Today’s edition of 10 Questions features The Jessica and Cory, otherwise known as The Fioneers! These two have a lot of wisdom, but this line really spoke to me:
We believe that the journey to financial independence should be as remarkable as the destination.
#truth #yes #hellyes
Wishing your days away in favor of a future that you perceive will be better is unhealthy. Life is too short not to make the most of Every. Single. Day. Thank you for the reminder Fioneers.
1. There are approximately 476,492,292,928 personal finance blogs last time I checked. Why should we read yours?
The Fioneers is a new kind of financial independence blog. The traditional FIRE narrative still focuses on saving as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, so you can retire as early as possible.
We don’t ascribe to this narrative.
Similar to other financial independence blogs, we focus on increasing income, reducing spending, and investing the difference.
Yet, we focus on so much more.
We believe that the journey to financial independence should be as remarkable as the destination. We don’t need to wait until some distant future where we can finally grab hold of full financial freedom. Grasping hold of a better life that is aligned with our values is within our reach long before we reach FI.
This is why we’ve embraced Slow FI. People pursuing Slow FI utilize their incremental freedom that they gain along the journey to FI to live happier and healthier lives and do better work. The point is not to have a longer path to FI; it’s to make decisions focused on quality of life first balanced with long-term financial goals.
This conviction is why I (Jessica) decided to work part-time earlier this year. I can focus excess time and energy on my health and passion projects, like The Fioneers.
On our blog, you’ll find:
- Stories about our journey to financial independence
- Strategies to help you envision your ideal life both now and in the future
- A roadmap to optimize your approach to financial independence
- Tips to save more money without sacrificing value
We also run the Slow FI interview series to identify and amplify voices in the FI community who are making intentional decisions to live better lives today, even if it slows down their FI timeline.
Please stop by our blog! We’d love to hear from you.
2. Why did you start your blog?
My husband, Corey, and I started the blog together to chronicle our journey to financial independence. We felt like we had something unique to say. We hope to inspire people to take steps to improve their lives today.
I also love to share things that I’ve learned. If I’ve learned something (often the hard way), I feel like I have to share it with someone else. I want to help people learn from my mistakes and challenges, so they can address bigger and better challenges in their own lives.
In 2018, I was also looking for a creative outlet. Starting a blog seemed like the perfect way to creatively share what I am learning. I get a lot of joy when I hear from readers that my story has impacted them.
Corey has been blogging since 2011. Because of this, we knew the ins-and-outs of blogging and the value of participating in the online personal finance community. This community has provided such great support and accountability!
3. What is one post that you’ve written that you wish would have gone viral?
I wish my post titled, “Busyness is Not a Virtue” would have gone viral. Who knows? Maybe it still will.
In the United States, we live in a culture that celebrates being busy. People are celebrated and rewarded for staying late at work, being constantly on the go, and having a full social calendar.
Too many people live in a constant state of stress and overwhelm, which has negatively impacted both our health and our relationships. I learned this the hard way at my last job after becoming completely burned out.
I want to serve as a cautionary tale that overwork and “crazy-busy” is not worth the social status it signals. There is always the pressure to conform to this norm in our culture, but we can choose to question the default and live our lives in another way.
4. Where do you live? Do you love it, hate it or just meh.
We absolutely LOVE living in Boston, MA. We’ve been here for 6 years now.
We truly enjoy city living. Our house is just steps from public transportation. We’ve made close friends here. There are many great jobs in our industry (non-profit).
While the traditional FI advice is to live in a lower cost of living area, we’ve found that living in Boston has accelerated our path to FI. We have more control over our spending than one might expect and we’ve been able to boost our income because of access to good jobs.
5. What do you do for a living?
I’ve always worked in nonprofit organizations because I enjoy knowing that when I go to work, there’s a reason beyond making more money for the company.
For the last 5 years, I’ve worked in Human Resources. I know that everyone has a horror story about HR, but I’d like to say I’m different. I listen to people and I try to help them solve their problems. As I shared previously, I enjoy sharing things that I’ve learned over the years, so I have an opportunity to do that within my job.
This past year, I accepted an awesome part-time HR Manager role with a nonprofit here in Boston. I work 24 hours/week, which is about half of the hours of my previous job.
One benefit to the community is that I’ve been able to bring my HR experience into the blog. One of my most popular posts is about strategies to increase your income. Given my HR expertise, I’m able to share experience from both the employee’s and the employer’s perspective.
6. Is your goal financial independence? If so, where are you on the journey?
Yes, our goal is to eventually achieve financial independence. However, early retirement is not our goal. Since we are also focused on living the life we want along the journey, our main goal right now is to become location independent. We’d like to travel more frequently and not be tied down to a particular location.
If we kept both our income and our spending the same as 2019, we would be financially independent in about 8-10 years, at the age of 40-42.
Since early retirement isn’t our goal, it’s much more likely that we’ll choose to make the leap to entrepreneurship earlier and take a semi-retirement approach. We want to get to the point where we can focus on producing income doing only things we truly enjoy.
Ultimately, our goal is to make so many small changes along the path to FI that we are already living our ideal lives when we reach our “FI number.” If we hit our FI number and don’t need to change anything about our lifestyle, we would consider that success.
7. What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?
The most beautiful place I’ve ever seen is Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
We went there in 2017 on a two-week trip to Europe where we visited France, Switzerland, and Spain.
In Geneva, we were able to ride bicycles around the turquoise waters of Lake Geneva while at the same time being surrounded by the Swiss Alps. It was spectacular. The raclette wasn’t too bad either.
8. What travel destination is highest on your bucket list?
The destination that’s highest on my bucket list is currently Italy. We’ve been putting off the trip for a couple of years because we want to go there for at least two weeks.
