Welcome Readers to Owen Your Future.
I'll get into a lot of depth on personal finance and other investing and money topics soon but I wanted to start off the blog with a first post that’s a little lighter…
I wanted to share with you all a brief story about our journey into frugality and early retirement.
First let's start at the beginning:
How We Met
While both mine and Allison's stories go further back, The "Owens" as you will come to know them got their start in 2015.
I met Allison through a coworker at my 9-5 (more like a 5-5). I had only been in Bakersfield for about a year and I hadn't made a lot of friends with the opposite sex (weird I know right, I'm just an introverted math nerd/engineer… what's not to love!?) Anyway, Jenny (coworker) had some friends that wanted to come to the company Christmas party, and I didn't have a date, so putting 1 and 1 together I got set up for the holiday party… with a girl named Belle…
Belle was Allison's best friend. They had interned together the prior year with Jenny at Allison's current company and they were all friends. We each got to take a date to the Christmas party and I took Belle and Jenny took Allison.
The night started off that everyone came over to my house prior to the party and introductions were made and we had a drink before heading off to the party to help lubricate some awkwardness inherent in blind dates. Luckily a few of my friends and their dates were there as well to help spread around the conversation. I chatted with Belle and tried to make some small talk while I quickly made my way through my first Blue Moon. Luckily Allison was there and she really pulled me into the conversation even though it wasn't about anything in particular "Where are you from" "How do you like your work" "What do you do"… all that good stuff that everyone knows all too well.
We snagged an Uber to the party and we all rode together. When it came time to sit at our table me and Allison had been deeply engrossed in a discussion about travel and we picked two chairs next to each other… I'm pretty sure the date swap was official at that point… So long Belle! (it was mutual, no feelings were hurt in this swapping of dates) We continued to hit it off all night and I left the next day for Christmas vacation with the Family.
We texted and Snapchatted for a couple weeks while we were both traveling and when I got back I made her mine immediately. I invited her out to sushi for our official first date. We were so excited to see each other we couldn't even wait until the scheduled date on Friday, We ended up cooking dinner in at Allison's place on Thursday night. We made it a date weekend. That would be the story of our relationship, Soon we were spending almost every day together, after work and on the weekends. I had one set of stuff at my own house and one at hers. I saw her roommates as much as I saw my own.
The Lightbulb Moment
Sometime around year 1 she either discovered Mr. Money Mustache or at least mentioned him to me for the first time. I was hooked. I had been contemplating early retirement from the start of my career (age 23) and was looking at retiring around age 50 or so. I remember distinctly discussing it with my financial planner at the time, and the words he used to attempt to break the reality, "you'll need to be extremely lucky". (For an awesome interactive intro to early retirement check out Adam's post on Minafi)
Meanwhile here is MMM retired at 30?!?! And off a regular job, no trust fund, no inheritance, no Nigerian prince money…. What the heck was my "financial planner" doing that I couldn't do the same? I'm fairly confident that I read every post on his website in the first couple months and just drank from the proverbial fire hose. I decided to shift the goal… Screw 50! We bumped it up to 35, which lasted for probably 6 months and then got bumped up to 32… which got bumped up to 30…
I'm turning 28 in a few months and Allison just turned 27.
We kicked up the savings, cut the useless shit we used to spend all our money on ( it's an ongoing process to be honest). I started investing in real estate, fired that awful financial planner, and studied everything I could on investing and personal finance, business and everything else I could get my hands on. I felt like I had really found my calling and I beat myself up for a long time about why I hadn't found this information earlier! What had I been doing with my life!?
I probably never learned about it because I was your typical broke college student. Googling "early retirement" is the last thing on your mind when your bank account is measured in hundreds. So I can't really hold it against myself as I was doing what I knew to do at the time.
Where we Are Now
I'll post some of our financials and some of our bigger money saving, money investing, and money losing deals on this blog. We really got down to business at the beginning of 2016 so I have some good records from there on. What I was doing before that is less clear but I'll include whatever I can dig up. It's amazing the leaps and bounds we have made in just a couple years.
The first stage for us was cutting major expenses, We shacked up and cut our rent down, sold an expensive car, started cooking in and staying away from the bars, started travel hacking to save some cash without impacting our priorities too much. And it made a big difference, It moved the needle on our savings rate and you could see it in the bank account.
At this point, ~6 months into our frugality, we quickly found that if we were going to retire in ~5-6 years after starting work we were going to need more. We couldn't just save our way there, we needed to increase our income. We launched down the path of finding ways to supplement our income. I started studying real estate investing and business, Alli launched an online business and I started this blog as well as a food product business. I'm sure longer posts will follow detailing our experiences there.
It's been quite the adventure so far and I look forward to sharing all of the ups and downs, challenges and victories, we have had with all of you!
Thanks so much for stopping by, If there is anything else you'd like to know about me and Alli let me know below in the comments!