Hi, I’m Ms. Rich Novelist! First off, let me answer the two obvious questions:
Are You Rich?
Yes, definitely. Between my husband and me, we have investments worth almost $400,000. That’s over ten times the average for our age group (early thirties), and it’s possible due to luck, good fortune, privilege, and my obsession with Excel spreadsheets.
Are You a Novelist?
Yes, basically. I’ve written over a dozen novels. They don’t “pay the bills,” but they do pay some bills (I’ve made about $6000 since 2015). I love reading and writing, and my biggest reason for starting this blog is to provide an extra incentive to keep going with my self-publishing side hustle.
The FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement is an important part of my life goals for various reasons. I grew up in a wonderful and loving family with a high income. We made a lot of sacrifices for my dad’s career, which was lucrative but not as stable as my parents originally thought. Due to a genetic condition, dad had to take much longer breaks from working than he had intended on various occasions. Due to some poor business decisions, in spite of living well below their means for a long time, my parents didn’t have the passive income that our family would have needed in order to be financially independent. This was stressful. I’m well aware that, whatever decisions I make about having children of my own, I may be at risk for this same health condition.
The second reason is that, quite apart from health issues, I saw the way a lot of my friends’ families were affected by the Great Recession. My best friend’s family sold their house, moved to a rental, and then moved away permanently when her dad lost his job and couldn’t get a comparable one in our area. Many friends of mine made serious adjustments to their own lives because their parents’ situations soured.
I still use the term FIRE, but my blog overall falls more in the category of FIOR (Financial Independence Optional Retirement). I want to work with my husband to save a cushion of a million dollars so we can worry less about the money we’re bringing in. But that’s more “F.U. Money” than anything else. After we hit our goal, we will most likely keep working. My current retirement projections have us working enough to pay for our lifestyle and save about $50,000 a year in tax-advantaged accounts, then retiring for good when we’re in our late sixties. So what’s the big deal about getting our first million dollars if we’re not even going to retire in a traditional sense? Here are the big things that I think would change:
1) No more chasing jobs.
Today, I feel like we’re stuck in our current city because Mr. RN finally has his hard-to-obtain dream job. If that fell through, we might well move based on the next job he was able to find in his field. With enough savings, we wouldn’t have to move if one of us lost a job.
2) More writing.
I love blogging and I love writing novels, but I’m thrilled to have a “day job” that is very rewarding and pays me a set amount of money based on the work that I complete. If we have enough in savings, I could make writing my full time gig without having to worry so much about the income fluctuations.
3) The ability to say no to work obligations.
I feel that in America, it’s taboo to admit that your job is not Life Priority #1. But I feel that for most people, this is true. If I want to take time off to help out a friend who’s going through a messy divorce, or spend time with my hospitalized grandma, or go to my cousin’s school play, I don’t want to have to get somebody else’s permission for that. If I can be my own boss, even if that means self-employment (rather than non-employment), I know I’ll be happier.
I recognize that we’re extremely lucky to be able to do this, and I don’t think of my blog as a one-size-fits-all approach to writing or personal finance. In fact, novelists are famously eccentric when it comes to what helps them write, and I think that savers are the same. Also, Mr. RN and I have plenty of external factors on our side. Nobody in our extended families relies on us for financial support, our college and grad school was paid for by a combination of parent money and school scholarships, we are both currently in great health. I’m in a profession that pays moderately well and is in high demand, so even after a long hiatus it would likely be fairly easy for me to get a new job, one that would pay enough to support me, Mr. RN, and any future children.
In the meantime, I love writing about personal finance and I also love writing novels, so this blog is a win-win for me!
Before you go, check out my page on affiliate links to learn how this blog makes me some cold, hard cash.