There are so many families in the world who are trying to reach FIRE. We have really enjoyed sharing these stories with you. And hope to provide you with a little bit of inspiration to keep on working towards your goals.
Being a family working towards FI isn’t much different than if kids were not in the equation. But one thing that does stand out when you do have a family is finding that work/life balance.
This is especially evident with kids because they are dependent on you for so many things beyond their basic needs. It is our responsibility to not only provide for our children but to educate them and set the best example possible for them.
In today’s Families Who FIRE interview, we talk to Leigh from the YouTube Channel “Family Finance.”
Leigh touches upon this challenge of working to increase income to reach the goal of FIRE while making sure to have the time to spend with her kids.
Hope you enjoy the interview!
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Meet today’s FIRE family:
We are a family of four. We have two boys, aged 18 months and 4. I am 35 and my husband just turned 41. We are middle income earners and earn about $125k combined. We live in Brisbane Australia.
What are your occupations and income level?
I work part-time as a teacher and my income is $50,000 a year. My husband is a self-employed electrician and his income is about $65,000 a year.
When did you start your FIRE journey and what motivated you to start?
We started 3.5 years ago after my first son was born.
As for the motivation, I suppose it was the realization that we had another person to look after and to provide a future for.
It was at this time that I decided that I better take more of an interest in our finances. That’s when I stumbled across The Barefoot Investor. Since then I have been going down the rabbit hole of reading and consuming as much FIRE content as possible.
Were you and your husband always on the same page when it came to your goal of FIRE or did one of you need more convincing?
We are both on the same page now. But I think my husband was most enticed with the idea of not having to work.
He’s a spender though and given the chance he would have our money spent in a heartbeat without even realizing it. So I often have to remind him of our goals to keep him on the right path.
What strategies do you use to reach your goal of Financial Independence?
Keeping track of our expenses and cost of living has been a game changer for us.
I’ve always been pretty good with money and always spent less than I earned. But I never realized how much more potential there was for us to save even more money.
It’s interesting that we are now saving more than ever, even though we are earning less than we did before having children.
Do you feel that saving money is more difficult with children?
I think it is difficult to save money once you have children due to the loss of income and the cost of childcare.
In saying that, we are currently saving more than ever since having children. But that is only because after having children we decided that we needed to set up our financial future.
It’s interesting that having children made us realize that we needed to have a plan. I’ve always been a saver but never had a plan and who knows where that money is now!
Are there any particular blogs, podcasts, books, etc that you have found helpful and inspirational to reach FIRE?
Aussie Firebug was my first introduction to FIRE and the initial inspiration to begin our FIRE journey.
I really liked Peter Thornhill’s Motivated Money and his investment strategy which is focused on dividend investing.
I recently discovered so many wonderful Instagram accounts focused on reaching FIRE. These accounts are what are keeping me motivated on the daily.
When do you expect to reach FIRE? What is your plan when you meet you goal?
We expect to reach FIRE in ten years.
This would include a two part strategy where we live off our pre-retirement investments until we have access to our retirement investments.
Although we don’t plan to fully retire once we reach FI.
My husband would probably retire at this point. But I think it would be wise for me to work for a few more years to create a bit of a safety net.
Being a teacher, I think I will always work casual days here and there just to keep my registration current.
I also discovered recently, when I was on maternity leave, that I need something to keep my mind active. Which is why I recently started a YouTube channel. This is also something that I would continue to do.
What is the focus of your YouTube Channel?
My YouTube channel is focused on personal finance. In particular our finances. I share our journey towards financial independence as well as what I’ve learned along the way.
I was looking for a way to combine my passion for personal finance with my teaching.
I’m really enjoying creating the videos and the positive feedback from the community has far exceeded my expectations.
What has been the most challenging part of your FIRE journey?
The most challenging part of our journey so far, is probably realizing that we should’ve started a long time ago.
I also find it challenging to try to find the balance between increasing our income so that we can increase our savings rate, and work part-time so that we can spend time with our two boys.
What advice would you give to other families who have a goal of FIRE
My advice for other families who are trying to reach FIRE is to keep a record of your journey because sometimes it may feel like you’re not making a lot of progress, but you actually are.
Related Articles to Reach FIRE:
- Families Who FIRE: Kayla and Ryan from Family and FI
- How to Save Money and Never Pay Full Price Again
- Live Your Life to the Fullest
Connect with this FIRE family:
I want to thank Leigh for sharing her story with us! It is always great to get a different perspective on how a family can work towards FI.
You can continue to follow Leigh and her family on their FIRE journey on her YouTube channel Family Finance.