We’re going to share with you our life journey thus far, both on a personal and financial level.
Most of our family, friends, and coworkers don’t understand what the FIRE movement is. We both do our best to try and explain to others what this community is made of, but we know that it would be more beneficial for everyone to learn and apply the concepts at their own pace.
We want to create resources that people with little to no understanding of FIRE can use as a learning platform. Our biggest goal is to help others learn how to get control of their finances and be more intentional with their money. Even if your goal isn’t to retire early, everyone needs to be working towards their version of financial independence.
I have both personal and professional experience with personal finance. My Bachelors of Science in Finance and Masters of Business Administration degrees enable me to help families discover their version of FIRE. I was able to quit my high-stress finance job in July 2019 to pursue our side hustles full-time after making smart money choices throughout the years. While in this position, I held Series 7 and Series 63 licenses. With my experience, I look to help others with budgeting, investing, saving money, making money, managing money, and travel hacking. In addition to this, I am an admin of the ChooseFI Philadelphia group.
My passion for personal finance started when I was a teenager. Over the years, I have delved into learning everything there is to know about finance by keeping up with the industry daily. This has enabled us to manage our money effectively through paying off tens of thousands of dollars in debt, saving over half our income, and growing side hustles. My goal is to help others discover their version of FIRE by sharing our knowledge and experiences. I’m also an admin of the ChooseFI Philadelphia group. I am a Software Engineer with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science and a Masters in Software Engineering. For these reasons, I am able to create valuable personal finance content as well as build financial calculators.
Our blog has been included in online publications like Forbes, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Grow, The Ladders, Debt.com and GoBankingRates. We have also been featured on podcasts such as ChooseFI, Whats Up Next and Man Overseas.
Our Story - From the Beginning
We met in November during our senior year of high school through a mutual friend. We began dating by December, and the rest is history!
We both graduated from high school in June, and started attending separate local colleges in September. While John didn’t have to take out student loans, Sam had no idea how hers would affect their future.
The grind of work and school continued, along with not knowing much about finances. John transferred to the same college Sam was attending, which was actually his first choice in high school.
We got engaged in March, and moved in together at the beginning of September. As broke college students desperate for a change, we started trying to figure out our finances. This is the timeframe that we pursued Dave Ramsey’s teachings. We credit him with initially getting our financial lives on track. Within just a few months of budgeting, tactful planning, and God’s will, we began making some traction.
We both ended up working for the same start-up company, making great money. Working 50-60 hours per week while attending full-time college classes was a struggle. However, we were able to leverage this time to pay off over $35,000 in debt – $20,000 in Sam’s student loans and $15,000 in car loans. All tuition payments were paid in cash, and we started saving for our wedding and house downpayment.
This year was a crazy one! We welcomed Simba to our family and John graduated from college in May. During June, John started his current role as a software engineer and we bought our home. Finally, we got married in July. Phew!
We quickly realized that some of Dave Ramsey’s principles didn’t align with what we believed in. We felt that his order of operations, savings rate, and credit card use guidelines could be optimized in a different way. We never stopped learning, and soon stumbled upon what we consider to be one of the greatest blog posts of all time – Mr Money Mustache’s Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement. This was a total game changer for us. After reading this article, we did more research and found the FIRE movement.
Settling into our first year of married life, we continued to add to our emergency fund and invest as much as we could. Sam graduated from college in August.
This year John began his role as admin for ChooseFI Philly.
As a software engineer and brokerage investment professional, we turned up the savings knob and said NO to lifestyle creep. Our take home pay didn’t change much since 2016, even with substantial raises because our savings rate skyrocketed to over 50% instead.
We started this blog in July!
We reached CoastFI in the middle of the year. In July, Sam graduated with her MBA, and was able to quit her stressful corporate finance gig due to smart financial choices. Ever since, she has had the flexibility of working on the blog and building up their business consulting side hustle full-time.
In the first half of the year, we paid off $57,000 in debt. We are now debt free minus our mortgage!
Our Why of FIRE
We want to pursue our passions outside of a 9-to-5. We want to live a fulfilling life traveling the world together, and enjoy more time with family & friends. Most importantly, we don’t want to worry about money!