We reached financial independence in 2018 and I was able to leave my job at the end of that year.  The freedom to do what we choose ever since has been wonderful.

Our family of three moved to Panama in 2019 because, well, why not?!

Jim, Faith, and Lisa at PiPub...
Just snapping a quick selfie while at a restaurant overlooking the Caldera River in Boquete, Panama!

But I absolutely get the frustration of wanting out of the rat race.  I’ve been there.  And it’s good to know that it’s possible for the average Joe or Jane like us to be able to get out of the race and focus on your dreams instead.

Here’s our story…

Retiring early.  That’s the thought that would eat away at me all the time.  Not because I didn’t want to work anymore, but because I wanted the freedom to work on what I wanted, when I wanted, and from wherever I wanted.  Every day, I would wake up and think of one phrase…

“Time to make the donuts.”

If you don’t remember that commercial from the ’80s and ’90s, it was a phrase Fred the Baker would mumble to himself as he woke up every day as he got ready to go to work at Dunkin’ Donuts.  Every day, the same thing, day in and day out.  That’s how I felt when I would go to work… time to make the donuts.

If you’ve ever had that feeling, then you’ve come to the right place.  This site is here to document our journey on the path to financial freedom and the adventures we’ve been on since.  We reached financial independence and I left my job at the end of 2018.  I’m now technically retired though I’ll likely continue to do all sorts of different and fun projects that will inevitably bring in some income.

I’m here to discuss some of the different strategies and nuances of reaching financial independence.  I also like to throw in some fun and different posts as well.

Join me and learn how to take control and gain your financial independence!

I worked at a technology company where I started as an engineer just before the year 2000.  Somehow I have a knack for finding my way into middle management with almost every job I’ve worked and what I ended up doing from 2005 until the end of my career in 2018.

Although I love technology, I started not enjoying my job after a while.  But even worse, I hated having to go to work every day.

So, I needed to find a way out and financial independence was the best path for us.  There are several different strategies to take yourself on the route to financial freedom.  For us, that path was (and still is) a mix of a few items:

  • Strong savings / Retirement accounts – Between savings and investment accounts, we finally got to the point of being able to put away about 60% of what we made.  I made decent money, but I was far from a doctor or lawyer’s salary.  In other words, although a higher income is helpful, you can still do this on a modest income.
  • Not living an extravagant lifestyle – we take more vacations (cruises, Vegas, etc.) than a lot of people I know, but we base our trips on deals and aren’t spendthrifts on these trips.  It’s all about choice and focusing on what’s important and ignoring the rest.  We live pretty modestly and don’t throw money around on a lot of material crap.  No keeping up with the Joneses in this household!
  • Real Estate – We had a rental house that we sold, but we’ve hung onto a duplex we bought in 2015 that cash flows nicely.  I wish we had bought more properties when we were younger.  This is a fantastic way to grow your wealth and a nice hedge against the volatility of the stock market.

Time to Make the Donuts...Although I wanted to become financially independent for a long time, a big catalyst for my determination was having my daughter in 2010.  It killed me to have to go to work every day and not be able to spend as much time as I want with her.  When I reached FIRE (financial independence / retire early), my daughter was 8, so that means I’ll still get a few more years in before she becomes a teenager and start to despise both me and my wife!  😉

Even more exciting is that kids watch and learn from their parents.  Even when she was 7, my daughter was hoping to become an entrepreneur and be able to retire early if she can as well.  We don’t push her to do anything, but I do ensure that she understands some of the different options in life so she can make smarter decisions.

In the meantime, we decided to move to Panama in the summer of 2019.  We took a vacation there in 2017 and decided that the low cost of living could stretch our dollar a lot further.  So we sold everything we owned and came down with two suitcases each!

We’re giving it a shot for at least a year, but we may stay here forever.  It’s a little crazy, but it’s been an adventure so far and a wonderful experience for all of us.

So that’s my story.  If you’re wondering about the header being a picture of the ocean, that’s a photo taken from one of the cruises we went on.  Cruises are my favorite vacations and when I would look out at the ocean from the ship and see how beautiful it is, all I can think was…

Why am I wasting life sitting in an office chair at work?

So that part of the photo on the site was a reminder to me of what some might call the “end game” but what I would call the time to really start living.

As a final note, please know that the only money I make from this site is from the few ads you see and affiliate links for any products that might be discussed.  I will never take paid product endorsements – any affiliate links are for products that I use and enjoy or see the value in.

I would also recommend that you sign up to be on the mailing list.  You’ll receive an email once a week with any new articles that have been posted so you don’t miss out!

I’ll even send you a link with a couple of good tools for your financial independence toolbelt, like my bad @#$ recurring expenses spreadsheet template!  Sign up here and the rainbows and unicorns will start raining your way soon…

Thanks for your time and I hope you enjoy everything you see here!!!

— Jim