Music Mondays – Suddenly I See


Suddenly I See

Financial literacy is a passion that is near and dear to my heart, and I love that my west coast alter ego, Shannon Ryan, hosts a financial literacy carnival every year. I was honored to play a part in last year’s and honored that I was invited again this year until I realized that her carnival fell on a Monday. As most readers of my blog know, every Monday on my blog, I write a Music Monday post where I take a song and draw a financial lesson from it.

Ever since I started my blog, I have never had anything other than a Music Monday here, and to date, 86 Music Mondays have been written. So I had a dilemma on how I could support Shannon while not breaking my consistency, when it hit me that I had the perfect song to tell the story of when I got Financially Real, Suddenly I See.


I vividly remember the day we discussed retirement investing in my Finance class in college where my professor assured us that there would be no money left in the social security system when we retired and educated us on the importance of planning for retirement through our personal 401ks. Despite the sad reality of no social security income in my future, I was grateful for the advice and the time to prepare for retirement. Therefore, as soon as I could, I began contributing to my company’s 401k and maxed out my contributions every year that I could.

Despite my focus on retirement planning from the age of 22, I always assumed that retirement for me would take place around age 70+. Like most people, I feared running out of money in retirement, so I figured I needed to work and save for a solid 50 years until I felt comfortable enough to call it quits. Plus, I love to work, and I find it difficult to imagine a life where I am not working.


I was comfortable with my 50 year plan, until I sat through retirement plan training as a financial advisor, and just like I remember that day in finance class so clearly, I remember that day in the conference room where the trainer used the term “financial freedom” like it was yesterday. Until that moment, I had no idea that the phrase “financial freedom” even existed and despite the fact that I didn’t know exactly what it meant, I knew that it was something that I wanted because financial freedom sounds so much better than retirement.

Suddenly I see

This is what I want to be

Suddenly I see

Why the hell it means so much to me


I left that meeting and immediately began to think about what financial freedom meant to me, and I realized that if I was going to get there as fast as I could, I needed to get financially real as soon as possible. Upon close examination of my finances, I realized that retirement was so far away for me because I was spending a large portion of what I was making. I had inflated my lifestyle to the point that a large retirement nest egg was not a desire, but a need.

Three years ago, my hubby and I laid the groundwork for our path to financial freedom, and the first step down that path involved us addressing our spending and our lifestyle choices. We started out analyzing our big expenses and questioned everything down to the smallest expenses. The process of analyzing our spending led us to become self-aware of our behaviors and we immediately made great strides in reducing our expenses.

We now know that we are capable of living off significantly less than we used to require which is one part of financial freedom. Now we are working on growing our income over the next few years so that we can save as much as we can to build the cushion we need to support the lower lifestyle that we require. Instead of retirement in 50 years, we are now looking at financial freedom in about 15, and the only reason this number is so high is that we have a life goal of paying for college for our son.

A Goal Makes Getting Financially Real Easy

When I decided financial freedom was the path for me, I thought it would be difficult to achieve based on years of bad money habits that I had acquired; however, it turned out to be an easier process than I anticipated because it gave me focus. Before I had financial freedom as a goal, I didn’t have a specific or tangible goal to focus my money behavior around.

It’s like getting in the car without having a destination in sight, without a destination, you will just drive around for miles and only waste fuel (aka your money) and your time. Now that I have gotten financially real and set my destination for financial freedom, I have a plan in place for how to get there and the only thing that will prevent me from achieving it is my own energy.

Suddenly I see

This is what I want to be

Suddenly I see

Why the hell it means so much to me

Financial freedom means so much to me, and I plan to get there as soon as possible and as long as I stay financially real, I know I will get there sooner than later.

This post is part of the Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival hosted by Shannon Ryan of The Heavy Purse. If you want to check out some of my fellow blogger’s stories of getting Financially Real, you should head over there now.



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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


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