Ms. CRNA from [Financial Independence Forum, EP.008]

My guest this week is Miss CRNA on FIRE.   She runs the blog  She’s like many of us, woke up to the journey of FIRE by having a deep desire to have the freedom to work when we want to and to refocus on the family.  Her journey wasn’t always one of frugality, but has now turned to focus on debt repayment, with the goal of paying off their entire mortgage in 7 years. Also like some of out there, she has a dream of FIRE but her spouse doesn’t necessarily share the same plans, but she’s very committed to her journey.

Podcast Transcript

Eugene / Host: (00:05)
Hello and welcome everyone. I’m Eugene Ting and this is the financial independence forum. This show is an open ended exploration of stories, methods and mindsets, how to better invest your time best in yourself and invest your money. You can learn more and please contribute your voice and story at my guest this week is Ms. CRNA. She runs the blog CRNAonFIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early).blog. She, like many of us, woke up to the journey of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) by having a deep desire to find freedom to work when she wants to and to also refocus on her family. Her journey wasn’t always one of frugality, but she has now turned to focus on debt repayment with the goal of paying off her entire mortgage in seven years. Also, like some of us out there, she has a dream of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), but her spouse doesn’t necessarily share the exact same plans, but she’s very committed to a journey which we’ll talk about more here today on the financial independence forum. Welcome Ms. CRNA to the podcast.

Ms. CRNA: (01:12)
Hi, thank you. Thanks for having me. Thank you so much for coming on. You’re relatively new to the blogosphere. I think, you know, in looking back at some of the some of the posts, I think you started around, I think it was an August or summer of 2019.

Eugene / Host: (01:27)
Is that right?

Ms. CRNA: (01:27)
That’s correct, yes.

Eugene / Host: (01:29)
Awesome. And so maybe, maybe walk us through a little bit, like, was it, was it around the same time that you sort of found the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) community or was it well before that and then you just started the blog just because you wanted to document your journey? Well, I sound FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) about two years ago I came across mr money mustache and it’s kind of just, you know, how a lot of people do you start reading his stuff and next thing you know, you’ve consumed, you know, hundreds of articles he’s been writing for a long time and it’s kinda got into that and loved the idea of it. You know, found Vicky Robin, you know, a lot of the stuff that people get the introduction to FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) from and love the idea of it approached my husband with it and he thought it was comical to say the least.

Ms. CRNA: (02:22)
And didn’t think it was anything that would be viable for our lifestyle. And I actually wrote an article about that, about how my husband feels about FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), but so I kind of shelved it for a couple of years and things at work have just gotten worse. We’ve been having lots of issues with management and contract negotiations and benefits being taken away and you know, they want you to work more for less. And it’s just gotten, it’s gotten to where I’m so unhappy at my job that, and it’s not the profession. Let me clarify that. I love, I do. It’s not the profession at all. It’s the management that I work for that has made it so difficult that I started thinking this is impacting my life. I’m not sleeping, I’m having anxiety. I’m having to you know, just psych myself up to go into work every day to deal with some of the drama that’s happening. And one morning I just woke up and I thought, I can’t take this anymore. I’ve got to figure out how I can afford to not work full time. And I started looking at our finances, which is something I didn’t do very much. It’s something I think a lot of women, they just sit back and let their husbands handle the finances and you know, as long as the bills are getting paid, I didn’t think anything of it. I never really looked at anything. And then I finally one day sat down and started going through months and months of bank statements and realizing we were just spending like crazy and you know, stuff. You don’t even really see restaurant meals, right? You go out and $100 later, what is there to remember from that? It’s not like you have something in your closet that shows that you just had a lovely meal and a nice experience. But you know, we were spending seven, $800 a month in restaurant meals and we would go to Costco and you walk in there to get one little thing. And the next thing you know, you spent three and $400 at Costco, which was happening two and three times a month. And just random stuff where I started noticing, Oh my goodness, all of this money is just pouring out of our bank account with nothing really to show for it. And so when I started really tracking it, I realized that if, if I just kind of cinched us down a little bit on our spending, well we could probably get this mortgage paid off really quickly and then I could not have to work full time. I’m very fortunate that my husband is a high earner and I’m a high earner so we make good money. But lifestyle inflation being what it is, we’ve gotten ourselves in a lovely home with two lovely new cars. And you know how it just kinda goes and you’ve developed this lifestyle that you need to continue. You know, you felt like you need to continue on with, it’s hard to kind of send to the belt sometimes, but the mortgage was the big thing. I felt like if I could get the mortgage paid off, we don’t have to have me working full time. I can work on my own and just that option to be able to, you know, make a decision about, okay, my daughter has a field trip on Tuesday, I want to go on that field trip. So I’m not available on Tuesday to work, but I am available on Wednesday. Knowing that option is available to me if I just put a little effort into it. It like gave me some momentum that I really needed. And the blog just kind of came about one morning where when I realized it, I was like, okay, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to start writing this and I’m going to start making these posts and whether people follow me or not, it’s an accountability journey more than anything for me to post on here. Okay, look, I failed this month. You know, we, we, we failed and we spent $600 in restaurants this month to post. That is one way to keep me accountable and kind of plug the leaks is how I like determine when you start really documenting where all the money’s going, you start seeing the leaks in your finances and how things just kind of slip out the out the bank account so easily. And when you can start plugging those leaks, then you can start seeing your savings rate increase. And so that’s my, that’s really my goal with the blog was more accountability for me than anything.

