Mrs. Pirate Owl

Rational rebel 🦉

Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Have energy

    • consistent restful sleep
    • eat healthy food
    • drink enough water
    • move
  • Feel good in my body

    • look good
    • have and wear clothes that I like
  • Maintain loving relationships with friends and family

    • help
    • forgive
    • invest time
  • Have an impact on my community

    • be a consistent role model for the causes I believe in (educating the youth about the opportunities of technology and entrepreneurship, ethical and environmental consumption)
    • volunteer
  • Grow

    • work on something meaningful
    • work on something that I like
    • work on something that helps me achieve my goals – including my financial ones (These 3 are almost never the same.)

This list is my compass. I fail all the time and get derailed from my path, but every day is a chance to get back at it again.

What is your compass?

Tell me about it on Twitter.

Find out more about me, what I'm doing now – and, if you're into it, you can follow my updates on Facebook too.

~ Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash ~

Today I wrote a post on twitter asking my followers what should I do to celebrate my first 100 followers. Mrs. Smelling Freedom's response was to answer the question if there is a special meaning behind my alias.

Here is my response:

I was always afraid of owls ever since I was a kid. For me, they were associated with the dark and the unknown, and I was very very afraid of the dark when I was little. I have no idea where that fear came from, because I was never told about monsters hiding in the dark. Also, at my grandparents' house in the countryside, where I spent most my childhood, you could sometimes hear them shouting, and those sounds were always sending shivers down my spine.

When I grew up, the internet happened 😂 I discovered cute videos like this one and I fell in love with them. All of a sudden, owls were everywhere around me. It was quite randomly, actually, I cannot put my finger on the exact moment it started, but my friends started sending me images with beautiful majestic owls and even my family came on board. It went so far that my closest friends were calling me “Owl”. For a while, most of the presents I was receiving on my birthday or at random occasions were in some shape or form connected to owls (necklaces, t-shirts etc). I even had the idea of getting a graphic owl tattoo (I'm still not completely over that idea).

Besides the superficial reason of them just being cute, I love what they symbolize. They're signify wisdom first and foremost, which I do not claim to have, but towards which I'm striving for. And the fact that I now love what I used to fear is an even more important symbol for me, because the things in my life that made me grow the most were fears which I learned to embrace. Speaking my mind, advocating for myself, guarding my standards and boundaries, public speaking, being vulnerable – all these things sound trivial, but are very hard to learn to do.

The second part of my alias is an indirect nod to a blog I had about 7 or 8 years ago, which kickstarted my transformation into who I am today. It still baffles me how such a little thing done by a clueless 17 year old (me) snowballed my life into something that was radically different from my past self – a quiet shy nerdy girl with braces just a year before that. The idea to start a personal development blog also appeared quite randomly, and I started to write about my personal experiments and discoveries during that time, it was a great excuse to try some interesting things just to write about them – and it also allowed me to find some friends who are still in my life today – or otherwise greatly contributed to my growth. My articles were also published in a major local online publication, and that was probably why I was contacted by a startup to do marketing for them – and that's also the story of how I got into tech. (I advertised the fact that I wanted to practice it more and I offered free consulting on my website.) I covered different topics besides personal development, the main ones being business and marketing. The common thread among the topics were thinking and living unconventionally, and that's what I associate pirates with. They don't follow the path the society tells them to – instead, they create their own. They rebel against conventions. And, let's face it, pirates are just cool, badass and rock'n'roll. 🏴‍☠️

The truth is – when I suddenly became obsessed with having an anonymous blog, I started researching domain names, Twitter handles and Facebook page names that were not taken. I probably had a list of around a hundred variants and kept pestering my SO about which would better associate with me. Among them: *defylimits.com *limitfighter.com *deliberaterebel.com *intentionalrebel.com *defyfear.com *untethered.space *rationalrebel.com etc. etc.

