Living A Better Life Interview – Rose Colored Water
In our brand new interview series, we are interviewing various individuals from across the web. This interview series focuses on how they are living a better life. They can be living a better life by pursuing financial independence, minimalism, simplicity, and many more aspects. Are you interested in being interviewed? Continue reading!
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If you want to be interviewed about how you are living a better life. Contact us at [email protected] and tell us why you’d be a great candidate!
Give us your best elevator speech!
I’m Liz and I blog over at Rose Colored Water. I am currently active duty Air Force attending nursing school in Florida. After I graduate and pass the NCLEX, I will commission as a Second Lieutenant.
I’ve been blogging for a little over four years, and if you go back far enough, you’ll see my struggles with money and career before enlisting in the military. Joining the Air Force changed my life in every way, and now I share my struggles and successes with paying back the debt and being active duty.
My goal is to inspire anyone who feels stuck in their life. Whether it be changing careers or becoming debt free, I want everyone to know there’s a way to make it happen.
How are you living a better life than you were last year? 5 years ago? 10?
I ponder this a lot because my life was completely different in 2013 and 2018 was a big year of change for me. I graduated college with my first Bachelor’s. I was working with an amazing company making a great salary with potential for huge growth. Unfortunately, I hated the job and chose to leave and try something different. That is when the struggles began. I found a job paying $10/hour and was barely getting by, plus I hated the new job more than the old one. I was living with my then-boyfriend (now ex-husband). We were broke and I was miserable.
Fast forward to today where I have a promising future with the Air Force, full benefits, and a great salary that will continue increasing. I didn’t make much financial progress due to bad marriage, but since my divorce in 2017, I’ve made huge gains.
What would you tell your younger self?
There are so many things I could say here. First, it would be to hold off on college and join the Air Force first. This would have kept me from a lot of unnecessary student loan debt and given me time to figure out what I wanted to do. I would tell myself to be confident in my decisions and that there really is no right or wrong path. Believe in what you can do and who you are and never settle for less. Do not be afraid of trying something just because there is a possibility for failure.
What made you want to change the way you were living?
I joined the Air Force because it felt like I had no other options for bettering my life. My ex-husband was continually losing jobs, and I knew it was up to me to provide a stable income. My thought process went like this: If I could get four years of decent pay, get us out of debt, and get the GI Bill, then I could go to nursing school afterward and always have job security. There was also the thought that maybe I would like being in the military and could make a career out of it.
Being in the Air Force and working with awesome people who saw my worth made me realize I actually had huge potential and could achieve amazing goals. I learned to have an abundance mindset and remove all the negatives from my life.
Many decisions I made in the past were based on how likely I was to succeed. They were always “safer” routes, and they all (surprisingly) ended in failure. It took a lot of thought and introspection to realize that choosing to take safer paths actually ended in failure more frequently than the riskier options.
Does financial independence play a role? If so, how?
Absolutely. I didn’t know the term “financial independence” until about a year ago, but I made the decision to pursue debt freedom back in 2014. At that time, my student loans were the only debt I had. When my ex-husband and I combined finances, the debt number doubled. At the time, I thought we were on the same financial page. It took years for me to realize that we did not have the same goals and I could never change his money personality. Debt freedom was not in my future if we stayed together.
That relationship forged a lot of my current financial values. It was my desire to be debt free that pushed me to enlist in the military, apply to a commissioning program, and ultimately, end my marriage.
I am still working on my debt, but after that, the sky is the limit. I am excited to use all that “newfound money” to save and invest aggressively for the future.
What advice do you have for others in living a better life?
You cannot be afraid to take risks. I believe the calculated risks will always lead to a better outcome than the traditional “safe” options. This has become my life philosophy after years of taking so-called “safe bets” – only to fail anyways. Not to sound cliché, but if you’re going to fail, you might as well fail big. Don’t settle for mediocrity in your job, relationship, or location. Whatever you’re not doing because of fear or what people will think about you, STOP.
What books/podcasts/blogs have you consumed that lead you to this point?
There are so many great resources out there, but blogs played the largest role for me. I’ll just list a few of each that I consumed to get me on this path. Whether anyone agrees with these picks or not, I think there is wisdom to be gained no matter how you choose to look at it.
Podcasts: I listened to every single episode of the Suze Orman show back in 2014 and it taught me so much about personal finance and investing. Nowadays, I listen to any podcast that features my favorite PF bloggers such as ChooseFI and the Simple Minded Millennial Podcast.
Blogs: My earliest blog reads were Making Sense of Cents; She Picks Up Pennies; Budget and the Beach, and Money Smart Guides. Now I follow a ton of PF bloggers, but here are just a few: Military Dollar (essential for military members), Ms. Fiology, Debt and Cupcakes, Saving Joyfully, and The Financial Diet. Of course, that list isn’t all-inclusive. There are just so many amazing bloggers out there right now. Not all are PF based though.
What’s one area in your life you still struggle with?
I struggle with buying unnecessary things, a.k.a – impulse purchases. I think this stems from depriving myself for so long while I was married so my ex-husband could have everything he wanted.
I am not great at telling myself NO. I am combatting this by trying to spend more intentionally. For example, if I want a new piece of clothing, I reframe my mindset and say, “Why do you want this? Will I wear it at least 100 times? If so, buy it.” I’m also working on finding a balance between paying off debt and giving myself things I truly desire – whether it be a new piece of furniture or going out to eat with friends. I don’t think depriving ourselves for long periods of time is healthy or effective.
If you had to give just 1 tip that you’ve learned along your journey, what would it be and why?
Take calculated risks. Set goals, make a plan of attack, and go for it. Most things in life can be achieved by simply performing the steps and continually moving forward. I didn’t really learn this until I joined the military, and I believe it to be very effective in getting exactly what you want.
Where can readers get in touch with you?
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