Goodbye Comfort Zone – Hello Internet!

Don’t Be Afraid, Be Accountable
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Goodbye Comfort Zone – Hello Internet!

Photo credit: PJ Nelson Cliff Jumper via photopin (license)

I hate Facebook.

Ok, that’s a lie.  I used to hate Facebook.  I promised anybody who would listen that I would never, ever, ever sign up, let alone share anything publicly.  It was all just a fad and a way for “them” to get all Big Brother on you.

Turns out that human beings are terrible promise keepers.

Some close friends formed a private group, and it was the only way I could really stay connected.  I begrudgingly created a Facebook account.  I even put up a cool profile picture and posted a few things privately to the group.  But that was it.  Full privacy lockdown.  Closed doors all around.  That same profile picture was still up some 3 or 4 years later.

I finally changed it last month.  Why?

About a year ago, I was introduced to an absolutely awesome, newly-formed Financial Independence / Retire Early (FIRE) meet-up group in London, Ontario, Canada.  Appropriately named LDNonFIRE, the group was created by a bunch of real-estate investors and entrepreneurs in their early 20s and 30s with the intent of helping the larger community reach their FIRE goals, regardless of their chosen path to get there.  This really resonated with me.  Here’s why:

People Money FulfillmentLet’s break that down a little bit.


The people in the group are very real, forthcoming, and encouraging.

I love meeting new people.  I tend to be very open with people (at times a little too open…).  I am also a perpetual optimist and encourager.  I gravitate towards those tendencies in other people too.  I saw this group as a way to not only meet cool new people, but to share and learn new tricks and strategies to achieving retirement before 65, and to encourage each other along the way.

One of the things that really came from this group was that I wasn’t setting my FIRE goals high enough.  I realized that by tackling FIRE with gusto and intentionality instead of just blind frugality*, I could get there way faster than I had originally thought.  My wife and I were already on a great track, but if we just changed our thinking about some key decisions, we could really accomplish something remarkable.  These people around me were doing just that, and providing a positive support network to move ahead.


I love talking about money.

Thanks to some wise parental guidance and the early recognition that the world was changing (e.g., don’t count on being with the same employer for 35 years), I did in fact open my first RRSP (registered, tax-deferred, retirement savings account) while I was still in high school.  Granted, tax refunds and returns were pitifully low back then, but the point was to build the habit of saving regularly.  Plus, I already knew that I didn’t want to have to work until age 65.  (Did I mention that Dad semi-retired at age 39?  Perhaps that had some influence….)

Regardless, in my case FIRE is not about retiring as early as possible and putting your feet up in a rocking chair for decades to come.  It’s about optimizing and balancing your life between work now, work later, time now, time later, family, freedom and opportunities.  It’s about choice.  Moreover, it’s about the freedom to have choice.

It’s about the freedom to have choice.

I like my work.  Of course everybody grumbles and has bad days from time to time, but my employer truly is one of the best to work for.  Just don’t expect to see me still there at 65.  There’s more to life than sitting in a cubicle, even if it’s one from which you get to work on cool stuff; however, I will continue to be committed and do my best for my employer until such time that I am ready to take the next big step.


I have been asking the “what’s next?” question for some time now.

On the About page, I give a bit of my background. To summarize, we’re living a typical upper-middle class Canadian lifestyle that many people aspire to. Some of them achieve it for real (like us), and some of them just pretend to achieve it (but they’re actually living paycheque** to paycheque to keep up with the Joneses). As a society, we’re always chasing the next buck. Just look around. How many people do you see or hear or read about who need to make that “one more sale”, or need to buy that bigger house, or who won’t rest until they have every toy known to man? In my opinion, some of the smartest people in the world are those who have reached the top and then realized that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be!

Target BullseyeWell, I try and listen to those folks. Although I am certainly nowhere near the top, I am exactly where I originally wanted to be. And guess what? It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. There has to be more than just living the “dream life” that society wants me to live. I’m not gonna get all spiritual on you, because that is not the purpose of this blog, although I am fully engaged in my faith community. BUT, over the last few years I’ve deliberately changed roles at work, taken on significant and exciting volunteer opportunities, and doubled down on the time I’m spending with family and friends.

This FIRE group provided me the opportunity to interact with people in the very way that I need right now, to help me figure out my “why”, to inspire me, and to provide me with an outlet to encourage and build into others. In fact, this blog is one of the tangible, specific steps I’ve taken as a result of the many conversations and questions over the last year.

So, here I was suddenly surrounded by a community of people* with a similar mindset.  Frugality.  Earning.  Saving.  Investing.  Deliberately seeking ways to improve yourself.  Which brings me back full circle to the start of this post: My comfort zone.  I have been challenged and encouraged to step outside the comfort zone.  This blog has been in the plans for quite some time now, but in the days following a recent meetup, I bought my new domain, made my first public Facebook posts, and started writing.  And you know what?  It feels GREAT.

Pencil with ShadowYour Turn Now!

What are you doing to move outside your comfort zone?  Why?  Have you found a similar group in your area that you can inspire and be inspired by?  Drop me a line if you want to connect in Southern Ontario, Canada.

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* Expect these to be future blog posts someday…
** Notice the Canadian spelling!

Don’t Be Afraid, Be Accountable
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