252 | Life Rebuilt | Julia Harder

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By Jonathan Mendonsa & Brad Barrett | Choose FI Media and The Unstuck Network. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
  • Everyone's path to FI is going to look a little bit different and there is so much we can learn from each other. Hoping to inspire and share lessons learned through conversations with community members, Brad and Jonathan speak with Julia Harder, an active duty member of the Coast Guard, is already well on her path to FI.
  • Always a natural saver, Julia was influenced by her dad, who stressed the importance of investing, and Dave Ramsey's teachings that debt is bad. She was on a good financial path, yet she still felt something was missing.
  • Though it sounds counterintuitive, Julia's path to financial independence began with divorce. Prioritization to her marriage, she rarely spent money on anything she didn't absolutely need. During her marriage, her husband helped her learn that some spending can be a good thing. Unfortunately, he was an irresponsible spender and there were months Julia found she couldn't pay all of the bills.
  • Although she knew something was wrong, she failed to listen to her instincts and all of the red flags that kept popping up. she just assumed everything would be okay rather than taking a step back and thinking about it critically.
  • Following her divorce, she was left with a $300,000 mortgage, a $20,000 car loan, no savings, and was feeling like she had hit rock bottom financially. Following Dave Ramsey's advice, Julia began to follow his steps to get back on her feet and find herself and her financial objectives again.
  • Julia was all in on Dave Ramsey's strategies. She cut up her credit cards, began using cash for everything, and made a budget every month. It gave her discipline and solidified her habits.
  • She found ChooseFI in May 2019 after she began teaching personal finance to other members of her Coast Guard unit. The thought of optimizing investments and taxes really caught her attention. It was exciting to begin taking action to optimize her money in these areas as well.
  • It was more difficult to come around with respect to travel rewards credit cards, but because she had learned to be disciplined with her budget, she could spend money on a rewards credit card and begin optimizing her travel spending too.
  • Before ChooseFI, Julia thought she was killing it with her 15% savings rate. She assumed 59 and a half was the earliest she could retire because that's the age her finical advisors had given her. She was blown away when a ChooseFI guest discussed their 70% savings rate. It was then that she realized she could control so much more than current her zone of awareness concerning savings and retirement.
  • Julia plans on remaining in the Coast Guard until eligible for a pension at 20 years of service. While others often ask if she'll be bored, she has a list of passion projects she can't wait to pursue without having to worry about how to pay the bills.
  • As someone who always enjoyed public speaking, last Fall, she took up book narration after reaching out to a friend with audio experience for help getting started. She's also joined Jonathon's Talent Stacker class and looking to start a podcast.
  • Julia keeps a list of all the things she wants to accomplish and FI will give her the freedom to pursue them without being obligated to a job or other people's expectations.
  • Between Julia's pension, TSP, Roth IRA, and a taxable brokerage account, she plans to hit Fat FI in 2027 when she becomes eligible for her pension.
  • Calculating a FI number with a pension is a bit different than multiplying annual expenses by 25. Julia estimated her pension using the military's pension calculator. She multiplied the difference between her pension and her expenses to calculate her FI number.
  • While she still follows the tenants of Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps and has met the minimum standards, she believes she has moved on from the standard path of working for 40 years and is more in line with ChooseFI.
  • Jonathon stressed that like Julia, members of the military with a pension, the Roth Conversion Ladder is not going to be a good option since it requires a few years with little to no income.
  • When exploring the idea of a talent stack, some people may have a difficult time identifying what they are really good at. It might start with identifying a pattern in what others tell you you are good at.

To watch the video highlights, click on ChooseFI.com/252

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