Financial Independence Interview- The Roamer at Traveling Wallet

It was just recently that I met The Roamer at a little place called #FinCon15 and I was surprised to find out that she looked nothing like the stick figure carrying the luggage in her blog. Very similar to Even Steven Money, we look just a little different:)

You know when you meet someone and in an instant you can tell that they are a nice person? Yep, that’s the type of person we have the pleasure of meeting and learning about today. I always enjoy reading about people and what they are doing to reach financial independence and this story is no different. I won’t give away all the details but let’s just say we both know how to pay off student loans like the sun knows how to shine.  Might I casually mention that I hear you live in SoCal, sounds like I just found a place to stay for FinCon#16, you are the best!   Without further ado, I give to you The Roamer at Traveling Wallet.


Mr & Mrs Roamer 2

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

Hi Even Steven readers, I’m the Roamer and I write over at Traveling Wallet. Though I’m the main writer, Mr. Roamer has done 1 guest post. My kids; Minnie Roamer and Jr Roamer make several appearances as topic matter or pictures. We are a family of 4 that lives out it the uber expensive state of California. So Cal to be exact. But that hasn’t put a hamper on our FI dreams.

I use the term FI and early retirement interchangeably.  I always wanted to retire early I just thought it was going to be age 50. Now the goal is 40. Why FI you ask? Well, it’s to get in the driver’s seat of every aspect of our lives. When you need money you are limited in choices and time. I want unlimited choices especially when it comes to time. So reaching Financial Independence is key.

Our projected FI date is Oct 2026. But this is a very conservative projection. It assumes no raises, no bonuses and also doesn’t account for our 401k matches. So we completely expect to beat this date. The conservative projection also provides flexibility where if stuff changes negatively that date won’t really be pushed out because in reality we are saving more than we are projecting. 

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

It all started as me wanting to retire early at age 50. This means I was already doing a lot of reading regarding retirement, 401Ks and debt. I did a lot of retirement reading which was the only financially independent lifestyle I knew about back then. One day I was reading MSN money and ended up listening to an interview the Doughroller did with Mr. Money Mustache. That was a huge light bulb moment and it’s what got us started on this aggressive financial independence journey.

MMM is still a huge inspiration to me, he’s the benchmark. As I completed reading all his work, I started to branch out and was shocked by the existence of the whole PF blogger community. Finding this whole secret world was also very motivational. It’s nice to know there are other people out there with big dreams. The only problem is that like I said I have kids and 10 years from now one will be off on their own. So, on the other side I’ve found Paula’s afford anything super motivational too. Because it’s not about waiting for retirement to be empowered to live the life you want and that is also a revolutionary thought.

Roamer Family

My Who, Family and having time to make memories like this.

What or Who is your Why?

My why is 2 fold, there is most definitely a who and a what.

My Who: is my family. This journey is very much focused on improving our lives and relationships. This means being able to spend time together. We are a dual income family which means we spend a lot of time apart. This past year has been especially tough as my husband and I have been working opposite shifts. It’s been hard. I want to spend more time with him. Likewise my kids are constantly growing, and changing, I don’t want to miss it. I am doing it for them, for us actually and our relationships to each other. But since time waits for no man our focused spending has afforded us more options. One of which is cutting down to one income. Since I don’t want to miss my kids’ lives I am planning to take a year off from work to be home full time. That is going to be an emotional challenge on its own so we are happy to know that financially we can handle it.

My what: is travel. I lived outside the country as a child and it has shaped me. I want to continue to open my eyes and broaden my horizon to all the cultures in the world and I want to give my kids the wide perspective too. Traveling or moving around is something I can see pop up all throughout my life. Growing up I actually got upset when my dad bought a house because I knew it meant we wouldn’t be moving around anymore. I promptly left the state to attend university; to me the world is a big and exciting place. I just can’t relate to people who live their whole lives in the same city; never venturing out of the safety of their bubbles. Working towards FI means I will have the financial capability to do this more. But more importantly I will have the time.

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

Nope, no Debt!

Woo hoo!

We reached this happy milestone last year by first paying off the last of my student loans in March and using all the surplus money to pay off the 2 car loans by July. After that, we were 100% debt free. Let me tell you it’s amazing and the new surplus of cash flow is also amazing.

However, In the future we might potentially buy a home which would put us in debt most likely. I wouldn’t mind avoiding that ball and chain, I’d be all for a tiny house we could pay outright.

However, like you already know I want to travel so maybe home borrower debt is not in our future.

Either way it would have no or little impact on our projection because since we are renters we are accounting for that payment in perpetuity (which means forever 😉 ). We would shop smart and make sure our mortgage payment is less or equal to what we pay now; which shouldn’t be hard since we rent in California but would most likely buy in some other lower cost of living state. 

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

Mostly we are planning the standard, nothing really exciting here. Save enough so that assets produce enough money through dividends and interest. This will then be pulled and that will be our yearly income. I have always wanted to start my own business so that is something I am currently exploring. Who knows something might come of it and I’ll earn some money on the side. If that doesn’t pan out I might take a part-time job in something fun like a rock climbing gym. It would also be nice if my blog provided some income too.

Like I said, our plans require no new sources of income. But Mr. Roamer doesn’t sit still so I’m sure he’ll find something. Thanks Steven for the prompt now Mr and I have something else to discuss.

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

Initially, I would hope we’d just quit cold turkey but I don’t think that will happen. Most likely we will down shift initially, cutting our hours and getting comfortable with working less. Then I would hope we take a full year off with no work whatsoever.  This would be to really decompress and commune with ourselves, and our kids. I would love to just pick up the kids and travel.

Other things I’ve wanted to do but haven’t felt I’ve had the time would be. Learning to speak other languages (goes nicely with my desire to travel). Do more reading. Spend more time creating. Get into a consistent exercise routine. Explore frequently. Make friends. Institute dates with my kids. Oh and rock climbing, copious and copious amounts of rock climbing.

In all honesty though we really haven’t planned out what a day in retirement would look like.

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