Eugene / Host: (06:45)
That’s awesome. There’s, there’s a few areas, few tangents we want to talk about there, but actually before we begin and maybe for our audience too is, is maybe you could tell us a little bit about what C R M a M stands for, cause I, I didn’t have to look it up as well. I, I have since understood, but maybe you could tell our audience a little bit about, about that if you want to share however.

Ms. CRNA: (07:06)
Yeah, absolutely. And feel free to reign me in if I get off on a tangent in some way. Absolutely stop me. And if you want to redirect me, that is totally cool. CRNA is Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. We are a hidden gyms as I like to call it in the medical community. Most people don’t realize in the United States that your anesthesia is actually given to you by a nurse. It’s not given to you by a physician. Now there are a lot of hospitals where the physician comes in. And you know, works very directly with the nurse. The market that I work in, we do not have any anesthesiologist who comes around very often for us. So we are very autonomous in our practice. I have a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia. It took me about 10 years to get that education and I’ve been working for 10 years now. So it’s a, it’s a wonderful little, the hidden gem. A lot of people don’t realize exist, but it’s a great profession. I love it. It is a high-earning profession. Unfortunately some changes that have come up about in the community and it’s starting to become a nationwide thing is with anesthesiologist and insurance reimbursements and things like that. And I can go down a whole rabbit hole with all of that. We were, I would say the easiest way to describe it is we’re a team model where the majority of places in the country, you have nurse anesthetist who work in a team approach with anesthesiologist. Does that make sense?

Eugene / Host: (08:40)
Yeah, no it does. Actually, you know, it’s an education for me too because I did not know that actually nurses were the ones administering rather than the doctors primarily. And so that, that’s, that’s something very interesting. The maybe just, you know, since we’re on topic You mentioned that’s a very niche profession, also a very high painting profession. It took you like, you know, a good, a good amount of time to do your studies in order to be in that profession. Was that always something that you had, you had an ambition for? You know, finding a career path? Cause I think that’s also another leg, another pillar that a lot of people in FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) or pursuing FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) wants to be able to either increase their income or decrease their expenses. Right. So you know, you, you seem to have that pillar pretty set for you before you kind of discovered FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). But maybe because you were in a position to have a high income to even consider it, that that’s sort of one of the things to think about. But yeah. You know, what, maybe share with us a little bit about, you know, was that something that you had a good ambition for that you were, you wanted a very good secure profession?

