On Death and FIRE

FIRE doesn’t matter if you don’t have your health. FIRE doesn’t matter if you can’t be there for your loved ones. 

I started this blog partially because it sounded fun, partially because it had potential to make money (ha!). Now I use this blog more as a way to focus my own thoughts and feelings. And when you have ADHD, sometimes you have a lot more feelings than you care to admit.

In December a close family member died, in their 30s, and I still cannot believe it. They had a number of health issues, but none that my family thought could end their life, at least not in their 30s. We were wrong. I spent three months away from home, with family, helping out as I could, including going through their computer and helping their surviving spouse with childcare and organizing finances.

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Is Work Optional Anything New? (+Giveaway!)

Disclaimer: I received a free, advance copy of Work Optional for review purposes and personally know the author, Tanja Hester. I am not being paid to write this review, but as an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a commission if you click on any Amazon links and make a purchase. 50% of any profit on this blog goes directly to charity, either Givewell or charities voted on by readers.

I’ve read a lot of Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) content. Multiple late night reading binges, knowing full well I’ll regret my choices in the morning, and I follow a dozen plus blogs regularly. Your Money or Your Life was on my reading list shortly after opening my 401k, and I’ve even written my very own FIRE blog for over three years. Plus, Fergus and I are even officially financially independent right now.

So, does Work Optional offer anything new that someone can’t glean from dozens of blog posts?

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My Cents Positive Letter to My Future Self

Still time to enter the giveaway for a signed, hardcover copy of Dollars & Sense! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post by midnight tomorrow, Thursday, November 8th.

Cents Positive is a women’s financial independence retreat, where those on the path to financial independence (or already there) can connect. I was lucky enough to attend the inaugural retreat in Denver this past weekend, including the blogger day.

The best way I can quickly give you an idea of how it went is to show you what I wrote for the final exercise. Tanja was very insistent on making sure we all wrote a letter to our future selves on the last day. While I slacked and waited until the plane ride home, it was a critical exercise. And now I’m sharing with you (as it’s the only way I will not lose the letter)!

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My Two Major Financial Industry Experience Design Takeaways (& Giveaway!)

Last week I had the opportunity to cover Mad*Pow‘s Financial Experience Design (FXD) conference in Boston, a place where design leaders serving banks, insurance providers, educational nonprofits, and investment companies come together to talk about how to optimize experiences for their customers. For a play-by-play, check out #FXD2018 and my thread on Twitter.

Stick around to the end of the article for directions on how to enter to win a signed copy of Jeff Kreisler‘s Dollars and Sense.

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Why I’m Not Buying a Ticket to FinCon19 (& FinCon18 Recap)

Apologies for not linking out to all the amazing people and friends I saw at FinCon18! My internet is very dodgy currently, making my usual habit of 20+ tabs for hyperlinking purposes untenable. Know that I’m thinking of you. ❤

At the end of FinCon17, I immediately bought my ticket for FinCon18. Meeting so many of my internet friends at the same time, in one place, was amazing.

At FinCon18, it was much the same, plus a ton of those friends got Plutus Awards this year (or were finalists)!

So why no FinCon19?

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5 Ways Losing 50 Pounds and Saving $1M Was Exactly the Same

2018 is proving to be an eventful year for the Fetching Freedom Family. Three weddings of close friends and family and we are on track to be officially financially independent in mere months, you guys, a full year ahead of our original schedule and before my 29th birthday, even after putting a year’s salary into our newly minted Donor-Advised Fund.

Not to mention I will be a speaker at FinCon (affiliate link for tickets, though they have community passes too), attending the inaugural Cents Positive retreat (sold out, but sign up for their list serv for details on the scholarships), taking an eight week sabbatical (including three weeks in and around the beautiful Acadia National Park in Maine), and I’m on track to lose over 50 pounds this year (bringing me down 67 from my highest weight over the last two years)!

Unlike frugality and personal finance, healthy habits do not come naturally to me. Losing weight with diet and exercise always sounded reductionist and didn’t seem to apply to me. Vegetables were my friends, after all, and red meat was never part of my diet; if I already ate my greens, how could I possibly lose weight? Plus running is just awful. I’d rather have some extra weight than have to go for a run every day. I don’t eat any different from my friends, and they’re not overweight. It’s obviously just the way I am, right? (Spoiler Alert: wrong!)

It took unknowingly gaining 30 pounds in a year (and, okay, the Secret Eaters TV series if I’m being honest) to really get me to make a conscious change, and in the journey I’ve realized there are an insane number of parallels to personal finance and the journey to financial independence.

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Reframing My Early Retirement Fears

Draw a circle,” the leader instructed.

She had an aura of someone who would embrace the label of “the cool aunt” and would totally have your back if Uncle Ed had anything to say about your unladylike unshaven legs at the Thanksgiving table, even if she herself always followed gender norms.

With a ruffle of paper and faint smell of Sharpie, we did as we were told.

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Personal Finance Rules Are For Dicks

Today’s post is part of the Women Rock Money movement, with a massive 42 contributors at last count alone. Yes, that’s right, 42+ kickass women dropping knowledge today. While I haven’t been able to read the others at the time of this writing, as all the posts went live today at 6AM EST, but the snippets and titles alone make me question if I’ll be able to get any of my 9-5 work done tomorrow. 

Disclaimer: Links to Amazon and Personal Capital are affiliate links.

You know who’s used to hearing often-conflicting advice about what they should and should not do in life? Women. We’re taught being fat is a crime punishable by spinsterhood, yet it’s somehow also our vain faults that eating disorders are on the rise. We’re supposed to lean in and be assertive at work, but only if we aren’t bitches about it. It’s exhausting and futile to try to satisfy all of society’s expectations. In a word, it’s bullshit.

In honor of International Women’s Day, I’m calling bullshit on one more thing, because personal finance rules are for dicks.

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Does Dollars and Sense Grow Cents?

Disclaimer: Links to Amazon are affiliate links 

Dan Ariely has a knack for helping us understand ourselves as humans and delivering science in an approachable way. Probably best known for Predictably Irrational, a well-named tome about how humans behave irrationally (but in a predictable way), Ariely is a professor of psychology and behavioral economics. Basically, him writing a book about humans and money was bound to happen one of these days!

This time around, Ariely teamed up with Jeff Kreisler, a comedian and writer. The tone of the book did seem noticeably different and written in a lighter way. Dollars and Sense, as a result, comes across as even more approachable to the casual reader.

There’s a little something for everyone in Dollars and Sense, but it seems most applicable to someone fairly new to thinking about personal finance, or to someone who has struggled to stick to budgets and saving.

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