I recently announced that I would be featuring at least one budget profile each week, including bloggers. For those of you who may be new to this site, I encourage others to bare their budgets so we can all benefit by seeing how everyone else is (or isn’t) making it.
This week I am super excited to be featuring Jeff from the Lifestyle Accountant!
It didn’t take me long after meeting Jeff and reading some of his stuff to realize that he is a kindred spirit. He is a fellow CPA with borderline OCD personal accounting tendencies who is not on board with the “deferred life” plan.
The difference between Jeff and I, however, is that he stopped dreaming about quitting the rat race and actually went and did it.
He also has a very slick point-tracking spreadsheet that puts my own point-organization system to shame. It helps him stay on top of his hundreds of thousands of points & miles.
He recently added his income, expenses, and net worth breakdown to my growing collection of budget profiles.
Follow the link below to check it out (will open in a new window).
The Lifestyle Accountant Interview
1. What is your current financial goal, and when do you plan to reach it?
Recently, I left my corporate accounting job and I’m focused on starting an accounting business from scratch. Financially, I’m ok with where I’m at but my main financial goals are to not run out of money while I build my business and eventually make enough money to replace my former salary.
Even if I earn less, I’m not worried because I’m focused on building a business that excites me, allows me to travel, work remotely, and let’s me connect with interesting entrepreneurs. It’s all about creating a life I never want to retire from.
2. Usually the CPA analytical types aren’t the kind of people who up and quit their jobs to go out on their own. How did you manage to do it, and how big of a risk do you feel like it is for you?
I’ve been somewhat of a serial job quitter ever since I started working full time, but my recent resignation was hopefully the last. I’ll thank Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek for planting many new concepts in my brain. For one, I’m abandoning the deferred-life plan in pursuit of a better lifestyle doing work that matters to me that I would do for free if I could.
Since a traditional 9-to-5 won’t satisfy my needs, I’m testing out self-employment. I sat down and created a Master Plan to Quitting My Job and had an end date in mind. It would have been a bigger risk (health and emotional) by staying at a job and be shackled by the golden handcuffs than to explore what it’s like on my own.
3. A lot of my content relates to family finance. During your interactions with families over the last 10 years, what are the biggest financial mistakes that you’ve seen them make?
My biggest oberservation would be seeing families not spending time and money in a manner that’s consistent with their priorities in life. They may value their family above all else, yet I see them finance expensive luxury cars, purchase too much home, and spend too much money on luxury items.
To pay for all this stuff they have to work extra hours and spend more time away from their family. Spending time with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and girlfriend is extremely important to me. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to spend time with people you love, so I’d rather create memories than spend money on things.
I don’t have kids yet, but I am working on creating a lifestyle that allows me to spend as much time as possible watching them grow and spoil them with attention and amazing experiences.
4. Your net worth updates are the most in depth (and awesome) I have ever seen. I thought mine were detailed. That can’t be a quick process to put those together. Is there something wrong with you?
Haha, I am a total nerd when it comes to those updates but I love it! And yes, there is definitely something wrong with me, so shhh…don’t tell anyone.
Doing those updates does a few things for me.
- gives me piece of mind
- holds myself accountable for my spending
- and helps identify areas for improvement
It’s a lot of numbers, but I like to read the story of what the numbers are telling me and what my month was like. But to turn it around for a minute, I think what you’ve built on your website is way more awesome than what I do with my financial updates.
I’m a big believer in what you are doing and love how you are getting strangers to open up more and lay it all out there, crowdsourcing all this info and starting important conversations.
5. You talk about how you felt like you were stuck in a rut for a while there. How did you find the motivation to get out of it, and how would you advise others in similar situations?
I’ve gone through multiple ruts in my life but my most recent and major one was after about 2 years of working at my last job and I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. The money and benefits were great, but the days were all blending together and I wasn’t enjoying how I was earning and spending my money. I had realized most everything I had done up to that point was to follow the the expectations of others: parents, teachers, bosses, etc.
In reality, I knew deep down, the materialism and careerism cycle wasn’t the best fit for my ideal lifestyle. I had this fire inside I had to build something for myself and my future family, and I no longer valued traditional retirement or 40+ hour workweeks as part of the plan.
Reading the the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, blog posts from Mr. Money Mustache and learning all about financial freedom, location freedom and time freedom blew my mind! Striving to achieve all three freedoms only fueled the fire inside me and gave me life again.
My suggestions for others going through similar situations as mine: read a lot of different view points and figure out what works best for your ideal lifestyle, don’t just follow society’s script on what is expected of you. Also, start doing the things that scare you because you’ll never escape that rut if you stay within your comfort zone.
My Lifestyle Accountant take-aways
There you have it! So much good stuff packed into his responses! Here are few of my key take-aways:
- Focus on making memories and not accumulating stuff.
- Hold yourself accountable, and always look for ways you can improve.
- If you’re not sure about self employement, test it out! Create a master plan to do it.
- Be honest with yourself about what success means to you.
- Determine what mix and degree of freedom (financial, location, & time) you want and what you’re willing to sacrifice to get it.
Thanks to Jeff for this glimpse into his finances, life, and insights! For those of you who have ever been in a rut or who dream about going out on your own, just look to him as an example.
Your turn to bare your budget
I am currently taking submissions for people who are interested in being featured. If you are interested, post your budget and send send me an email.
What from Jeff’s experience resonates with you?