the process

liebster award and more oversharing

we’re in full on oversharing mode lately, after our post on why we’re in a hurry to retire early and last week’s post on how we chose our financial independence day (when we’re planning to retire early, at ages 38 and 41, in less than three years). now fervent finance tapped us with a liebster award (thanks!) and asked us to answer some questions. fervent finance is a 27-year-old accountant in manhattan who is way ahead of the curve financially, figuring out a lot of huge financial lessons at an early age, and being well on the way to financial independence. definitely worth reading!

the liebster award is passed on from blog to blog to help the personal finance community discover new and upcoming blogs, while learning more about its bloggers in the process.

the rules are simple:

  1. you are to share 11 facts about yourself so readers can get to know you better.
  2. mention the person you nominated you.
  3. answer the 5-11 questions that the nominator asked.
  4. nominate another couple bloggers to receive the liebster award and ask them 5-11 questions.
  5. let your nominees know either by leaving a comment on their blog, sending them an email, calling them out on social media, etc.

so here goes…

eleven facts about us:

  1. we’re a married couple, currently 35 and 38, working toward a goal of retiring at the end of 2017, when we’ll be 38 and 41. we wrote about how we chose that date here, and are committed to quitting our jobs even if we can’t retire 100% at that point.
  2. we blog about personal finance, but don’t share our numbers (mainly) because we don’t plan to stay anonymous forever. once we quit we’ll put our names and faces up here, and share a lot more about us, and it feels weird to us to say “here’s who we are, and how much money we have.”
  3. we love dogs, and think they are great in multiples.
  4. our biggest budget line item in our retirement budget is grocery shopping — $800 a month. we’ve written about how we shop using reusable containers to save money and avoid tossing out all the typical grocery packaging, and it’s all in an effort to afford the healthiest food possible, which can be pricey. we’ve shopped with coupons in the past (kind of to the extreme), and while we did save a lot of money, we ate crap and felt like crap. we’ve since seen the light and think healthy food is worth the money.
  5. we consider ourselves environmentalists, and we try to balance our desire to save money with reducing the impact of our actions. we won’t buy disposable products even if they are cheaper, and we try to buy secondhand as much as possible – or just not buy something at all. with food, we strive for local and organic as much as possible. we keep our house cold in the winter and warm in the summer to save energy. (we’ll post more about this on wednesday – earth day!)
  6. we love music. recorded, concerts, festivals. we love it all. we travel for music as much as for anything else. we dance with the kids and don’t give it a second thought.
  7. we dream of buying a sprinter van to use as our traveling home when we retire. we’d like to get a used diesel model and convert it to biodiesel. we used to dream of having an airstream we’ve fix up, until we learned how heavy they are, and that you basically need a pick-up truck to pull even the smallest airstream. we’d rather have a smaller, more efficient vehicle, so an airstream is out.
  8. this thinking could change, but we don’t plan to downsize our house in retirement. it’s 1800 square feet, which is more space than we need for two people, but we frequently have guests, and we’d like to house swap a lot when we travel in the future, and figure a bigger house will give us more options. we’d also consider renting out a room air bnb style.
  9. we climb mountains. mostly 14ers at this point (14,000 foot peaks), but we have loftier goals when we can devote more time to the sport.
  10. we each have our own spreadsheets that we update almost every day. mrs. onl has a multi-tab book with net worth, overall budgets for now and the future, near-term retirement savings trackers (taxable accounts), and long-term retirement trackers (401k), along with a historical record of net worth growth over time. mr. onl has the master retirement projection scenarios spreadsheet, which shows how much we can expect to have at different saving levels and interest rate assumptions. we each built our own books out over time, and have never fully merged them because we each like our own format.
  11. we both come from homes in which our parents retired early, one because of disability (written about here), and one because of a military career (retired at 55). that could definitely have affected our thinking that we don’t want to work until 65.

answers to fervent finance’s questions:

  1. what is your favorite book (finance related or not)? he: a prayer for owen meany, by john irving. she: so hard, so many (big reader here). recent faves: all the light we cannot see by anthony doerr or the goldfinch by donna tart. all-time faves: the sun also rises by ernest hemingway or the complete works of shakespeare.
  2. favorite country you have traveled to? he: italy. she: germany. we have big international travel aspirations (central and south america, asia…), but we also think the u.s. is pretty amazing. can’t wait to crisscross it a bunch of times. canada too. this is a beautiful continent.
  3. if money was not an object, but you still had to work a 9 to 5, what career would you choose? base camp managers or medics for himalayan mountain climbing expeditions.
  4. what is one expense that mr. mm has probably cut out, but you will never be able to? see #4 above – our grocery bill. we did the super small grocery budget for a few years, and it wasn’t pretty. now even when we’re camping, we’re the weirdos with a cooler full of fresh produce instead of the usual beer and burgers.
  5. real estate or dividend producing stocks or index funds? mostly index funds with one rental property.

more than you wanted to know about us, right? ;-)

now it’s our turn to pass the award on, and we pass the liebster award to a few canadians (who, it seems, are way ahead of the curve on pf than us yanks, overall): freedom 35 and ms. canadian expat. freedom 35 is a pair of early 30s canadians now living in sunny and droughty california, with a young son, working toward financial independence by age 35. ms. canadian expat is in her early 30s, now living in germany, and working toward fi/re through passive income. we love that they both write like real people, and not pretend experts. check them out.

only a few questions for freedom 35 and ms. canadian expat:

  1. describe your dream day once you are able to retire early.
  2. once you’ve reached financial independence, do you have any creative trades or hobbies you want to pursue?
  3. where are you most eager to travel once you have time to travel slowly?
  4. what’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to further your fi/re goals?
  5. what financial advice do you wish you could go back and give your 20-year-old self?


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14 replies »

  1. I’m very much in support of more oversharing entries. :) Who knew Germany was one of your favourite countries?!! (well, you did but you know what I mean!) Thanks for the nomination, I’ll post my answers soon!

  2. “Medics for himalayan mountain climbing expeditions”: that sounds like the coolest job. If you like nature & mountains, you should check if the BANFF film festival is coming to your city, you’d probably love it!