Retirement, Financial Independence, and Living Life

Retirement, Financial Independence, and Living Life

This is what a happy life is to me.

After two very long posts this week, DIY Wedding Ideas – Worth It Or A Waste Of Money and How Much Money Should I Save Up For A House, today’s post is a somewhat shorter (and a rambling) one.

Lately, we’ve been home “shopping” online a lot.

It’s almost become an addiction.

Okay, who am I kidding? It is an addiction. Luckily, shopping for homes online is a free hobby of mine.

My favorite websites right now are Zillow and Realtor and I look at each a few times each week. We don’t plan on moving for around two years from now, but it’s still something we plan on putting a lot of thought into.

Before you think both me and Wes are crazy planners, I do want to say that it’s mainly just me who is crazy. If Wes had his way, we would have moved yesterday.

We want to move to a new state (Colorado is winning right now), and the next home we buy will probably be our “forever” home. We plan on living in it for a long time and possibly retiring in it.

The whole thing sounds a little crazy, even to me, especially since we are only 25.


What is a happy life?

Colorado is exactly how I imagine a great life (and retirement) would be. Whenever we visit the state, we are always amazed by how beautiful it is and we even love the air (it’s not humid like in St. Louis where you are constantly walking in a sea of mist).

With our future move to wherever we end up deciding on moving to, we have been thinking a lot about what a happy life is.

Every time we talk about possibly moving to Colorado, it always leads to us saying something similar to “this is how I imagine retirement would be. This is a happy life.”

Some think we are crazy, but why do so many people think you can’t enjoy your life until you reach retirement? Why do we have to wait to like where we live until we reach retirement age?

There are plenty of ways to save for retirement, while also enjoying the life you live right now.

My dad passed away in his 50s, before he was even able to retire. Well, technically, he “retired” when the doctors told him he only had a few months left to live. So, he spent his “retirement” in a horrible way. He worked extremely hard his whole life and saved for retirement religiously, and it’s something I’ve always admired. However, I don’t want my whole life to be all about working.

I want to be able to enjoy life now, instead of waiting decades down the line to possibly (sorry if that sounds morbid) enjoy myself.


Anyway, what does retirement mean to me?

Since we plan on moving somewhere enjoyable soon, does retirement mean anything to me? That is a question someone asked me recently. They said I would have nothing to look forward to in the future.

Retirement to me means financial independence. I want to have freedom when it comes to my career and also when it comes to how I enjoy my life.

I don’t see myself ever not working, unless I was prevented in some way (such as medical reasons). I like the motivation that work brings, and I like what I do. However, I understand that my feelings about everything may change in the future, and that is why financial independence is something I want to strive for.


How do I plan on reaching retirement?

I’m definitely not one of those people who plans on cutting everything in their lives in order to reach retirement. I still want to enjoy life, take vacations, spend time with friends and family, and more. However, I think doing all of that, reaching retirement, and living a fun life is all possible at the same time.

I plan on reaching retirement through a mixture of cutting expenses, growing my income, and hopefully adding some passive income to the mix. Thanks to several different personal finance bloggers (mainly Paula at Afford Anything), I have been more and more interested in getting into real estate and renting out places both long-term and short-term (such as through AirBnb or VRBO). That is a passive income area I would like to get into.

Even though I am no where near retirement, I do want to live an enjoyable life right now though.


How do you see yourself in retirement? Living in another country? Working still?

What does a happy and successful life look like to you?


Do You Have Life Insurance?

Do You Have Life Insurance?

This is my family :)

According to the insurance research firm LIMRA, life insurance ownership is at its lowest point in over 50 years. This is a crazy statistic considering that approximately 44% of those who took part in the survey said they don’t have enough money to pay for expenses if their loved one were to pass away suddenly.

This study also reported that around 30% of households do not have life insurance at all.

One major task I have failed at since leaving my day job in 2013 is finding life insurance. When I had my day job, I had a small amount of life insurance provided and paid for by my employer. Nothing crazy, but I never looked any further into it at that time.

Now that I work for myself, I have no life insurance and that is something I would like to change, especially since we plan on having children in the next few years.

Even though finding life insurance is something I think about a decent amount, I actually haven’t done anything to start this process.


When does a person need life insurance?

Okay, not everyone needs life insurance. However, most do.

If you are single, have no debt, and no one depends on you, then you probably don’t need life insurance.

But, just because you are single doesn’t mean you don’t need it. If you have debt and have co-signers on your debt, then you should absolutely have life insurance. This is because if something were to happen to you, you don’t want your co-signer (it could be your parents, siblings, etc.) to have to be stuck paying your debt because you didn’t think of a plan.

I recently read a true story about a young adult who did not have life insurance. They passed away suddenly and left their student loan debt behind to their parents, who were her co-signers. They were left with monthly payments on her student loans of nearly $2,000 a month…

Also, if someone depends on you, such as a spouse, elderly parents, or children, then you definitely want life insurance as well. You want your loved ones to be taken care of if something were to happen to you, correct?

Do You Have Life Insurance? 3

What do I need to do to find the right life insurance for me and my family?

The other day, I heard about a company called Quotacy. They have a great looking website, so I won’t lie, that helped draw me in.

The website is really easy to use. All you do is click on over to “Get Started” on their website. Then, they ask for a little bit of information (such as your zip code, gender, etc.) and then you press “View Your Quote.”

They have easy to use sliders where you can adjust the duration of your coverage and the policy value so that you can try to find a monthly premium that works best for you.

After that, they ask some routine medical questions and then policies from various companies pop up on your screen. This is so that you can find different life insurance policies and how much your monthly premium varies from company to company so that you can find your best price.

