The Turning Point

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It’s been three years since we decided to be more mindful about our money habits, so now seems like a good time to tell you the story of what changed EVERYTHING!

Jessie had gotten laid off from her teaching job in Pittsburgh due to state wide budget cuts. Thousands of teachers with a low number of years in service where being dumped into the unemployment line. Jessie was one of those thousands. She spent significant time looking around for a new teaching position; almost 2 years. So many teachers were laid off during the budget cuts that there wasn’t many positions open at all. She exhausted all options before we decided to open up our search countrywide. Now this was scary because I’ve never lived anywhere outside of Pittsburgh. So many concerns immediately popped up in my mind, but only one of those concerns generated pure panic. How in the hell am I going to watch the Steelers and Penguins games?!?  Hahaha. Maybe you laugh at or empathize with that panic, but I assure you it was very real. I haven’t missed a Steelers game since I was 14 years old. I sure as heck wasn’t about to start now.

It didn’t take long before Jessie had teaching offers all up and down the East Coast such as Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. No kidding at all, it maybe took us 3 minutes to decide that now is the best time to just go live by the beach for a little while. Florida it is! Sight unseen she signed a contract for a position in Pinellas County. A small, but highly dense county just west of Tampa Florida; Clearwater, Florida to be exact.

We met friends from my first job in Florida that were moving out of a gorgeous condo. It was in a gated community, 1800 square feet, 12 foot ceilings, on a lake, minutes from the beach, and it only had a small population. The rent was so cheap, so our friends got us into the place right as they were moving out. There are three buildings in the condo complex each had four floors. We live on the first floor of building 2, but ended up hooking up with some people from the first building while we were hanging out at the pool area. Come to find out that their parents live in the same building we do, but on the 4th floor. We got to talking regularly over the coming weeks and noticed that they lived a pretty simplistic lifestyle and had low stress jobs. I was curious how they accomplished this.  It didn’t take us long before we had gotten on the conversation of money. Yea, maybe I steered it that direction just a little. The older man that lived in our building had made quite a bit of money in the stock market and was very helpful and open about educating me. He and his wife are in their 70s and have traveled the world. They’ve owned condos in Hawaii and Spain. They’ve been on over 100 cruises, and still continue to cruise and travel most of the year. You would never know it by their living style. They drive a nice, but average, car and they only own 1 car. They don’t eat at overly fancy places, and they spend a great deal of money buying income producing assets. BINGO!! This is exactly what I want in my life. Except I don’t know much about money besides the basics. I had no idea how to make money like they do. That’s for rich people that had trust funds. That was my thinking. His son that lived in the first building made money in real estate and I had spent some time taking walks with him around the neighborhood. He turned me on to a podcast about stock market investing. It was a Jim Cramer podcast.

Regardless of how you feel about Jim Cramer, this particular podcast was the first financial podcast I have ever listen to. It was the first financial information I was taking in at all. Jim Cramer can be entertaining if nothing else, so as you can imagine my head was swimming! That podcast led me to another podcast that led me to another podcast that led me to a blog. Before I knew it, I was so deep in this rabbit hole and I didn’t want to come out. Ever! I was immersed in so much financial information and my brain was loving every second of it! Not only did I realize that I knew zilch about assets, I was realizing we were doing everything all wrong. EVERYTHING.

Jessie getting laid off from her job and us taking a chance on Florida let us to meeting these two gentlemen. These two guys opened my eyes to finances and it literally changed everything from that moment forward. Taking a chance I would’ve never taken without Jessie, started us down a path that will change the future for our family. SO TAKE A CHANCE! Maybe you don’t have to move 1,100 miles away from everything you know, but go meet people. Have a conversation. Come talk to us! Talking things over is how we all grow and share ideas. Let’s take the taboo out of talking finances! If these guys in my condo complex weren’t willing to openly talk about it, we may be in the same financial mess we were in when we moved in. SO GO! TAKE A CHANCE! Connect, say hi to someone you normally don’t. You never know where it’ll take you or that other person. BE MINDFUL!


PS: For those of you still stressed about my ability to watch Pittsburgh sports, you can exhale. We found a great way to stream it!

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