We think about our the next stage of our lives a lot. Like…a lot A LOT. After long weeks of the grind, after the daily standard routine of feeding, bathing and putting Baby r&R down, it is ritual for us to take a deep breath, enjoy a good meal, toast with a glass of wine and just exhale with visions of the future floating in our minds. These moments remind us that our goal of early retirement is truly a matter of self-care and not some trivial pursuit of a lavish lifestyle.
During weeks where the news cycle is particularly bruising, we’ll squeeze in discussion on social issues that are happening around us and in our community. We stumble in and out of these bittersweet moments frequently but always come out the other side optimistic; knowing we’ve done a lot to help ourselves get ahead AND will be in a position to better help others in need. We help others today, but we know that more could be done.
Giving is something we’ve not spent much time writing about on this blog. Not because it doesn’t enter our hearts or minds, but because we want to make sure that our message is on point. We’re not sure that it is buuut, here it is anyway.
We mentioned in our 2018 budget, that we do in fact, set money aside monthly for “giving” but we didn’t go into much detail. That’s because, our giving is all over the place. In fact, I’m confident that if we were to add it all up, it would far exceed the budget we’ve allocated for it—and we’re ok with that. While many personal finance experts preach the importance of tracking and giving every single penny a purpose, we’re more like…“I meaaann, so long as the plan is on track…screw the rest of it”. Put another way, as long as the money we need to survive and maintain our savings rate is achieved, we’re ok with a few ups and downs in whatever is left over. Do we advise everyone adopt this loosey goosey mindset? Hell no!
Our approach is the result of years of paying off debt, climbing the corporate ladder to earn an above average income while living well below our means. If you’ve not earned your personal finance stripes yet, then it’s best you track every penny, nickel and dime until you do.
We should also mention something that is not called out in any of our past posts—tithing. The reason we don’t mention it is because we don’t do it. We are not official members of a church community and it’s not really something that’s on our radar. Without going into much detail, let’s just say that we’re still searching for a spiritual home and therefore see no reason to abide by any specific religious practice.
So if we’re not tithing, what does our “giving” look like. The short answer is, we spend and give away our money in a manner that is aligned with our values.
That includes giving to people, organizations and businesses that we believe in as well as close friends and family in need. In full transparency, it’s a tad uncomfortable talking about this because “giving” can be so easily scrutinized. It can oftentimes feel like a game you can’t win because you’re either giving too little, not enough, not as much as “such and such” or not giving the right thing. But we’ve found that ignoring the perception and subtle shade folks throw your way is an effective tactic. It’s as simple as reminding ourselves that giving isn’t a competition and that its ok to simply give what you want, when you want to.
With that said, Mrs. r&R might as well have a business card made with the title minority micro-enterprise venture capitalist as her title. Not a month goes by where she hasn’t stumbled across a handful of hungry startups that need funding to build a prototype or simply have a dope product worthy of purchase. In return, signed thank you cards and packages arrive at our doorstep often as we get to experience first runs of production from businesses we hope will someday make it big.
THIS is giving. We know this because we know what it feels like to check an account with a fat goose egg [aka $0] under the Sales/Revenue column. Sometimes, that single sale and re-tweet is a sweet reminder that there are people who “get it” and are willing to pay for your product/service. We also know that more often than not, those entrepreneurs carry the weight of their families well-being on their shoulders. I’m a sense, sales are signs of life and hope for them.
Mrs. r&R also serves as acting Public Relations Director for our household so all birthday gifts, baby showers, weddings, holidays and shenanigan planning are funneled through her department. That stuff adds up quick so it’s helpful to have some boundaries in place so we don’t blow your budget.
On the other hand, Mr. r&R is our household humanitarian and Chief problem-solver. Whether it’s in support of local organizations in Puerto Rico, donations to NPR/PBS, those who can’t afford surgery for their children, those who can’t afford for their children to study abroad or a family member that just needed their spirits lifted, Mr. r&R tends to use his magic money wand to help make bills disappear. This is largely because he knows what it feels like to have money issues disrupt really great opportunities or moments in life that have the potential to be life-changing. Whether it’s a celebration bar tab, a once-in-a-lifetime trip or supporting an entrepreneurs dream, these moments of joy and relief are deeply meaningful because frankly…there are some problems that ONLY money can solve Click To Tweet
so if swiping a card or hitting a few clicks can get it done…go on ‘head and keep the party going.
A few months ago, we wrote about the time we got to meet and sit with fmr. Ambassador Andrew Young. The short lesson he imparted on us that day has forever been tatted on our hearts and mind. That is—fill your cup and then fill it again, otherwise, you end up tired, broken and full of resentment. As a result,we view our investment strategy as an act of radical self-responsibility Click To Tweet
In the future, we look forward to formalizing our giving. It is a dream of ours to start a scholarship fund for under-privileged minority students who wish to study abroad as well as provide funding to organizations that promote mental health awareness. There are several other causes that are important to us but these two are at the top given our respective life experiences.
The bottom line is, giving is one of the key reasons we are pursuing financial independence. In addition to recreation, that freedom will enable us to have even more time and money to solve problems that only money can solve. That’s not to stunt on those who can only give “time” because BOTH are critical to making progress. However, volunteer hours alone don’t build homes, churn inventory, pay legal fees or put food on tables. That takes cash. We know what our superpower is and we’re using it as we see fit. Wakanda Forever!