My interest in early retirement and financial independence has really grown over the last 2 years or so since my first child was born and I started to want to find a way to get more time with him and my wife. My interest in finances, however, is more of a lifelong ordeal. Growing up for me was a typical Midwestern experience in Kansas. I had everything I wanted and wanted to be a stockbroker by the time I was in middle school. I knew I was good at numbers well before that though. I moved to California about 4.5 years ago after about 9 years living in Kansas City. I graduated from Kansas State University with degrees in both finance and economics. I also completed my MBA (with a focus in finance and management) at Rockhurst University.
I have held various roles such as Revenue Audit Supervisor, Senior Accountant, Regional Finance Manager, Director of Finance, and most recently Chief Financial Officer. Those positions have been in manufacturing, casinos, commercial loan servicing, and healthcare. You might think those industries are completely unrelated, but sound financial management crosses all industries and business types. For example, one might think the theory of constraints is limited to a factory production line, but it can be applied to patient flow at a buys clinic or a project plan for a software implementation. Higher efficiency usually translates to higher profits. I think those broad types of experience have given me a different perspective than if I had stayed at one company for the last 15 years.
What is this blog about?
That is a tough question. This blog is a culmination of financial management topics and strategies to get the most out of your finances and put you in a position to evaluate your own early retirement goals. From credit scoring to budgeting to travel hacking, each theme culminates in the overarching strategy of financial independence. Some could say this blog isn’t focused enough, I say that’s exactly the point. I want people to see all of the ways I have tried to get my financial life in order, not just the savings to paycheck ratio.
My innate desire is to increase the financial acumen of the people I come across. I have a lot of ideas about personal finance (most of them good) that I have presented to friends and co-workers over the years in both formal and informal settings. I have always enjoyed teaching others and have helped hundreds of people through presentations or one-on-one reviews about credit scoring, budgeting, taxes, and retirement. The feedback I receive is always fantastic. It helps me add new topics to cover, teaches me new things through researching tough questions, and gives me a sense of fulfillment when I receive thank-you emails or updates that someone has made a positive change in their credit score and was able to buy a house.
I am not writing about a rags-to-riches experience or the best way to invest your money. I am writing about moving from retiring at the “normal” age to retiring at an age of YOUR choosing. There are so many ways to do that, I hope I can show people most of them. After that, it’s up to you to decide which ideas will make up your core retirement plans and which ones you will ignore because I am too far out there on some things.
Why should you continue reading?
That is not as tough of a question for me to answer. I have considerable experience as a finance type at work. I am currently a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) for a large non-profit primary care system in California. I have spent the better part of the last 15+ years trying to make my companies more money. That involves higher revenue, lower costs, higher efficiency, creating new revenue streams, etc. Those business tactics translate directly over to one’s personal life. For example, the individual equivalent to creating new revenue streams would be something like micro lending (prosper or lending club) or creating a side business.
The discipline required to retire early is similar to running an efficient business. You need to get rid of the non-value added activities or expenses and focus on the ones that have the greatest benefit.
More Than Just Early Retirement
I also like to discuss using credit card rewards to travel and other topics like solar energy and investment ideas. My solar experiment is nearing the one year mark and I couldn’t be happier with that investment. Collecting travel rewards has become a hobby for me that definitley compliments our budget and high savings rate because it reduces travel and vacation costs so much that it almost eliminates them!
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