of the stuff I was discovering. I was as inspired by The Shockingly Simple Math of Early Retirement as anyone else. I was also motivated by the idea that I didn’t have to have it all together all at once, and that I could instead shoot for the aggregation of marginal gains. But I kept digging deeper into the blogosphere because I was trying to find someone like me.
There’s a saying that educators use, that if you can see it you can be it. It usually refers to the importance of positive roles models for young kids, or the idea of exposing poor and working class kids to institutions of higher learning or the workplaces of people with exciting, meaningful careers. The premise behind it is pretty simple: if you don’t know an opportunity exists, you can’t shoot for it. And if you look around and don’t see anyone like you, you might not think you belong there, either.
I’m not a kid, but this is pretty much how I felt when I first landed in the Land of FI.
I grew up teetering on either side of the poverty line. My parents bounced checks to pay for food and coped with the trauma and shame of being poor with varying levels of addiction. I don’t think anyone in my family ever had a savings account and I’m pretty sure the only time anyone had “extra” money it was in the form of a tax return.
This kind of upbringing did a couple of things to me, financially speaking. First of all, it made me obsessed with financial security and totally panicked about every single dollar I spent, while not actually understanding what financial security looked like or how to achieve it. Basically I knew how to not spend money and how to worry about it all the time, but I didn’t know how to make it, where to put it, or how to think about it long term. To me, financial security just meant having money in the bank in case the shit hit the fan, and then living like I didn’t have a dollar to my name because when you’re poor the shit hits the fan all the time.
It was not a good long term plan and no joy was sparked.
Another thing growing up in poverty did for me was make me really passionate about understanding how people get so financially screwed, what the forces are that keep them there, and how they can get out. While there is a lot of discussion in the FI community about scarcity mindsets and abundance mindsets, I’m more focused on structural inequalities, the impacts of systemic poverty, and how to transcend these things so more people can be more secure, happier, and more in charge of their own lives.
So basically I’m trying to get from financial independence the things that capitalism takes away from most people, and then give it away.
What you can expect from this blog is a little bit of all of this. What’s worked for me, what might work for you, encouragement along the way, my musings on the world in general, and maybe a little bit about how we can keep our eyes on our collective well being while getting financially unfucked.