Do you feel atypical from your peers?
Yes. I’m pretty much the only one who loves talking about money. I have no idea what my friend’s financial situations are, since they don’t really talk about it. They could be millionaires or broke as far as I know.
Is anyone else in your peer circle as FIRE focused as you are?
No one in my circle is FIRE focused. I hesitate to even say that I am. Right now I’m just concerned with paying off all of my debt, saving up for me and my husband’s financial goals, and earning more money. Coincidentally, those are the first steps towards FI.
The reason I hesitate is because I feel like if you’re going to shoot for FI, you need to be the most uber-frugal person ever and actively choose a high-paying career, and I am definitely not that. I am actively choosing to pursue a low-paying career (or trying to at least, if I could get hired). My husband also just doesn’t understand FI, since to him it seems like Mr. Money Mustache-style, and he’s definitely not down with sacrificing that much. He’s willing to work longer to afford luxuries like a car, video games, eating out, etc…
Did your parents teach you about money and saving?
Nope. I had a savings account as a kid, but I can’t even remember if my parents ever made me contribute to it or not. The only financial memories I have is my mom buying stuff and hiding it from my dad, and then trying to avoid my dad when he sat down to pay the bills in the evening once a month.
My mom signed me up for my student loans. She always told me I had to go to college, but they never had anything set aside for it. So, rather than apply for federal student loans after carefully calculating how much I’d need to take out, she just sent me a form and told me to sign it. A week later a check for $25,000 showed up in the mail. I did that twice, and now I’m paying them back plus an extra $10,000 or so in interest.
Do you wish you picked a different college/major?
Nope. I loved my major and my pick of colleges. If I had to do it differently, I probably would have gone the community college route at first. I didn’t even pay anything at all for my grad degree; I was actually paid by my school (University of Alaska Fairbanks) about $75,000 plus free tuition to get my master’s degree.