On the outside, I look like a normal twenty something. I live in a run of the mill, one bedroom apartment in a boring commercial neighborhood. I dress pretty normal and sport a nice buzz cut hair style. I drive a car that blends right in with my peers. I even travel here and there like my recent trip to California along with a planned trip in 3 weeks to Florida. Things look pretty normal from the outside looking in. Sure, I am a tightwad, but all in all, it looks as if I’m just a tad thrifty and tend to clip coupons to save a few bucks here and there.
The thing that I’m afraid to break to these friends, peers, colleagues and even in some case, family, is “I live on a different planet than you”. I don’t mean for this to come off as arrogant and I’m certainly not implying that I’m better than anyone here. It’s just that I can’t tell them the full scale of what I’m doing because I’m living on a different planet.
So how does a person who’s living on half or less of their income live in a world that spends everything they make? Here’s how it’s done:
Keep It To Yourself
Telling your friends and family that you want to become financially independent in your 30’s is sure to shock their system. Although we know that it’s possible and that others have either already done it (Mr. Money Mustache), or are making serious progress towards achieving it (Dividend Mantra), regular people just don’t understand the things we humans can accomplish when we put our everything into it. And since people just can’t seem to handle the shock this craziness gives them, it’s best if you keep your crazy plans of early retirement/financial independence on the down low.
Write About It
Even though most people can’t seem to handle the craziness of you taking your life by the horns and changing it forever, there are others out there who want to hear about it. Some people want to know if what they’re feeling is okay. Sometimes, people are looking for inspiration. There are people out there who will seek out what you have to say and who’s lives you can impact by sharing your story, your “why” behind what you’re doing and your progress on making your goals happen. When I started to bore my family and friends by talking about saving money after getting out of debt, I turned to my new blog as a channel to talk about what I was doing. None of my real life family or friends wanted to hear about this. But luckily, there are thousands of people like you and me out there who apparently do want to hear about it. So I say, start a blog (get my free video series on how to get started) so you can talk about all the great stuff you’re doing in your life. There are people who want to hear about it and you can help people change their lives by sharing your story.
Develop Friendships with People Like You
A few months back, I reached out to Jason from Dividend Mantra to say hi. I connected with his blog and his story. We’re on similar paths. He’s around my age, works full time, saves over half of his income and has plans to reach financial independence/early retirement within the next 10 years. What a coincidence because that sounds a lot like my position. We’re now pretty good friends and we’ll be meeting for the first time in Florida next month. He’s a great person to talk to about all of this. When I’m on a different planet than everyone else I know here, he helps me feel like I’m on the right path anyway. When you’re doing crazy things to achieve the lifestyle you really want to live, you need to partner up with friends who will encourage you and motivate you to keep going. Regular people who aren’t “into” the stuff you’re into won’t offer much in the way of encouragement. Make sure to reach out and build these friendships.
Help Others Move to Your Planet
Little by little, I’ve persuaded people in my life to live differently. No one I know has completely adopted my strategy on going all in to achieve financial freedom, but I have definitely influenced change in people for the better. My sister and brother in-law just got out from under the soul crushing weight of debt this month. They did it over the course of the past few years while having two kids (my sister has stayed home with them) and with my brother in law finishing up his college degree (while being the breadwinner). What the….? Yes, they kicked it. They are debt free now and I influenced it. How awesome is that? If you’re doing awesome things and you can’t help but spill a little of the inspiration and persuasion out on those who are willing and able to pick up on it, by all means do it. You’ll likely help those people change their lives. What better thing is there?
Always Respect Others and Their Decisions
I try real hard to not come off as the preacher type. I also try not to judge others. Obviously, I disagree with the spend/work/spend rat race and am paving my own path out of it, but what about those who are happy on that path? Good for them. You won’t hear me judging people and calling them names because they choose to buy big houses or BMW’s with their paychecks. I won’t do it and I don’t believe it’s good for you to do it either, but who am I to judge? Do what you want and I’ll do what I want. I respect people who spend all their money. I just choose not to live like that. This blog and my attitude in general is one of helping people who want to be helped and letting everyone else alone. Go spend your money and live your life normal people. Just don’t ask that I live that way. I value respect and treating people kindly, no matter how they choose to live their lives. I think there’s enough nastiness and hate out there. That is not who I am and I wouldn’t recommend being like that to anyone.
It’s tough living on a different planet from those you interact with. But dangit, I keep at it because I know I am making my future better and that’s worth everything to me. Sometimes, the things that are the hardest are the best for you. No, actually that’s almost always the case, isn’t it?