Deb Jacobs is among the growing number of people discovering FIRE After 50. In fact, her website is called FIAfter50. Her goal is to help others who are Later2FIRE find their way.
Deb grew up during a time of Cinderella expectations. She believed she would marry Prince Charming who would provide for her. However, Deb’s Prince Charming never came along (despite kissing a number of frogs). So Deb decided to go it alone, living life the way she wanted. This included adopting two wonderful girls and going into business (she runs a preschool). But not having someone to share responsibilities with didn’t leave her with much time to attend to her personal finances. Like a lot of people Deb fell behind in saving for retirement.
As an educator, Deb has always been interested in learning and self-improvement. While raising her daughters she read books and attended workshops on parenting and how to become more organized. Over twenty years ago she read The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. She studied Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindsets. She even listened to Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle School podcast.
Deb’s passion for learning and willingness to make changes to improve her life are the hallmarks of a growth mindset which is the most important ingredient in the pursuit of financial independence (FI).
Even though Deb knew she should improve her personal finances, she never took action because she was too busy. She was perpetually stuck in the mode of “I’ll get to that later”. Then about a year ago she followed a link a friend posted on Facebook to the House of FI podcast which inspired her to finally take action. She got together with her friend to figure out how to apply what she had learned about paying off debt, budgeting and earning more to her life.
Deb also continued to increase her knowledge of FIRE and deepen her ties to the FIRE community. She regularly read popular blogs such as Mr. Money Moustache (an early FIRE blogger and icon) and she read two books that are popular within the FIRE community: Vicki Robbin’s classic Your Money or Your Life and J.L. Collins The Simple Path to Wealth.
Deb’s Path to FI
Like most FIRE starters, Deb zeroed in on cutting expenses. She developed a “can’t go over budget” for grocery shopping. Now she does more meal planning and cooks larger quantities to freeze to use later. As a result she has cut her grocery expenses by 30%! Deb also cancelled subscriptions she can live without. And when it came time to renew her life insurance, her insurer wanted to increase her premium by 490%! Using Zander (which she learned about from the ChooseFI Facebook group), she found a comparable policy for much less.
Next Deb revamped her investments. She switched her IRA investment from a high fee mutual fund to a low fee index fund. She also bought into a bond fund to help balance her asset allocation. And she implemented the most proven way to save – she set up automatic monthly deposits into her IRA.
“Even at my age I’m making long term investments and other financial plans.”
Deb also learned about travel hacking from the FIRE community. This has saved her thousands of dollars getting her daughter back and forth to college. And she was even able to send daughter on a semester abroad to New Zealand for just $100 round trip!
Another huge step in her journey is that she now has an FI plan! Deb’s plan includes frugally supporting her daughters’ education, increasing her rental income (she owns a two-family home with a basement), SSA benefits, IRA income, and extra money from side hustles.
Deb is a great example of why it’s not too late to FIRE After 50. Since it’s entirely possible that she could live another 30+ years why not make the most of them? And that’s exactly what Deb is doing by investing in FIRE.
“I still have much to learn such as the investment lingo that people use in FI-related Facebook groups. But one step at a time, I’m learning, and you can, too”.
Deb’s believes that if she can pursue FIRE After 50 so too can others. In fact, the first post she ever wrote is Think You’re Too Old to Reach Financial Independence? Think Again.
When it comes to starting to FIRE, her advice is simple.
- Start with one small change. For example, find one expense you can cut. Small changes add up over time!
- Find FIRE influencers and role models who inspire you. The FIRE community is a great source of knowledge and support.
Do these things and you too can be on your way to a better life!
For more information check out Why It’s Not Too Late to Join the FIRE Movement.