The journey to Financial Independence can be a tough one that is full of ebbs and flows. I believe that it is so important that we share our stories to inspire others that may be experiencing some of the same challenges that we have. That is why I started the Journeyer Profile Series where I’m talking to my listeners and the people in my community about their path to FI.
In this week’s episode, I’m speaking with Kari Lorz, who is not only making strides towards establishing financial independence with her husband, but she is also building a financial safety net for her 2 year old daughter to fall back on in the case that she cannot do for herself; as she is ailed by Cerebral Palsy. Keep reading and listen to this week's show to learn more about her story.
If you would like to be considered to be a journeyer for the Journeyer Profile Series go to www.journeytolaunch.com/journeyerprofile
When did you discover FI? I've been really into finance for 4 years, but not until maybe 8 months ago did I discover FI. In the beginning, it was couponing, heavy comparison shopping, then Dave Ramsey, then retirement planning and then I finally found out about FI. Whew!
Why are you pursuing FI? What's your WHY?
My main goal with FI is to be able to have enough of a financial cushion so I can stop working to help take better care of my daughter and do better self-care. Right now I am frazzled, not healthy, and always worried. I need to do better, I have to do better!
My daughter is almost 3 yrs old and since birth she has had significant physical delays, we're almost certain that a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy will be given. So in talking about FI & my daughter, I need to have more time to help take care of her, specifically, do more home physical therapy, & more hands-on time. Right now it's the typical working mom scenario; laundry, groceries, cleaning, taking care of all the finances, oh and working with an hour commute each way. It's exhausting, so when I am home I'm tired and doing all the regular home stuff, it's hard to do everything and be a physical therapist. I have a great husband and he takes on a lot but he also works full time and is in the National Guard.
For Lilia we have also set up an ABLE account, it was originally a college 529 account that we started at birth, but in her situation we decided an ABLE account was better (you can use it for a lot more things than a 529, basically anything that improves her quality of life will count). We're not quite sure what her earning potential will be in the future, so we want to get as much of a cushion as we can for her together to help her.
What's your FI number? and/or overall FI goal? (if you don't know input n/a)
Lean FI would be $1.2M and fat FI would be $1.8M but I'd feel better with $2 - then we could go to DisneyWorld more! I'd like to also have the ABLE account maxed ($15K per year, up to about $300K).
The hard part for us with our FI number, a lot of the retirement income will come from two pensions. My husband has almost reached his 20 years in the Service (he'll get full retirement in two years), and he also works for the State in Child Welfare. So the RE portion of FIRE isn't for us, but the FI part is what we're focused on.
Where are you currently on the journey? Debt payoff mode, aggressively saving mode, increasing investments mode?
We are in the increasing investment mode. The only debt we have is our mortgage. We do have a few sinking funds set up (vacation, home repair, Lilia's medical needs, and emergency), so immediate and near future needs are taken care of.
What are some mistakes, wins and lessons you’ve learned or gathered along the way to share with other Journeyers?
Mistake - Living in a HCOL area, Portland, Or. But we're local, so all our family is here. - Not saving more earlier on was a HUGE mistake of mine. When I was in my 20's I was saving maybe $50 a month in IRA. I never even considered more. I had to money to invest, but I never realized the potential.Win - I am slowly getting into the side hustle game. For a time I was in it, but only very limited (i.e. taste testings, surveys, etc.) Then my overall mantra became "quit majoring in minor things!" So just in the past three months have I been serious about building a side hustle. List the things you are doing to help move forward on your journey (side hustle, cutting expenses, increasing income, moving to LCOL, building up passive income streams, etc.) - side hustle - small optimizations over time = big outcomes - avoiding debt like the plague. - sinking funds! I'd love to have a blog as a passive income stream yet I'm not sure if a blog is for me.
What are your plans after FI? What do you ultimately want to do when money is no longer an issue?
Spend time with my family, watch a movie all the way through without distractions. (Right now it takes me 4 nights to watch a movie because I always fall asleep, as its late at night. Or I do chores while watching and I don't ever enjoy it). It's really hard for me to sit and do nothing, I feel like I have so much on my plate that I need to constantly be productive.
My husband and I really want to travel, we want experiences and not things! "Things" just feel like such a weight, kind of suffocating. I'd love to have more of a minimalist lifestyle.
What advice do you have for other Journeyers who want to stay motivated on this journey?
Always be learning! I feel that I have missed out on so much because I just "didn't know". I found out about compound interest way too late in the game. Catching up is hard! For my nephew's HS graduation I gave him a DR compound interest chart of Arthur & Ben, and a book on how not to f-up in college financially speaking :). I did tuck a $100 bill in there and didn't tell him, he had to read the book to find it. ha ha
I am always trying to learn (which may contribute to my frazzledness as I always want to be implementing new things). So my best advice is to try and spend at least 1 hour a day on learning. I listen to financial and side hustle podcasts on my commute. Too much learning = overload.
Take it slow & steady!
[bctt tweet="I'm listening to Episode 73 of the #journeytolaunch podcast, Journeyer Profile Kari Lorz Finding Her Way to FI While Building a Financial Safety Net For Her Special Needs Daughter." username="journeytolaunch"]
[bctt tweet="Quit majoring in minor things!" username="journeytolaunch"]
Other related blog posts/links mentioned in this episode:
More about the Able Account - Tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families
Unstoppable Blog- Life Lessons
The Choose FI Guys interview on the Journey To Launch podcast - The Pillars of FI journeytolaunch.com/episode19
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