We’ve Tasted FI and it is Sweet

Family Sunset at Anna Maria Island

Family Sunset at Anna Maria Island

The last two months have been strange, and far exceeded my expectations. As most readers know, I quit my day job in February. We were ready for the change, but the last 2 months have blown past my expectations. I was the bread winner for our family, so finances were a concern….of course. Could I get all the remodeling done on the house, in only 2 weeks? How would we feel without the structure of me having a day job? Additionally, how would everything work with our extended roadtrip? Well I can tell you that the last 2 months have been an unequivocal SUCCESS.

I am not really prone to writing posts where I brag, or get very excited. I try to never be too high, or too low really. I find it annoying when other writers do that, so I try to be considerate to the readers here! All that being said, I am going to rant a little today. I apologize in advance, but I have to share about how spectacular things have been. My hope is that a few readers will be motivated by reading this and thereby keep working toward building their dream life!

IMG_0649First, lets start with travel. I love to travel, and hopefully y’all aren’t tired of hearing about it by now. Right now we’re knocking around Kansas, visiting relatives. Next up is Missouri. I was thrilled to find out that I’ll be meeting up with one of my favorite blogger friends in Wisconsin. I’m also super excited to get together with several other investors at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. So far we’ve hit beaches on both coasts of Florida. Checked out some of the hill country of Texas, and spent a week in Denver (always one of my favorite places). There have been a few struggles on the trip, and I have a post next week which will discuss how we worked to overcome those, but by in large this is fantastic!

So money. Yeah, money is often a question when anyone makes big life moves and decisions. Guess what, we are in the process of showing ourselves that we are ok (read: sustainable) when it comes to money. Barring a health crisis, we could actually do this for the next several years and be no worse off for it. (In such a scenario I DEFINITELY need a travel trailer or RV though). Or, we can live in our current home and take 2 or 3 long trips per year. Either way, I am THRILLED! Our concern was that because I had a solid engineering job, we may have miscalculated and have struggled financially when I quit. My wife works 8-10 hours per week at our church. She loves her job, but it doesn’t bring in much income.

What we’ve found is that if I can write 3 hours per day, 6 days per week, we can earn more than enough to cover our current costs. When this income is augmented with our dividend income and blog income, we have a healthy cushion which more than covers our costs. Better yet, I can do this work from anywhere. That’s right, location independent FI…..while we are still young enough to enjoy the travel. Hang on someone is saying…..but you’re still working 18 hours per week under this scenario. Yes, but I am talking about 1) doing so from anywhere (with an internet connection) and 2) working on my own projects…..which I am passionate about.

What’s the problem with that?! For us, financial independence and early retirement aren’t about doing nothing. For us, they are about being able to do anything. Anytime, anywhere, indefinitely! Fully flexible to be where we want to be for as long as we want to be there. I am also not talking about enjoying today at the expense of the future. Nope, so long as we stay out of the principle in our investment accounts, we are free to pursue life as we see fit. That my friends, feels pretty darn good.

KS SunsetTo add additional financial cushion (or margin of safety if you will) to such a plan, I am also working to better monetize this site. Since announcing in January that I would quit my day job, and we would take some time off, the page views and unique visitors on our site have soared! Additionally, the rate of email subscriber growth is the fastest rate since starting this site…..and starting from a much higher base may I add! We have begun to add affiliate links, for products that are important to us, on the site. (Thanks to all the readers who use our Amazon affiliate link to make their Amazon purchases). We recently added a Blue Host affiliate banner (right side of this page), and wrote about why this blog exists. As the revenue from this site continues to grow, it will provide an even greater cushion to our monthly income. More income for living the life we’ve dreamed about….yeah, I’ll take that. Somewhere out in the peanut gallery, someone is saying…. “but you don’t have _____ millions of dollars, so you can’t be retired early or have reached financial independence!” The are correct that we have not hit the double coma milestone, and we’re ok with that. Cash flow is what matters, and I’d rather be living my dream life now……than slaving away at a job I hate in order to hit some “magical number”. We have enough, and that’s enough for us! :)

Not having a traditional job has also freed up time for me to do some of the things I really enjoy……. like reading, writing, and researching investments. I have read several outstanding books in the last 2 months, including Mohnish Pabrai’s Dhandho Investor (which I highly recommend). Our current trip has taken some of my time from these projects, but it’s worth the tradeoff for a few months.

100_1054An added benefit of this trip is we have been learning a ton about ourselves……and getting even more excited about the rest of our lives. I am just floored at the range of options and the flexibility, my family now has. Meeting so many of our fellow investors, and fellow bloggers, has also really helped inspire us. As an aside, has anyone ever notice how many engineers (and people with engineering degrees) achieve early retirement and financial independence? I’m sure there is an interesting university study sifting through that data. I have noticed that people often discover new things about themselves they step outside of their comfort zone. Who knows where we’ll end up? Let the journey continue…….

