How I Started My Financial Journey - Bro
We are all defined by our past. For me my relationship with money is most deeply defined by the experiences I had and the lessons I learned growing up. My parents were divorced when I was only 5 or so. From that point on money was very tight. One rental home my mom lived in we called the spider infested pit. Another rental home was near the train tracks so every so often you could hear the train whistles rather loudly (cool during the day, not so cool at night). We never hurt for money to the extent that the lights would go out due to a missed bill or anything but we had many a christmas where my mom gave us fancy boxes of cereal (the one time of year we were not eating store brand) and cans of mandarin oranges. My mom then met my step-dad and together they moved up the socioeconomic ladder at a rather quick pace. Despite the quick improvements I can still recall the anxiety and stress of growing up just a bit better off than poor.
On my father's side of things life was more in the style of a yo-yo. He put in in long hours at work and would seem to be doing ok and then something would come up (usually blamed on my mom) and he would be broke again. An example of this is my dad sold his house because he could no longer afford it. He moved into a hotel and then put a huge sound system into his car with the little bit of money he got from selling the house. We would then bounce between living at the hotel and worrying about what would be for dinner (besides the free pizza they seemed to have every night) and visiting my grandfather’s cabin where we would go out to eat steak dinners. The lack of consistency really stuck with me and is one of the many emotional driving forces behind my quest for FI
As far as school goes I was always a fairly average student. My grades were Bs and Cs but I always knew how to test well. I ended up going to a commuter college downtown and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. I have always loved to learn and explore but I have a very hard time with anything that feels like busy work.
I have had a Job continuously since my junior year of highschool. I started out at Boston market and then a computer repair shop. I got my lucky break as a high school senior and got a job at an engineering firm. I worked there all the way through college (hence the commuter college). When I graduated college I took a day or two off and then started full time at the engineering firm. I have now worked there for 7 years (12 years total).
I met my wife while bowling in college. It was love at first sight. Unfortunately she was dating someone else at the time so I had to wait for her to move on and realize I was the one. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby carriage. We have book worm of a daughter (age 5) and a “car boy” (age 2). My wife is now a stay at home mom (a job harder than mine).
Growing up with the money lessons (baggage) from my childhood has made me very predisposed to FI. Add to that the pressure of being the sole bread winner and wanting to provide stability and security for my wife and children and the path is clear. FI it is. At times I find it hard to “stay the course” but in the end I only have to recall my roots the path does not look so bad.