Waffles on Wednesday | MHFi 021

by Carla | Published: September 14, 2021

Doug and Carl interview Sarah and Ray, also known as Waffles On Wednesday. They discuss:

Meet Ray and Sarah

Sarah (an occupational therapist) and Ray (a tech worker) are a travel-loving, beer-loving, fun-loving couple who have visited more than thirty countries and leveraged the power of financial independence to take a six-month sabbatical traveling all over the globe. In addition to their jobs and running the blog Waffles on Wednesday, they are now parents to a baby girl and have chosen to continue working despite the strength of their financial position.

Our Discussion with Ray and Sarah 

Ray and Sarah started by telling us the story of the $36,000 bar tab. After discovering the concept of FI, Ray started taking a hard look at their spending trends over the last years. In reviewing a previous year’s credit card transactions, he did the math and realized they had spent a whopping $36,000 in a single year at bars. At the time, Ray and Sarah were living in Los Angeles, with a nice apartment that had a view of the beach. And they were going out to eat and drink virtually every night. But seeing the final tally for all that spending was a wake-up call. They moved to a more modest apartment, began learning how to cook better food at home, and cut back on their nights out. But for Sarah, it took some convincing to cut back on spending because she absolutely loves her job and always has. Sarah owns her own occupational therapy business and loves both her work with young children and the feeling of being an entrepreneur. So the concept of cutting back at first seemed like deprivation for no good reason. Ray, meanwhile, needed no convincing as he didn’t love his tech gig and was craving flexibility and more control over his day-to-day life.

Instead of butting heads at an impasse, Ray and Sarah talked deeply about what they wanted out of life. Ray found a blog post he thought Sarah might like about how financial independence could lead to a life of full-time travel. And that caught Sarah’s attention. Sarah is a lifelong learner and has always loved getting to experience other cultures, other styles of work and food and dress and communication. So when she realized that saving money meant more travel, she was all in. In other words, Ray and Sarah thought carefully about their “why of FI” and found a common love that motivated them both to work towards a life full of frugality, but also travel and adventure. As a result of their hard work and dedication, Ray and Sarah were able to flex their financial muscles and take a six-month sabbatical to travel the world in 2019.

We talked with Ray and Sarah about which countries they visited, heard some fun stories related to their mutual love of beer, and then finally told us about re-entering the world of work after returning home. Ray was offered a job at a prestigious company that he felt he couldn’t turn down. Sarah has continued her occupational therapy work. She has even discovered in a post-COVID world that she can do her therapy remotely, giving her even greater flexibility. We also talked about the COVID-induced dip in the stock market, and how much better off FI folks were in that situation than those who had never focused on saving or frugality. We wrapped things up by discussing Sarah’s business and the couple’s advice for people toying with the idea of working towards FI. Their advice? Do it. Even if you love your job! You might not love your work forever, and even if you do, the flexibility and freedom to be able to step away when or if you want to is priceless.

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