Teacher on FIRE: Guest Post on Principal FI

Laurie www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

Today, I’m excited to share a guest post I wrote on the new financial independence site for educators, Principal FI.

Principal FI is an educator as is his wife, and he writes for the education community about pursuing financial independence as a teacher or administrator.

Most of us see education as a profession with low pay, but Thomas Stanley found that this profession was one of the best (along with engineers) at converting their incomes into wealth. In fact, he found that educators were much better than so-called high-profile jobs like doctors and lawyers at converting their income into net worth. One of his hypotheses was that educators didn’t spend money on high-status items like cars, clothing, and housing, because no one expected them to be rich so they didn’t have to impress anyone.

I found this to be true at my old schools. The teachers I worked with tended to have frugal habits like bringing their lunches to school each day, driving older cars, and wearing everyday clothing.

So when I saw Principal FI’s Educators on FI/RE Series, I asked to tell my story. The blog features educators who are pursuing the Financial Independence, Retire Early movement, and I thought I’d add my (somewhat atypical) educator story to the blog.

Here’s the post:

Tell us about you. 

Hi! I’m Laurie, a 39-year old personal finance blogger, ESL teacher, and mom of 2. My family and I decided, almost three years ago, that we wanted to move from New Hampshire to be closer to family and have more freedom to travel. So we’ve been working on doubling our net worth and transitioned to remote jobs so we could move to North Carolina and travel extensively during our summers. I blog about our imperfect journey at The Three Year Experiment.

What do you like most about working in education?

I love helping kids and creating relationships with them. It makes me feel so good when kids feel like they can come to me for help with their problems, big or small. And I love when kids get excited about learning, and we dive deep into a topic together.

What do/did you like least?

The rigidity of the daily schedule of school really gets to me. I have to be at a certain place at a certain time, then have exactly 43 minutes to teach my class, then have to return kids to their classrooms by a certain time. That strict time schedule takes a lot of joy out of teaching.

What is your Why of Financial Independence? 

As I mentioned above, my family figured out three years ago that we wanted more flexibility in our lives. My husband is from Chile, and his entire family lives there. My family lives in the Carolinas. For us, the ability to travel for longer stretches and be closer to at least one side of the family was very important to us. When we lived in New Hampshire, we weren’t close to anyone. The only reason we were there was because of my husband’s job, which he loved. 

Last year, he negotiated for a remote position, and got it. I quit my two ESL teaching positions at the end of last school year, and we moved to North Carolina in July. Since then, he’s worked remotely from home and I’ve tutored and freelanced. I expect to get a part-time ESL role next year. 

While we aren’t FI yet, we have amassed a pretty decent net worth, and we anticipate retiring in ten years, when our youngest leaves for college. Both of us are happy with our work situations and look forward to a semi-early retirement (my husband will be 55 and I’ll be 50). But we have decided against a super-early retirement for a variety of reasons. One is that we want to be FatFIRE, that is, retire with a higher-than-FIRE-norm nest egg so we can spend a bit more in retirement. Two is that my husband grew up really poor and we figured out early on that for him, part of the enjoyment of life is the journey. It was important to him to move to a nice house, visit his family as often as possible, and help them out monetarily when we could. That has meant we’ve saved a bit less over the years, but we feel happy with the balance we’ve achieved. 

Are you:

  • FI Curious – Just learning and becoming interested in financial independence
  • Future FI – On the path, but still learning. Destined for financial independence!
  • FI Success – Financially independent!

We’re definitely Future FI. If our spending levels were (a lot) lower, we could retire now, but we want to bulk up our nest egg a lot more before retiring. We’re debt free except for our fifteen year mortgage, and budget one month ahead. We usually save about 40% of our income, and are planning to fund our two boys’ college years (at the state level, anyway). 

To read the rest of the post, head over to Principal FI.

Thanks so much for reaching and see you Wednesday!

Author: Laurie

Hi. I'm Laurie, and my family and I have set out to double our net worth and move abroad in the next three years. Join us on our journey!

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