From Financial Integrity
Mike and Linda - Getting back to tradition
- Urban, Midwest United States
- Multi-adult household
- No children/dependents
Before finding Financial Integrity, I would check investments on the hour as well as the last thing at night and first thing in the morning. We were going to trade and invest, and we were going to make a million dollars. I laugh at that now, not because we wouldn’t make a million, but because we thought maybe a million dollars would be enough. We had no clue. Soon everything in our lives revolved around making more money. And then the investment formula stopped working and the credit card bills started mounting. We actually had debt and we were working ten times harder than we ever had before. We realized the only one’s getting rich were the brokers, financial seminar leaders, and authors of all the books and tapes we were buying.
After six years of intense trading in the commodities and stock markets, the pressure started mounting in the “day job” too. I was called in to do presentations and run meetings for a gentleman who was having trouble speaking. The man confessed that for years he had found little fun or satisfaction in his job. I didn’t want to end up like that.
That same year we discovered the Tightwad Gazette and that led us to Joe’s audio course Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence.
I think we just realized we were fine without all the possessions. We came from the south side of Chicago – working class, very ethnic background, blue-collar workers everywhere, shift workers, real working people. To think that we needed all this stuff! Grandma never had this stuff – Mom and Dad were happy, and they never had a big fancy car or palatial estate… When the trading seemed like it wasn’t the answer either, it fell into our lap that enough is enough. We could be happy in the home we are in, driving the car we have, for the next twenty years!
Linda, who has been a homemaker since getting married adds: “I first thought frugality meant I couldn’t spend money on my hobby. Then I realized maybe I could make money with quilting. I started by teaching quilting at a local community college… then a quilt shop in the area asked me to teach for them. The best thing about this was that they gave me the fabric and books to make my quilts. Then they wanted me to work in the shop, and so it kept snowballing. What I thought was something I was going to have to cut back on turned out to earn money for me. I’m really having a ball because people are paying me to do what I love to do.”
In 1999, expense levels fell below investment income levels, and we had a “soft crossover” to financial independence. Nine years later, pension payments started coming, and our financial independence is secure. I now spend my time playing music, and Linda is writing her second book on fiber arts.
In May 2008, we moved into a brand new condo in a different town, leaving behind our home of 30 years in Chicago. We correctly anticipated the additional expenses of moving into a new place, but what caught me by surprise was the sheer volume of recording the multiple, daily expenses that came from moving. Receipts from the hardware store, home improvement center, grocery and health food stores piled up each day, and quickly became a chore to record. (Even with Quicken software and easily created Monthly Tab's, there was a lot to track). From handling all this on a daily basis, it occurred to me last week, "Is this the way most Americans live these days?..." Thank goodness today spending has returned to normal, minimal levels. Yeah!!
We use/used every bit of the program in making this decision, and we also used every bit of the spiritual awareness we've gained from doing all the Steps all these years (since 1992). Our Wall Chart and Monthly Tab's were enormous tools. We had 15 years of home expenses to the penny, so we knew what living in a house cost us. And we created projected Monthly Tabs to help us figure out what our expenses might be like up here. It is a wonderful community, so full of all the values we carry dear in our hearts.
It's a truly amazing program and we are forever grateful for all the years of effort and work that went into putting it in our hands in 1992.