Ms. CRNA: (09:45)
It’s an interesting question. I’d never even knew how much money a nurse. And as that is made, I started down the path of health care because I grew up very poor and my father told me that in healthcare you’ll always have a job because people are always sick. So if you never want to worry about job security, healthcare is the route you want to take. And so that made sense to me as a little girl. And I started thinking, okay, I’ll be a nurse. I didn’t have any parental support at all financially. When it came to go on to college, I had to do everything myself. And so that meant I’m taking one or two classes at a time while you know, waiting tables. Giddy, I got some Pell grants and I worked as, I went through a little bitty 10 months program that was offered by a hospital here in town and became a surgical technician. And I got some experience in the operating room. And that was when I discovered the profession of nursing anaesthesia. I had not even heard of that profession. [inaudible] And I saw how much I guess I saw how, how influential they were in the operating room. You know, you put the patient’s asleep, you keep them asleep, you wake them up, you’re there in the moments when, you know, as the shit hits the fan a lot of times. And you know, you’re the one at the head of the bed who is managing, giving the emergency drugs and managing the respirations. And it just seemed like an awesome profession to me. I wanted to be able to I guess I just, I wanted that influence. I wanted to be able to really help somebody and to have that knowledge. And it just seemed, you know, as a young girl passing instruments to a surgeon, I thought, wow, that’s what I want to do. So I had to take the long route. I had to get an associate degree in nursing while working that I worked in the ICU. Got my experience that you need to have as an ICU nurse too. Get your master’s degree, Marina’s profession, every master’s program and anesthesia requires you have a couple of years of ICU experience and I let the hospital pay for me to go back and get my bachelor’s degree. And actually I tweeted about that. A lot of people don’t know about that. If you work for a hospital, the majority of them will reimburse your educational expenses at the end of the semester. And that’s where the, you work in the cafeteria or the housekeeping department or whether you’re an associate degree nurse and you want to go back and get your bachelor’s degree. Most hospitals offer a benefit like that. So I worked night shifts in the ICU and went to school during the day and I managed to complete my bachelor’s degree in one year. Sigma cum Loudy. I had a 3.99 GPA, so I busted my ass for a year.

Eugene / Host: (12:42)

Ms. CRNA: (12:42)
Thank you. And manage to let the hospital pay for me to get my bachelor’s degree. And then when I got accepted into an anesthesia program, that’s a residency program. So you are in the operating room every day and that program you’re not able to work at all then that’s when my student loan debt accrued was from my master’s program. But once I got through that, I mean I had to do everything myself. I didn’t have any support at all. But once I got through that, I realized that, you know, financially I was, I was going to have plenty of money and I was going to be okay. And so [inaudible] kind of learns it about the professional along the way. Thanks to my dad making the one little comment about how if you never want to worry about job security, go into healthcare.

Ms. CRNA: (13:32)
I love that story. Thanks for sharing it. You know, that sounds like it had a had a deep effect on you, or at least that resonated with you that you, you, you took that to heart and pursued a profession in healthcare. That’s awesome. You also mentioned a couple of things. I didn’t know that as well, which, which is I think news to our audience, perhaps news to most people in audience that if you worked at a hospital that they would reimburse you even if it’s not specifically healthcare related, but anything that is working at the hospital. But that would be something that the hospital migraine verse you for some, some of the healthcare education that you’re pursuing. That’s really interesting. Just a little tip. I know. That’s great. You know, you’re at a stage where you’ve been 10 years in this profession. There’s may be changes in the profession that sort of makes you kind of wonder if this is something that you want to be tied to I guess. But you want more freedom if you will. Right? You want more, be able to tap more freedom to spend time with your family and whenever you want to. Maybe talk a little bit about that. You shared a little bit on your blog about that too, but maybe in your own words, kind of describe what, what FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) wood would mean to you or what that would look like to you.

