“My Mind Was Completely Blown. Is This FI Stuff Possible?!”

[Do you remember the exact moment you learned about FIRE? … And how exciting it was? That’s what my friend Eileen is sharing with us today. Remember, the more you share your ah-ha! moments and uplifting experiences with others, the more people you might help get “unstuck” in their regular lives.😉]


I remember so clearly my first woke moment of FI. My brother sent me a link to a blog about this couple traveling the world for free. 

It was Millennial Revolution’s blog and a post titled “How We Got Here?” There were five parts to the story. 

It was a weekday morning. I was at work. I read Part 1 and then Part 2 and then the finale. Then I read it again. 

My mind was completely blown. Is this possible?! WT bleep?

I messaged my brother back with a bunch of questions. I started googling all my questions. I pretty much didn’t really do much work that day … possibly that week. 

Anyway, the FI snowball pretty much started rolling from there.

I went home that day and told my then-couple-of-months boyfriend about the blog articles. 

I told him that I wanted to travel the world for free, too!

He wasn’t entirely onboard at first but was intrigued by the idea. 

We then proceeded to open and invest in Roth IRA accounts, learn about index funds like VTSAX, max out our 401ks for the next couple of years, borrow countless of FI books from the library, and study about 0% capital gains, conversion ladders… just basically whatever we could get our hands on! 

For the first time in forever, I felt like I had a real goal in life and that there was a clear path I could take to navigate it. (Just imagine my excitement being similar to Anna singing “For the first time in forever” in Frozen.) 

Growing up, I was raised to do well in school so I could get a good and stable job. My mom also hammered me about getting married and having kids, but that’s a story for another day. 

Yes, we were told to get a good job. Then what? Should we aim for raises and higher titles and eventually a managerial role?

What if it’s not in our blood to climb the corporate ladder?

I’ve never been the ambitious one. I just want to live a simple life. My pre-FI lifestyle consisted of mainly working a 9-5 job, playing Pokemon Go, and watching YouTube videos. 

Once I found out about FI, my mindset changed. Now I want to find ways to increase my income and cut costs. I have a budget sheet. I track my annual income and spending. I found a part-time job working weekends. I look forward to waking up at 6:30 a.m to look at the stock market. Life just becomes more interesting when you have a clear goal! 

I look forward to the end of each month, when my boyfriend and I spend 10 minutes updating our monthly accounts. It’s incredible to see our net worth grow little by little. To be able to actually see this progress (numerically) just shows that FI is possible!

We learned about FI in 2017. We have since been saving over half our incomes. We are halfway through our FI journey, but we aren’t sure if we want to Coast FI or Fat Fire. 

I just know that FI has given me a CHANCE to have opportunities. I remember some celebrity once said in an interview, “Money isn’t all that, it just gives you options. You can choose to fly economy or first class. That’s all that money can do.” 

When I heard that, I think I said, “That’s nice.” 

Well, this feeling is finally here and IT IS NICE! 

What began as a curious thought to travel the world for free has led me down this rabbit hole to do whatever my heart desires. I don’t have to be stuck in a cubicle for 30 years to obtain freedom! 

When Joel asked me to write about my FI experience, I pretty much turned him down. I told him that no one would want to read my writing. I don’t know what came over me, but I suddenly felt inspired on a Monday evening to draft something up.

I hope this piece can jog your first FI lightbulb moment. It was quite magical and memorable for me. I hope it was the same for you, too.

Thanks for reading. Thanks, Joel, for the push.

From yours: A humble enthusiast of FI 


This is why I ask people to share their FI journey far and wide … Not only are others definitely interested in reading about your life-changing stories, but you might just help someone have their own lightbulb moment.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Love, Joel

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  1. Olaf, the Mile High Finance Guy September 17, 2021 at 2:39 PM

    Thanks for the touching tale, humble enthusiast of FI. I remember the first time FIRE clicked in my head, it set off a forest FIRE that changed my perception of work and saving, for the better. While I have had ups and downs on how to manage frugality and spending for pleasure, it has been quite the journey so far.

  2. Joel September 17, 2021 at 3:01 PM

    One of my first FIRE memories was listening to Waffles on Wednesday as guests on the Bigger Pockets Money Podcast (Episode 7). I remember running home and telling my wife, “I think I found some people that are just like us! There’s a whole group of them called FIRE or something”.

    Then I went down the rabbithole. Quit my job shortly after. And I actually became very close friends with the Waffles on Wednesday couple – they happened to live in Los Angeles too at the time :)

  3. Silke September 23, 2021 at 3:08 AM

    My moment was while reading MMM. I read on for three month. I could not believe this can be true. But I found sources all over the world on the interweb and then started my journey to FI by setting up the autopilot the next day.

    1. Joel September 23, 2021 at 8:07 PM

      Amazing. I think many people are in the same boat and MMM sparked the FIRE :)

      1. Sharon October 11, 2021 at 10:21 AM

        What is MMM?

        1. Joel October 11, 2021 at 10:35 AM

          Stands for Mr. Money Mustache. One of the first financial independence blogs that people found online which sparked their FIRE journey :)

  4. Zak October 11, 2021 at 4:12 AM

    Thank you, that’s interesting.