We’re All on the Same Journey

We're All on the Same JourneyThe journey to FIRE can be an arduous path.

Sometimes I struggle with the content I want to put on this blog.  It’s not due to a lack of ideas, but rather a matter of wondering if the reader can relate.

Some of you are just starting to get interested in the idea of financial independence.  Perhaps you’re saddled with debt, but know there’s got to be a way out.

Others of you are in your wealth-building stage of your life and you’re working on banking whatever you can.

And then there are some of you who have already reached retirement – whether it be early or not.

Finally, there is a group of you who have not only reached financial independence at an early age but also done so with overall impressive amounts of wealth on your side.  It might be a high net worth, a solid cash flow, or a combination of both.

Regardless of where you are in the journey, this leaves me with a broad audience to serve.  I try not to overthink it, but I do try to consider this in my posts.


A Good Example…

We're All on the Same Journey - A good example...
Wow, this guy looks super angry!

Earlier this year, I published one of my most popular posts, $1 Million Net Worth… Now What?.

It took me a lot of thinking before I wrote this to decide if it was the right thing to do.  I’m definitely proud of our achievement, but I didn’t want it to be taken as boasting.

Nevertheless, I’m glad that I published it and I got a lot of good comments.

However, I also received some pretty negative feedback, particularly from one reader who definitely didn’t enjoy what he read…

The humble braggarts are at it again.   First one step, then two, and before you know it, we should be multis.  Take part of your horde and travel the globe, and see what most people can expect and get from life.  Most will live and die and never seem a smidgen of that.  Stop being so greedy, and leave the casino!

This bugged me a lot – probably more than it should have.  I ended up not approving the comment (although, looking back, I wish I did).  Instead, I took the time to email the reader back personally on why I posted it.  I didn’t hear back and for all I know, he may not have even seen my reply.  However, I felt compelled to send it out nonetheless.

The point is that the post was misunderstood because the wrong audience read it in this case.  He’s likely not on the journey to FIRE and has no interest in the idea.  Because he doesn’t believe that he can make it happen, he likely never will.


The Inspiration

We're All on the Same Journey - The Inspiration
Find the bloggers who inspire you and let them inspire you to make the changes to become financially stronger.

I think the reason that the $1 million post continues to be so popular is that people want to know that this really is possible to do… and that’s exactly what I was after.

When I first started digging further into the idea of financial independence, I came across guys like Joe at Retire by 40, Sam at Financial Samurai, Mr. Tako at Mr. Tako Escapes, and Michael at Financially Alert.  These are young, normal guys that made me see that it was achievable.  It’s possible to get out of this rat race without needing to be old and gray first.

And what I like about these guys is that they weren’t afraid to show and talk about their finances.  Here’s what I did, here’s how I did it, and here’s how I’m doing today.

That is why I created my post and shared my numbers.  If I can help motivate just one person to see that it’s absolutely possible for an average Joe to optimize his or her life to get on the right path financially, then it’s well worth it.


The Envy

We're All on the Same Journey - The Envy
Don’t let envy take over your life – use it as motivation to be better, stronger, and faster!

Funny enough, those same guys who inspired me were also the ones I was envious of at the beginning.  I didn’t have much money at the time.  How could these regular guys make this happen?

Every excuse popped into my head…

  • They must have started with a lot more money.
  • The combined income of them and their spouses is probably double what we make.
  • They started saving and investing much earlier than I did.
  • They got lucky in their investments.

The list could go on and on.  But you know what?  That envy was also my push to motivation.

I spent hours upon hours learning everything I could about personal finance and the quest for FIRE (in fact, I still do).  And as I learned something, I’d make a little change here and a little change there.

Eventually, I started to see a little bump in our net worth… and then a little more and a little more.  And it seems as though the more I continue down the path, the easier it becomes.  In other words, it took some time, but then things start to snowball in a good way.

