So what’s this blog about? This is a place to read about minimalism, mindfulness, financial independence and explore their growing intersection in everyday life.
As for who this site is for — people like me. Those who are Millennials or older who are seeing their parents retire and are starting to wonder if they’ll be working until that same age. My goal is to explore this question through the lens of smart financial decisions, living with less and always keeping an open mind.
As for me, I’m not an expert in any of these. I’m a normal person trying to grow a little bit every day. These are three areas that I passionately explore, read about and write about, in the hope of growing and inspiring others.
I’m 35, married with a dog, childfree (for now and the future). I grew up in St. Petersburg, FL and moved 2 hours away to Orlando for college at UCF. I had a bumpy road there where I started as Undecided, switched to Computer Science, changed to Management Information Systems and ended up in Information Technology (with a Digital Media minor mostly complete).
My Reason for Minimalism
Life drastically changed for me 3 months after I graduated, age 23 when my mom unexpectedly passed away. My parents were divorced, and she was my only family in the state. I spent the next year cleaning out her house of clutter — much of it was inherited when her mom passed away. This experience of going through her possessions left me wanting a more minimalist life, which I continue to pursue.
I knew I didn’t want to leave that kind of clutter for others but also realized just how much more time it took to manage all that stuff. By having less, as I did when I was 23, less time was spent dedicated to “stuff”.
My Reason for Financial Independence
Her passing also left me suddenly responsible for $100,000. This windfall started a ride down the financial responsibility and investing rabbit hole. Somewhere along the trip, I read The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing back in 2010 (age 28), which completely changed my outlook on investing. I quickly shifted from thinking of stocks as trying to pick winners to tax-optimized diversification with compound interest — a concept that sounds boring, unless you’re into finance. Understanding what was possible 10, 20, 30 years out with good planning led me to find the financial independence community when MMM started up, with him putting minimalism and practicality to some of the financial systems I was already following.
Changing from a goal of just “saving” to a goal of “saving enough to live a life I want” put a lot more into perspective. It helped me understand just how much (or little) that actually is, and how I can take steps to get from where I am now to there. Just knowing where the end zones are helps me focus.
My Reason for Mindfulness
Mindfulness came later, and will likely be a growing part of my life the more I explore it. At Code School, I transitioned from an engineer to Technical Director at the company — which led to many training days on many things like how to understand our signs of defensiveness and or the best ways to compliment others. Gregg Pollack, the founder of Code School, did an amazing job of developing a growth mindset on the team. I fell into learning everything I could about myself and being more open and introspection as a whole. It led me to understand that I loved looking inward and trying to improve, even when it means challenging my beliefs or assumptions.
Minafi.com started in 2016 when I shifted roles from that Technical Director position over to a Product Manager. Where before I was regularly creating throughout the day, I realized it was something I was missing. Not the coding itself, but the creation of something. According to StrengthsFinder, one of my top 5 strengths is “Achiever”, which may have something to do with this:
People strong in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.
This is still an experiment, but I’m looking forward to seeing what impact writing has on the 3 areas above. Will writing about my finances cause me to better plan and budget better? Will thinking about minimalism cause me to find new ways of being happier with less, and forgo more attachments? Will the constant evaluation of the way I work make me more productive — and more important — happier? These are all things I hope to be true and will only uncover them in time.
About The Topics
Now that you know why I’m interested and writing about these areas, here’s a brief overview of just what I define as the context for these categories.
Minimalism is about intentionally choosing what you focus on to that which brings your life the most value. It’s about being conscious of what you bring into your life — including things, people, places, experiences, and commitments. Focusing time on things that are meaningful to you is an important part.
Financial independence is the point where you have the funds needed to live without needing to work day to day. You could think of this as the point at which your investments (stock, real estate, anything else) are generating enough income to support your needs indefinitely.
Mindfulness is awareness. Externally, but internally as well. What are your motivations, and concentration on? One side of mindfulness I’m passionate about is the philosophy of Stoicism which is about living a focused life.
In short, Stoicism is a tool set that helps us direct our thoughts and actions in an unpredictable world. We don’t control and cannot rely on external events, but we can (to a certain extent) control our mind and choose our behavior. In the end, it’s not what happens to us but our reactions to it that matter. – What is Stoicism?
What Do They Have in Common?
There are a lot of things in life I love. My wife, my dog, programming, video games, watching movies, playing board games, travel, making cocktails, having deep conversations with friends — just to name a few. The topics that this blog are focused on share one common theme — they’re topics that allow me more time to enjoy the things I love. Luckily for me, I also love minimalism, financial independence, and mindfulness, but I think of them as tools in order to live a happier, more authentic life.