Living The FIgh Life

Optimize your finances to gain control, free your time, and live your best life.”

– Justin

If you are interested in finding ways to re-think about the traditional relationship between money and time and how to optimize your finances to achieve your goals, then you are in the right place. I share thoughts and strategies on a variety of topics such as:

  • The path to financial independence and early retirement
  • The money mindset
  • Military, veteran, and government civilian benefits
  • Nomadic travel
  • Decumulation planning
  • Minimalism

My definition of financial independence (FI): the point after which you have enough passive income streams where paid work is optional and you have freedom to pursue your interests.

A little about myself:

Stoney Man Mtn Shenandoah National Park

Living through the economic challenges of the late 70’s and early 80’s with high unemployment and high inflation (~14%) rooted me with some good (and not so good) money beliefs. I have been frugal and debt averse, but also risk averse. I have owned and managed rental properties since 2005. I discovered FI concepts in 2017, and they allowed me to shift from a “I’ll have to work until I am 70” mentality, to leaving paid work just 3 years later. To be clear, I already had a strong financial foundation, but I needed a seismic shift in thinking – building a strong money mindset. This has been the real journey.

I served 20 years active duty in the Air Force managing commissary, exchange, and morale, welfare, and recreation programs, and, later as a DoD civilian, overseeing DoD policy for these programs. I attained basic financial independence in 2011 and full FI in 2017. I decided to leave my civilian job in 2020, declaring my “financial independence” from paid work 15 years before traditional retirement age.

Since 2017, I have coached dozens of friends, family members, and colleagues on financial matters from controlling debt and setting up a spend plan to early retirement and estate planning. After “FIRE’ing” from work, I went back to grad school to study history (a long-time passion of mine) – using my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit. But I kept finding my attention coming back to personal finance. I have spent thousands of hours reading financial-related books, articles, blogs, and listening to numerous PF podcasts. In early 2021, I started a personal finance coaching business. In 2022, I worked for a year in the DoD Office of Financial Readiness helping educate service members on personal finance but left that in January 2023.

My wife and I are now both retired (minor real estate work aside). We embraced minnimalism and sold or gave away all of our possessions except for a 5x5x7 container worth (stored in a friends basement) and we are pursuing our passion of learning about the world as full-time nomadic travelers (a carry-on and a small backpack each).

I started this blog in 2022 as a way to capture my thoughts on a myriad of topics. Thanks for joining me, I hope you will find something of value in these virtual pages.



PS: I recommend using an RSS newsfeed app to get notifications when I add new content as I am an inconsistent blogger (hey, I’m retired 🙂