Ms. CRNA: (14:43)
So FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) to me is for sure. I want the flexibility to continue to work a little bit. I didn’t go to school for 10 years to never practice anesthesia again. Once I reach financial independence, absolutely want to continue to do this profession. I just want to do it a couple of days a week. I want the ability to, if my kid has a field trip, I want to be able to take her on that field trip. If my mom who is age eight and if she needs to go to a doctor’s appointment or she needs to have a procedure done, I want to be able to be there for her. And with my job, the way that things are starting to change in the healthcare community in anesthesia is you’re starting to see these practices that were physician owned selling out to national corporations. And when you have a national corporation that’s based in a completely different state from where you’re at and they’re overseeing things from a distance, it becomes very much like a corporation instead of the usual healthcare management style that people who work in the profession are used to. That’s what’s changed the most is that the management styles is completely different. And where when I started with my group, you know, if I had an issue, you know, where I wanted a day off because maybe my, my mom was having something done and I needed a day off, I could, I could go and I could ask for that day. And, you know, most likely I would get it based on the staffing needs for the day. But now it’s become such a, a corporate affair. There’s nothing personal about it. And I always felt like I always felt like the anesthesiologist that I work with, they knew me. They knew my family, you know, I knew about their kids, we told stories to each other and it’s taken on such a corporate vibe that feels very negative to me. And I have, what I’m starting to see now is that, you know, historically you want your anesthesia provider to be somebody who’s experienced. Do you, you know, I’ve 10 years of experience and to a patient, that’s what you want. You want somebody who’s been doing the profession for years, you know, that they’re going to do a very good job if they’ve been doing anesthesia for 10 years. They, you know, they know what they’re doing. But to a corporation that makes me expensive. And when a corporation can bring in a brand new graduate who has, you know, $80,000 in student loan debt and they’re willing to work for the bottom dollar, that’s you, they’re going to bring in. And so you’re starting to see that in healthcare where it’s, Oh yes, you’re, you know, you’ve got 10 years of experience and you do a very good job, but you’re expensive. So we’re going to bring in this new person who hasn’t, you know, they’ve just graduated, they just passed their boards because make $40,000 less than you do. So that’s what we’re starting to see in healthcare is it’s not about who the best provider is. It’s who’s the cheapest provider. And that’s one of the many issues in healthcare that we’re seeing today is it’s all about the money and not, you know, I’m not, I’m not going to go into insurance reform or anything like that because that is a lot of it. Okay. Insurance is paying less. There’s one pot of money, you know, and it’s gotta be divided amongst everybody. So if you can save money and get a less practice, you know, practitioner, well then that’s what a lot of corporations are doing. So it’s become very cold to me. And that’s made me realize that for some reason, I guess when I was younger I thought, okay, these people care about me. I’m part of this little family here where I work. And as corporate has taken over, it’s definitely become cold. It’s become an environment that, okay, no, but nobody here cares about me at all. And so what matters in my life? What’s the priority in my life? This hospital and these anesthesiologist are all about the money and they don’t, you know, they don’t care if I’m a good practitioner there. They just care about how much I make, what matters to me and what’s important. And it made me really look at my priorities and my identification. I started realizing that I was, I self identifying as my profession, which I think a lot of people fall into that trap. You know, I’m more than just a CRNA. I’m a mom, I’m a wife. And so what about those pursuits? What about the [inaudible] creative pursuits that I’m not able two, you know, I don’t have any time for because of how much I have to work. It just all kind of culminated for me a little bit that okay, the priorities in my life are not getting the attention because I’m having to work so much. So if we can, if we can get on track here financially where you know, I can not work so much, maybe I can focus on these other priorities. And, and also maybe that will help me a little bit personally too, if that makes sense to you. You know, when you, when you work for a corporation that can kind of beat the hell out of you a little bit. So for sure, you know? Yeah. So yeah, I thought that FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) for me would get me out of everything that’s going on at work, open the door for me to pursue some of like writing. I didn’t know I was a writer until I started this blog. Now it’s kind of, it’s kind of started pouring out of me a little bit. And I have all these saved blog posts that I’m waiting to publish and Mmm. It’s kind of opened the door of like, Oh, wow, maybe I want to write a book and maybe, you know, there’s this whole other side of me that I would like to pursue. And so that’s what it means to me is like, wow, this freedom that I can still practice this amazing profession, but I can get away from all this bullshit that is part of it and really put my focus into my family and my mental health and my creativity and everything else about me besides this profession.

Eugene / Host: (21:09)
That’s awesome. That’s a good tangent to talk a little bit about one of your posts, which I admired a lot. You know, you’ve only started this since the summer and there’s some really great posts out there that you have both you’re on your site and also guest post. But the one that I resonated with me was breaking up with Costco and I understand that it was probably just a couple of weeks ago that you wrote that. But I love the format. I think, you know, you wrote it as a, as a personal letter to Costco, like dear Costco.

