Our Money Catastrophe: Guest Post on Money with a Purpose

Hi there! Today I’ve written a guest post over at the excellent site, Money with a Purpose. Money with a Purpose is a personal finance blog run by Fred Leamnson, a financial advisor who writes about money, but also shares the hard stuff, like the emotional and financial implications of addiction in your adult children. He talks honestly and compassionately about such a difficult topic, and it’s one that he’s lived (and is living) through.

Our Money Catastrophe: Guest Post on Money with a Purpose www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

Fred has a new series called Overcoming Adversity about people who live through money catastrophes, so I volunteered to share ours. I’ve never shared it on the blog before, so you should check it out!

Here’s the first part:

Tell Us About Yourself.

I’m Laurie, a 39-year-old teacher, mom, and personal finance blogger. I write about location independence for families on my blog, The Three Year Experiment. I have one husband (I don’t think I could handle more) and two boys aged 11 and 8, who go by Junior and Little ThreeYear on the blog.

My family currently lives in North Carolina, which is a story in and of itself. We just moved to a delightful little town called Davidson in July, and we are location independent, as Mr. ThreeYear and I both work from home.

new neighborhood Davidson nc www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Our new neighborhood in North Carolina.

Currently, I’m a freelance writer and blogger, although I will probably return to my day job, teaching English as a Second Language, next year. I took a year off to help the boys get settled in their new schools. We also just got a puppy named Lucy, which is a bit like having another kid, so I’m busy with her as well.

We love to travel, especially to South America, where my husband is from, and to Charleston, SC, where we enjoy time at our family beach house.
I wish I had fascinating things to tell you about how I spend my time. But the truth is that I do very mundane things. Some things I’ve done this week: walk the dog, buy groceries, read The Rational Optimist, visit my son’s school counselor, make an appointment with the pediatrician, make bread, write a couple of freelance articles, drink gallons of coffee, pick up some scones at the coffee shop and eat them with my sister, talk to Mr. ThreeYear on the phone (he’s on a work trip), rescue a kid out of a tree, clean up dog throw-up (she ate a sock), and fold four loads of laundry. Fun times.

Lucy dog in bathroom www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
She’s cute, but a lot of work.

Tell us a little bit about your career path.

My career path, like the career path of many married women who decide to become stay-at-home moms, is irrevocably intertwined with that of my husband.

When I started out in the workplace, I was living in Santiago, Chile. My first real job was working with exchange students at the Catholic University of Chile’s Business School. I negotiated exchange contracts with international universities, oversaw the application process, built a website, and counseled both international and Chilean students on the exchange process. It was a job I completed mostly in Spanish, my second language, so to say it was challenging would be an understatement.

When Mr. ThreeYear and I moved back to the US two years later, to start our “real” careers (that was how I thought of things at the time), he quickly got a job with a Fortune 500 corporation, but I couldn’t find a job anywhere. I eventually took a job as an intern at an advertising agency, at 25 years old (unpaid!), working my way up to Account Executive in two years. Then, I got pregnant with Junior ThreeYear. Suddenly, all my career aspirations took a back seat to motherhood. As soon as I held my son, I knew I couldn’t let him grow up in daycare. There was no job that I wanted to do badly enough to let someone else raise him.

I am ALL FOR working moms. My sister has always worked, my mom worked while we were growing up, and I love and admire moms who do it. In fact, most of my friends and family were absolutely shocked that I chose to be a stay-at-home mom to my boys. But it turns out that the thing I’ve come back to, again and again, is raising my kids, wanting to give them as much of my time and presence as I can.

This meant, starting in 2008, that Mr. ThreeYear was the sole income provider. It was pretty stressful, considering we lost 45% of our salary and his company had had six cycles of layoffs in the previous five years. In addition to being a stay-at-home-mom, I also became emotional support and cheerleader for my husband, giving him pep talks, helping him write and rewrite important emails, encouraging him when he felt overwhelmed or stressed. His success was my success, and I did what I could to keep things running smoothly at home so he could focus at work.

For the rest of the conversation (and the money catastrophe), head over to Fred’s site, Money with a Purpose

How We Save Money on Travel with Kids: Guest Post on M$M

Travel with kids can be a scary concept for some people. Just thinking about flying with your baby can inspire terror in the most stoic of travelers.

