Living A Better Life Interview – A Purple Life
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!
Want to be interviewed?
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!
Hi! I’m a 29 year old Seattleite who is striving to invest enough money to retire in 2020 at age 30. I want to retire so I can eat, read, write, and watch films without the ever present stress and mental drain that comes from full-time work.
After I retire, my partner and I are planning to move every 3 months around the globe for the foreseeable future. I’m told we’re a bit of a unique pair because we’re never getting married, having kids or aiming for a traditional lifestyle. We’re weirdos to the core (which I guess my purple hair can attest to).
I started this journey 4 years ago and originally calculated that it would take 10 years to reach my goal. Instead of accepting that I buckled down. We moved from Manhattan to Seattle to cut our cost of living almost in half. I got new jobs and almost doubled my salary. This cut my time to retirement almost in half. I’m almost in the home stretch!
How are you living a better life than you were last year? 5 years ago? 10?
10 years ago I was in college. The Great Recession had just hit and everyone was panicking. The future didn’t look too bright. So I started networking to get a job years before we graduated. I spoke to every alum I could to try and figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
As a result of all that networking and job analysis I got a job and started the day after my graduation while many of my peers said they had no prospects. I felt incredibly lucky. I moved to Manhattan and for the first time in my life was making enough to support myself even with the crazy high cost of living.
Since then my life has improved greatly: I have a clear path I want to follow in life, I have a plan and it’s mostly on autopilot. Each year I reflect on what I’ve accomplished and the question “Was this my best year so far?” As of now, each year the answer has been yes. I have deeper relationships than ever before, I’ve seen more of the world than I even anticipated at this age and I know my purpose. I couldn’t ask for anything more at this point.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self “Don’t worry. Everything will work out. Feel free to work hard, but don’t take life too seriously.” These are basically the words my Mom has repeated to me since I was young enough to understand her. She’s an incredibly inspirational woman that I strive to emulate. Whenever something came up – financially or otherwise – she’d always say “I’ll figure it out” and she always did.
I would say that’s my main battle in life: taking it too seriously. Despite knowing that I have a large cushion to sustain me financially and have great experience finding another job (I’ve had 6 jobs in 7 years), I’m still trying to be perfect and beating myself up mentally when I’m not despite knowing perfection is an impossible expectation. It’s a constant battle. I’m still working on putting less pressure on myself.
What made you want to change the way you were living?
I decided to change my life after realizing I had done everything everyone told me to do and I was still unhappy. I bought the bags, went to fancy dinners and purchased pricey first class plane tickets. I had a job that was less frantic that gave me time to think and a fantastic boss. My partner had been mentioning early retirement to me, but I had dismissed it because I told myself I just need to find the RIGHT job, but I had found it. It checked every box I had written a year prior. And I still didn’t want to do it for another 40 years.
So one day I decided to look into what my partner had been saying. Like many others, Mr. Money Mustache was the first blog I read and it was like getting hit in the head with a sledgehammer. My Mom had retired at 55 and my grandparents had retired at 50. That was always my default trajectory: retiring in my 50s. My Mom didn’t even start investing in stocks until she was 40. I had plenty of time! But reading about how someone could retire at 30 blew my MIND! It all seemed so simple. I didn’t have to wait to live the life I want filled with uninterrupted time with loved ones and spontaneous travel. I could do it much, much sooner.
Does financial independence play a role? If so, how?
Absolutely. Reaching financial independence is what will allow me to retire early and pursue the life of my dreams. I’ve always be a proponent of emergency funds. I actually quit my first full-time job with nothing lined up and only $5,000 in the bank because it was such a toxic environment that it was affecting my health.
I had enough to know I could last a few months in Manhattan and hustled to find something else. The first Monday I was free from that job I had a job offer. It worked out. I’ve used the same concept to be completely fine being laid off the 3 times it’s happened to me (it’s really common in the marketing/advertising industry). I wasn’t worried while my colleagues seemed terrified. I was inching towards financial independence. Full financial independence I imagine will provide even greater security.
A lot of personal finance bloggers mention that they enjoy their work a lot more after hitting FI because they know they don’t NEED the money. Instead of being scared of being fired they speak up for themselves and their colleagues, they challenge management if they’re making bad decisions and they feel empowered to actually enact change. That’s the kind of freedom I’m striving for.
What advice do you have for others in living a better life?
Be honest with yourself. Examine what makes you happy and work towards it – no matter what that is. When I decided to pursue early retirement I took a hard look at everything I was spending money on. Did that restaurant meal feel worth $100? Could I make the same dish at home for a quarter of the cost with a lot more friends there to enjoy it? Did I need to purchase that first class ticket for Thanksgiving? Was it worth it? A lot of the time the answer was no. These things didn’t make me happier. So I eliminated them from my life and try to be as intentional as I can about how I spend my money and my time (my most precious resource).
What books/podcasts/blogs have you consumed that lead you to this point?
Your Money And Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez was huge. Shifting my mindset to realize that every dollar I spent was actually trading the time it took me to earn it was life changing. Thinking of every purchase as an exchange of life energy really kicked me in the pants and helped me examine what I was doing with my money…and my life.
Other books that have been fundamental to my journey are:
Blogs that have driven and inspired me include:
What’s one area in your life you still struggle with?
Partitioning my life and shutting off my brain. I have heard that some people can leave their work ‘at work’ and not think about it when they get home. I’m not sure if it’s the nature of client service marketing (we’re ‘always on’) or if it’s just me, but I can’t shut my brain off. I was laying in bed this morning at 6am telling myself to go back to sleep and instead my brain decided to start drafting the emails I needed to send and think about 5 possible scenarios of how one of my calls might go and think of mitigation strategies for each outcome.
This might be part of why I’m good at my job, but it’s also exhausting. I feel like I don’t have a real life outside of work since I’m always thinking about it. I’ve been working to combat this by turning my work email off on weekends and at night when I’m not expecting anything urgent to come through. I’ve been setting the expectation that I won’t be responding at that time and setting those boundaries has been helping. Now that I’m close to retirement I feel more comfortable setting boundaries with my colleagues and clients. Now to get my brain onboard.
If you had to give just 1 tip that you’ve learned along your journey, what would it be and why?
Be intentional with your life. I fell into this trap myself: I did what I was told to do. Get good grades, get into a good school, get a good job. I never questioned it. I never thought there was another path. There is always another path. Do not be afraid to question the status quo and deeply think about the life you want to lead and if your current path will take you there. If not, make a new path. Be honest with yourself and intentional with your time so you don’t look up when you’re 67 and wonder where your life went.
Where can readers get in touch with you?
Check out other interviews here!
Follow Our Journey At
We use Personal Capital to track our net worth. We simply connect our assets and it tracks everything for us! Our net worth, cash flow, budget, investment fees, retirement planner, and more are tracked through this site. It’s completely free too! Sign up for free and receive $20 when you open an account!