I'm pretty sure I'm going to want a way to look back and see what it was thinking when I started this financial journey. So, I'm taking it back to my roots...LJ.
On June 29, I got to tag along with work folks to a Get Motivated seminar. I was able to listen to brief motivational talks from people like Colin Powell, Lou Holtz, Rudy Guiliani, John Walsh, Howard Putnam, and Bill Cosby.
And Kris Dhanam, who moved me to tears, talking about how he tells his son every night "you are mine and I love you" and encouraging parents to make sure that your kids know you love them with words as well as actions.
I don't care how tough you think you are, or if you think you're above needing motivation, listening to these people talk...each had at least one message that I could take back with me and make me feel stronger for having heard them. I guess what I'm saying is that I've heard all the cynicism, and you can keep it. I prefer feeling empowered and eager to do more with my life.
Now, the catch with this seminar was that it really was a sales event. I knew that going in, but I wanted to hear these people talk, so I figured it was worth the cost (free).
What I didn't realize, is that I would hear something that would make me want to spend $99 to learn more. I even went so far as to text Brian to tell him that we were going to take 2 vacation days and listen to some advice on investing. 3 others that I work with decided to do this as well, one was our CEO.
What I heard was that people could take control of their money and retire in confidence instead of worrying about how their lives would be impacted by not having enough money.
I want to retire early and work on things that I want to work on. And I know that following my current path isn't going to make that happen. I don't play the lottery. I might write some wonderful books, but I'm not going to bank on being the next Neil Gaiman or J.K. Rowling (don't blanche at them in the same sentence, I'm talking about success here).
So Brian and I get up early on our vacation days (July 13 & 14) and fight I-75 southbound traffic to Troy and sit in uncomfortable chairs for 8 hours, listening raptly to them talk about how this can work. And realizing that to do it, we have to be smart and disciplined.
Brian sees my eyes light up as they start showing the patterns and processes that can lead to successful trading. He knows what that look means...it means that given the tools, this feeds a passion of mine. And he realizes that, despite his initial strong skepticism, if we get the right education, we can take control of our life and our finances. That it isn't too late to live a very comfortable life of travel and fun and financial independence. The dream is there if we follow the rules we set up.
So we invest heavily in the education. $7k. Yeah. I'm not kidding. But we lost more than that in our 401k's in 2008. Much more, actually. And if we don't do something, we could lose more. So yes, we invested in us first.
The other three at work are going to be coached by our in-house financial planner to try and achieve the same thing. I wish them luck. I think we made the right choice for us.
On Friday, we took the late afternoon off and went to Birmingham to open up our trade accounts and move our Roth IRA's and one of my other IRA's from when I was writing the Novell Networking books into an Ameritrade account.
We had such a wonderful time after doing all the set up. We did some window shopping, and bought chocolate, and dreamed really big dreams together. That right there was worth the price of everything. We ended up the day with a lovely dinner together and felt rich in options.
Then it was back home and back to learning so that we can get started.
Last night I fnished the first two courses: "Principles of Investing" and "Intro to Stock Trading" These are the courses included with the 2 day class we took. Brian is working his way through Principles now.
Now this s&*t gets real. I'm digging into the first of the Options classes now. I've set up to take them on-line first, then with the live web class at the end of September through mid October. Six 2 hour sessions per class over 2 weeks, with homework. Then Brian and I are going to attend the Advanced Technicals class live in Troy toward the end of October.
My goal is to be doing paper trades in about 2 weeks. We have an amazing trade simulation program that lets us set up our accounts and pretend to our heart's content until we are confident enough to use real money. It looks and feels so much like the real thing that people get nervous about using it.
This has become one of the most important things I'll ever do for us and I'm thrilled and scared and eager.