I am a fan of Dave Ramsey; I am also a fan of Mr. Money Mustache and several other early retirement blogs. I find these people or “things” very inspiring. I love hearing stories of people pulling themselves up out of the trenches and breaking those horrific shackles of debt; I love learning all the “crazy” things they did in order to reach a goal. I love perusing early retirement blogs and reading about people living out the dreams most of us hope to achieve in our 60’s…only these people are able to live exactly as they desire in their 30’s or 40’s.
I listen to and read the stories of these varied and vastly different individuals and I wonder, “Could we actually do that?” After listening to Dave Ramsey’s radio show, reading books and reading blogs I have noticed most of the truly successful people, most of the people who reach, or are headed toward, financial independence at a fairly early age appear to fall into one of the following categories:
Very young, single, little to no debt when starting.
Young, single/married, no children, little to no debt, good income.
Young/sort of young, single/married, children/no children, a lot of debt, great income.
Young/sort of young, married, children, not much debt or a ton of debt, fantastic income.
These demographics are somewhat disheartening for someone like me: Youngish (30, some early retirees were entering or eyeing retirement by my age!), no investments or retirement accounts, married, three small children (the youngest being 11 weeks at the time this is posted), a ton of debt…over $97,000.00 and that is after paying off over $20,000.00…we rent our home, and have a below average income…far below considering we are a family of five.
We put ourselves in this position, no denying that, and with the exception of the massive medical debt, we had some fun getting here…at least we thought we were having fun buying cars we could not realistically afford, getting fat by eating out non-stop, and just frivolously blowing through every penny that came our way. There is also no denying this is a really really tough place to start. Obviously our journey is going to be longer and harder than the “average” person who has the ultimate goal of financial independence.
The question is this: “Is it really possible given our circumstance?”
I believe it could be, if we use the correct approach, the correct mindset and the correct spirit. We have to completely alter our lifestyle, for us, this cannot be a temporary sacrifice. Oh sure, there are some things that can be temporary such as working a second job or taking every hour of over-time available; but, as a whole we need to make some permanent changes. We need to apply prudence to every part of our lives…and since it is LIFE we are discussing, we need to practice prudence joyfully…this is going to be a journey…a long journey. I want to live an active, vibrant life and I believe this can be achieved while practicing frugality.
I believe in the possibility.