Doesn’t everyone pay attention to their money? Maybe, maybe not.
Aaron and I did the things everyone tells you to do. Get a good job, contribute to your 401k, save 10-20%, etc. Other than that, we didn’t focus on money.
I started my savings account the year after I graduated from college. Outside of enrolling in my company’s ESPP, the idea of stocks scared me. I didn’t want to take the time to learn about them because investing sounded complicated, and I surely didn’t want to spend hours and hours researching different stocks or potentially losing money, so I didn’t do anything. I just let it sit. Everything I saved for years just sat in my savings account, ESPP, and 401k.
I considered myself a pretty frugal person. I got into health and fitness a few years back, which put me on a path of at-home workouts and cooking meals at home. While those choices were initially for health reasons, I realized they also helped me financially (rather than paying for a gym membership and eating out regularly).
However, Aaron and I had our occasional moments where we’d drop money on expensive meals or happy hours, luxurious trips, and unnecessarily big shopping sprees (hello Lululemon and Nordstrom).
Overall, we were saving around 30-40% of our income each year.
But two books made us pay more attention to our money (shout out to my Dad for sending these to us as a Christmas present). I swear before reading those books, I refused to create a budget and track my expenses because I thought I already “saved enough.”
I thought finance books would bore me, but, wow, was I wrong! The Simple Path to Wealth caught me by surprise. As a twenty-something with no knowledge about personal finance, this book was the perfect place to start. The book is based on letters that the author, J.L. Collins, wrote to his daughter explaining money and investing. I love that it’s written in a way that was easy to read and comprehend.
Remember how I said I didn’t want to take the time to understand investing? Well, I got on board with Collins because he made it simple. This book was everything I needed to get a baseline knowledge of money and investing with actionable tips on what I could do immediately.
I binge-read this book in a day. ONE DAY. I was never big into reading, but this book and the story of this couple fascinated me. Playing with FIRE is the book that introduced me to the FIRE (financial independence retire early) movement.
If you don’t know, the FIRE movement is all about aggressively saving and investing so you can retire earlier (think of retiring in your 30s or 40s instead of 60s).
Playing with FIRE is about a successful couple that lived in San Diego who seemed to have it all… but they weren’t happy. This book takes you through the journey of how they drastically changed their lives to pursue a different path to happiness.
What a concept! Save more than society tells you to, so you can retire earlier than society tells you to. After reading these two books, I became obsessed with how we could save more, make more, and plan to retire early. Financial independence is all about having the option to work on what you love vs. working to pay your bills.
Follow along and stay tuned for our next blog about tips for saving money!