Financial Independence Interview-The Money Mine


Who are you and tell me about your reason for setting a goal of FI? 

Hi, I’m Nick, a 34 years old living in the great city of Houston and I’m the man behind the I blog mostly about personal finance and my journey to Financial Independence, but I’ve also written several articles on self-development.

As you could guess, living in Houston, I work in … Oil & Gas of course!

With an MS in Computer Science, Oil & Gas wasn’t my industry of predilection (I was more interested in IT consulting) but after I quit my first job looking for growth, the industry welcomed me and has offered many great opportunities ever since (8 years and counting).

The funny thing is, I think I got hired on a misunderstanding.

I remember that interview as if it was yesterday. It was scheduled on a Friday night, at 6 pm, far in the suburbs and it was raining. This was the 10th interview I went to in 2 weeks, I was stuck in traffic and running 30min late. I wasn’t exactly at my best when I got there.

After the first hour of interview with the IT operations team, they took me to see the CIO for a 2nd interview. It was already 7 pm, again on Friday night, and I started to wonder if that company was either crazy or desperate. Then at some point in the interview, out of nowhere, the CIO told me:

“You’re not the guy for the job”.

Ah. OK.

“Well…” I replied to him, “After all our talking tonight, I do think I am the guy for the job you’re offering. My competencies and experience match what you’re looking for, if there’s a gap please tell me, but if you have more information than I do and you have a bad feeling about this, I’d prefer to not pursue this job either”.

Of course, I was totally not the guy for the job, but it was late on Friday and I felt like I had nothing to lose. The following week they called me for a 3rd interview and hired me.

This misunderstanding led me to meet my now-wife a few years later in the company. Soon afterward, she went to study for her MBA and we learned together about finance, business, marketing… But the most interesting to me was her class on Personal Finance. It got me super interested and when she finished 2 years ago, I really started to look into it.

We started to optimize our finances. We searched for a goal. I started blogging.

So I’ve learned that being opportunistic can open doors, sometimes a misunderstanding or luck helps. What matters is to try. So when EvenSteven came up with the idea of a Financial Independence Day where bloggers can register their FI date, I knew I had found a solid goal and I immediately signed up. Thanks EvenSteven!

If you would like to know how I plan to reach Financial Independence by 2022 and know a little more about me, I invite you to read these posts here and there.

Who got you started and who motivates you on your Financial Independence journey?

Initially, it started with me wanting to retire early so I could quit my job. I googled “how to retire at 40” which sent me to an article from FinancialSamurai describing exactly that and giving examples of people who made it. Then not only did I realize that this was possible, but I found a very inspiring and friendly Personal Finance community. Quickly followed the blogs of MrMoneyMustache and the famous Stock Series from jlcollinsh which opened my eyes on frugality and investment.

This is when I started to max out my 401k, opened a Vanguard account and tracked my finances in Personal Capital. I get a lot of motivation from reading all PF blogs and seeing how everyone is working and hustling hard to reach FI.

What or Who is your Why?

The ‘who’ of my ‘why’ is my wife, our family and my future self to whom I pledged to try to not screw him over.

I want my wife and my future kids to have options. Our goal with FI is to have the option to not have to work after 40 or do a job that we love even if it doesn’t pay well. I’d like to have time to spend with my (future) kids and take care of my family. I also want to minimize the regrets I may have in the future and since I see FI is within reach, it’s a goal I know I need to pursue.

Do you have any debt?  If so do you have a plan to pay this off before FI?

The only debt we still have is a mortgage on an investment property. The current rent covers the mortgage so we have no plan to pay that one early.

We did however, pay early a variety of loans that we didn’t feel comfortable keeping like personal loans, car loans, and students loans. It might or might not have been the best decision from a purely financial point of view, but it felt like the right thing to do to get rid of them.

What planned income streams are you working on towards FI and Early Retirement?

To work towards FI, we currently benefit from various income streams from our investment property, our stocks & bonds investments, and of course our regular paychecks which still remain the largest source of income by far.

Lending Club has recently expanded to Texas so I will look into adding Peer-to-Peer lending to the portfolio soon.

In parallel, we also have plans to start or buy a side business, so if anything works out on that front, things could change quickly. It was very inspiring to me to read about Laura’s experience over a MyShinyNickels when she bought a laundromat to generate passive income.


That would be a nice retirement home!!!

What are your plans during early retirement?  (Travel, special projects, part-time work)

What we would really like to do during Early Retirement is to travel the world. We have already visited our fair share of countries, but we haven’t seen parts of Europe and we definitely want to spend more time visiting Asia. I am always amazed at how much you can learn when you visit another country, especially when you have pre-conceptions. When we went to Greece for our honeymoon a couple of months back, we found a country that was much closer to paradise than the chaotic failed state that the media talk about. So yes, a lot more travel on the list!

We also plan on having kids and it is very likely that our life and priorities change again before we reach FI in 2022 so if Mom and/or Dad end up spending more time at home, I may very well spend a lot more time blogging too. That would also be a great early retirement option!

Did you enjoy the Financial Independence Interview and want to be included in our new series?  Please reach out to to be included in the special company of Financial Independence bloggers.

Want to share your Financial Independence Day, head over to my FI Day page to learn more.

Photo credits:

Featured Image-Houston at night: Katie Haugland (

That would be a nice retirement home: TheMoneymine ( )

11 Responses to “Financial Independence Interview-The Money Mine

  • Thanks EvenStevenMoney for the interview, this has been a fun experience!
    TheMoneyMine recently posted…4 articles that made me smarter this monthMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Happy to have you here, always enjoy hearing about someone’s journey:)

  • I remember reading about how she bought a laundromat. Having a business like that where it practically runs on it’s own is really interesting! Good luck with reaching FI in 2022. Sure you will do well with that goal!
    Michelle recently posted…What I Learned Having RoommatesMy Profile

  • Hey Nick. Hopefully $42 oil isn’t effecting you like it is a lot of people. Great story, especially about how you got hired. Couldn’t of been that big of a mistake by them since you didn’t get fired yet 😉 What you showed was courage and confidence, which I bet a lot of people are afraid to do in an interview. Take care.
    Fervent Finance recently posted…The Cost of an EducationMy Profile

    • Hi FF – What you call ‘courage and confidence’, the CIO later told me was ‘arrogance’. Ouch, haha.
      We eventually became good friends, but I guess there’s a fine line to walk there.

      Now with oil at 42$, it is challenging for the industry and it does force us to be more conservative with our own finances. Just in case. But who knows, it might eventually help us reach FI earlier!
      TheMoneyMine recently posted…Financial Independence Interview with EvenStevenMoneyMy Profile

  • Oil prices has definitely impacted the entire Alaskan economy, but I’m glad you two are rolling with it. I knew a guy who took a severance package from an oil company last year to leave the company and it ended up being $300,000! So maybe being cut wouldn’t be so bad!
    Maggie recently posted…Top 5 Life Regrets of the DyingMy Profile

  • A 300k$ severance package is huge! I’m not sure everyone got so lucky.
    How did he manage that?
    I can imagine how Alaska would be impacted by the downturn, hopefully you guys aren’t too affected and oil prices will go back up soon.
    TheMoneyMine recently posted…Financial Independence Interview with EvenStevenMoneyMy Profile

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