The past 8 months have been a bit of a whirlwind. I don’t mean that in a bad way either. I figured a blog post was long overdue to lay out what I’m going to be up to and explain a bit about the blog drought I was in.
As many of you know, eight months ago started several large changes in our lives.
- My wife resigned from her job of 8 years and took on a role with a new company.
- That new job required a move from Texas (where all our friends and family live) to Ohio (where we knew nobody).
- Selling our house in TX and finding and buying one in Ohio.
- Me quitting my job and starting early retirement, with dreams of new business ventures to start (more on this below)
- Taking our son out of his school and moving him to a new school in the middle of the school year.
A year ago, would we have dreamed of where we are now? Not a chance! Do we regret any of it? Absolutely not! Is life super easy with no struggles? Ha, fat chance! My wife, son and I regularly comment on how much we love our new life, so as you can tell, the summary is just like the cliché goes “It’s all good”.
So that begs the question, what in the world have I been up to lately? Has early retirement allowed me to lounge around on the sofa all day watching TV? Am I going to still be blogging? What’s the latest on the business ventures I was dreaming/planning for?
I would be lying if I said there were no adjustments that I’ve had to make over the last eight months. I’m a pretty social guy and enjoy the company of others in my work. That came to a screeching halt when I retired early and now everything I do is out of my office in the house…which of course has just me in it. Sadly our dog passed away a few months after our move, so it is literally just me at the house all day now. Many people do this all the time, so I’m not doing anything groundbreaking, but merely pointing out that it is an adjustment for me. So do I still have my sanity since I’m largely at home by myself each day? I tend to think so. My wife was pretty concerned on how I would adjust and she is pretty happy with the outcome. I do get to engage with folks at a local gym I joined and we’ve been making friends with neighbors, folks at church, and guys I cycle with as well. We still regularly get together with folks for dinner at our home and that has been fun just getting to know more people. Folks have been really nice here in Ohio…much nicer than we anticipated.
My wife has a much shorter and non-stressful commute now and I have no commute at all, so there is one big stressor out of our lives for sure. She’s enjoying her new company and having some success in her new role. Our son really enjoys his school in the town we live and they have a teaching style (IB curriculum) that seems to be more project based rather than test based and he’s really taking to it well. He’s made buddies at school and he even admits that he likes his school in Ohio more than the one in Texas he was previously at.
So Now What
Ok, I’ll stop going on about how wonderful our life is. So what am I really up to now? At the time when I left my full-time job to embark on this early retirement thing, I had hopes of becoming an investment adviser. I had passed my Series 65 exam and had some ideas of how I wanted to do things a bit different than traditional investment advisers for clients they were not commonly reaching (those with less net worth). In the best case scenario, it would likely be a very small client base that would want or request the unique style of service I would propose. I’m not afraid of an uphill climb, but I slowly began to realize that I wouldn’t be helping too many people and in the end I wanted to be able to help more people with their finances…and not only investments. With that clarified frame of reference, I investigated further and ultimately sought out some additional training to become a financial coach.
I’ve completed my training and have started coaching and I really love it. It would be completely normal for you to be saying right now, “what is a financial coach”? I have a more detailed explanation over at my financial coaching website (http://aspelinfinancialcoach.com/) of the elements of financial coaching, but allow me to provide a brief intro here. Financial coaching is working with clients to understand where their financial concerns are (budgeting, debt elimination, saving more money, etc.) and help them develop a plan to achieve them. A coach encourages you, walks beside you, and may even hold you accountable to the decisions you made with your finances. A financial coach is an objective 3rd party who can speak to your specific situation after evaluating a snapshot of your financial picture. I think the biggest difference with financial coaching (as compared to investment advising) is that is for anyone, not just those that have assets they want to invest. While financial coaching isn’t just about debt elimination, it seems to be the largest part of what I’m working with folks on right now. Consumer debt and student loans are a massive hurdle for folks to pay off and too often people get swamped by everyday life and don’t know the best way to attack their situation. That is where a financial coach can help. Too many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, can’t seem to get ahead, and need help to figure out how to get their financial life under control. I’m now a trained Dave Ramsey Financial Coach and I can truly say that it is a joy to discuss financial matters with people and get them on a path toward peace and joy in that aspect of their lives.
I’m also doing more volunteer work in the financial arena. I’ve found a wonderful charity in our town that is a fine French restaurant that trains folks that were formerly incarcerated for a 6 month re-entry program teaching them all aspects of the restaurant business (front and back of the house). I do several weeks with them and teach various financial principals…and I absolutely love it. I love the fact that they will literally ask me any question. They are open about money mistakes they have made and are very keen to do them right now that they are getting a good start with great training and future job prospects.
So What About the Blog in the Future
As you can see, when I was figuring out how this next chapter of my life would be going and getting my financial coaching practice up and running, it took away from my time to write new blog posts. I will probably be blogging less than I was a year ago, but I will still be blogging and even want to organize my site a bit better to be more inclusive of more aspects of personal finances from the early phases to the late phases as well. Also, I need to figure out the best way to do a face lift of the site too. It needs a better, cleaner look in my opinion.
Stay tuned, thanks for being patient and for following along on this financial and life journey!