[Good morning! Today we welcome back Monica, Pie Lady FI, to the blog to share an update on her personal and financial journey over the past three years. Last we heard she had crossed a net worth of $900k and was battling a few mental demons. Let’s see where she’s at now!]
Back in February 2019, I wrote a guest post here about how I was sabotaging my own financial independence journey, which boiled down to three main reasons:
- fear of success
- feeling undeserving
- unlimited time
My journey to financial independence truly started when I divorced, with two kids and $257,000 of debt.
Today, not only have I reached my definition of financial independence, to be able to pay my bills and take a vacation or two, but I have surpassed it with a net worth of over $2 million dollars, a paid off home and three of five rental properties paid in full.
So many commented on my post about how relatable those feelings are which made me feel less alone. It showed me that there is power in a life story. That we are, in many ways, more alike than different!
It’s been just over three years and so much has changed, mostly on my own outlook about success and what any of us are truly capable of.
Fear of Success
One would think after getting out of debt, building a rental property portfolio and cash investment portfolio that give me passive income streams, it would squash that fear of success. Logically, I look at all I have achieved to this point and clearly, I have been successful. I achieved all my goals to become financially independent.
Yet, I didn’t (and still don’t) feel successful. I am still just me.
After all that, I began to wonder that maybe this was not the right definition of success. That all these years I was laying the foundation for something else. What if I hadn’t scratched the surface of what I am capable of? What if success was still ahead of me? That realization was truly scary.
Every morning I review my goals and make updates as needed, checking off completed things and updating other goals as the year unfolds and things becomes clearer. Sometimes I add new goals or move other things to the next year.
But before I get to that exercise, I have at the top of the page an excerpt from the poem, Our Deepest Fear, by Marianne Williamson. I still read it almost every morning and reflect on what that means in my life. The line that strikes me (and I pause every time to really let it sink in) is:
“We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
It reminds me that it’s not about feeling deserving of all that I have built, but that what I built was just step one – a foundation. That all these years spent inching closer to my definition of FI was not the goal, but was about showing myself what I am truly capable of with grit, perseverance, and determination. That if I was able to achieve FI in ten years then what else am I capable of?
This blew my mind.
In July 2018, my mom passed of liver cancer. It was one of the most stressful times in my life. She was diagnosed in 2017, had the surgery which was declared a success and spent 12 months in remission. Then in January, it came back. From January to July, the months flew by like days.
Even knowing the end was near, I was not prepared for losing her. The last 5+ years of her life, our relationship improved, and we were the closest we had ever been. Even so, I never got the chance to tell her that I was going to be alright. That I had built a solid financial foundation. It is a regret that I carry. Losing her was a reminder that time is not unlimited and none of us know when our time is up.
Fast forward to 2022. I quit my 9 to 5 to focus full-time on my next chapter without a paycheck. In those ten years leading up to financial independence, I learned a lot about myself and what is possible. It was time to answer, what’s next?
This year I wrote my first book, Grab Your Slice of Financial Independence, to be released September 6th, 2022. In it I share all my mistakes and setbacks as well as showing that with grit and perseverance, I was still able to achieve FI. But more importantly, I outline the steps for you to take to grab your own slice of FI.
When I am asked why I wrote the book, my answer is simple: I didn’t get through all of that for nothing. I knew I had to share that journey to help others.
What I have come to understand is it’s not about me or if I am deserving. It’s about living up to my full potential. I still have a fear of success, but it’s tempered with what I am looking to achieve.
2018 was an emotional roller coaster year. Mom’s cancer came out of remission and took her life in July. I got engaged. Attended FinCon which changed the trajectory of my career.
2019 was a catch-my-breath year. Switched to a new, less stressful, role. Major rental property repairs were completed. Taught myself WordPress and the mechanics of blogging (thank you YouTube!). Started planning my exit from paycheck living.
2020-2021 – pandemic lock down. What’s the saying, “We make plans, God laughs.” I stayed put in my role putting my plans on hold. Paid off my mortgage, for purely personal reasons – it felt really good.
2022 – quit my 9 to 5 to focus on building my small business, Grab Your Slice, LLC, as a financial coach, author, and blogger, by building tools that help others grab their big fat juicy slice of FI.
My new definition of success is leaving a legacy of building something that will give back for years to come. Am I still afraid? Sometimes. But I am more curious to find the answer of what I am truly capable of.
So far, I haven’t hit the ceiling.
Monica, Pie Lady FI, is an author and FIRE blogger committed to educating women and solo parents on how to go from financial couch potato to superstar, by leveraging 10 years of her own personal experience and inspiring others to Grab Their Slice too. She can be found at GrabYourSlice.com.
To read Part I of Monica’s story, which includes a breakdown of her net worth, click here: How I Stopped Sabotaging My Own Financial Independence
Actually, the breakdown was pretty cool so I’ll just paste it again down below : ) She went from $246k to $900k in 9 years! Mainly from rental properties and some extra investing 💪💪 (And then in the past 3 years managed to DOUBLE IT and hit $2MM it looks like – even more impressive! And more proof that once you get the ball rolling, time does everything else for you – and much faster.)
UPDATE: A reader loved the layout of this spreadsheet so she re-created it to start tracking her own $$$… You can download it here if you want, she passed it over for me to share! (Thanks Keisha!) –> Financial Breakdown Template (Excel Spreadsheet)
*Links to Monica’s book above are Amazon affiliate links…
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I find rental properties to be the most predatory and unethical investment out there.
There’s a couple on my street who literally own about 6 of the houses. So guess what, it means noone can buy a house here, landlords are hogging all the buildings, increasing demand because there’s less availability, pumping prices, people can’t afford to buy a house, renting getting more expensive for the same reason.
I’m happy I own my paid off house but would never be part of that shit.
wow! You have had quite a negative experience. I can see why you would be so bitter. The couple on your street has chosen to run their business one way but it
does not mean it’s the only way. Landlords come in as many versions as renters. Good luck to you and congratulations on owning your home outright… not everyone can claim that win!
Lesson here – buy rentals, lots and lots of rentals.
It’s true rentals have been very good for me. But it’s not for everyone. The biggest take away is to make sure you have multiple streams of passive income. That way if one drops you are covered by the others.
I can see Rock’s point, especially when a large amount of homes in your neighborhood are rentals. It just isn’t the same community, and can be predatory and greedy when people buy more for the sake of buying more, when they don’t need the money.
However, like Monica said landlords come in various forms, and they are also giving a place to live to a family. Hopefully the tenants are taking pride in the home and integrating into the community!
Good job on your journey Monica! I self-published a book almost 2 years ago, it’s a wild journey but wonderful accomplishment. Congrats on your book!
Thank you for commenting and the well wishes! Congratulations to you on your book!! It is a wild ride and surreal … and humbling.
My story is that i flushed my money in stock market with Option buying , this was beginning of my exposure to stock market . I look back find it funny, now I am extra careful when i trade or invest with several rules that i follow religiously.
Tilak, I’m glad you have a sense of humor about it all and more importantly learned many lessons from it. It’s a wonderful thing to keep perspective and learn the lessons taught by our own mistakes. What is life without a grand adventure?
Great job Monica, I lost my father in 2019, and like you the last 3-5 years prior our relationship improved. It was hard to let him go, but knowing we parted on good terms was fantastic. You have a great success story!