And Then There Was One… Income (Part 2: Privilege and Opportunity)

I must admit, Mr. Adventure Rich and I are overwhelmed by the support, comments and excitement shared by the Adventure Rich readers and the personal finance community.  I know it is a big deal to quit a job and drop an income, but I am blown away and grateful nonetheless.  Thank you.

Today, I am brining you more of a philosophical side of our decision.  I wrote on Monday about the specific situations and emotions that contributed to Mr. Adventure Rich leaving his job, but I’d like to take a step back and look at the big picture.  Here we go.

Making a Difficult Choice

Our decision to leave Mr. Adventure Rich’s job was incredibly easy in some ways… but it was difficult in others.

When it comes to finances, I tend to think in black and white.  And when you plug the black and white numbers into a spreadsheet, the answer is that two incomes are better than one… much better.  We could save more, pay off our mortgage faster, invest more, have the opportunity to buy a rental property sooner, get a better leg-up on saving for college and retire earlier.  Damn, just writing all of that out is making me wince.

But then I start to blend the color back into the picture.  The color that tells a new story.  It shows a family stressed with demanding schedules, juggling a son instead of enjoying time with him, finding the days, weeks and months flying by too quickly and becoming increasingly strained in various parts of our lives.

Stepping back from the black and white to see the colorful picture made it clear that something needed to change.  Here we were, encouraging people to live their retirement today, to have spontaneous adventures, to be flexible with their pursuit of FI and to utilize money options… all while struggling with these aspects of life!

Making a Choice That Aligns With Our Priorities

During our discussions about what to do next and how to release some of the building pressure, I referred back to our Financial Independence Mission Statement.  Last summer, Mr. Adventure Rich and I followed the formula outlined in an article written by Tanja at Our Next Life and came up the following:

The Adventure Rich family strives to live a rich and beautiful life full of adventure, simplicity, and intention while aiming for some form of financial independence by building wealth through index investing and other income streams in order to be able to generously give of our time, energy and resources for the good of our community, our family, and each other, relying on God to strengthen and direct our actions each step of the way.

Reading through our mission statement again inspired me to break out of that black and white spreadsheet world on my computer and to look around, gather the color from our life and reassess.  Suddenly, it became clear that if we truly aligned our actions with our priorities, Mr. Adventure Rich’s current job did not fit.  It was the outlier that had to go.

Hard Work and Privilege

Our decision to shift to a one income household is a privilege.  And the fact that we are incredibly blessed to be in this position is not lost on us.  I recently re-read an article by The Luxe Strategist titled “I Grew Up Poor But I’m Privileged Anyway“.  It is a beautiful, honest article that I highly recommend reading, but I will share a quick snippet that stuck with me.

“I’m not ashamed of my successes, and I’m not going to apologize for it. But those who think my successes are a result of just my hard work alone aren’t seeing the full story. And thinking that financial privilege is the only way to get headstarts in life is also short-sighted.”

While I am applying this quote to a wildly different circumstance than Luxe is discussing, I find that I resonate with it right now.

We Worked Hard

To be in a position to drop one income with very little lead time is not one that we just stumbled into.  During our engagement, Mr. Adventure Rich and I discussed finances and our desire for financial security.  We agreed to work towards the goal of living below our means and to hopefully be in a position where we could live off of one income.

And we worked hard to achieve this goal.  While we are not extremely frugal or expense cutting masterminds, we live modestly, drive used cars, save and invest diligently, bought a house below what we qualified for, and denied excessive lifestyle inflation as our income grew.  These decisions along the way helped us to be in the position to align our life with our priorities and make a radical move to one income.

And We Are Privileged

But like Luxe notes, hard work alone is not the whole story.  There are countless individuals, couples, and families who work incredibly hard, spend long hours at their job (supplementing with second and third jobs at times), endure limited family/relationship time and cannot live on one income. And I’m not talking about inflated lifestyles here… I’m talking about people who need two incomes to survive, to cover basic needs like housing, food and clothing.  People who may have a more clear view of their priorities than we do, but cannot take drastic steps (like dropping to one income) to align their life to their priorities.

This reality makes it abundantly clear that we are privileged.  The choice to move to one income is a luxury brought about in part by many people, circumstances, exposure to resources, and experiences in our lives.  I am thankful for the puzzle pieces in our lives that fit together to allow us to make this move, but I also know the ability to make this decision is a privilege and a luxury many are not able to enjoy.

Part 3 and an “Ask Me Anything” Call Out

As we embark into this new journey, we are focused on working to fulfill our mission statement’s goal:

” to be able to generously give of our time, energy and resources for the good of our community, our family, and each other, relying on God to strengthen and direct our actions each step of the way”

We are not financially independent, but we are fortunate to have the opportunity to choose to become a one income family, creating more time and energy for the adventures we find ourselves called to embark on.   I look forward to sharing “And Then There Was One… Income (Part 3: What’s Next!)” soon!

Read Parts 1 and 3!

And Then There Was One… Income (Part 1: Quitting)

And Then There Was One… Income (Part 3: The “Non-Plan”)

And Then There Was One… Income (BONUS #1: AMA Questions Answered)

And Then There Was One… Income (BONUS #2: AMA Questions Answered)

And Then There Was One… Income (BONUS #3: AMA Questions Answered)

Ask Me (Us!) Anything!

In the mean time, I have an ask.  I am going to do a bonus “Ask Me Anything” post answering your questions about our decision to move to one income!

 —The questions can be directed to Mr. Adventure Rich, to me or generally to both of us

—The questions must be in “good taste”

—You can submit your question in the comments section below, on Twitter (@adventurerichly), or by emailing us at adventurerichblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

—Questions are due by EOD Monday, January 15th

Always an Adventure,

Mrs. Adventure Rich