Family life and finances don’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to retire early to follow the Financial Independence Retire Early principles. In fact, our first guest doesn’t have plans of retiring early because he sees his job as a hobby where he gets paid.
Our first guest, Rommel, moved to the U.S. to practice his profession as a Physical Therapist. Residing in New York, they are raising their kids and living a simple but bountiful life.
Don’t miss our podcast interview with Rommel at the end of the article!
Personal finance had not been a stranger to him. At a young age, Rommel was exposed to money lessons through his mom’s business acumen and his dad’s stock investing in the Philippines. He was reunited with personal finance and eventually financial independence mindset in 2013 through a friend’s recommended book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
In the Philippines, frugality is in our upbringing, but it is often not put to good use because we tend to not save for important things such as retirement or emergencies, rather we save for the next extravagant purchase.
“Failure to plan is planning to fail.”
We all know that emergencies and retirement are going to happen, but sometimes we treat it as if there is a chance that it won’t. Rommel takes a proactive approach in anticipating occurring expenses, building his emergency fund and nest egg by automating his savings and doing it regularly.
He doesn’t follow a budget but every spending (which he refers to as lifestyle) is optimized to focus on increasing the gap between income and expenses, and then investing the difference.
How do they adjust their lifestyle design to optimize their personal finance?
- Set-up automatic deductions for all recurring expenses, savings, and retirement accounts
- Try to cut one line item first for a limited time to see how it will affect you. No need to deprive yourself indefinitely
- Call utility providers often to get introductory prices, deals and to negotiate bills
- Connect with local insurance brokers annually for new auto insurance quotes
- Use Travel Rewards credit cards on regular spending for when the family visits from the Philippines
- Enjoy DIY learning.
Rommel wants to acquire generational wealth and empower his children with the life skills, values and mindset of FI. They are not strict with regards to financial lessons and spending allocation with their kids, but their family’s financial life and net worth is open to their children, breaking the concept of treating money and topics about it as taboo.
Money is only a tool and there is no intrinsic morality linked to it. Rommel and his wife lead this kind of life by example. Like mom and dad, the kids are not materialistic. They do not look for brands nor own gaming consoles and would rather spend their time hiking.
Filipino parents will often support their children through college. For when this time comes, Rommel opened a 529 Plan for his kids and contributes to it regularly. When his kids receive money gifts, they also have the option to contribute to it (which they always do).
When they grow up his advice is “Do what you want, and the money will follow.” Their lifestyle design is the example the young ones will eventually follow. There is no guideline, they just do what’s right.
Try FIRE, but do not deprive yourself. You must enjoy the journey. Take the small wins because FI is a not a sprint. It is a marathon. The worst-case scenario if FIRE is not for you is you’ll have money in the bank. If you’re in the FI mindset already, learn more and learn to share. Changing the life of even one person will make a world of difference.
Get in touch: Rommel’s Facebook
We are a Pinoy Physical Therapist duo living somewhat unconventional but intentional lives. In this podcast we want to learn how Filipinos all over the world in different industries and walk of life earn, spend, save and invest money to achieve Financial Independence.