Today is the 52nd edition of our periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions.
Today we hear from Pauline Paquin, who has one of the most interesting stories of all that I have read in the personal finance world. She was born and raised in France, quit her last full time job in 2010 to travel wherever she chooses – including two 6-month motorcycle trips!
Pauline, take it away!
Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
I blog at Reach Financial Independence, and talk about life in early retirement in Guatemala. I don’t need to work for a living, but keep busy as I turned my house into a guest house, and with this blog and two more
- Make Money Your Way which covers all the ways to make more money with side hustles, online income, improving your career, real estate and investing
- Savvy Scot where I talk about general personal finance from a UK perspective.
I am also a freelance writer for a few more sites. I made about $8,000 online last month and $60-70k a year the previous two years.
My life is not the typical 9-5 life so I think I offer a refreshing perspective on money, goals and simple living.
Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
I am focusing on making my little corner of the world a better place, and give 10% of my online income to an education project I have created in my Guatemalan village. On top of the online income, my blog has given me a platform to get donations from readers, cash, old laptops for my computer lab, school supplies…
I reach over 200 kids by providing free computer classes, English classes, scholarships to high school, uniforms, free textbooks for middle school, and school supplies.
Do you enjoy writing?
I have always enjoyed reading and writing. At school, I found out even if I hadn’t studied hard, writing the assignment well would give me a good enough grade. I have written over 6,000 travel posts for several websites, until I switched to personal finance and launched my own blog in 2012.
1500 Days is about early retirement. Do you have early retirement dreams? At what age do you think you will retire?
I actually left my day job at 29, and have since then lived in Morocco and Guatemala, and gone on multiple 6 months trips on a motorcycle.
Life in Guatemala is cheap enough to allow me to live comfortably on my online income, without having to touch my nest egg. While my investments could also largely cover my lifestyle, I am hoping to let them grow to finance my old days, in case I have high medical bills or need assisted living.
What is the best money management or investment tool you have come across?
I just invest in low cost index funds and trade a bit of forex, but what makes my financial life easy are automated payments. My tenants deposit their rent automatically, and the bills and mortgage get paid, while I can be at the end of the world without an internet connection. I love the ease of it.
How do you handle people with different views on money, ie spendy people?
I try to avoid conflict, so if my friends come to me asking for money tips, I tell them what I think they should do, but don’t follow up or even expect them to do it. If they want to go out, I try to pay for what I actually eat and drink instead of splitting the bill evenly, or join them after dinner. I don’t mind what people do with their money as long as they don’t whine about being broke. My closest friends have similar money values.
Did you grow up with money? How did your money situation growing up influence you?
I grew up middle class, but my dad lost his job when I was a teen and made it look like more than it really was. As a result I always tried to save for a rainy day. Even if money was tight at some point, my parents always found enough for us kids to have a good education, extra curricular activities, and nice holidays. We didn’t have brand clothes or gadgets, we ate basic food… that taught me about priorities and how you should spend your money on what is important to you.
Did your parents teach you about money as a kid? How so?
My parents gave me a small allowance until I was 12 or so. They always asked what I wanted to do with it. Then at 12 they sent me to babysit my cousins or tutor younger kids. They would give me money for a basic item, and if I wanted a brand or a better one, I had to pay the difference. Every sentence about money was starting with “when you’re 18 and living on your own…” as a result, I left the house at 17 and paid my way through college. I graduated with $25,000 in savings and traveled the world for a year afterwards.
What is your favorite style of beer – and what is your favorite beer in that style?
I like every kind of beer, but have a preference for lagers. In Guatemala, my favorite beer is called Gallo. Internationally, I enjoy Heineken and Carlsberg.
What do you do for exercise?
I have my own private beach in Guatemala, on a crystal clear lake that is warm enough to swim all year round. I generally wake up around 530am, go for a run, then have a swim in the lake. I also love to hike when I am on holiday, and cycle while in town.
Thank you, Pauline, for sharing your experiences. I’m just a touch jealous – OK more than a touch… Keep up with Pauline on Facebook, G+, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or over at ReachFinancialIndependence.com
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