As previously discussed in my Chautauqua recap post, I had a really amazing time hanging out with new and old friends, taking in the beautiful scenery, and learning some pretty interesting things. I covered the friends and scenery in the last post, so.….… time to talk about the lessons I learned!
Our host Cheryl gave a presentation on happiness and finding your purpose in life. This was useful to me even though my baseline happiness level is high. I’m going through pretty big changes in my life and have a lot of things going on, so it was helpful for me to sit down and actually talk out what in my life I want to prioritize. It turns out I get the most value out of life when a few things are happening.
1: Prioritizing my relationship with my boyfriend. Our relationship is going really well and I’d like to think it has something to do with the fact both of us are making it a priority in our lives. I can’t expect something so important to me to just automatically go well, so that means I need to devote time and energy to ensuring we continue to build a solid and trustworthy foundation for our relationship.
2: I’m happy when creating things. This involves activities like quilting, stained glass, writing these blog posts, and recording podcast episodes. I like creating things that help other people in their life, are pretty, or are useful to others. This also includes doing activities with my time like giving presentations and giving back to others through financial literacy programs.
3: Being challenged/learning. Learning new skills and new information is important to my happiness. There is a big world out there full of things to learn. It doesn’t matter if I’m learning new things about myself, or learning new things about the world we live in. I have a thirst for knowledge and when I’m not satiating that I get unhappy.
4: I need to be having fun. Life is too short to be taken seriously. If you can’t make things fun, why do them? Laundry can be made into a game. Doing the dishes can be fun (hint: use lots of soap to create BUBBLES!). It’s all about mindset and I learned I need to seek out the fun in the most mundane of activities.
Jim Collins gave a great chat on everything investing. A really interesting takeaway I got is the difference between active versus passive investing and which is the best route for different situations. I’ve been perfectly content to passively invest my money in the market. Unlike many others, I don’t really have a burning desire to actively manage my funds which is good because my investing benefits from me keeping my grubby paws out of it. However, if you want to actively invest in something, real estate is an excellent choice that requires a hands-on approach (at least at the beginning, as I can attest). I’m getting use out of being involved in the real estate activities so I should keep doing so, and keep staying out of my investments.
Surprisingly enough, there were no cows in his presentation. I was sad.
I had a one-on-one with Paula that covered all sorts of topics, to include but not limited to real estate strategies, podcast creating, blogging, and traveling. From her I learned how to reverse pitch unsolicited emails for sponsored blog posts into pitches for sponsoring an episode of Fire Drill podcast. [you know, my awesome new podcast that’s super fun and interesting that you should be listening to ;)] I also learned I should keep my house no matter how big of a pain it is because I got a good deal and it’s in a neighborhood that is already starting to experience some appreciation and gentrification.
Relatedly, I had an amazing chat with Coach Carson about real estate. Between him and Paula, I feel comfortable not only keeping my house but also buying more properties in the future. I was specifically concerned about what the loss of W2 income would have on my ability to buy more properties, but both of them assured me it wouldn’t be an issue.
Good thing for me I have a W2 job so I don’t have to worry about it!
.….…..or do I?
My number one reason to go to the Chautauqua this year was to see if I was in a good spot to quit my job and start living the FI lifestyle.
The answer was an unequivocal YES.
Ok, so Brandon didn’t go all crazy like Gwen Stefani (even though that’s something I’d very much like to see!) but he was absolutely positive I should quit my job.
So.… I’m going to quit my job! I can’t believe how many times I’m saying that ha! The newness of that phrase means it will be quite some time before I get tired of it.
The time frame for doing so looks to be sometime Spring 2018. I need to save up enough money to do some repairs to my current property before I quit. I’d also like to have a decent cash cushion.
I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t have alternative forms of income started. I’ll have rental income, artistic endeavors, speaking gigs, and possibly some freelancing money coming in. I’m not saying they’re super robust, aka nowhere enough to replace my current income, but since I have super low expenses I should be ok.
One reason I will have super low expenses (and a major reason I want to quit my job so soon) is I will be moving in with my boyfriend who currently lives 5 hours away. When I move in, we’ll figure out a way to split expenses in a way that works for both of us. I quite like spending time with him (see lesson #1) and the winter will make that difficult. It’s already started to snow there, so our plans will need to be flexible to accommodate the unpredictable weather. It’d be amazing to not have to worry about that!
Waiting until the spring means I’ll have enough time to take advantage of all my medical benefits before I quit and lose my health insurance. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for health insurance after I quit so stay tuned as I look into that.
Quitting my job (!!!!) also means my official FI plans have changed. I’m no longer going to be working towards a set number. Instead, I’m just going to live life and do things that interest me. Most of those things will earn money. Even now I’ve discovered people are coming to me with endeavors that will earn me money when I’m not even looking for it. Pretty sweet!
I’m excited to see where the next few months take me! I’m equally thrilled I get to share the journey with you, my readers. Buckle up — it’s going to be a fun ride!
Any advice for me? Questions I didn’t answer? Any plans to take an FI-related trip?