Financial Freedom Sneaks Into Every Conversation

Gentle Readers,

Once you start noticing an idea, you’re going to see it everywhere. My recent trips to visit family included many conversations about retirement planning that I was not anticipating. I’m glad that folks are thinking about this. I’m still planning on engaging in stealth wealth, but I am happy for the tides of knowledge to lift all of our ships.

I spent one night in the woods at my aunt’s house. We touched on all sorts of topics and enjoyed the serenity of no cell-service. The transformer blew out 10 minutes before we arrived; we really got the middle of nowhere feel. Before I left in the morning to visit the hospital again, my uncle turned to me and began asking if I have a retirement account or savings. I’m so glad that my answer to that question is now in the affirmative. He was happy that I do, even though I did not start it until I was 31. I still have time. He is almost unreasonably proud of me, and I will take it. Encouragement from a good man is always appreciated.

The more interesting conversation happened with my 21-year-old relative, Bill. Bill does not have parents. Bill has chosen to wait for college until he can get better scholarship options. Bill is living way beneath his means and saving most of his earnings. Bill did not learn this from his parents. Bill figured this out on his own.

Bill is a good man to emulate.

Bill brought up that he wants to retire to Mexico by the time he is 40. Naturally, that got me asking questions. Do you have an IRA? Are you considering starting a business? What do you envision this retirement looking like?

He does not have an IRA yet, but wants to start one. I told him about mine, and the minimums my company requires to open the one I preferred. His savings is not quite there yet, but I told him I would do a little research to see if he had good options available.

Of course he does.

Schwab is my personal preferred vehicle, but Vanguard is also wonderful. They both have options that do not require a $5000 opening balance.

At Schwab, the minimum is $1000, but you can only access that if you enroll in auto-transfer of $100 each month. Vanguard has similar limited selections for people who cannot make the higher minimum.

I do not know if Bill is able to afford a $100 autopay each month, but I am going to tell him about it. That extra decade of returns will matter so much.

I’m impressed that he is working so hard and saving everything. His parents were not good examples, and he is doing right by himself anyway. He also brought up on his own that he wants to retire by 40. I did not put that idea in his head. We have many interesting conversations to look forward to. I must keep researching so that I can keep ahead of his knowledge. We’ll both benefit.

I told Bill that I would send him the presents I bought for the other relative’s graduation. Bill is far more likely to read them and implement the ideas that appeal to his personal choices. Each one teach one.

Were you ever surprised by a family member’s insight into retirement planning?

Author: ZJ Thorne

Lesbian on the path to Financial Freedom

  • Glad to hear you had a great trip!

    It’s so true how financial freedom seems to pop up all the time one you focus on it. My brothers both got the idea of early retirement in their heads without my mentioning it – now we’re “racing” there.

    • Racing sounds like a great motivator!

  • Millennial Moola

    Mexico is a great place to retire to! I was in Puerto Escondido and they had 20 cent coconuts and fresh fruit delivered everyday to your door for about $3

    • He has visited before and really loved it. I’ve never been, but I’m not particularly willing to learn Spanish (so far). Fresh coconuts would be lovely though.

  • Sounds like a relaxing vacation. I would be shocked and beyond impressed if any of my family members said something like that. Anytime I mention anything about frugality or early retirement, they make comments like “good for you” . . . while googling insane asylums on their brand-new iPhones.

    • Sadly, it was not relaxing this time. Too much time at the hospital, but these conversations definitely were a bright spot. I was definitely blind-sided. The 21 year has refused to buy a car. Walks to work. Rents a room for really cheap. Saves everything. He’s going to be ok.

  • It sounds like you had a wonderful time getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life! We have mostly Vanguard, mainly because they are some of the lowest cost funds around. I do know people are happy with Schwab so you gave some great advice. Bill is lucky to have you helping him along with his financial journey!

    • I definitely like the customer service at Schwab, and feel good about their fees. I’m just hoping Bill is not all talk. Action at 21 would do so much.

  • I definitely think that once you set your mind on something that you see it and hear about it more often. Unfortunately for me, I cant find any other people local to me that is on the same page with me about being financially free. My only early retirement friends are on the internet. 🙁

    • Thank goodness for the internet! I agree that you see what you know. It’s incredible to think what we are missing every day because we do not have access to that knowledge. Yet.

  • Mrs. Groovy

    It’s so nice that you were able to have this conversation with a young person! If only we had gotten our act together to retire at 40! Our niece got married last year and we’ve expressed interest in helping her and her husband. Since we’ve made it abundantly clear we’re available, they need to take the first step. But sadly, they haven’t.

    • You’ve planted the seeds. You are not in control of their blooming. You can prune and hope. It’s hard to watch.

  • Actually, yes! Both of my siblings independently decided to pursue early retirement. Despite the fact we’re on three different paths, we have the same goal, and I think that’s what surprised me the most.

    • That’s awesome. I worry about my siblings. I also keep this information private from the majority of my family (and the greater world), because stealth wealth will be important for my safety. It will be so nice for your families when you are all retired into the freedom you want.

  • Tristan @ Dividendsdownunder

    I’m sadly surprised by how little the rest of my family are going. They aren’t trying to get themselves into a better financial position let alone retire.


    • It is worrisome how few people are taking the steps to protect themselves. A very big reason for Stealth Wealth.