“Benefit from the Pilgrimage as A lot because the Vacation spot”

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[I love hearing how people’s FIRE journeys twist and turn over time. Today’s guest post is from Olaf, a.k.a. the “Mile High Finance Guy” who shares his story and some epiphanies during his pursuit of financial independence. My fav part is Olaf’s overarching conclusion: “Enjoy the pilgrimage as much as the destination.”]


Hello world, I’m Olaf.

I’m the Mile Excessive Finance Man. As we speak, I wish to share my story of how FIRE has profoundly impacted my life and the teachings I’ve discovered alongside the best way.

Why do you have to be part of me on in the present day’s expedition? As a result of FIRE took me from the world of wine to monetary providers to running a blog and gave me the braveness to take big dangers alongside the best way. So, with out additional ado, right here we go!


Again in 2014, I used to be a latest school graduate. Having attained a Bachelor of Science in Enterprise Administration, the world was my oyster. However first issues first, I wanted a break earlier than spending the subsequent 40-plus years of my life climbing the company ladder. Or so I believed. 

So, with ample financial savings readily available for such a state of affairs, I took a three-month intermission spent mountain biking. Over 90 days, I rode practically 90 trails between the Mile Excessive Metropolis and Moab. Life was good. However as these remaining days weaned, so did my checking account. So, off to the world of 9-to-5s I went!

Practically instantly, I fell into an uncommon job by who I knew, not what I knew, and I used to be working for a international vineyard, serving to develop their U.S. presence and gross sales. Quick ahead 5 years, and plenty of cross-country wine tastings, festivals, and dinners later, it grew to become readily obvious that the enterprise wanted a brand new route. After a lot analysis, I decided both a bodily tasting room or a digital strategy was required going ahead. 

So, I put my job on the road and offered the proprietor with my ideas. After deliberation, the proprietor and I made a decision the very best plan of action, given his altering objectives, was to cut back spending and transfer towards a digital strategy that noticed my earnings and time spent minimize by 2/3. 

Newsflash: I now wanted to search out new full-time employment, as my job-turned-side-hustle was now not sufficient.

Throughout this time of upheaval, I used to be recognized with a hip defect that my out of doors way of life had aggravated (ah, to be a Coloradan) and now wanted main surgical procedure in my late twenties. Moreover, lots of my closest mates moved throughout the nation, and one other had proven their true colours and required parting methods. Amplifying these occasions was my incapability to discover a job regionally in my space of experience.

Quickly I skilled nervousness and despair for the primary time in my life. When it pours, it rains (or snows)? I do stay in Colorado, in spite of everything. 

So, with Colorado being a state not identified for wine (beer and marijuana are one other matter), I contemplated my subsequent steps. Fortunately I had a supportive accomplice who’s now my partner.

Throughout this reflection, I weighed restarting my profession quite than heading west towards the wine nation. 

However, if not wine, what was subsequent? The reply burned within the embers of my FIRE journey.

FIREing Right into a New Job

Shortly into my journey of getting into the skilled world, I stumbled upon Monetary Samurai. The invention led me to search out Budgets Are $exy, Mr. Cash Mustache, Doctor on FIRE, and plenty of different cash blogs. 

Earlier than I may say Monetary Independence, Retire Early, I had begun saving a big chunk of my earnings. I used to be pruning bills left and proper, utilizing Excel Spreadsheets to craft attractive budgets, and spouting the wonders of compound curiosity!

Consequently, my immersion into the world of non-public finance sparked and supplied the ignition for my subsequent skilled endeavor: monetary providers. 

A Speedy Development and Departure

Inside six months of getting into the monetary providers business, I attained my Sequence 7 & 66 licenses. Subsequent, I moved from an introductory position into an advisory one, consulting with outlined contribution contributors concerning their retirement financial savings. Typically, I might advise on what to do with previous 401(okay) plans. 

(Outlined contribution is a flowery means of claiming 401(okay) and 403(b) plans.)

Then, inside 5 months, throughout which I had a big surgical procedure unrelated to my hip, I discovered myself within the Pandemic Plunge whereas relearning learn how to stroll

As all hell broke free in February and March of 2020, the inventory market noticed breakers triggered every day to halt the sell-off. Not was the recommendation that I used to be giving was theoretical. As a substitute, it grew to become actual. 

The Corona Crash and its Aftermath

In the course of the chaos, I had many heartfelt conversations with people who had simply retired, have been nearing it, or had skilled a layoff. Others had simply began investing and have been frightened. Regardless, these people wanted their cash to be there for them in days or years forward, and their accounts have been free-falling. 

The most typical query I obtained was learn how to cease the bleeding. Whereas to seasoned traders, such an concept could appear faulty, think about that many (however not all) employer-sponsored retirement traders stumble into investing by gaining a job. 

I helped folks find out about investing by the numerous telephone calls, reconfigure their portfolios to match their danger tolerance, and lift money for his or her rapid dwelling wants (if laid off with no emergency fund). 

On the identical time, whereas many individuals listened to me about tuning out the turbulence, others didn’t and selected to promote their whole portfolios. Nonetheless, I respect these selections, as it’s their cash. It by no means was my job to drive folks to do what I believed was finest, solely to supply them with steerage. If they may stay awake at evening, they wanted to take motion.