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think. Was this post too braggy and obnoxious? :)

43 thoughts on “We’ve Tasted FI and it is Sweet

  1. Graham

    Hi Bryan,
    This post is NOT too braggy or obnoxious at all. This is very inspiring!! It’s such a great read and I really enjoyed it. You said so many things that I bet are appreciated to investors/bloggers just starting out. It helps people like me envision this type of lifestyle and have something to work towards. And you’re so right. It’s not about some magical number, it’s about how you want to design your own life. You get to travel and work on your passions everyday which is amazing. Congrats!
    Graham recently posted…Dividend Payday Report 8: SUMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support Graham. It’s definitely not the type of post I typically write, but I’m glad it came off well. This has been a huge realization over the past week, and we feel the options are almost limitless. We are going to finish up the current trip without doing anything drastic, but it’s all very encouraging. I hope it comes off that way to others as well. I hope your Costa Rico jaunt pans out. I hear it’s pretty cool down there

      I hope you have a great week
      -Bryan

      Reply
  2. Blake

    Hi Bryan,

    Not baggy at all, I love to read success stories. As you mentioned, and is true for me, reading these types of stories keeps my urge alive to “keep up with the Joneses” (which in this case is positive).

    Congratulations on your success!

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thank you for the support Blake. I hope it does inspire/motivate a few others, and I’m glad the post didn’t come off as obnoxious.

      I hope you have a great week
      -Bryan

      Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support Tawcan. I have been writing for Seeking Alpha and doing a few individual projects also. In aggregate I’m very please with the results, and the possibilities.

      I hope you have a great week
      -Bryan

      Reply
  3. Brad

    Hi, Am happy for you and your life going forward. After reading many of your writings and learning much, I look to reading more….. Keep going forward……..

    Reply
  4. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

    Like Graham said…not braggy at all, just inspiring. Ah to have the sweet taste of FI =) The closest thing I can get to it is when we’re on vacation but they are always very short and a return to work is always on the mind. I often live vicariously through those who are living the FI life, hoping to get there one day.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Hack Your CommuteMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support Andrew. It looks like you guys are making good progress yourselves. You’ll get there, and I always enjoy posts about your journey :)

      I hope you have a great week
      -Bryan

      Reply
  5. amber tree

    Great definition for Financial Independence. Very much in line with what I have in mind.

    The blog post is not baggy at all. On the contrary, it teaches a lot to people that want FI with some side work.

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support AT. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Our goal is to follow our passions, not sit around doing nothing, and flexible side work is helping us get there. Glad the post came off well. I hope you have a great week.
      -Bryan

      Reply
  6. DivGuy

    Awesome post Bryan!
    When I read your article, I have the impression I’m reading something that will sound like my future very soon! I’m thrilled!
    18 hours of work per week sounds more like a hobby than a job 😉 hahaha! I agree with you, you can’t just stop working. Not for money, but for mental health! I can’t picture myself not working. However, there is a big difference in working for yourself doing what you love instead of waking up each morning to work for the Man.
    How do you plan your future having a young child? My goal is to never come back to my day job after my road trip and I’d love to travel across the world (I’m already looking at Asia and Australia in a few years), but I’m struggling with what to do with my 3 kids (their friends, education, etc). Have you thought about it yet?

    Cheers,
    Mike.
    DivGuy recently posted…20 Strong Dividend Growth Stocks – Rock Solid Ranking Free ReportMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support Mike. This is your future, very soon. 3 months, right?! The kids definately change things when it comes to extended travel. We will almost certainly live in one area, and take two or three long trips per year instead of continous travel. Honestly, I think Mrs. IS would prefer that approach anyway :) Congrats on getting close to your goal and your upcoming international trip.

      I hope your week goes well buddy
      -Bryan

      Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      It does Hunting, it really does. We’re getting a lot of together time….at times maybe too much. Haha, but it’s going great. I’ll be curious the changes that take place when we get home also. Woot

      I hope you have a great week
      -Bryan

      Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support James. Our end points will look different, but I look forward to you reaching your goals as well :) They are coming soon

      I hope you have a great week my man.
      -Bryan

      Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support Brian. You’re spot on that things can really fall into place when you take a chance. Stepping out of our comfort zone was the toughest part so far, and now I feel like our options are limitless……so long as we don’t do anything STUPID.

