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Our Rich Life - Travel Then And Now

If you are on this page you are part of a very small and exclusive club that actually wants to know more about me! I will give you the long version here, but in case you don’t want to read any more, the story starts and ends with me traveling the world with my beautiful wife. However, our financial situation and how we travel has changed significantly.

My story starts in 2008, in college, when I met a beautiful and crazy girl named Libbi. She was a prairie girl from Saskatchewan, Canada which is pretty much as land locked as you can get. However, she had spent most of her childhood traveling with her family all over North America and was and still is, in my opinion, addicted to travel. I was a boy from North Dakota, living 60 miles from the geographical center of North America. It doesn’t get any more land locked than that! I spent summers camping with my family and took a few family trips, but nothing to far away and not much more than a week long vacation every couple years.

When we met, it was love at first sight. I still remember what she was wearing the first day I saw her even though I don’t think she knew I was even there. Like I said, she was a wild and crazy girl. We started dating soon after we first met and that’s where our travels began. Our travels mostly consisted of the cheapest 3-7 day cruise we could find. It was by far the best way for us to see multiple places on a tight budget. We would save up whatever money we could until we had enough to take a flight and book a cruise. Our cruising definitely looked different then than it does today. No drinks, no specialty restaurants, no souvenirs, no excursions. We would even head back to the ship for lunch on port days to save on food costs. We literally spent all our money on the cruise and were just along for the ride. We were happy and had the opportunity to see so many Caribbean islands. Although it was not always easy, it was worth it and I wouldn’t trade those days for anything.


On Saint Patrick’s Day in 2010 we tied the knot. Our wedding was in Hawaii and it wasn’t long after that we ended up moving to there to start our married life together. Now if you are newly married, broke, and looking for somewhere to move that won’t put financial strain on your life, Hawaii is not the place! Fresh out of college with low paying jobs, high rent, high food cost and all the other expenses that come with being an adult was difficult to say the least. Although we loved each other deeply, the financial strain put undue stress on our relationship. The thing we loved to do together, travel, was out of the question as just to leave the island cost hundreds of dollars. I still remember the day I had to ask her not to buy any groceries until our next paycheck as we couldn’t afford it. That day was a low for me and something I never want to experience again.


Throughout our time in Hawaii, I became increasingly frustrated. I thought we did everything right. We went to college, got a degree, got jobs and were both working hard each and every day. But, we were still living paycheck to paycheck hoping nothing went wrong or broke in our life as we couldn’t afford to fix it. It was during this time, as I commuted an hour or more each day that I stumbled upon Dave Ramsey on the radio. I began listening to all the callers, his advice and not only the help he gave others but also the hope he instilled in them. It was at that point I knew I was going to get us on a budget, establish an emergency fund, save for retirement and live my best life. That was when my passion for finance began and why I am here today.


Now going home and telling your wife that we need to get on a budget and spend less money when we didn’t have any money to spend less of wasn’t the right approach. However, we were able to sit down and take a good hard look at where our money was going. Over the course of several months we were able to set aside a small emergency fund to give us a small buffer in life. As our income slowly grew we were able to contribute some money each paycheck to retirement and increase our emergency fund. Through different jobs, pursuing education and certifications and various side hustles we were able to increase our income slightly year after year. But more important than increasing our income, we were able to avoid increasing our lifestyle which in turn increases expenses. I encourage individuals and couples to sit down and ask yourself the why. Why save, why spend less? If your why is strong enough, the how is easy.

Eventually, we reached a point in our lives where we had a full 3-6 months of emergency savings, could cover our daily expenses, were saving for retirement and had even set up a travel fund to pay for any trips we wanted to take. This was such a place of peace and comfort knowing that money didn’t control your life anymore. This is where I hope everyone can make it to one day.


Once we had our emergency fund full, a sustainable travel budget and maxed out our retirement accounts we had to ask ourselves what is next. Do we spend the money, travel more, save it….what? I mean YOLO right?! It was at this point we had to figure out our Why. Why are we saving money? Why are we forgoing some things now for a later date that might not come? Just so we can retire rich, and then hopefully enjoy our life before we die? We wanted to live our best life now. This is when I stumbled upon a podcast talking about the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) movement. A movement of people that proves retirement is not an age but a number. The idea that if you live within you means and save you don’t have to work until you are 65+. If you know how much you need to live on each year, you can figure how much money you need to save in order to fund an early retirement. This is the path we decided to go down all while continuing to travel on the money we set aside each year for it.

But what if it doesn't work out? Anytime I share our plan with someone, I get a million questions. Most people are trying to convince me or maybe themselves that this goal is not achievable. Because if it is achievable, then it is achievable for them as well. Could it not work our 100% as planned? Definitely. But if it doesn't work out then I am just back to doing exactly what I am doing now until it eventually does work out. That means, that my current way of life is my worst case scenario. Both my wife and I have achieved many many things that others have told us was not possible or have tried to convince us otherwise. You do you and don't let others dictate your life choices. When someone asks what happens if it doesn't work our? Just ask them what happens if it does.


If you have any questions regarding our path, finances, tax preparation or tax planning, do not hesitate to send me a message. I want everyone to live their best life and I want you to know it is achievable. You can contact me through my website www.taxesfortravelagents.com As always, safe travels!


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