Early Retirement

Freedom Fighter Interview #17 – Selina @ Financial Buddha

Gen Y Finance Guy Freedom Fighter, Interview 12 Comments

Today we have our 17th Freedom Fighter interview in this series.

Selina calls the Pacific North West home at the moment, but plans to potentially settle down somewhere in California or Colorado in her future plans. At only 25 she is currently enjoying what Tim Ferriss calls a mini retirement in the 4 hour work week. After getting out of college, she used her 9-5 to amass a nice chunk of F-You Money. She plans to go back to work to start stashing cash away in order to hit her goal of financial independence by the time she is 30 (she is already 1/3 of the way there).

But I will let Selina tell you all about it in her interview below…

Selina Financial Buddha

Who are you and what do you do? What is your story? How are you fighting for your Freedom? Where did you start, where in the journey are you, and where do you ultimately want to end up?

I’m Selina and my goal is to retire extremely early in my 30’s. I used to work as an online marketer, but quit my job at the ripe old age of 25 to travel. My boyfriend and I sold everything and took off on an epic RV trip with the intent to sample several U.S. national parks. We visited and enjoyed the beautiful landscapes of parks like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Arches, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone. I’m on a mini-retirement now, evaluating what I’d like my next venture to be.

I earned this freedom to travel and take time off by saving aggressively when I had my 9-5 job. My current mission is to continue amassing enough money so that I can retire and make this lifestyle permanent. I’m about a third of the way to my financial independence number, so I still have a bit of work to do! 😉

What is your favorite Quote or Mantra that you live by?

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment.” – Jim Rohn

There are a lot of good quotes out there, but this one struck a chord with me the first time I read it. If you don’t work toward your dreams, who else will do it for you?

The people I admire most are all extremely hard workers. They have built success for themselves because of their perseverance and discipline. I want that for myself too, which is why the emphasis at this stage of my life is on building a solid financial foundation.

Where in the world are you from?

I live in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., but could see myself moving to one of the wonderful places we visited on our RV trip—perhaps somewhere in California or Colorado.

What is the worst financial decision you have ever made?

Back in 2013, I bought a car in cash for $15k. I realize that I missed out on some pretty rad market gains; I should have invested that money instead. The car gave me no trouble since it was so new, but I realized my mistake and promptly sold it about a year after ownership when I realized I didn’t need it. *Sigh* Hindsight is 20/20. I still randomly dwell on the missed opportunity, but have learned to use it as motivation to work harder toward my goal of financial independence.

What is the best financial decision you have ever made?

In 2010, I doubled down on my personal finance education while I was still in college. I read tons of books, blogs, and exposed myself to the personal finance community. Before educating myself, I was a thorough newbie in the money arena. I had no idea where to put my money! This led to me opening up a Roth IRA, building my credit with a credit card, saving money from my work-study jobs instead of spending it, and becoming savvy about money in general. It was a good time to have done it, and I’ve made many good decisions as a result of my proactive self-education.

Are you a morning or a night person? What time do you wake up and go to sleep?

I like the mornings, but not too early. Like 8am is good. There is something so peaceful about that time an hour or so after sunrise.

What is your definition of Financial Freedom? And what is your FREEDOM number?

Financial freedom is having enough money to be able to live the way you want to, daily. I already have that since I’ve amassed a good chunk of F-You money. I’m not worried about daily survival. This money has given me time to travel, deal with family emergencies, introspect, and to think about my next career move before going into money-stashing mode again. I’m aiming for full financial independence, which means that I’ll never have to worry about earning another dollar to support myself. Financial independence will take me approximately $300k to achieve. This will allow me to keep up a bare-bones lifestyle, at which point I will work on creating fun alternate streams of income.

What is your favorite Asset Class to invest in (i.e Real Estate, Stocks, Bonds, Peer to Peer lending, etc)? Why? And what platforms do you use (i.e TD Ameritrade for stocks, Realty Shares for Real Estate,Prosper for Peer to Peer lending, etc.).

I love low-cost index funds provided by Vanguard. They are so simple to invest in, and I just set it and forget it. An investor’s dream!

What is your favorite online financial resource, paid or free (i.e. MintPersonal Capital, blogs, podcasts, Tasty Trade, etc.)?

I love Mint and Personal Capital for the account summaries and net worth aggregation. I read financial independence and early retirement blogs all day. You could call that my guilty pleasure. Mr. Money Mustache is my absolute favorite early retirement idol. Reading his blog opened my eyes to the fact that early retirement is possible.

When it comes to building wealth, do you spend more time figuring out how to cut expenses or increase income? Why?

I do a bit of both, but focusing my time on cutting expenses is more worthwhile since it is more efficient. A penny saved is more than a penny earned when you consider taxes.

How many hours a week do you watch TV? What’s your favorite show?

You know, I always find myself oddly silent when people around me talk about TV shows. I just have no idea what they’re referencing since I don’t watch much TV. I prefer selecting favorite channels on YouTube and watching them as I feel like it.

If you had to recommend 1 book, what would it be? And why?

If there’s one book that changed my financial life, it’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. Ramit gives an excellent primer for 20 to 30-somethings about which financial accounts to hold. He also covers important basics like the power of compound interest, negotiation, and automation. If you’re confused about where to start, this book can help. The advice from this one book has easily earned me thousands of dollars.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received or what advice would you give to the readers?

Whatever you do, set things up so that future you will thank present you. Work hard, invest until it hurts, and make levelheaded monetary decisions. Future you will be able to reap the rewards for years to come.

What does living life by design look like to you? A typical day, week, month, year, or whatever?

My ideal lifestyle is to be able to wake up and do what I want every single day. I have that now, but it’s not yet my permanent situation. I eventually would like to own my own home but want to spend a couple of months every year traveling. I want to be close to nature every day, and also make plenty of time for fun projects, reading, and learning. Basically, I want to be a carefree child again, but have some of the amenities of adult life. 😉

Where can we find you online? If you’re a blogger, this is the perfect plug to talk about your blog and why it’s great 

I blog over at Financial Buddha, where I write about how I’m fast-tracking it to financial independence. The goal is to achieve early retirement in my early 30’s. I also write articles about navigating a mini-retirement, and tips and tricks for living in an RV. Come stop by and say hello!

Comments 12

  1. Hey Selina,

    Welcome to the world of personal finance. Sounds like you’ve got your head on straight and your feet in the right direction. And you’re well on your way to achieving your financial goals. Enjoyed your story.

    Laura Beth

  2. Great Interview. My mini-retirement is currently building a house, if that qualifies. Doing what work I can with myself & family to have a lot lower mortgage & hit our financial goals sooner.

    1. Haha, building a house sounds intense Josh. I’m sure that’s no easy feat, but you’ll be so proud of it in the end. I contemplated building a tiny house for a couple of months before my RV trip, but thank goodness my boyfriend vetoed that idea lol.

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