TicTocLife - A Story of Financial Independence
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On Purpose, Work, and Creation

We just returned from one of our now infamous couples' walks where we chatted away about life, meaning, and everything. I'm kidding. We're not always that heavy! Really we just enjoyed the cool fall air and took notice of the creepy Halloween decorations coming out to our neighbor's porches and yards. A friend messaged to say they missed us; last year at this time we were in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico celebrating a wedding. Our neighborhood walks will have to do to fill our travel desires for now.
A little San Miguel de Allende Wedding Memory from 2019.
Memories of our 2019 trip to Mexico will have to do for now!

We really do frequently have a walk and iron out our various thoughts on our day, upcoming activities, and FIRE though. We recently addressed Twitter to ask how common that was, turns out we're not the only ones that do it.

Our recent post about the purpose of work and its association with creation was birthed from one of these conversations.

From Chris:
I wrote the post, even though it was about Jenni's reaction to my questioning her feelings about having extra time with her reduced workload. The central theme of the post is my argument that the purpose of work is to create. This served two intentions:
  1. I want to divorce the concept of work from a job/career. Work isn't always about money, but a job usually is. There's nothing wrong with doing work: digging a garden so you can have fresh veg is work. Creating your latest work of canvas art is work. The pursuits you care about may or may not make money, but they involve overcoming challenges, educating yourself, and stretching your boundaries. They're work, and there's nothing wrong with that.
  2. I want to push the narrative that the point of work you do is to create something while also expanding the idea of what "create" means. It's easy to see that a piece of art, new music, or a finely crafted piece of furniture is creation. But sometimes we forget that the perfect piece of code, a new solution to optimizing a workflow you use every day or molding an amateur into a successful employee is also creation. My argument is that these creative achievements through work are the purpose.
That said, I think, dear reader, we've gotten to know each other well enough that there's room for us to have a discussion and to even disagree. I don't think everyone will agree with my stance that the purpose of work is to create. I'd really love to hear your feedback and especially where you disagree with me on this. Liz @ Minding My Thirties certainly lathered on the positivity to tide us over for a while recently (thank you, again!), so don't be afraid to be negative! Hit the comments!

One of my favorite interactions I've had with another persona since we started TicTocLife was with @AdventuresInFI where we had a constructive conversation re: my post on index funds vs stocks. We found common ground, compromised, and I think left both our sets of readers more knowledgeable for it.

I'd love to be part of more conversations like this.

Best deal of the last few weeks?

Our favorite chocolate, Endangered Species, went on sale buy one get one free at our local Kroger. Bought the whole box.

Some would say buying 17 bars of fancy dark chocolate is a waste of money.

We'd say it's why we FI. :)
88% ED Chocolate Investment BOGO
It's also a discount on our future grocery shopping!

How are those side gigs coming?

We've both been batting around a bunch of side gig ideas. The focus is on things we'd find fun that would teach us something that might (but don't have to) make us money.

For example, a friend came by with a pickup truck worth of fun from a local office. We've got a few months' worth of electronic equipment and computer tinkering to do!
Side gig with computer refurbing
We've actually done this sort of a thing before. A lot of the computers went to low-income folks happy to have working systems with Windows 10 operating on them and a little bit of guidance. We think that'll be the case again especially with back to school and remote schooling. There are some items here and there that'll end up on a variety of apps & websites to sell your stuff locally and pay a bill or two. Mostly, we just don't want it to wind up as e-waste!

On Gratitude

Speaking of remote education, our second monthly donation poll is ending in a few days. We're making a grant to either:
  1. Feeding America
  2. AdoptAClassroom.org
  3. DonorsChoose
We broke out the who and why for each of these amazing organizations in our last monthly budget update -- that link will go straight to the charity section. If you haven't yet, hit the link and make a quick vote for your preferred organization. At last glance, DonorsChoose was winning by one vote.

On the topic of gratitude, recently we've had folks make an extra effort to amplify our voice and share their thorough feedback. Thank you, it means a lot.
  • Carl, Mr. 1500, left a wonderful comment on Jenni's latest 3 Steps to Conquer Fears of DIY post and featured the post on Twitter. They've also asked us about being featured in their 10 Questions series which we'll take them up on soon. Stay tuned for a mini-interview with us!
  • Joe at Retire By 40 featured us as one of the "Early Retirement Blogs for Everyone" with his 2020 updates and has been embellishing our content on Twitter :)
  • Backpack Finance was inspired by a conversation between himself and Chris about the environment and privilege we're born into versus the merit you earn along the way, featuring us in his latest post "Are You Really All That Smart?". Our conversations are some of the best we've had with the community!
  • Just before they announced their engagement and shared some tips on topics like relationship counseling (woo, congrats again!), Financial Mechanic featured us in their Sunday Sharies--a fun series of personal finance bits around the web.
  • After helping us work through some of the details of our donor-advised fund, Leif (Physician on FIRE) was kind enough to feature us in his Sunday Best series of FIRE articles around the web. At least until we get around to writing a DAF guide, Leif's is the best source for information about this fantastic way to maximize giving through a DAF.
There are several folks that come by and make significant efforts to digest our writing and comment (whether on the article, via Twitter, or directly). It's greatly appreciated because we both know your time is limited and valuable. We don't usually write short, light articles. Thank you for making that effort, it doesn't go unrecognized, and you should know that it brings value to others (and us!).

Of course, there's also been countless silent readers, anonymous commenters, and folks sharing our thoughts across the internet. It's really exciting to have built a little community and group to interact with and bounce ideas off of. Thank you for joining our story and getting us this far!

It's easy to forget how much fortune impacts the success we've all had. That shouldn't suggest that merit doesn't have its place, but rather than both can exist together. On that note, just how much of an impact do you think things like geography, upbringing, demographics, and merit have on your financial journey? To go along with this newsletter, we've just put a Twitter poll out asking just that.
What's a bigger impact: merit or fortune?
Before we could even snap the screenshot, AnotherLoonie got to the poll! ;)

Check out the Twitter poll, vote, and continue the conversation with us!

As always, more to come.
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Our Latest Posts

Incase you missed one, here's our latest posts since our last newsletter:

Animal Shelters in Virginia and Our September 2020 Budget

We review animal shelters in VA for our monthly donation, detail last month's budget, and award a charitable grant to a children's education non-profit!

By Chris
Our September 2020 Monthly FIRE Budget reveals all our spending details and sets out a donation goal for animal shelters in VA.

Buy vs Rent and Invest: Planning for Financial Independence

When debating the buy vs rent and invest question we mustn't forget that homeownership often involves debt leverage which means our asset can easily be a liability. Just look to the Great Recession of 2008-2009.
Here's how to analyze your own buy vs rent and invest scenario, deciding to invest in either needs to be part of your financial independence plan!

By Chris

When to Pay Off Your Mortgage or Invest Extra Capital

Should you pay off your mortgage or invest extra money? Besides the return on investment difference, sometimes you want to reduce your income.

By Chris
Should you pay off your mortgage or invest when you have extra money available? Pictured: the childhood home I remember best.
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Thanks again for subscribing to our infrequent newsletter. We both hope you're enjoying TicTocLife as much as we are. If you have feedback about this newsletter, you can reply directly or use our Contact form.

Warm regards,
Jenni & Chris