      I hope you have a great week buddy
      -Bryan

      Reply
  7. Mr. 1500

    Super motivating! I’m glad you’re enjoying life sans work! And these words are beautiful:

    “…financial independence and early retirement aren’t about doing nothing. For us, they are about being able to do anything.:

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support Mr 1500. It’s been fun swapping stories about our journeys. I’m just glad I’m not pinned down in that government job anymore, and I’m not looking back :)

      I hope you have a great week buddy. Catch you soon
      -Bryan

      Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support JC. We are basically at the point of sustainability, and it feels great. The next step will be shifting the rest of our income sources over to passive. We will gain more flexibility as our passive income climbs, but honestly this is pretty damn great. Next step is talking my wife into renting a house or cabin for a month, a couple times per year. Let’s see if she’ll go for it :)

      I hope you have a great week
      -Bryan

      Reply
  8. FI Fighter

    Great stuff buddy! Yeah, I totally hear you on that… There are so many ways to make money out there that we should really adapt ourselves to the New Age era… Being tied down to a fixed location in this day an age? Seems rather archaic to me… In fact, I’m really itching to go to Hong Kong soon so that I can explore a brand new city while I still blog and write about it.

    The sky’s the limit… Many of us are so much closer to FREEDOM than we realize… Like you said, most of us on this journey aren’t exactly lazy people to begin with, so even with hobbies and side hustles, we are bound to figure out ways to make some money. I’d rather do that to cover any shortfalls than to have to force myself to grind it out for a few more years.

    Life’s too short! I think you’ve got the right mindset, totally.

    Cheers!
    FI Fighter recently posted…FFF Podcast – Episode 6 – Justin (Root of Good); The Post-FI LifestyleMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Well said Fighter, and thanks for the support. I’m looking forward to your reports from Hong Kong. Adding a family to my mix makes it tough for us to travel in perpetuity, but two or three trips….a month long apiece…..we can do that. You mentioned this modern era, and I think we’re lucky to live in this day and age. The flexibility and access to information we currently have…..keep my mind excited and stimulated.

      I hope your week finishes out great buddy.
      -Bryan

      Reply
  9. vivianne

    Congrats! It sure is sweet. Yesterday, Mr. was telling me, even when he was suffering from the food poisoning in Mexico while we were vacationing, it was way better than being at work. He got sucked into work politic and running endless numbers.

    It is nice not having to worry about losing our jobs, we can walk away any time any day. FI is a great achievement. Don’t let any troll telling you otherwise.

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support Vivianne. I’m sorry to hear about the food poisoning, but it sounds like a apt comparison. I bet it feels good to know you can just walk away. The knowledge that we don’t have to take another job for money, and can instead do work we are passionate about…..is huge for us.

      I hope your week is going well :)
      -Bryan

      Reply
  10. Dividendsdownunder

    Hey Bryan,

    I enjoyed reading this post as it is exactly what we are aiming to achieve as well. Your journey (as well as everyone who has achieved FI away from a full time job) is extremely motivating to us. You’ve done it, we can see it’s possible :)

    Your point about engineering I bet has something to do with that with engineering you start with a plan/goal of what you want to achieve, you design it, use intelligent thinking to create it and you are paid lots for doing it. All useful elements of investing :)

    It’s extremely impressive what you have achieved for yourself and your family. What will Bryan do when he gets home?

    Tristan
    Dividendsdownunder recently posted…IVF Baby ProgressMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support Tristan. I hope our chat helped yesterday as well. Reach out if you have any other questions. Augmenting our investing income with a little paid writing gives us a healthy cash flow cushion….and a taste of FI. As for when we get home….well we have a few ideas, but you’ll have to wait and see.

      Have a great weekend buddy
      -Bryan

      Reply
      1. Dividendsdownunder

        Yeah it really did, I/we are still so new to the FI blogging community but it is an incredible feeling having people like you we can ask questions and have support from, makes us feel very supported and happy, so thanks for that :)

        Can’t wait to see what you do next. I hope you have a good weekend too!

        Tristan
        Dividendsdownunder recently posted…Dividend update: MarchMy Profile

        Reply
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  12. DivHut

    Awesome! Being excited about your travel and spending time with your family is not bragging. It’s OK to feel a certain way. You are human and I think it’s great that you are taking control of your life instead of life controlling you. As you said, “Who knows where we’ll end up?” How true for us all. Keep updating, taking photos and sharing your experiences.
    DivHut recently posted…April 2016 Stock ConsiderationsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support DH. I’m glad you have been enjoying the posts and stories. We have been so blessed, and I enjoy sharing those ideas with everyone…..in the hopes that our successes will inspire other folks. Our journey isn’t DONE, but we have reached the milestone where we have a ton of flexibility and no excuse for not living the life we’ve always dreamed of……

      I hope you have a great weekend!
      -Bryan

      Reply
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