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  • Jessica Morgan McAtee

The Little Things

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

Ever since I was a teenager, I was interested in finding a way to live a life of freedom where I could work when and how I wanted. I dreamed of travel and having enough to sustain my lifestyle.

This is why husband and I are part of what is (now) called the F.I.R.E. movement. We didn't meet until 2011, but we had both been applying these concepts to our lives independently before then. The idea is to streamline one's finances and use money as a tool to unlock personal freedom, health and fulfillment. To buy your life back is the point.

It didn't have a name when we were practicing it in the early 2000's. We were just 20-somethings trying to figure life out. The new FIRE acronym stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. There is an entire subculture of folks joining this movement. It simply means that we have been working with intention and clearly defined goals and in time, those little life hacks and tweaks that we implemented back then have set us up so that we can live free today. It is about saving at a relatively high rate (upwards of 50% for most people) for a set time until the desired amount is reached. The path looks different for everyone. We reached F.I. in about 15 years.

For that season, we pinched pennies. We were exceptionally disciplined and didn't live how those around us were living because we had our sights on something else. Oddly enough, it wasn't painful. Actually, it was exhilarating as we watched our dream, little by little, become our reality. We were able to quit our full time jobs in 2017 and haven't looked back.

We don't have debt. Our homes are paid off. We live part of the year in Florida and part in Oregon. He built a Tiny House for us.

We don't have to work a job for the rest of our lives (though we may choose to if we find it enjoyable). Our time is spent discovering our passions, the things that make us come alive. We get to exercise,travel, visit friends and family, rest, spend time on our geeky interests, eat healthy and savor every day. We live with gratitude and relative simplicity compared to those still sprinting in the rat race. My past-times are butterfly conservation, simple living, Enneagram, spirituality and health. I write, teach online courses and give community talks on these subjects. Giving back brings us joy. We are both into financial management too.

The truth is, we are not extraordinary, we just live with intention. Our philosophy becomes our habits which become our reality. Any dream is accomplished one day at a time. Little by little is what makes one wealthy, healthy, and happy. Or not. The compounding effects of daily decisions is what brings success (or failure) in time.

This blog will be a collection of some of the tiny life decisions we have made along the way and continue to make and improve on. It's a journey, not a destination. We have made plenty of mistakes, but thankfully, all it takes is starting fresh today to set the trajectory in the right direction. You too can change your life dramatically with some thought and intention.

Stay tuned for more tips!


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