I like to think that life usually works out for the best. Even when there are incredibly tough times, we often end up in a better place than we would have otherwise. This is about one of my tough times.
Back in October of 2012, I had awful stress at work. I remember losing almost 10 pounds in a week because I didn’t eat anything. I thought I was going to get fired and not be able to support my family. In a desperate moment, I googled:
How do I retire early?
I didn’t expect Google to return anything of value. The search was a hail mary. But then up came Mr. Money Mustache, a random character from the internet who claimed to retire in his early 30s.
I was deeply skeptical. This isn’t what Americans do. We work until we’re 65 or even 72. Then we start collecting social security, move to a place without snow, and play golf until we die.
But I kept reading and realized that MMM was right; early retirement was a simple math problem. Since I was already a saver, I wouldn’t have to work much longer. As soon as I figured this out, I had this conversation with Mindy:
- Me: Hey, I found this Mr. Money Mustache guy on the internet! He retired in his 30s and we can too!
- Mindy: Mr. Money what? What are you talking about? Are you OK?
- Me: Well, you know I’ve been unhappy at my job. If we just save for a little while longer, I can leave work.
- Mindy: OK, I know how unhappy you’ve been, so I support you.
Inflection point #1: I could retire soon! It would take me another 4 years. Now I’ve been done for over 5!
I dove into the MMM blog and realized that this Mustache dude lived in Colorado. So did we. But that’s where the similarities ended. Mindy and I had moved to Colorado six months earlier and were deeply unhappy with our new neighborhood. Our new neighbors didn’t share our frugal values. The high school kids had nicer cars than us. It was hard to make friends. We felt lonely and isolated.
Note: When the Great Recession happened, almost 10% of the homes in our new neighborhood had gone into foreclosure. In the Midwest town we had moved from, it was less than 1%. Not a good indicator!
We were set on moving back to the Midwest but a part of me wanted to hold on to our Colorado dream.
So, I had another conversation with Mindy:
- Me: Remember that Mustache guy I told you about? The early retirement guy?!??
- Mindy (with suspicion): Ummmm, yeah?
- Me: He lives in Colorado! I know that we’re planning on moving back to the Midwest, but his town seems cool. I’m going to send him an email asking him about it. Maybe we could give Colorado one last try?
- Mindy: Ummm, whatever.
I didn’t expect Pete to return my email. But he did. If he had not, I doubt that Mindy and I would have bothered to check out Longmont.
We toured the city with Pete and it seemed like a place we could be happier in, so we decided to give it a test drive and bought a house.
Living in Longmont got off to a tumultuous start when 1,000 year rains flooded our new area, but that turned out to be a good thing. In the midst of nonstop downpour, our new neighbors threw a party and we got to know lots of great people on our street.
Inflection point #2: We were home. Longmont is where we’d raise our kids. Thanks Pete for returning a stranger’s email.
Much has changed since then. We’re still in Longmont, but have since moved. I now co-own a coworking space with Pete and another friend. We bought yet another house (the last one for a looooong time!). And, I have a podcast with local friend Doug Cunnington.
Today’s interview is with MMM-Pete himself. In this one, we don’t talk about index funds, investing, or even money. We talk about everything that comes after that. That’s were the real fun begins.
- Mile High FI: https://milehighfi.com/podcast/143-secret-to-happiness/
- Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/mile-high-fi-podcast/id1565833096
- Google: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9taWxlaGlnaGZpLmNvbS9mZWVkL3BvZGNhc3Q
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3UehnLcmk0RFkEDmhHLZZV?si=_Zbv1sQ_S8eKZv7DgXovpA
- Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/show/mile-high-fi-podcast
Or watch it on YouTube:
The last 10 years of my life have been an incredible journey. Lots of up and downs, but mostly the former. I’m thankful every day that I get to live this life. Your journey won’t be the same as mine, but I hope it’s just as good.
More 1500 Days!!!
You can also find me (and the dinosaurs) at:
Mile High FI podcast:
- Facebook: Facebook group and page
- YouTube: My channel is mostly devoted to home improvement, but I have some other material coming up soon too.
- Instagram: Pretty pictures of dinosaurs, sunsets, and nail guns!
- Twitter: Spontaneous, often insane, ramblings
- Coworking space: On the surface, MMM HQ is a coworking space. Look a little deeper and you’ll see that we’re really building community. The members of MMM HQ are some of the finest people I know.
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.
*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.