Welcome. Mrs. Middle and myself started this blog hoping to illustrate for readers that reaching financial independence earlier than most can be achieved without resorting to “extreme” lifestyles; and in spite of a plethora of mistakes along the way. What’s “extreme”? That’s for each of us to decide for ourselves. What we’ve found works is consistent focus on what’s truly important. The path towards financial independence has been bumpy as hell for us. We took a lot of wrong turns, been knocked down a few times and did a lot of REALLY stupid things with our money. In the months and years ahead, we will share some of our experiences on our past, present and future path towards financial independence. By sharing our journey, we are hoping to hold ourselves accountable to our goals, but more importantly we’re hoping to help others learn from our wins and losses.
A little more about us
I met Mrs. Middle while we were both finishing our MBA degrees. I was an introverted nerd with an Accounting degree hoping to pass the CPA exam and live my dream of wearing a suit and crunching numbers for a living. She was super-outgoing with degrees in German and International Business interested in a career in Marketing. I guess it was inevitable we’d end up together??….
Little more than a year later, she married me (and my student loan debt, credit card debt, etc) and we started off on our journey. We made a lot of financial mistakes in those early years. (Not average stupid, stupid like: “Holy $%&@ who buys a thousand dollar vacuum from a door-to-door salesman…on credit,” stupid!!) However, we have learned a great deal from those mistakes. For the next 12 months, I had a recurring reminder that although a licensed CPA with multiple college degrees and theoretically financially literate, I was still perfectly capable of being a complete effing moron. There’s plenty of these examples in our rear-view mirror. You always think it wouldn’t be you, but at this very moment you’re probably thinking of something really dumb you’ve done with money too, right? If only someone had told you…. We’re hoping to tell you.
We’ve made a lot of progress since the $1,000 vacuum (which we still have even though we live in a an apartment with very little carpet), but we still lose our way from time to time. As we approach our 40’s, we’ve been lucky to be steadily employed in some pretty good jobs since we graduated from college over 15 years ago. Had we known early in our journey what we know now, we would have reached financial independence much sooner. But we didn’t know it. At 40 we are not “retired” but we are on the brink of financial independence. That almost certainly puts us in better shape than the average couple, but we’re still total schmucks in the personal finance blogging community.
What set our course towards early retirement?
A few years into my career I had discovered that I didn’t necessarily enjoy all the shenanigans that came with building a “successful career.” I started to wonder if there were other options. Consequently, I developed a pretty comprehensive excel spreadsheet that showed we could “retire” by age 50 (actually even earlier it seemed, but that couldn’t be right, could it?). Despite being really good at math, I didn’t trust it. It couldn’t be that easy, right? After all, everything you see and read says it’s nearly impossible to retire in time for social security at age 67, let alone decades earlier. I still hadn’t stumbled into the world of Personal Finance blogs and very little you read on mainstream websites at that time allowed for an “unconventional” path (although I looked almost daily). One day in bit of frustration, I literally typed “can I retire yet” into google. As luck would have it, www.caniretireyet.com is an actual website. Further, this guy was talking about the stuff I was thinking. Even better, it wasn’t just him saying it. He had links to amazing websites like www.mrmoneymustache.com and www.jlcollinsnh.com and more. That moment truly changed our lives….
We’re not going to try to repeat here what’s in those websites. There’s no way we could improve upon what those masters have accomplished. But we are hoping to look at some of those topics with a slightly different spin. We hope that you enjoy it and perhaps we can all learn something.
Mr. and Mrs. Middle
And one more thing…. Why the anonymous, “Mr. and Mrs. Middle”? Because we intend on being really honest on this site. I find that “generalized” numbers and details aren’t as helpful as the actual numbers when trying to convey a message. We’re actually pretty comfortable sharing our financial mistakes with our friends and family; however, we’re not comfortable sharing our successes. We don’t live like we have a whole bunch of money sitting in the bank so most of those around us have no idea – and right now we’d prefer to keep it that way.
Welcome to our site! Hope to see you in the comments.