Hey look, I’ve relaunched my 10 Questions interview series! If you’d like to participate, read the rules and send me your submission.
I’m going to kick things off by answering some of my own questions. It’s like I’m talking to myself in public for the world to see. Somewhat disturbing, I know. Sorry, not sorry.
Why did you start your blog?
I started the blog mostly as a journal. I also wanted to keep myself accountable to my goal of retiring in 1500 days. I figured that forcing myself to put my numbers out there for the world to see would prevent me from doing something stupid. It mostly did.
My blog name comes from the number of days I thought it would take to accumulate my nest egg. Starting from a portfolio of $586,043, I calculated that I would need about 1500 days to accumulate $1,000,000 with no debt. More on this later…
What has surprised you about blogging?
The surprising part is that people actually read it. I never expected this and it’s humbling.
A couple weeks ago at a park in Minnesota, some readers came up to me and told me how much they appreciated the blog. It is difficult to describe the tsunami of emotions that goes through me when that happens:
I feel weightless for a moment.
Sometimes, I have to hold back tears.
I feel incredibly fortunate.
As a kid, I didn’t have big hopes for myself or the confidence that I’d make much out of my life. That I’ve made even a little difference in someone’s existence is amazing.
So yeah, the surprising part is that people actually read it.
Are you anonymous?
I was until this happened:
See us there at the bottom?
A story about Mrs. 1500 and me went viral and eventually Yahoo! picked it up. We had no idea this was going to happen. We also had no idea anyone still read Yahoo!. It turns out many of our friends and relatives did. We were no longer anonymous.
I hoped that the story would start some money conversations. It did, but just a little. Mostly, no one cared. Sigh…
Where do you live? Do you love it, hate it or just meh.
I live in Colorado:
Colorado is pretty great. However, I feel that my true home is the Midwest where I grew up. Maybe I’ll be back one day:
Transportation (how do you get around): car, train, bus, bike or VTOL.
I do a LOT of walking these days. This year (as of 8/29), I’m up to 4,316,842 steps. I plan to do at least 6,000,000.
I also LOVE my ebike. I installed the electric components myself and documented the build on Mr. Money Mustache.
Is your goal financial independence? If so, where are you on the journey?
My goal was financial independence. To do this, I calculated that I’d need to build an investment portfolio of $1,000,000 and no debt to survive on $40,000 per year. I’ve since decided not to pay off my mortgage.
My net worth has grown to almost $2,205,000 (investment portfolio of $1,690,000 and $515,000 in home equity, cars, etc). Once that money snowball gets going, step out of its way:
Do you tell others of your FIREy life or are you in the closet?
I tell anyone that cares to listen because I enjoy life so much and want the same for them. I’m healthier, read more, spend more time with my children and am outside for hours every day. Life is really, really good here on the other side.
Ideal vacation: road trip, beach, mountains, forest or city?
All of the above, but with fun people. I like to travel, but it’s much more fulfilling when you’re spending time with good friends and family. Our vacations are designed around people now and not places.
What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?
The Yosemite Valley in the spring when the water is running high and fast:
What travel destination is highest on your bucket list?
This is going to sound really boring, but stay with me. Next summer, we’ll head to Wisconsin where we’ll stay in Madison for a couple days. Hello Dane County Farmers Market!
After that, we’ll head to a quiet cabin on a lake somewhere (ping me if you have suggestions) and sit around for a spell while our children play in the sand. I’m really looking forward to this.
And Kauai is pretty awesome too.
What I’m getting at is this: Sitting around with nothing to do in a beautiful setting with some friends and family is pretty great.
What is one thing you firmly believed 5 years ago that you no longer believe?
I used to believe that most people were evil and scary. I’m a recovering, deep introvert and interacting with other humans used to be something I’d strenuously avoid. I realized that this isn’t healthy.
As part of escaping my shell, I create challenges for myself. For example, when I’m walking around, I force myself to smile and say “Hello!” to other humans. Most respond with a smile and kind greeting. Sometimes, this even leads to conversations. Gasp! People aren’t so bad.
Most of us have layers of belief systems that separate us. Examples include religion and politics. At the core though, most people are good.
What is one thing you believe that most others do not?
Many of us will have ridden in a fully autonomous car by 2020 and flown in a personal, electric jet by 2025.
What do people misunderstand about you?
I once read a saying that went something like this:
No matter what happens, someone will find a way to take it seriously.
I’m goofy in my writing and others have used it as a foil to level interesting accusations and spread false rumors. I’m like:
Hey there, I’m just goofing around!
What is your favorite financial tool?
If you could have a magical power that allowed you to change one set of beliefs in others, what would you choose?
I’d encourage humans to trust science. Conspiracy theory thinking causes people to behave in silly ways and do stupid things.
Who is your favorite leader in business today?
Elon Musk. He is crazy and sometimes acts in irrational and juvenile ways, but you can’t deny what he’s done.
What is your philosophy of life?
At Camp FI Minnesota, I was pretty goofy.
When we were all crammed in for a picture, I loudly suggested that it would be a bad time to fart:
Unattended phones turned up with unexpected pictures:
— Miss Mazuma (@MissMazuma) August 25, 2018
And be careful where you sleep:
Life is better when you don’t take it seriously.
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