While there continue to be more women writing about personal finance, the mainstream narrative is still that it is mostly men pursuing financial independence. I have a group of more than 10,000 women actively talking about money together on Facebook though, so I know well that that isn’t the case.
In order to continue one of my main goals of this site – to lift up and amplify women’s money stories – I decided to ask the group if there were more women who wanted to share a bit about their lives and their money. This is one of those stories.
Nadia is a stay at home mom of three girls and blogger over at Speaking of Cents. She and her husband began their marriage with the typical consumerist lifestyle, but pivoted early on and are well on their way to financial independence, currently debt free, including their mortgage.
Hers is another in the series I am working on growing in this blog about women who are pursuing financial independence, have reached financial freedom, or are already retired. Some are bloggers, some are not, but all are inspiring ladies who are taking control of their finances and their lives. Here is Nadia’s story.
Financial Independence as a Single Income Family of Five
Financial Independence is a term more and more people are becoming aware of. Not too many people actually believe in it as they think that it is impossible to achieve in this age of consumerism. People relate their personal well-being with the material things. It is pretty natural as a young adult, but a right shift in your mindset can make you successful in attaining the financial independence and early retirement.
How did the journey to financial independence begin for us?
I have been a personal finance blogger for about a year, but I have been good at money management for many years now. My husband and I are both on the same page when it comes to money management. We had financial some ups and downs in the beginning years of our marriage, but we recovered from them pretty quickly and made sure that we didn’t repeat the mistakes and have been debt free from them on.
We both were working full time when we got married, and like the average American, we were not very worried about our finances as we had decent money from both incomes and did not have big debt. The day-to-day was never a problem and that made us a bit careless in early years of marriage.
We had a sudden reality check when I had my car totaled and I was in the market for a new vehicle right away. I had to have a decent car, and I never would have imagined that we had maxed out all of our credit cards and did not have anything to pay towards the down payment of a new car. The feeling of helplessness that I felt at that time still haunts me.
So we did what we needed to do.
I still remember how upset it made me going through all the numbers. We had used up all our resources on the “wants” and we had no funds available for something that I really “needed” at that time. After recovering from the shock, my husband and I sat down and devised a plan. We decided to pay off our debt as soon as possible and we did everything that we needed to do in order to achieve it.
We worked extra hours, cut down all the unnecessary activities, created a tight budget for food, and after eight grueling months, we paid off our $50,000 credit card debt.
We got hooked!
It is a funny term, but after becoming debt free, we got hooked to the concept of financial independence. There was no stopping after that. We then started a family and I decided to stay home after my first born. We have managed a household on a single income for more than twelve years now. We have three kids and our family of five is living very comfortably on a single income. It has been so long that everything feels like normal to me now.
Most of my friends and family wonder how we have managed our finances with our traveling and a single income. This is the biggest reason why I started blogging. I had a strong feeling that if I have been able to learn and implement these money management strategies, others can do it too.
My aim from my blog is to make people aware that living debt free is an option and with a little bit of upfront work and a lot of dedication, they can do it too.
FIRE was with us even before we knew it
The more I wrote, the more I understood the concept of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). I know FIRE is becoming a popular phenomenon and millennials are also getting behind this idea, but if I look back on the last ten years of my life, I feel like I have been working on it already.
We successfully paid off our first house in three years and have been living debt free for more than seven now. We have been traveling and enjoying life with our kids more often and this is all happening solely on my husband’s income.
How do we plan to achieve financial independence?
The plan for getting to FIRE is the same that we have been following for several years now:
• Living with minimal things
• Cooking and prepping food at home
• Opting for budget friendly vacations where we pay more attention to making memories and less to spending money
• Never buy anything unless it is on sale or any kind of discount on it
• Never shop without coupons/money saving apps
• Growing my blog into an online business
• Investing money in real estate
If life does not throw us a curve ball, all these things are doable, and I believe we can reach financial independence and retire at much faster pace.
Teaching our children about money
The bigger goal with this lifestyle is to make our kids understand how they can manage their lives better by adopting these smart money moves. As parents, we want our kids to be proud of how we are living and why we have adopted this lifestyle. They are too young to understand, but I am sure they are catching on to these tiny mindful things they see on daily basis and will take these lessons with them as they grow.