After the chaos subsided and the markets stabilized (from unprecedented stimulus measures), life returned to considerably regular within the monetary service business. Quickly after, I obtained a promotion to the next tier of the identical job, serving to shoppers with greater incomes and internet worths. Then, later that yr, I had hip surgical procedure after a delay because of the extra pressing surgical procedure that had preceded it. 

Upon getting back from hip surgical procedure, I quickly obtained one other promotion to the highest tier inside my division. Nonetheless, that didn’t final lengthy, as 4 months later, I discovered myself longing for extra and quitting my position on account of disagreements with the division’s route. By this level, I found that my job wasn’t aligning with my objectives, and the change in higher administration and technique, paired with the fixed nameless grind of working in a telephone heart, led to me extinguishing this job in hopes of some therapeutic.

Reborn From the Flames

Once I give up, my partner and I have been effectively on the best way towards FIRE. However being depressing is an terrible factor. 

Luckily, FIRE offers you the facility to say sufficient is sufficient and alter instructions, even if you happen to haven’t reached it but.

So, with ample financial savings, a steady and fulfilling job for my supportive partner, and a facet hustle earnings stream from wine consulting, I stated goodbye to my six-figure 9-to-5 job.

Nonetheless, what started as a sabbatical with no finish aim in thoughts quickly was a brand new mission. 

You see, I knew once I give up that I needed to share data, however I wasn’t positive how. However in the future, it struck me: I may share my views and data by a weblog, like lots of my aspirational figures. Therefore, Mile Excessive Finance Man was born. 

Now, I work two part-time jobs as a vineyard marketing consultant (for a similar vineyard) and funding advisor whereas working my weblog full-time. I discover my life rather more fulfilling, however that doesn’t imply that nervousness and despair don’t sometimes make their ugly heads identified. In any case, to be human is to be imperfect.

My Struggles and Classes Realized

I’ve lengthy been obsessive about endeavors I embark upon, as I discover stability and moderation theoretical quite than sensible. Subsequently, all through my skilled journey and up till lately, I struggled with frugality and spending. 

I typically pivoted too onerous into saving and refused to exit with mates up to now. In any case, if the cash wasn’t in my funds, it wasn’t there to spend! However such pondering was mistaken. 

As a substitute, saving and frugality are about having fun with the pleasures of life whereas slicing down on the issues that aren’t. The result’s a fulfilled current and brighter future. 

Newsflash: If you happen to can not benefit from the current with out stressing about each greenback, you now not stay a satisfying life. As a substitute, you could have gone from strategic spending to cheapness (until you wrestle with poverty).

Thus, my largest lesson discovered throughout my journey in the direction of FIRE thus far is to benefit from the pilgrimage as a lot because the vacation spot, as issues gained’t magically change when you arrive. 

Moreover, I put an excessive amount of of my life on maintain to avoid wasting extra. Don’t do this. Discover a stability of spending and saving that works for you, as life is simply too valuable to delay or procrastinate away. 

As a result of cash is equal components math and feelings, discovering stability gained’t all the time come straightforward. However, reaching monetary freedom ought to nonetheless be the aim, no matter how lengthy it takes. 

Whereas you’ll possible face pressure from saving initially, that can most likely move. Nonetheless, if saving turns into self-imposed deprivation, you could have gone too far. 

For me, FIRE has advanced into FI, as I by no means need to retire early. As a substitute, I need to do what I would like, once I need, and nevertheless I would like. To me, which means empowering others to find out about private finance and having fun with the outside Colorado has to supply. For my partner, which means serving to others and making an impression, which she already does by working in well being care. Thus, whereas we each might by no means formally retire (till previous age slows us down), you may guess we can be FI till then. 

My 6 Takeaways On Cash & Life

  • Having fun with the journey of FIRE is as essential as reaching the vacation spot. So, study to get pleasure from in the present day as a result of life doesn’t magically change whenever you arrive.
  • Strike a stability between saving and spending that achieves your objectives within the current and future. Ideally, if you happen to aren’t in poverty, discover a option to save a minimum of 20% of your earnings, however ideally extra.
  • Cash is equally emotional and numerical, so don’t grill your self too onerous about errors, and you’ll want to have a good time your wins!
  • Be taught your danger tolerance and make investments accordingly, as anybody can benefit from the positive factors throughout a bull market, however not everybody tolerates downturns with grace. By investing in a balanced portfolio that matches your danger tolerance, you can be able to face volatility.
  • Having an emergency fund when you are in your accumulation part is crucial. By doing so, you insure in opposition to an unexpected layoff and supply your self with a security internet.
  • Ask your self what you might be genuinely making an attempt to realize with FIRE. If you happen to can implement any of it in the present day, achieve this! 

Thanks for studying my story. I hope you discovered it useful, and I might love to listen to your ideas and questions within the feedback under.


[Olaf is a millennial who has a passion for personal finance! When he’s not typing awesome blog posts, he likes mountain biking, hiking, and traveling. Check out more posts over at his blog – Mile High Finance Guy]

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