Ms. CRNA: (21:37)
You signed it a dear John letter. But you know, I, I also am a, I still am, you know, we have been in our family, a Costco membership members for quite a few years now, but talk through about, you know, what kind of brought you to writing in that style or think of, you know, writing it in a letter form, but also it also another topic is, you know, how is it, how do you think of controlling some of your expenses, which I think was the corporate of the letter itself. And the funny thing about that letter was that it only took me about 20 minutes to write that because it was okay. And I, I have had, I did have one comment on my blog comedy, my personal style of writing because I, I’m kind of vulnerable and I feel like I’m vulnerable in my writing and I am not afraid to be personal in it. And with the Costco thing, it was just kind of the funny spin on, I didn’t want to write it in our article listing. This is why [inaudible] keep going. I’m not renewing my membership. [inaudible] I just wanted to make it more personal because money is personal and I think a lot of people don’t realize that. Like you get attached to it. Yeah. I started, it just kind of poured out of me one day because I realized that Costco is a problem for us when we go in there and I’m, I’ve even done it many times. Awesome. Rotisserie chickens. You go in to pick one up for dinner and it’s like, Oh, I’m just going to run in and get that. And then, Oh well there’s that fleece jacket or Oh, there’s the sheets that are marked down it and the next thing you know, it’s just, yeah, they get you. As soon as you walk in the door, they have that like line of stuff that’s on sale marked down and yeah, it’s like seasonal too, the way that it’s timed. It’s like, how did they know? I just ran out of those. Toothbrush attachments and I need more of those. You know, how did they know that my, you know, six months supply of deodorant is no Dan cause now that’s what’s on sale again. Mmm. Their marketing is great as soon as you walk in the door and they get you every time and realize [inaudible] Mmm. Our inability to resist. It was something that I’ve had to deal with kind of personally of okay, what is it about, yes, that’s less expensive. And I get where people go in and it’s like okay, something is $5 off and so let’s stock up on it. You know, that’s a smart thing to do. There’s definitely nothing wrong with stocking up on something because it’s less expensive, but you have to have the ability to go in there and just get those items that are needed and when you don’t have the ability to resist the other things [inaudible] it kind of makes me have to start thinking a little bit about what it is that’s making us not be able to resist that. And I think that when you buy something, a lot of times you buy something because there’s a mental image of what that item is going to represent. You know, like I’ll just give you an example of what I’m seeing right now. I walk through my neighborhood and I see all these beautiful Halloween and you know, fall displays on people’s front porches, the haystacks and the pumpkin’s and all of this. And it’s like, yes, that’s beautiful. [inaudible] But are you trying to be the prettiest house in the neighborhood? Are you trying to look like Joanna Gaines from Magnolia homes when you do this display? What is this? Is this display? Are you doing it just because it makes your kid happy and you like to have a pretty house? Or are you trying to represent yourself in a way that, that you want other people to see you? And I think a lot of times when we make a purchase, we do that because of how we think other people are gonna see us when we make that purchase. You know why you bought an expensive car? Because people are gonna see you as successful when you’re driving that expensive car. Is a range Rover really that good of a vehicle that it’s going to last that much longer and it’s going to hold up that much better? Or do you buy the Range Rover because people are going to believe that he’s made it and you know it’s personal. Money’s personal. And so when I started thinking about our inability to resist the things at Costco and how we can’t get out the door for, you know, under a hundred dollars maybe I needed to make it personal and it just kind of sat down and just kind of flowed out of me. I think I did two drafts on it. Oh, I was like, okay, this was it. There’s an attachment issues. There’s so many things in there that get hidden that people don’t think about until something like this. Like a FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) journey. And it makes you start to look at at your finances and challenge everything. That’s great. It’s a, it’s a great post in the great format to, to capture some of the thoughts like you mentioned the personal thoughts and about one of your expenses. And

Eugene / Host: (26:44)
You know, on that note, like I know you also share like many other FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) bloggers out there, sort of a a monthly or quarterly breakdown of some of your expenses. I think the last one you shared was probably in September. You also mentioned that starting the blog has helped, helped you in some ways be more accountable to some of the expenses and the, you know, more on the expenses side. Maybe walk us through a little bit about how, how the blog has become more accountable and maybe how the Twitter following that you have has helped you become more accountable. Costco may be breaking up at Costco, being one of them to meet your goal of trying to pay off your mortgage within, within the seven year period.