You can probably sense the similarities 🙂 Even though I still think all of them are cool, Mrs. Pirate Owl felt the most memorable and also the closest to my heart – and that's how my alias and blog came into existence.

Let's be friends

Find out more about me, what I'm doing now and drop me a line on twitter, I'm there almost every day.

~ Photo by Joe Green on Unsplash ~

Hello there, fellow FIRE starters!

The weird thing about posting your goals on the internet when people don’t know you in real life is that it might not affect how well you follow through compared to when you’re not anonymous. Random people cannot bump into you and ask: “So how’s your progress on that goal you wrote about?”.

Well, you won’t be able to do that, do you! But you can still write to me on twitter and ask me how I’ve been doing lately. 

My financial journey / awakening

I live in a post-soviet country and I was born not long after the USSR collapsed. Like most families during the time, we had to pinch pennies – so I knew that I have to save from early on. When I got my first consistent income and started living alone, I usually saved whatever I could at the end of the month – but those were not actually “savings” but more like “deferred spending” and I always ended up borrowing money from my parents when I was going on trips or to cover unexpected living expenses.

James’ Collins favorite tip for saving money: “Think of it as spending. What you are buying with it is your freedom.”

That’s the reason my YNAB budget category for savings is named “Freedom” – it's a nice reminder.

Today, I save the money at the beginning of the month, right when I receive my paycheck. Of course, a big part of the reason I can save more now is the fact that I’m older and I earn more – but this wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t prioritized earning more by changing careers 3 years ago. Second, all this new income could have gone down the drain if I wouldn’t have prioritized my freedom. And taking into consideration the fact that I didn’t really start saving until last year, it pretty much has 🤷‍ I’ve estimated that I’ve earned close to 18 000 dollars in my lifetime, so what I saved until now amounts only to about 10%. I’m working on it, okay? 

Context

We are a mid-twenties couple living in a Eastern European country, both project managers at tech companies, with different levels of experience. If you’re living in the USA or other “first world countries”, you’d be amazed to hear about how many big companies have branches there or otherwise outsource their development to Eastern Europe: Amazon, Google, Moody’s, Honeywell and others have subsidiaries there or hire outsourcing agencies. Cheap labor force plus quality of development seals the deal. (Some even say we’re better than the typical outsourcing destination, India.) That means that the tech field is even more disproportionately better paying than the rest of the fields – I'm talking 4-6 times more than the average salary.

Also,  we usually perceive “salary” as the monthly after-tax (net) income. Here, the taxes are paid by your employee before you receive your salary, and they also contain the sum we pay to insure a pension, but most people don’t rely on it, because it’s very small. This forces most people to be resourceful: some have rentals to supplement their income, others work or do consulting after their pension age, and a lot rely on their children (who might work abroad). Investing in the stock market is very uncommon here and there is no infrastructure to allow this, but this is what we plan to do.

Stats

The most important stat in this journey to financial independence I’d consider to be my savings rate relative to my income. Right now it’s at about 50% — and my goal is to raise it to 80% towards the end of the year. Still, if I continue saving 50% of my income after my latest salary increase, at the end of the year I would have saved 25% of my lifetime earnings. Isn’t that cool?

During the last half of year we filled up our emergency fund. We have build a “cushion” of about 5000$ during the last half of year and we started investigating how we can invest it even without the infrastructure that allows it.

Here’s a thing. I don’t perceive a digital emergency fund as money for real emergencies. I’ve lost my bank card before, and I know that you can have money and have no access to them during a week or two until they issue you a new card, even if you have the funds. Or banks can go bankrupt. This might sound hypothetical for you, but in this country, unfortunately, things like that happen sometimes. Of course, it can be different in different countries and for different people, but we prefer to have cash.

We don't know yet how life will change for us, but we're going to do our best and use whatever resources we have.

What about you, when and how did you start?

Let's be friends

Find out more about me, what I'm doing now and drop me a line on twitter, I'm there almost every day.

If you're into it, you can follow my updates on Facebook too.