I still look at how these guys are doing and wonder if I’ll be in as comfortable financial shape as they are, but even if I don’t… I’m getting closer!


The Debt-Ridden

We're All on the Same Journey - The Debt-Ridden
Getting out of debt’s going to hurt more than a vice grip on your wallet!

Like a lot of folks, when I first got out of college, I was bogged down with a large amount of debt.  Unfortunately, a lot of mine was credit card debt… almost $30k!

It took some time but I found my way out of it.  And it wasn’t because someone bailed me out or any other easy path out.

It was because I buckled down and sucked it up.  I cut back tremendously on going out and spending money frivolously.  It was my bed and I had to lie in it.

It wasn’t a fun time, but it needed to happen.

If you’re willing to do the same, you’re in the right place.  It’s absolutely possible to dig yourself out.

However, if you’re not willing to face the pain and make it hurt, you’re in the wrong place.  And the bad news is that you’ll probably stay in that position for the rest of your life.


The Same Journey

We're All on the Same Journey - The same journey
Wherever that car’s driving off to looks pretty intriguing to me!

My point to all of this is that we’re all on different parts of the journey.

What I’ve realized though is that it doesn’t matter where you are on the path.  Whether you’re saddled with debt or you’ve already reached FIRE, the important thing is that we’re all on this same journey.  We all want to take control of our lives and have the freedom that financial control can give to chase after our dreams.

Hopefully, you’re reading this because you’re aiming to become better financially.  Where you’re at on the journey is irrelevant as long you’re focused on the destination and keep moving in the right direction.

I hope my content helps to motivate you along the way.  Good luck in all you’re after!


Where are you in your financial journey?


Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

You know you wanna share this!!

26 thoughts on “We’re All on the Same Journey”

  1. Very important point at the end. You must ultimately get control of your finances or your finances will run you. Where you are on that defines your view point. We’re in the middle to late portion of the financial journey. Some of what those starting out may still be new to me, but not all of it is relevant today..but we’ve all been there.

  2. “Where are you in your financial journey?”

    I’ve been FIREd since 2012 and I love it!

    Wow, that was a pretty harsh comment. What’s the saying – haters gotta hate.

    I had a couple of thoughts when I read that comment. First, it’s true most people in the world don’t have that kind of money and resources. That just makes me feel a sense of gratitude that I have what I have. Wealth means freedom to me and freedom is priceless.

    Second, you’re blogs getting popular enough to attract all kinds of people – even haters. Mr. Money Mustache used to lament about all the hateful comments he’d get when he was featured in the popular press. It’s a sign that your blog is progressing.

    1. Congrats on being FIRE for 5 years! That’s fantastic!

      Haters gonna hate alright! 🙂 The comment definitely bothered me when I read it, but I got over it and I’m sure it’s not going to be the last one I get either.

      — Jim

  3. Jim, amazing coincidence that both of us posted similar articles today. I used a hiking analogy (The Narrow Path To A Great Retirement), and stated that we’re all on the same trail, some are just further along than others.

    Amazing minds. BTW, don’t let the naysayers get under your skin. Be yourself, be true to your “voice”, and your audience will be what the audience will be. I suspect you’ll find many who are in a very similar stage as you, and they’ll stick with you through thick and thin. Great post today, keep up the good work!

  4. I think the biggest trouble I have is being content with where I am. I want to have FI much quicker, but learning to enjoy the journey and my place in it is my biggest problem as I move on this path.

    1. I’m so in the same boat, Jason! I was listening to the Mad Fientist being interviewed the other day and he said something interesting. He was getting himself depressed because he was focused too much on FI as well. He then said something interesting… he said he realized that it didn’t make sense to trade tomorrow’s happiness for today’s. And it makes sense, especially since we never know if we’ll make it to tomorrow. You and I (and probably tons of others) need to focus more on today and just let our plan do most of the work for us to get to FI.

      — Jim

  5. Great thoughts on how we are all working to reach the same destination! I feel like it’s often lost because people are so fixated on every last detail of the spreadsheet.