Ms. CRNA: (27:21)
With the monthly breakdown. What that’s allowed me to do is to really, yeah, I like, I like, I like to term it, plug the leaks. So when I’m noticing that we’re spending $600 at restaurants and I have to put that number in there and somebody reading that and saying, Oh my gosh, they just wouldn’t go out to eat. That’s $600 a month. They would say that’s $3,600 a year. You put that in a Vanguard account and you know, look at what that’s going to do. So I’ve opened the door a little bit to be criticized and I’m okay with that. I’m okay if somebody goes on that expense report and says, you know, if he just did this one thing, this is the difference that would make, I’m cool with that. Show me where I can make some changes. And I think that’s what I was hoping a little bit that posting the expense reports is that somebody would see something maybe I’m not seeing and it may be just over time it would start to be known to me also that, okay, every month you know, having to make this comment that, okay, we still spent too much in this area and I’ve been making that comment for three months now that we’ve spent too much in this area. So we need to really hone in on a month and see what we can do differently. Do we need to do and you know, no restaurant or do we need to do a, like I, when we first started this at ask my husband, I was like, can we do a month where we don’t buy anything? It’s not consumable. I just want to see what that does for us. And that was incredibly hard. And it was so funny because we would go into Costco and they might have golf balls on sale and my husband would say, well, golf balls are consumable because I hit them in the water within there. You know, I don’t get them back. And so he would try to find little ways, you know, convince me that this is something that was consumable and can we get it this month. And there was a vest that he saw at Costco that he wanted and I made him wait like two weeks. I was like, no, the no consumable month is not up yet. Soon as it was up, I went in and bought him the VAs but like okay. So with the expense reports I was really hoping that it would just open my eyes to some things that we could do differently and, and also get my husband to kind of see it too because yeah, just recently did a guest post for his and her money guide about how my husband is not really on board with our, with this FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) journey and you know, how the heck do you think you’re going to pursue FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) in a marriage with a spouse who [inaudible] thanks. It’s not really a viable option. So part of this monthly expense thing was also, so he would see it right there in your face. Well, this is our trend, you know, this is how much we’re spending in this area. Look at what we could have done with this money. Instead. Our savings rate last year was 21% I’m really hoping to increase the savings rate. What I would like to do is see large chunks of money start building up in our accounts so that I can go into the bank and hand them a $25,000 check to pay principle on the mortgage. And if I can start doing that, you know, over the years, that’s how I’m going to get that mortgage paid down. And this month is the October one, which I’m currently working on. I feel like we’re doing pretty good this month because just being aware of things and paying attention to it, it opens your eyes a little bit. So I think we’re on the right track. I think we are a bit yeah, I’m, I’m waiting for somebody to come on and make some kind of comment like, what the hell are you thinking? You spent $200 at your hair appointment, go to a different salon. Nobody’s done that yet.

Eugene / Host: (31:16)
Yeah, no, it’s, it’s, it’s always enlightening to even look at my own expenses. But even just, even not even just posting it, even just putting it down on paper just for ourselves to see. I think it’s very revealing about where you, you know, where you spend your money and where, you know, what, what do you have left at the end of the month. You mentioned a couple things too. You mentioned you know, your, your husband, your spouse isn’t on board with you on it, but yet it’s still something, you know, you want to try to pursue within the, you know, paying off your only debt left, which is your mortgage within a seven year period. Maybe walk us through a little bit about, about how that feels. I know from our other guests, both the spouses were, we’re on the same page relatively about meeting those goals. Like maybe walk us through me some, maybe the top two challenges that you kind of see with this experience so far.

