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A note from Carolyn
You guys, I’ve been wanting for a long time to begin sharing more aspects of our family’s life on Umami Girl. One area of major importance to us is personal finance and financial independence. It’s Cope’s most avid hobby, if you can believe that — and that was true loooong before websites like Bigger Pockets and Mr. Money Mustache made it cool. (Or “cool,” anyway. Shut up, okay? 🙂 )
Money is a touchy subject, and we’ve been so reticent about it on this site that I’ve begun to feel like we’re actively hiding something from you. When I wrote the post about working motherhood earlier this year, I was surprised how many people reached out to ask follow-up questions about how to make blogging work as a business. That was great, and I tried to answer every question I could. But the truth is that while the blog may hog the spotlight around here, it’s the least interesting part of our family’s financial independence conversation by far. (With any luck, that won’t always be the case, but that’s where we are right now.) Not only that, but when you’re talking to me about this stuff, you’re talking to the wrong family member.
So. I’m delighted to bring you a new, occasional column straight from the source, where Cope will share what’s worked for us and how we’ve thought about the journey for the past 20 years. In Cope’s words, here’s where we are right now:
Two caveats before we get rolling. First, we’re not financial advisors of any kind (other than the fact that Cope spends a LOT of time fielding questions on this subject these days. Alas, time does not a license make.). So we’ll be sharing our own story, not advising you. Second, we’ve been very privileged, and we know it. Ivy league degrees. White-shoe jobs. Pink faces. The works. And that’s a big part of why we’re here, no question. Still, Cope’s diligence, insight, and voracious appetite for financial knowledge has made all the difference. That’s the part we can share with you. So we thought we would.
Here we go.
Our financial independence journey
In the past few weeks a number of those closest to us have asked for a quiet moment to chat. It has been tax season so most of the discussions have concerned personal finance. Questions about savings, social security, Medicare, disability, end of life planning, gifts, college education, property, insurance, and of course taxes. The full gamut of personal finance meets life.
We spoke, we thought, we sympathized, we explained, we wondered, we researched, and always we did our best. The conversations left each one of us calm, and hopefully a little more clear or reassured. Calm always feels best when the topic is finances.
Over the years Umami Girl and I have taken our seats at our family’s big kids table, and increasingly we find ourselves answering more questions than we ask when it comes to personal finance. We’ve been fortunate and deliberate on our path to financial independence.
Frugality coupled with a penchant for just going for it has helped us time and again. Thoughtful family, successful friends, and persistent reading each has helped us. We have failed in a couple of instances but succeeded as a general rule.
Our financial independence journey is not over but has become less hard with time. And we are increasingly confident we know where it is leading. Could we retire early today and eat fish tacos for eternity? Yes. Will we? No. We still have a lot of work to do, people to help, and stuff to fix.
We aim to make a meaningful contribution while enjoying the fruits of our first world. And one of the things that we have found makes us happiest along the journey is to help others. We don’t have all the answers but we do have lots of energy to share what we have learned or faced for the benefit of those interested. Doing so has become one of the real rewards of the work we’ve done so far.
In the next while we’ll share with you some of what we’ve found helpful, hard, and dumb in our journey to financial independence. None of it will be fancy but hopefully some of you will find it useful.
Thanks for joining us.