How We Save Money on Travel with Kids: Guest Post on M$M www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

And while I admit that flying with our youngest was the reason that we have two, rather than three, kids today, traveling with kids can be done in a way that creates good memories for the whole family. Yesterday our story was featured on Millennial Money Man‘s blog and in it, I shared some tips we’ve gathered during the past few years for traveling with kids and sticking to your budget.

Related Reading:

Bobby is the millennial behind Millennial Money Man and his story is pretty cool. He used to be a high school band director, but after paying off $40,000 in debt on his teacher’s salary, he started a blog, and then decided he was going to turn the blog into a business. He shares his monthly blog income reports and he’s been pretty successful so far. While our family is obviously far from the millennial category (although my sister tells me I am now officially a millennial because they’ve decided to include ’79ers), I know there are a lot of people with kids, or thinking about having kids (like Bobby and his wife Coral) and they’re wondering how to fit kids into their travel plans.

While I didn’t include details about how to survive the plane rides (drug your kids), I did include other tips about making travel work with limited travel dollars. So read on! (And I’m kidding about the drugs–sort of).

How We’re Saving for Our Dream: Guest Post on Mustard Seed Money

Today I’m very excited to be featured on Mustard Seed Money. Rob paid off his house and is approaching early retirement before 40, while never earning a 6-figure salary. His website is full of practical advice and specific ideas you can use to improve your financial life.

How We're Saving for our Dream: Guest Post on Mustard Seed Money www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

On his site, I’m sharing ways that Mr. ThreeYear and I are saving and investing to become location independent.

Here’s an excerpt from the post: Continue reading “How We’re Saving for Our Dream: Guest Post on Mustard Seed Money”

When You Want to Move, But You’re Scared

Sometimes, new opportunities can seem amazing. Becoming location independent, traveling the world, taking a job in a foreign country.

Move Scared Bali Coast Blue Ocean www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

But let’s face it. Those opportunities can also be terrifying. How do you leave a place where you’ve lived, maybe for years? How do you take your kids out of the only school they’ve ever known? How do you leave your family behind?

Related Reading:

With exciting new opportunities come LOTS of feelings. Mr. ThreeYear and I have wrestled with lots of these feelings and emotions during our three year experiment. And it turns out, we’re not the only ones.

Jaime, who runs the blog Keep Thrifty with her husband Chris, is facing the same daunting challenges of leaving what she knows and loves to face the great unknown as her family debates taking another year of mini-retirement, going back to traditional corporate jobs, or moving somewhere new.

Like us, Chris and Jaime are contemplating moving somewhere new or possibly, extended travel. They have lived their entire married lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and are surrounded by their extended families, whom they and their three girls see regularly. They’re facing the uncertainty and guilt of leaving behind their families in the face of a really strong pull towards adventure.  Continue reading “When You Want to Move, But You’re Scared”

How I Met Mr. ThreeYear and Became a Financial Nerd: Guest Post on Chief Mom Officer

Hi all! Today, I’m really excited to have a guest post over on Chief Mom Officer’s awesome site on how Mr. ThreeYear and I met and how I became the financial nerd I am today. Liz, AKA Chief Mom Officer, and I have been “blog friends” for almost as long as I’ve been blogging, and we’re now IRL friends, too, since we got the chance to meet in person in Boston last fall.

How I Met Mr. ThreeYear and Became a Financial Nerd: Guest Post on Chief Mom Officer--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

The things I love about Liz are how focused and no-nonsense she is, and how passionately she advocates for financial literacy for women and moms. She gets a LOT done in a day, a week, and a year, and part of that is because she has crystal-clear goals: Continue reading “How I Met Mr. ThreeYear and Became a Financial Nerd: Guest Post on Chief Mom Officer”

How to Cut the Cord: Guest Post on 99 to 1 Percent

Our family is on a three-year journey to double our net worth, sell our house, and become location independent–in other words, to cut the cord and travel.

If you haven’t read our complete story, it was just featured on the blog 99to1Percent.

How to Cut the Cord--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

99 to 1 Percent

Here’s a sample:

Have you ever woken up to a truly terrible winter day, with snow and sleet pouring down, gray clouds and cold everywhere, and thought, “Get me out of here! I want to live somewhere warm and tropical!” before you pulled the covers back over your head? Continue reading “How to Cut the Cord: Guest Post on 99 to 1 Percent”