Ms. CRNA: (32:10)
So my husband’s just to give a little background on it, when I first brought up FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) to him, he was very sweet in pointing out that I like to live in an expensive way. I liked it. I like to go to restaurants. I don’t have a lot of jewelry, but I like to get [inaudible] I know, you know, a massage. I like to get a pedicure. I like, you know, there things where I attend two happily spend money on. And you know, he very gently pointed out to me that he didn’t fate retiring early was an option for us because of, you know, my spending [inaudible] and he was very gentle about it. And when I started looking at it, it was like, okay, well maybe he’s right. My husband lives kind of lives by the approach of you don’t get rich by paying people to do things you can do yourself. That’s his mentality. So when I started putting all these numbers together, and even over the last, you know, a few months of expense reports, Mmm. I’m the one who tends to spend the money. And so when I say he’s, he’s not supportive of the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) plan, he’s completely supportive of us saving more money. He is very supportive of us eating at home more because he thinks I’m a great cook. And in fact if you, if you use your spending as an idea of where your priorities lie, we spend a lot of money on food because I love to cook and he, so he feels like any meal I cook is better than any restaurant meal. So he’s totally fine with that. He’s totally fine with, you know, do you need a massage? Do you need, you know, you can do your own toenails. Those kind of, those kinds of things. He thinks if I’m willing to cut those out and that increases our savings rate, he is completely supportive of any extra money we have going to the mortgage and helping pay that down. If that means that I’m going to be happier in the long run because I have more freedom, he is supportive of that. What he’s not supportive of is like, we’re not going to sell our cars and get used cars with 150,000 miles on them. We don’t have a car payment. Both of our cars are paid off. They’re also both only a year old. So, Mmm. You know, they’re very new and the plan is, okay, well we’re not going to sell those. We’re not trading those in. They’re just going to last a very long time. Our house we purchased within the past year also, we moved so that our daughter could be in a better school system where we were living, which was a less expensive house. We were going to have to do private school there. So we felt like the money was better to go into a nicer house that made it for a more expensive mortgage. So we’re not going to move into a trailer in the woods. You know, too, like a lot of blogs you see. And I’m definitely not laughing at, at those blogs. I follow those blogs. I follow the ones where they live in the RV and the ones where they cut each other’s hair. Like, I follow those and any tips and tricks they have, I’d love to get, but that’s just not what we’re going to do. We’re, we’re going to make the cuts that we can make and if that takes as a couple extra years to get there, that’s okay. So what, he’s not supportive of his being crazy in our journey. He’s, he still wants us to take vacations. He still wants us to, you know, live the last album. Where can we make the cut? Okay. He, he, so he was supportive of looking at where we can make the cuts and seeing that, but he also doesn’t want to be told he can’t stop that Chick-fil-A on Friday [inaudible] and get lunch. So if that makes sense about, you know, how he is supportive, how he also, he’s also not supportive of B and I, it’d be drastic in our changes. [inaudible] He works for a corporation that actually still offers a pension, which is very rare to see that now. So to him, early retirement is just not an option. That is a future money that he can just not see himself walking away from. And I understand that. I really do. Mmm. And he’s also at the kind of the [inaudible] a really good point in his career where he is going to advance, he is going to go up in position and make more money and become Mmm. You know, more influential in the company he works for. For me though, when you graduate as a nurse anesthetist, that’s what you are, that’s what you always are. There’s no advancement in that. So to work for a company that’s taking money away from you and taking benefits away from you and you’re not seeing any chance for a promotion, you know, there’s nothing to look forward to necessarily. [inaudible] It’s a little bit easier for me to kind of walk away and say, well I just want to do this a couple of days a week and still make some good money. He still wants to work full time. So how do you pursue FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) when one spouse is still working full time and another spouse is not? Well, when I’ve ran the numbers, once the mortgage is paid off and we sit back with what’s in our accounts in our 401k is, and you know, like compound interests do its job a short amount of time from now with no mortgage, with zero debt at all. We could absolutely retire early. The both of us, he’s just not on board to stop working. Now that may change once we actually see some [inaudible] Mmm. Something happening here. You know, once we’re actually taking checks to the bank and paying down principal, once we actually seen the mortgage get wiped out, once he sees me not having to work and you know, my expectation that I’m going to be happier not having to work. Once he sees that maybe things will change for him. And he might realize when he’s like, okay, we’re all right and he can walk away from that pension, but maybe not. [inaudible] You know, one thing I’m afraid of is like a lot of companies when the pension just kinda goes away because a bad investment happened. That’s a fear for me is that he’s going to work another 20 years waiting on the pension. And then the pension is gonna, you know, Bernie Madoff his way out the door. So, you know, I’ve got some fear about that, that he’s gonna look back and feel like he wasted time that he could have had at home because of a pension. But that’s all, hopefully something that this blog and this journey will, you know, help the both of us kind of see what the priorities are, see what we want to do. Is it worth it? Is it worth him continuing to work for the pension? Those are all questions for, you know, much later and all and to get worked out together.

