A Friendly Fi Family Introduction
Hi there! We’re the Fi Family. Fi is short for Financial Independence. It’s a stupid long name, but we have to write anonymously because of all the juicy details we give away. We’re a couple who calls Big Sky Country home. We set out on a path towards financial independence, or as its better known, early retirement in 2013. We both love to travel, having been to 13 countries between the two of us. When our roots are firmly planted at home, we enjoy hanging out with our dog Russell, going for walks, riding bikes and binge watching Netflix on those 30 day free trials.
A Bit O’ Background
Mrs. Fi and I have known each other since 2006 (she initially didn’t like me! Thought I was stuck up. Turns out, I’m just shy…) and have been together since 2008. We both graduated from the same college, in the same year. I graduated debt free, thanks to my parents planning and being white/middle class/male certainly helped. The wife had less than $3000 in student loans. Mrs. Fi studied abroad in Spain and has been to France, England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, and Portugal. We both studied abroad in Costa Rica for a semester, and visited Panama too. Most recently we went to the Netherlands and Belgium. They were all great experiences and is a big reason we want to retire early–we want to see more of the world!
We now both work in the financial industry, my wife for a very large and well-known company, and I for a company 1/30th the size of hers. Neither of us holds a degree in finance. Go figure. We got married in 2012, moved into a tiny apartment, then bought our first home in 2013, and brought home our tiny Russell the same year. So while these are all good things, January of 2014 was a big aha moment for me and eventually for Mrs. Fi. You see, I stumbled upon something that would alter how we believed life goes: school, work, retire.
Change in our Thinking
I had told Mrs. Fi for some time that I wanted to invest our savings. I knew that our money sitting in a low-interest bearing savings account wasn’t the answer so I started going down a deep Googling Rabbit Hole on investing and that’s when it happened. I found a website called Brave New Life. This guy was nearing the end of his journey toward early retirement. It was entrancing. He uprooted his life, invested like crazy, and cut his expenses way back. And then he did it: he retired at the ripe old age of 36.
The wheels were turning. From his site, I found Mr. Money Mustache and then the math started telling me “this is really possible.” The optimism, the radical nature of it all really appealed to me. Add in the logic, the health benefits, the squashing of consumerism and it was hook, line, sinker. I started running our own numbers and I realized we could be retired by 2025. At the ripe old age of 36. Granted, it would be work. We weren’t exactly living below our means. We were doing better than most, but financing a car, a wedding ring, etc. was a natural thing for us to do. So I knew it would take time for us to change our habits, our goals, and our past spending mistakes. And patience is not exactly my top virtue. It felt like I could do it all at once, but I realized it takes time.
In April of ’14, we embarked on chronicling our 11 year journey to financial independence. Fi Under the Big Sky was born, a tribute to our home state of Montana and well, financial independence. Clevah. 6 months in, and we’re loving the connections we’ve made in the FIRE community. It’s a blast reading about others’ journey, and being able to share knowledge and experiences has been invaluable to getting this journey off on the right foot.
Where We Go From Here
There is no one way to retire early, it’s a fluid state of circumstance: earnings, how willing you are to save, where you live, etc. for us, 2025 is the target.
Will we get there? I believe we will, but it’s no surefire thing. But I see no downside in the pursuit to curtail spending, invest, ride a bike instead of driving, or learn new job skills (check out Treehouse!) we are prepared for financial disaster, and more importantly, better prepared to leave the 9 to 5 and do what we want, when we want, where we want. This is a long journey, and we hope this blog continues to evolve into something special, or at the very least a blog about what not to do when trying to retire early. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or suggestions of things you’d like us to write about. We love this stuff and the nerdier, the better.
Looking to Start Your Own Journey?
If you’re new to the concepts of early retirement and financial independence, start with your own research. There are thousands of resources out there. If you want to see how we do what we do, check out Betterment and the Early Retiree or State of Our Investments. I also break down our expenses regularly, which you can check out our Spending Page. If you want to know more about the why for us, check out where we started and where we want to end up. Thanks for reading and sharing with us! We’d love to find out more about you all too! Shoot us an email or leave a comment below anytime. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.