Building My Community

My mentors say that the best thing you can do for yourself is surround yourself with supporting people and people that inspire you to change into what you want to do with your life.

My husband and I want to retire early and maintain a healthy, active life. If that’s important to us, then we need to surround ourselves with people that are attempting and/or successful at doing that or at least, trying. The blogger community has several groups achieving this exact goal. I’ve mentioned Mr. Money Moustache and recently I’ve encountered Our Next Life. Reading their tips certainly is giving me more motivation to focus on our goals.

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The blogging community is fabulous and for the most part, super supportive. But it is necessary to create more community than the online world alone. We need tangible people in our lives that we can call and physically see. So I surround myself with people who are working hard to manage their small businesses and focused on similar values we have (like mind, body, fitness and health). My husband and I have a goal to eventually have an art business in our retirement. We do not necessarily want it to be the sole source of income, but it would be pretty dag-gone cool if we could learn from others how to manage ourselves better and maybe earn a buck or two to assist our “fixed income” status when we hit it.

And one last group of people that I am surrounding myself with are inspirational and strong women.

  1. I have a set of friends that are my therapy away from therapy. They are helping me organize my life and I am learning from their exposure to their mentors, who are high up management at places like Procter & Gamble.
  2. And then there are the women mentors I have at work that are either close to retirement or have climbed the corporate ladder to a point that I think I want to go before retirement.  Since it is Josh and my ultimate goal to use my income to get us to retirement quickly, the faster that I can climb the ladder with minimal work/life balance concerns, the more chances I will have to increase my income, pay down our debts and increase our savings. It all goes hand in hand.
  3. A new emerging group are women that I have met recently actually have given up their traditional, corporate life and exchanged it for non-traditional income generators. A friend of a friend just sold everything, built a house and moved to Florida after it was built. Insanity! But I envy her. She is doing some freelance work to make ends meet while she and her husband are, as she says, “hemorrhaging money”. They are confident they will figure it out. And the second friend that I recently encountered realized, at 35 years old, that she had a full year of income saved in her 401k which is what she always felt she needed to break free from the corporate chains. She told me that during a training at a corporate job she had for 11 years, she realized that there were two types of people in the room – the eager young group and the tired, disgruntled older group. She knew she didn’t have the energy that the younger group had (never did according to her comments) and she didn’t want to be like the older group that was disgruntle and tired. So she cashed in her 401k, committed financial suicide in advisor eyes, and went to school to be a massage therapist. What an inspirational story!

puzzleAnd amidst all of these goals and inspirational women in my life, I am watching a friend go through a horrific event. She is a week or two away from being a widow. She hasn’t even celebrated their first wedding anniversary. It is breaking my heart for her, and it has me reflecting on what is important to me. The most important person in my life is my husband. I want to spend as many healthy years as possible with him enjoying the sea, creating art together and building a life that we cherish together. I do not believe he was created to sit behind a desk, so the faster that we can break out of the four corporate walls, the better we will be. And we certainly do not want to do what we see regularly in our family and colleagues: work until retirement only to get sick and die. So, we’re going to figure out how to do this faster and building our community is a big piece of that puzzle.

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