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From Financial Integrity

Tom Trimbath - Dream. Invest. Live.

  • Rural Northwest USA (originally suburban Seattle, now on an island vacation community)
  • Pacific Northwest, Puget Sound
  • single
  • no dependents


In 1995, Your Money or Your Life came to me from a very good friend. He hadn't finished reading it yet, but knew that it fit with my life and frugality. In March of 1996, my wife and I had read the book, followed its steps, and started tracking our Big Wall Chart. We were both frugal and had good jobs, so there was enough money to divert to investments. We preferred stocks. I'd invested in them since the late seventies, so the surplus went there instead of into bonds. It was the late nineties, which meant our portfolio grew. By the end of 1998 I suspected that we could retire, partly because of the money, but largely because YMOYL helped me understand the true costs of my preferred lifestyle.

As Vicki Robin put it in the new edition of Your Money or Your Life, "Tom loved it, but his wife found she yearned for a more traditional life."

Unfortunately, enough for two divided by two is not always enough for one.

Since the dissolution in 2005, I've moved to an island in the Puget Sound (Whidbey), maintained my frugal lifestyle, continued to invest in stocks, and have become an author and photographer.

Auspiciously and unknowingly, Vicki Robin and I moved to Whidbey about the same time. We lived within three small-town blocks of each other, so inevitably we met. I thanked her for helping me retire early, which is something she hears a lot. I also pointed out that the most common question at my book talks was about my story, "How did I retire so young?" I was surprised and honored when she asked me to join her team in re-writing her book, and also when she pointed out that my story could be a book that fit a niche and was an extension, not a redundancy, of her work. So, Dream. Invest. Live. was born.

Though as I write this I am not strictly FI, I am more comfortable than most. My lifestyle remains frugal because of what I learned in Step 4. Addressing my values and fulfillment balances my life. And while the best things in life may be free, my expenses dropped because I realized that a lot of the expensive things are very unfulfilling. Concentrating on the fulfilling parts of life is financially, mentally, and physically healthy.

As for the friend that recommended YMOYL, I don't think he ever finished it; but then, maybe he didn't need to. It isn't for everyone, but it works for me.

The subsequent story is richer. Episodes followed of stock losses, unemployment, and trying to sell a house under threat of foreclosure, and being acknowledged for hope through stylish frugality, optimism, and hard work. Read the details in Tom's Dream Invest Live Blog


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