I’m most excited to taste wine in Tuscany and overlook the ocean in Cinque Terre. Corey is most excited to see the canals of Venice.
We’re planning to book this trip for 2021. Sadly, we won’t be able to take enough time off to go for two weeks until then (another reason we are pursuing location and financial independence).
9. What is one thing you firmly believed 5 years ago that you no longer believe?
5 years ago I believed that being a feminist meant that I was a successful leader in my career and I could pave the way for other women. I no longer believe this.
My last job was extremely stressful. I was there for 4 years and got promoted twice. While it was nice to be recognized, I was completely burned out from striving for the next promotion. I began to have panic attacks and ended up needing to take several months off of work to get my mental health under control.
This was challenging for me because I initially felt like a failure. If I couldn’t handle the stress, I’d very likely not be a leader in my field nor would I be able to help other women climb the career ladder.
After some reflection (and a lot of therapy), I realized that this was someone else’s narrative of success. For some, success means raising a family. For others, success means having a high-powered career. Feminism means that we get to define success in our own way.
My experience coupled with my pursuit of financial independence helped me to create my own definition of success. For me, it means that I know what I value and want out of life, and I have time and energy to focus on those things.
Working toward what I want (not what someone else wants) is the ultimate feminism.
10. Favorite beer? Favorite pizza place?
Sadly, I can’t eat gluten, so I can’t really eat “real” pizza, nor can I drink beer!
However, I do love hard cider. My favorite cidery is Citizen Cider in Burlington, VT. We recently visited their tasting room on a trip to Vermont! It’s definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Their “Companion” Cider, a sour cherry infused hard cider, is my favorite.
The vast majority of gluten-free pizza tastes like toppings on cardboard, so when I find good gluten-free pizza, it’s a moment to remember. I’ve found my favorite gluten-free pizza at a place called Flatbread Company, which is a small New England chain with about a dozen locations.
If you are ever in Boston, let us know, and we can grab a slice (they have good gluten-filled pizza too)!
Where to Find us:
- Blog: https://thefioneers.com
- Twitter: @TheFioneers
- Instagram: @TheFioneers
- Pinterest: Pinterest.com/thefioneers
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There was such a theme of job stress and burnout running through those answers. But the idea that rising through the ranks at work always adds stress and leads to burnout is just not how it works in the business world. People that are excellent at what they do because they’ve reached a high degree of mastery almost universally enjoy their careers and I’ve yet to see someone like that burn out, even if they have to work some extra hours. In my many decades of corporate life the burn out cases I’ve seen are where people are incapable of gaining mastery over their work, their particular brain is just not wired to do good work in that field or they lack the self control to limit their work hours to a reasonable amount. And the fact is once your workplace realizes you are world class at what you do they can no longer push you to work extreme hours. All the leverage is yours at that point because you’ve got a whole bunch of other people calling you weekly with job offers. I never worked crazy hours routinely but still managed to rise above a whole bunch of workaholics because I became world class and many of them were not particularly talented at their jobs. Being the best has a ton of rewards and the biggest of all is the leverage it gives you with your superiors once the thought of you leaving for another job becomes one of their biggest fears. I agree work kind of sucks if you never get to that point. But I think almost everyone could get there if they just approached work with that as a goal and figured out what they were uniquely talented to do. I guess if someone is very unlucky and has virtually no talent then that might not work for them, but everyone I’ve worked with had enough talent to excel at something, it just wasn’t necessarily the something they were doing in their job, and that’s on them. Nobody is chained to their job.
In one of Tim Ferriss’ books, I came across the following quote from Arianna Huffington:
“Burnout is not the price to pay for success.”
Thinking about that line can really help to put things in perspective, especially in the world we live in now where people are expected to be available to work every second of every day. It’s definitely important to be able to detach from work and back away on a regular basis.
Best hard cider I ever had is Coyote Hole Ciderworks. Their Sangria won first place in a national award this year. Check it out if you are in Virginia!
Mr C says
I could not agree more on ensuring the journey is as remarkable as reaching FI. We’re in the middle of a year out in Spain to hang out with our four young kids. It will slow our progress to FI, but we’ll have some memories that money (or time when our kids have left home) just can’t buy.
BC | FrugalWheels says
I agree with her perspective (and not just because we’re twitter friends!) For my approach, I spent some time optimizing and setting my values, but once set, the only thing I consider is increasing. It’s why I operate on principles: Once my principles are set, the rest takes care of itself. My expenses are low, and I don’t worry about spending on things that are important to me. I recently added a jujitsu class to my life because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it helps me vent frustration, gives me a good workout and provides a nice counter to my intellectual life. It was the last piece of the puzzle. So I didn’t worry if it took a tiny amount away from my FI fund. To me FIRE is just prioritizing what is important to you and saving money by refusing the buy the things that aren’t important to you.
I have to disagree with the first comment on this post. One of the most wrong cliches in my opinion is “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” It’s definitely better to do work that you love and fulfills you, but it’s a fairy tale to pretend that it still won’t be stressful as F$^% or demanding. Just because you love a job doesn’t mean it will love you. I definitely in a field I love, and the work is important. I have status in my community because of it. But I work crazy hours, struggle immensely with worklife balance, and have an enormous amount of stress. I do get those job offers, as the above comment suggests, and you know what? They’ve all sucked. Companies are terrible at recruiting and hiring, especially in my neck of the woods. Some who reached out to me wanted me to put in all this effort without even telling me what the job pays, or even a range. Just clueless. Anyway, this is why I understand Ms. Fioneers’ decision and why, despite loving my work, hope to do something similar in the future. I still hope to work part time and/or freelance but I want more control over my schedule/time/life.
BC | FrugalWheels recently posted…A podcast with two folks about to hit FIRE