There are some not-so obvious perks to pursuing financial independence. One we’ve come to really appreciate over the last year is being part of a global community of like-minded people who are willing to share perspective, resources and guidance to help others achieve their financial goals.
We’ve had an opportunity to meet some of them at meetups, FinCon or through collaborating with them on blogs and podcasts. We’ve even gone so far to entertain a few at our home because…why not? But considering how fast this movement is growing around the world, it’s impossible to meet with everyone we admire and learn from in this space. Thankfully, video and web technology make it easier to connect.
We first heard of Our Rich Journey a few years ago after stumbling across their profile on Instagram. As you might expect, our first thoughts were…SWEET, we're not alone. There's another black couple pursuing FIRE! Click To Tweet
For a while there, we felt like the opening scene of Blackish when the tour bus rolls by while the Johnson family is standing outside on their front lawns. In the scene, people were taking pictures of them to capture the rare moment they set their eyes on the mythical and majestic black family. It was ridiculous and hilarious.
Of course, we didn’t literally think we were alone, but as a podcast interviewer stated to us on their show, “we are like flies in the buttermilk“. It was great to see other young, black parents with a penchant for global travel, a knack for personal finance, investing and real estate openly sharing their experience. Even writing these words, we get the warm n’ fuzzy’s imagining what life may be like years from now. Where in the world will we be? Who will we be hanging out with?
So watching Amon and Christina announce they’d hit their FIRE number, the point where they can live off their investments and not have to work, was over the top exciting. It’s no exaggeration to say…it was like watching Obama get elected. It made the impossible real. Seeing the joy on their faces was like taking straight shots of hope, no chaser. Click To Tweet
We immediately reached out to them to see how they were doing and to give them an opportunity to reflect on what it feels like to be young, black and retired.
Here’s what they had to say.
Mr. r&R: Yoooo, thank you so much for taking some time out of your schedule to chat with us. This is a long overdue conversation but won’t be the last one. It’s been a little while since the announcement. How does it feel?
Amon– “You know… nobody has asked us that yet? It’s amazing. We’ve been on this path for so long so to finally be here…there’s this sense of freedom. It’s interesting because I’ve felt financially independent for some time now. At work, there was no stress because I knew that I really didn’t have to be there. People say that sometimes but…they don’t really mean it. I really didn’t have to be there so…it feels great”
Christina– We haven’t really reflected on it. There’s a sense of [walking into] the unknown like…what’s next?… but we’re so ready for it. We’re adventurous so we’re not going to sit around and drink Port all day. We’re looking forward to taking Portuguese classes, help out at a local nursing home and really enjoying the adventure.
Having watched them for so long on Youtube, it was cool seeing their interaction with eachother in real time. It reminded us of…us. A regular black couple that was willing to make some tradeoffs, hustle hard and is now living the life of their dreams.
From the first moment they met during their college years at a BBQ and were helping themselves to plates of free food, they’ve been on the same page. At one point, Amon described them as “money soulmates”. Christina gives Amon credit for pushing her beyond saving and into investing stating “growing up with a single Mom, we always knew we were supposed to save money, but we never learned about investing“.
Their consistency, work ethic and collective willingness to try anything over the last eight years has paid off big time. Having amassed a seven figure nest egg, they were both giddy and relieved at their achievement. If there were any signs of fatigue it was due to the time difference between ATL and Shibuya [+13 hours] and because that night was literally their last in Japan. They’d spent all day packing and running errands so our quick chat was the last thing on their list. Their next stop was San Francisco for a brief stint before settling in their new home in Lisbon, Portugal.
It’s not every day we get to have a discussion with another couple that can casually discuss the pros and cons of real estate investing, custodial investment accounts for their children and how they’re raising them to better understand money at an early age. Like married couples do, they went back and forth exchanging stories about their everyday family life.
Amon told us about his knack for cooking at home and why he deliberately makes small portions to leave the family wanting more. Christina told stories about their two daughters [ages 10 and 11] and how they haven’t fallen too far from the frugality tree.
With a mix of pride and amazement, they shared how one of their daughters recently asked if something was an annual fee or a monthly fee while she was assessing the value of a service. On another occasion, one of their daughters confessed to wiggling out of a trip to the shopping mall with her friends by suggesting they go swimming [a free activity] instead.
Our lifestyles “have affected their personalities…they’re definitely aware of consumerism“ says Amon.
This power couple has documented every aspect of their FI experience on their website and on Youtube for the world to see. From their decisions to live abroad, side hustles, real estate and investing and their experience with robo-advisors, they’ve covered it all in depth. Amon considers their platform a “how- to channel“ and is particular about that point having been less than impressed with some of the seminars that are all too common in the personal finance world. He wants people to walk away with something actionable they can do to improve their financial lives.
This is impressive because…they could've just padded their accounts and lived a quiet life traveling the world. But they're keenly aware of the impact they have on their community. They know what they represent. Click To Tweet
Christina spoke passionately about the importance of financial literacy, why it’s critical to try things even if it’s not perfect and what we in the personal finance community could all do to help improve people’s lives. But we really connected when the topic of conversation around platforms came up.
They’re not one to sling mud publicly, but they do call things like they see it and have discarded the notion of begging for a seat at anyone’s table. Particularly now that they’re financially independent, they’re more focused on building their own platform. One that puts purpose and integrity into it’s efforts and for what it’s worth; we look forward to building one with them.
Know any other black retirees with interesting stories that you’d like to be featured here? Send us a note here