Quotacy will take a second look at your online submission, and shop the market one more time to ensure you’re getting the best price. If they find a better one based on your unique lifestyle or health characteristics, they will communicate this with you, and let you decide which company to apply for. The insurance company you select will then review your application, and make the final approval before it goes into affect and Quotacy will keep you informed every step of the way.

Do You Have Life Insurance? 2

Some of the great things about this website include:

  • Quotacy doesn’t require you to log in or register in order to see estimated pricing.
  • Everything is VERY easy to understand.
  • It’s very quick to use and you can get an estimated quote in one minute.
  • They have an awesome blog that can help you understand life insurance better.


Do you have life insurance? Why or why not?


6 Reasons You’re Horrible At Saving Money

6 Reasons You're Horrible At Saving MoneyHello everyone! Today is my birthday. I am the big ol’ 25 today! :) I plan on relaxing and eating a ridiculous amount of sushi today as my birthday treat.

Anyway, as a personal finance blogger, I hear a lot about everyone else’s money stories.

For the most part, I hear a lot of excuses for why people can’t do things. I’m not saying that there aren’t real excuses out there, but for the most part there are several ways for you to make active changes in your life that will help you reach your goals.

Some of the excuses I hear include:

  • I don’t have money to travel.
  • I don’t have money to pursue my passion.
  • I don’t have money to go back to school.
  • I don’t have money to start a family.

The thing in common here?


Why do people let money stop them from enjoying life?

There are so many things that you can do to reach your money goals.

I understand that some things in life cost money, but I believe that saving money can help most people reach their realistic dreams. Of course, if you make $30,000 a year then going on a $30,000 one week vacation is most likely not possible. The key is to be realistic with your goals and find a path to reach them!

Side note: Also, I do understand that I make a decent living. Last time I created an article about budgeting, someone actually told me that what I have to say doesn’t matter because anyone can live off of the amount that I make. Well, let me tell you - all sorts of people have money problems, not just those who make lower salaries. Also, I know families who earn $30,000 a year and couldn’t be happier. I know others who make $100,000 a year and feel like they can never get ahead. When I first moved out on my own I was barely making minimum wage but I was still able to survive. No, I wasn’t the best person ever with my finances, but I made what I had work for me.

Here are 6 reasons for why you are horrible at saving money:


1. You don’t have a budget.

If you don’t have a budget or if your budget is not a good one, then this can be a big reason for why you suck at saving money.

A good and realistic budget can help a person and/or a family manage their money better. Yes, a simple piece of paper where you jot down your budget can actually do this.

A budget can help you realize where you might be going wrong with your finances and how to fix a financial issue that you may be having.

Many people are afraid to create a budget because it means that they will have to actually face their spending. If this is why you don’t have a budget, then please just face your fears and start creating one today.

Read Does Your Budget Suck?


2. You think you deserve everything.

I won’t lie – I’m guilty of this one. Whenever I would have a bad day at work (at my old day job), I would “reward” myself with something like going out to a restaurant or buying myself something because I would use the excuse of “I deserve it.”

However, I eventually realized that this is a horrible habit to be stuck in. I shouldn’t have to reward myself with material things in order to be happy with my life.

Just because you think you deserve something because you’ve had a hard day or because your friend has it, you really need to sit down and think about whether or not you should actually spend that money.

You probably don’t even want that item, and you might even regret it the very next day!


6 Reasons You're Horrible At Saving Money

3. You confuse “wants” with “needs.”

Another area that applies to people is when a person thinks that things past basic life necessities are all “needs” as well.

Please remember that the only things that are actually needed in your life include a place to live, a certain amount of clothing (no, a $1,000 dress is not a need!), and food and water.

Some think cell phones, massive homes, gym memberships, pets (I love my pets, but pets are expensive and if you can’t afford things in life then you need to think hard before you sign up for a pet) going to restaurants, and so on are all a need, but they really are not. If you cannot afford things then you need to start cutting items out of your budget and your life.

Erin has the perfect article for this It’s My Money, I’ll Eat Out If I Want To. Here’s a little snippet:

“Let’s start with furniture. Guess what? You don’t actually need almost all of it. Therefore, it is nonessential. A mattress on a floor is enough to live… I don’t own a couch, a chair, a real desk (I use a refrigerator…), a table, or a dresser. Yet somehow I am magically surviving without them.”


4. You think you will have time to save later.

So many people think that they don’t have to save now because they can save when they are a little bit older. Well, what are you going to do if something happens to you or if there is an emergency?

Starting now will help you later.


5. You don’t think little amounts will add up.

I once overheard someone saying that they don’t save money at all because they don’t think it matters. So, even if they have an extra $100 in their budget each month, they will just find a way to spend it because they don’t see the point of saving $100.



Seriously, put that extra $100 in the bank and save it. After one year you will have $1,200.

$1,200 is much better than ZERO DOLLARS.


6. You don’t earn enough money to live off of.

The final reason for why you might not be able to save as much as you would like is because you don’t earn enough money.

No, there is not one number that fits all.

However, if you are watching TV for 40 hours a week, and you complaining about not having enough money, then I’m going to have to say that you need to at least get out there and try to find something. If you are trying, then good job! That is the first step. I understand that the economy is hard out there, but trying to find something is key.

If your expenses are higher than your income, then you are simply not making enough money.

It’s as simple as that.

You either need to make more money or cut back with your expenses. You will never save money if your expenses are higher than your income.


Do you let money control your life? What are you doing to change that?

What are you currently saving for?