  6. On the same journey as you. Only 33 months left till FIRE. Still have a lot to learn, but I”m looking forward to experiencing more of life in the months ahead, and after I hit it.

    Sorry you had to have your parade rained on by somebody who didn’t understand. I don’t see it as a “humblebrag” – I take it as inspiration for myself and so many others. Just read your story and you can see how you can get there too!

    Mr. 39 months

  7. After all these years, it’s still hard not to let some comments bug me. Just know that most but her comments are a projection of oneself. And that should help. You can also create comment commentary typos like this one to fuel the content.

    Are used to be pretty cavalier in my writing, or irreverent as one CEO of a fintech company told me. But as an older guy now I think all my irreverence has gone away.

    Nothing is more important then your journey and your family.


  8. Thanks for the mention! I try not to let those comments bother me, but they still do sometime. I just delete them and move on with my day. If you’re busy, you’ll forget about it very soon.
    Also, I’m still envious of other FIRE bloggers. It seems like most of them are living more exciting lives that I do and they are doing better financially. We just have to recognize that we see the highlights. I’m sure they have some downs too. 🙂

  9. I have a different way of seeing finances, and don’t always agree with all the ‘gurus’. I do things my own way and just steadily try to increase my net worth and reach financial freedom.

    I can’t agree with you enough! Its different paths on the same journey. 1 million for me might not be 1 million for you, and thats ok!

    I think people tend to feel defensive when you don’t have he same point of view unfortunately.

    1. Nice job on staying the course and doing your thing! As long as you continue to learn the different points of view, you continue to learn and grow (and so does your portfolio!). At least that’s been the case for me so far.

      — Jim

  10. Thanks for the shout-out Jim!

    Just ignore the ugly comments, you’re doing pretty fantastic! There’s always going to be people who are bitter and hateful. It’s sad, but there are just some people that don’t understand.

    Whatever the reason, don’t lose any sleep over it! Keep counting your millions!

  11. Haters are going to hate! Keep up the good work, they are just jealous!

    People feel that they can write whatever they want behind the Internet. I wrote a post one time about buying a house in Vancouver (this was like in 2011) and there was a huge rant about me on Greaterfool.ca about the bubble going to burst and how I wasn’t very smart to buy, but I ended up profiting in the end (and would have profited even more had I kept it). It was pretty hurtful to read, but I guess it can be expected if you have a blog 🙂 It’s the name of the game, and I think one can develop a thicker skin as the years go on.

    1. Nice job on pulling through as the winner on the profitable house! I actually like when my readers have differences of opinions since it can lead to good discussion, but that one wasn’t like that at all. 🙂

      — Jim

  12. I’ve been surprised at which posts I write that resonate with people. My blog is so deeply personal and I’ve figured out that I should just write what I want to and folks will respond as they do. I’ve only had a couple nasty comments, but mainly folks are supportive. This makes sense as they’ve taken their precious time to read your blog. They could choose to do other things with their time. Hate reading just makes no sense.

    1. I see the same here, ZJ. It seems like we’re not that good at always knowing what our readers will enjoy.

      Yeah, haters or trollers are such as waste of time for the person doing it and everyone involved.

      — Jim

  13. Great post thanks, I was having similar thoughts just starting out my blog trying to think who I am writing for. Agree with your perspective, having cleared all debt I have some good learnings from there but actually achieving the end point seems a bit unknown. I am a 3rd of the way in now, having started late in life but aiming to be FI before official retirement. So for me it’s about having and working on a plan for retirement, be it early on time or late for that matter. It needs a goal, a plan and most likely lifestyle adjustments, same for everyone.

    1. Thanks, Alan, and congrats to you – it sounds like you’re moving along consistently whether or not you know the endpoint. You’ll notice that the further along you go, the easier the pieces start to fall into place. And nice job getting rid of all your debt – it’s so liberating to have that off your shoulders!

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