Today is January 1st, 2016 and while many people are making New Year’s resolutions, my wife and I are “officially” launching our family project to get us to financial independence in five years. While the timeline is really aggressive, if we stick to our plan we should be able to pull it off. I think we have overcome one of the biggest obstacles already which is simply rejecting the status quo of working to survive until 65. As I wrote in my last post, we made a lot of moves that helped position us for this project in 2015, but now in 2016 we are fully engaged in thinking about the life we want to live and actually doing something about it. Grasping the concepts of financial independence has been a monumental shift in our way of thinking and acting and we are excited to share our path with everyone reading this website.
One of my goals is to share our monthly and yearly progress on our project which means being fairly open about our finances. I will be honest that the idea of putting our numbers out for the world to see is a scary proposition, but I think it is helpful to look at our situation in something other than an abstract form. I also think that the general secretive nature of salaries and benefits is what leads to many unfair discrepancies in compensation. I am a perfect example of this in my current job. I work for a private university which keeps everyone’s salaries a secret. In my own department there is a wide range of salaries that has nothing to do with seniority, rank, or even competence. Only because I did a little research and discussion was I able to discover that several of the members of our department that have been at the university 10-15 years longer than I have get paid about 35% less than I do. Of course some of this is due to a strong negotiation I had with my employer three years ago, but the truth is while most of them realize there are differences, they have no idea about the huge discrepancies among their colleagues. This is not an anomaly in most private sector jobs, but I think that the general secretive nature of salaries, and a reluctance to be open with others reduces awareness for many. The counter to this argument, from an individual perspective, is that by opening up these numbers to anyone in the world we take on some additional risk, but I expect that risk to be minimal. Ironically while we are posting all this information online, it is not something we openly share with our family and friends, at least not yet.
As we start this project, we are not starting from zero, or trying to dig out of a huge mountain of debt. Most of this is due to some smart choices early in our lives, and work we did prior to thinking in terms of financial independence or officially starting this project. In the coming weeks I hope to provide not only the “numbers” that illustrate our official starting place on this project, but the context of how we arrived at our current position, including the choices we have made along the way. So as we get underway I hope you enjoy sharing our journey with us to Financial Independence.