I had the opportunity to meet Alli and Matt from OwenYourFuture.com and learn about their story at FinCon back in September. They have an incredible story and did something only a few people would dare to do. Which is quit their 6 figure jobs and travel the country in a van. I hope you enjoy today’s guest blog post!
My husband Matt and I were living the quintessential American dream – we were homeowners, we were newlyweds, and we each earned six figure incomes. But in April of this year, we quit our jobs, rented out our house, and self-converted a van. In May, we moved into that van fulltime and have travelled 15,000 miles since. So, what caused us to turn our lives upside down?
It all started in 2014, when I ran across a Mr. Money Mustache article “The Surprisingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement,” I immediately sent it to Matt. After he binged all 200+ blog posts on that site, the wheels were churning and they couldn’t be stopped.
At that time, we were maxing out our 401k’s, but other than that, we were spending everything we earned. I didn’t blame us though – we were just doing what everyone else did!
Once we discovered FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), we spent the next 4 years ramping up our savings rate, eventually saving 70% of our after tax incomes. We had planned to save up 1.2 million and then retire early, but we never made it there. As Marketwatch put it, we were FIRE failures.
So what happened? A few things:
- We got really clear on what we wanted our ideal life to look like. We realized that when we reached FIRE, we didn’t want to stop working. We just wanted to work on things that brought us more joy. So, we thought to ourselves, why couldn’t we start working on those joy-producing (and hopefully income producing) businesses, now? Why did we have to wait until we had 1.2 million in the bank?
- We both didn’t enjoy where we were living (Bakersfield, California) and our mental health was struggling working 12+ hour days in our 9-5’s and then spending nights and weekends on our two side-hustle businesses. We also wanted to start a family and plant roots somewhere we could see ourselves living long term.
- We realized that even though we were on the fastest path to FIRE, if we continued down that path, we actually wouldn’t be creating the ideal life we wanted to live. So we became FIRE dropouts. Matt wrote this post diving deep into evaluating the risk when leaving our jobs.
The funny thing is though, leaving our jobs was actually the easiest part. The hard stuff came after. (the Marketwatch article above talked about some of it)
Since then, we’ve had numerous days where we doubted our decision, where we regretted leaving only halfway to FI. We questioned if we made the right choice, and we’ve talked about going back to work. Our businesses haven’t grown as fast as we expected (this is not surprising to anyone who has started a business), and mentally it is challenging to watch the numbers on our bank account drop every. single. month.
But we’re giving ourselves more time. We’re going to go “ALL IN” for the next 3 months before we consider going back to work. And if we do end up going back to work, it will likely just be one of us. We don’t want to give up on the businesses just yet, but we also have to consider our own personal risk tolerance and what’s best for us.
So if you’re looking to make a big change in your life or career, I hope our story inspires you or at least opens your eyes to some of the challenges we’ve faced! While Instagram might glamorize the entrepreneurial lifestyle, it is still life, which means there will be the inevitable ups and downs.