A Canadian family's journey to financial independence

The Second Date

The Second Date

I haven’t been on a second date in ages. And that is what this blog post feels like. Mr FNB and I have been married for almost ten years, and together for even longer than that. We started dating before Facebook, Tinder, and smart phones; heck, he didn’t even have a cell phone when we met (THE HORROR).

dating strangers
Second dates: let’s stare deep into each others eyes while we hold in our farts and hide our weirdness.

A bit more about us. We are a Canadian family of four humans and one dog living in Southern Ontario (outside the GTA). Mr FNB works full-time in consulting; I work part-time for the government. We both have university degrees and are shockingly working in fields related to what we went to school for. I also do a side hustle (not MLM!) in my “free time” (moms everywhere can start giggle-snorting uncontrollably now) which brings in some decent income. Our sons are aged three and five, in daycare and in senior kindergarten.

Mr FNB (that acronym is seeming a bit much, I think I need to think of a new one already! –> thanks to A over at Tread Lightly, Retire Early for the suggestion to shorten FITNB to just FNB – it feels lighter already!) and I have always been naturally thrifty. We have never carried credit card debt; we did have student loans, but they were paid off well before we turned 30 (thank you, Canada, for affordable schooling compared to our neighbours down south). Before having children we saved up to slow travel internationally for months at a time, not “hacking” any of it, just choosing countries where we could stretch our loonies and toonies the farthest. We have always saved and invested without a specific goal.

Then a few years ago I found Mr Money Mustache (hereafter referred to as MMM). At first I felt it was all a bit extreme. I mean, this guy retired in his 30s! With less than the millions of dollars my financial planner told me we’d need (spoiler alert: we broke up with that financial planner last year and couldn’t be happier). MMM advocates being in charge of your own investments – and for someone who has a mental block when it comes to income tax, that seemed unfathomable to me. Plus his followers called themselves Mustachians and followed a certain brand of FI/RE – quite honestly, it all reeked of a cult without the purple drinks.

Every once and awhile I’d go back and read a bit more. I dipped my toe in the forums once or twice. Then finally about a year and a half ago, something clicked. I realized that early retirement might actually be a possibility for us. I’d send the odd article to Mr FNB, and he responded positively. We both did a lot of reading and learning. We broke up with our (very nice, but very wrong) financial planner and starting managing our own money. And it all started feeling very, very right.

What makes us unique to some other FI/RE bloggers? While we earn a solid middle class income, we don’t earn the combined $150,000+ (CAD!)  that many people on this journey do. I’m on the fence about sharing Our Numbers but we estimate we can reach our Goal Retirement Number in ten years or less. We are doing this by optimizing our spending and being naturally frugal; we don’t really budget (more on that later), and we do still spend money on what matters to us and what improves our life. But we don’t live a monk’s life either.

I am blogging anonymously (for now) since we haven’t really Gone Real Life yet. We mentioned our goals to a few people who I don’t think really believe us. Our jobs are secure but you never know what can happen when your boss find out their late-30s employee is planning to quit in under a decade. So for now, we keep practicing Stealth Wealth. Looking at our family from the outside, I doubt anyone would guess our monthly savings rate or end goal. I love the online FI/RE community for helping us feel like we are not total weirdos who prioritize future goals over consumerism and daily Starbucks.

But, you can pry my occasional Tim Hortons iced capp from my cold, dead hands. I’m only human.