This post contains affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and buy something that I’ve recommended (or something that I haven’t recommended), I’ll get some money. That money might help me retire earlier, or I might spend it on chocolate.

One of my big contentions with “conventional wisdom” is that the latte factor, though it has a catchy name, is largely a myth that serves a useful and harmful role in fiscal policy. And I’m under no illusion that not buying a latte, or buying one, is central to my financial position. The fact is, I can afford to buy lattes and still save a ton of money, since I make a lot of money.

There are a lot of people for whom this blog might well be annoying, useless, even infuriating. I want people to be free to judge just how much money I’ve been making in the four years that I’ve maxed out my 401(K). Let me tell you, it is much easier to do this when one is making over a thousand dollars a week, every single week of the year. In fact, I consider maxing out that account to be a luxury, one I certainly wouldn’t be able to afford if I hadn’t had a combination of excellent educational opportunities, great health, and uncommonly good job prospects.

To me, blogs where people discuss their spending and not their income are simply incomplete. To make things worse, sometimes words like “modest” and “middle class” are tossed around to describe the writers’ salaries, and I’m not sure if this is well-intentioned or done with an intent to deceive. I think it’s bizarre to write a million words about personal finance without revealing, well, one of the most basic personal finance numbers. After all, I know how much my coworkers make, how much my mom makes, even how much my neighbor makes. Why should personal finance writers’ numbers be such a mystery? If I wanted to publish recipes for rice and beans without revealing my income, I’d make this blog about food, not personal finance.

Sandra Tsing Loh described my feelings exactly in a piece she wrote in The Atlantic, when she talks about a memoir called Money, A Memoir by an author named Liz Perle:

In the end, however, Money fell short of satisfying me. After all those hazy female anecdotes, metaphors, and statistics, I wanted the Money Shot—I wanted to look at it, to see Perle’s own Quicken Bill-Pay file open spread-eagle before me.

On that note, here’s my recent income:

2015: 48,983 (solo)

2016: 53,687 (solo)

2017: 66,350 (joint with Mr. RN)

2018: Likely 80-90K between me and Mr. RN, but we don’t know yet

So what is the point of Rich Novelist, if it’s just a blog for the moneyed? First, I hope that some of my entries are useful for people all across the income spectrum. I’m going to continue writing about savings tools, politics, and writing fiction, and I hope those entries will be useful to a great number of people.

Second, from the outside it seems “easy” to pursue FIRE as someone making a high salary. I haven’t found this to be true. It’s certainly easier, but it’s still not what most people choose to do, even when they are making a great deal of money. I’ve seen plenty of middle class friends and family members hit hard by a sudden job loss, moved to tears by college costs, chained down by that nice suburban house that everyone thought would be so easy to sell. If your family makes $100,000 a year, this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case, but coming up with an alternative takes careful saving and planning. And that’s what I’m aiming to do.

I’d like to do quarterly income updates, a la Joe of Retire by 40, but since Mr. RN and I are both 1099 contractors and he largely manages his own money, it might take me a while to get that set up. But my annual income is something I’ll always be happy to reveal. It’s just another piece of potentially useful information.

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