Eugene / Host: (38:59)
Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. I appreciate it. Cause I think there’s a lot of our listeners that have different situations and I think FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), you know, maybe there’s a household definition of it, but there’s certainly a personal definition of what FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) means to you as well. And it also sounds like even from your situation, even though you want more flexibility, that you’re very passionate about your, your, your profession, right in your career and you, you know, you don’t want it to necessarily go to zero you know, in terms of number of hours that you’re working because it’s meaningful to you and it provides meaning in your life as well because you know, of all the priorities that you’re juggling. But I love how you mentioned about, you know, as your industry was changing, helped you reset a little bit and start thinking about your larger priorities, about whether it’s family or in the case of you mentioned your, your mom was spending time with your mom or spending time with your kids. I think that’s, that’s really important to kind of readjust and reset what FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) that FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) definition, that goal means to you. Ms CRNA will definitely have to bring you back for another conversation if, if you’ll have us. But as we’re nearing the end of the end of the hour there’s three questions that we typically end all our podcast with that I’d like to ask you now. The first one is what is one item or service that you’ve purchased that had the highest value or return on investment for you?

Ms. CRNA: (40:25)
Okay, so this is one thing I am, yeah, absolutely. Waiting on somebody to comment on my blog about this. Nobody’s noticed it yet. I have a personal trainer and I will not quit him. It costs couple of hundred bucks a month. It’s actually $300 a month to have this personal trainer. It is the only thing I have ever stuck with. I’ve had multiple gym memberships. I’ve tried yoga, CrossFit, you name it, I’ve tried it. [inaudible] But I have a biweekly appointment with this fella and You know, on, it’s another accountability thing, like the blog, I’m accountable to him. We have an appointment time. He bases his day around that appointment. Time to cancel that, to have to reschedule. That is an inconvenience to him. And I’ve already paid him. So then I’m not getting my money’s worth. Yeah. In the course of a year I’ve lost seven inches from my frame. I have gained so much muscle, it’s muscle. I never would have gained going to the gym alone because I never would have lifted as heavy as he has me lift. So the personal trainer is just definitely the return on investment there. It’s so great. But I’m so waiting on somebody. Tell me to stop doing that. Cause that’s a lot of money 300, a lot of money. $300 a month, right. That roughly I think from your, from your expenses, a blog. Know that, that’s a fantastic answer. I think you’re the second person on our podcast to mention I’m having a code as well as some as a service that had a good return on investment.

Eugene / Host: (42:07)
The second of the three is, you know, what’s the, one of the kindest thing that someone’s done for you?

Ms. CRNA: (42:14)
This actually came to mind the other day my husband tells me all the time how beautiful I am when I have no makeup on. And I think it is just the kindest thing in the world as a woman to hear somebody tell you that you don’t need that stuff. And you know, when you wake up in the morning and you’re drinking coffee and you have nothing on your face and you’re told how beautiful you are, it’s one of the kindest things in the world to have somebody love you just for you without anything extra that just actually, I was thinking about that the other day. So that would be it for sure.

Eugene / Host: (42:54)
That’s beautiful. And then lastly, you know, what, what’s next for you? Maybe you can share with our audience a little bit where people can find you online and follow you on your journey.

Ms. CRNA: (43:05)
Yes, absolutely. So what’s next for me is just continuing to compile all this data every month. And I’ve got several blogs, posts that I’m working on. I want to continue riding and hope to grow a following of people that will take this journey with me and kind of help point out things to me that I can do better on. So just to keep writing and keep plugging away and you can find And I’m also on Twitter @CRNAonFIRE and the Twitter handle. And I would just, you know, just going to continue on this journey and I would love to be on again, Eugene, you may want to give me some questions in advance to help focus me a little bit. I’m sorry I’m a talker.

Eugene / Host: (43:53)
No, this was, this was amazing. And I, I thank you so much for coming on on the program Ms. CRNA who will be eagerly watching your journey on your blog and your Twitter posts. But thank you so much for coming on the financial independence forum. Awesome. Thanks so much, Eugene. Have a great day. Please, please, please share this podcast. And if you haven’t done so already, please hit subscribe. Thank you.

Categories FIRE Healthcare Income Personal Finance Podcast Retire Early Specialization Student Debt

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