It’s hard to believe that this is the 100th post we’ve published here at Freedom 101. On one hand, it feels like we just started the blog yesterday, while on the other, it feels as though we’ve lived a lifetime in these last two years!
I guess having a new child, reaching Financial Freedom, retiring, and starting new ventures can have that effect.
One of my favourite all time quotes that author Gretch Rubin frequently references (particularly when it comes to the phase of life involving small children) is: “The days are long, but the years are short“.
That pretty much sums up how I feel about the last few years of our lives. (Especially since our “new child” is now firmly into his terrible two’s.)
And yet here we are, marking our 100th post, and just a few weeks away from the two year anniversary of the blog. Crazy.
As we approached this 100th post, I thought long and hard about what exactly I wanted to write about. What awesome financial principle I should delve into, or reflective insight I could offer. I felt like I should mark the occasion with a substantial post. Something particularly special.
But in truth, lately I’ve been feeling a bit disillusioned by the finance community. Maybe it’s just what’s been popping up in my social media feed, but the online shenanigans, posturing, mud slinging and privilege policing, leaves me with the oft feeling that far too many people are just plain missing the point.
To borrow a phrase from my Mom, people are so busy “shoulding” on one another, that they’ve forgotten the age old adage “don’t throw stones from a glass house“. Or the refreshed version, courtesy of Jordan Peterson, to “get your own house in order, before criticizing the world.”
Despite the fact that I run a blog, which is essentially an online soapbox, I do so with the implied, and occasionally outright stated understanding that there is no one size fits all answer. For finance or for any other topic in life. Everyone’s circumstances, skill sets, life experiences, comfort levels, and mindsets are different. There will always be an exception to the rule, and the correct answer for most situations boils down to what you, as an individual and unique person, want out of your life.
The idea behind this blog has, and always will be, to distill the knowledge, experience, and understanding we’ve acquired, through our own investments of time, in an effort to provide others with a more direct path to the most effective information. Allowing readers an opportunity to take what works for them, discard what doesn’t, and forge their own path to freedom – whatever that may look like.
So seeing others within the finance space consistently “should-ing” upon people, imposing their own belief systems and opinions on what is “right”, has become a tad……..tiresome.
On the flip side, I have absolutely loved writing about our experiences and the lessons gleaned from our path to Financial Freedom, and to provide encouragement and motivation to people in various stages of their own journey. It’s also been a lot of fun to meet and chat with some of the many talented people who are in the Finance community, from across the globe.
In fact, here’s a small sampling of the amazing authors I’ve come across in the past two years of blogging (authors who can always be counted on to provide useful, balanced, and introspective content):
Chrissy jumped into the blogging scene just over 6 months ago, and has been publishing amazing content right out of the gate. As a fellow Canadian blogger, she offers great insight into what it takes to reach FIRE in one of the highest cost of living cities in Canada, while simultaneously providing very applicable content for readers worldwide. Chrissy offers an incredibly balanced perspective when it comes to parenting, family, and leading a fulfilled life now while actively pursuing Financial Independence. She also recently launched a Canadian FIRE podcast, ExploreFI Canada, in which she and her co-hosts, Money Mechanic and Ryan from Canadian Fire (also favourites of mine!) delve into the unique demographic advantages and challenges to pursuing FIRE across our country.
(She also recently authored a guest post for us, which you can check out here.)
The FI garage is one of my go to podcasts. Hosted by the Money Mechanic, the Accountant and the Economist, not only is the dialogue between this trio light-hearted and entertaining, it’s also incredibly useful! And they don’t just podcast, their site is full of great blog content authored by all three creators.
Well worth the visit – AND, while you’re there, you can check out their interview with yours truly as well!
FP is a veteran on the FIRE blogging scene, and has a plethora of incredible content aimed at helping young families escape debt and pursue Financial Independence. A blogger who’s ability to provide a balanced perspective coupled with his views on prioritizing family, puts this blog firmly in top position on my reading list every Monday morning.
I love this blog. Quite simply put, Michelle is an artist. Both with her music, and her written content. I always walk away from her articles feeling inspired and enlightened. She puts a strong emphasis on understanding the psychological undercurrent of our financial habits, which is a topic I can’t get enough of. Michelle also has an extremely balanced perspective when it comes to pursuing Financial Independence, as well as prioritizing family and community (hmmm….I see there’s a theme building here in my blog preferences!).
So, while I definitely want to continue to take in the great and positive experiences this blog provides, along with the downright amazing people that can be found in the finance community, I also want to maintain a healthy distance from some of the more negative aspects.
I also want to bring Freedom 101 into alignment with what Mike and I are focussing on now.
While these things may take us to the outer fringes of personal finance, it’s the right time to start writing about more of the things we are actively learning and engaged in, as opposed to stuff we’ve done in the past. To write more about our post-Financial Freedom discoveries, and talk about Freedom as a whole.
As much as Mike and I spent considerable time focussing on getting our finances to a stage where we had choice and freedom, there’s certainly a lot more to finding freedom than just having the money in place.
Now that Financial Freedom is under our belts, we have the opportunity to assess things strictly from an ROI of value perspective. What is bringing joy into our lives, and how can we maximize that? Along with the flip side of actively questioning what detracts from that goal, and how can we minimize those things as best as possible?
Right now, that’s where we have been devoting our time and energy. Researching, studying, experimenting, assessing, and tweaking every single aspect of our lives in an effort to optimize our freedom to its fullest, while maximizing our financial potential.
Essentially we’ve applied a zero-based budgeting approach to our post-FF life.
Rather than assuming what was in place prior to retirement was ideal, we are throwing everything out the window and rebuilding our routines, habits, and hobbies from scratch. Evaluating each piece of our lives on its current merit, rather than assuming that what once brought us value in our pre-retired life continues to do so.
In adopting this approach, we’ve discovered some pretty unique strategies, implemented some great habits, and trialled some pretty big duds.
While parenting/family time remains our current priority, this in depth examination of every facet of our lives in tandem with examining what’s out there that we COULD be adding to it, has sparked a desire to take the optimization of our Freedom to an all new level, AND to identify some pretty exciting new financial ventures.
Our experiences thus far have inspired me to make a one year commitment to this process of evaluating every aspect of our lives through a critical lens. To comb through the scientific, and philosophical literature and resources out there, and apply them directly to our core values of health, wellness, family time, helping others, and adventure.
(In fact – as this post publishes, I’ll be sitting poolside at a chateau in France, exploring the Bordeaux region with Mike, my kids, and about 15 of his extended family. Cheer’s to some serious family time and adventure!)
As I mentioned earlier, this blog has always been about distilling valuable information, both from experience and research, into a quick and accessible format for readers. So, each week, for the next year, I’ll boil down everything I’ve learned from these various trials and financial ventures into the most salient and effective points (and for those that want to delve a little deeper into any given topic, I’ll be including the most relevant, accessible, information packed resources that I’ve come across).
I’ll be writing about habits, practices, and idea’s that will not only help me solidify my own discoveries, but help fuel your journey to Financial Freedom, and Freedom as a whole.
So if you’ve been with us from the start, thank you so much for following along on for the past two years! All you loyal readers keep me motivated and inspired to continue writing!
If you are just recently joining our little community, we are so excited to have you. Drop us an e-mail or leave a comment to introduce yourself (I always answer). Let us know where you are at on your path to Financial Freedom, and feel free to give suggestions for a topic you think we should explore over the next year.
To all, welcome to my 52 week journey into Finding Freedom. Optimizing is what I do best – so this should be a whole lot of fun.