1. I wish I had paid as much attention to what my mom was doing as you have.
    My mom went back to work after my parents divorced, and transitioned through many jobs and a masters degree. She often disliked her work.
    BUT she really knew how to make the most of her opportunities. Despite being single for most of her earning years and earning not so much, she invested regularly and saved for retirement, and was able to retire at 60. I wish I’d learned more from her. That’s good, because despite an extremely healthy lifestyle, she still died at 70 of cancer. She enjoyed her retirement immensely, and filled it with volunteering, travel, crafting, a hiking group and lots of other fun activities.

  2. My mom was definitely my biggest financial example. She was tremendously frugal, but like your mom she also believed in splurging once in a while — as long as it was somewhat planned for. (We’d go to the arcade, but using quarters that she and my dad had thrown into a small bank. Sometimes she’d add $10, which was a huge treat.)

    Unfortunately, I also caught a bit of her financial knee-jerk terror about anything other than saving saving saving. But I’m getting better about it over the years.

    Alas, FIRE is not an option for my husband and myself. Maybe if we were both healthy, or at least both able to work jobs… But that’s not the case. We’re actually very behind on retirement savings because things were so precarious. I’m going to do my best to start catching up now that we’ve saved enough for Tim’s dental implants. But we’ve definitely lost out on a lot of compound interest. Still, we’ll do the best we can.

    I’m hoping that I can at least go down to part-time in my 60s. Assuming that, after having subsisted on a disability check for several years, I’m ever able to loosen my death grip on a full-time paycheck.

    • I have two favorites in this comment, Abigail: First, I love that arcade story. How special to get the $10 bonus! Planned fun makes for such a delightful splurge. I also really love how you and Tim haven’t given up. I know some people that think they “missed the boat”, so now they’re just resigning themselves to basically working until the die. Your blog is always so inspiring about muscling through the toughest of situations.

  3. We both have FIRE in our blood, but for totally different reasons (military retirement at age 55 on one side, disability forcing early retirement on the other), and ours came without nearly so many of those great life lessons. So cool that you took the time to reflect on all the ways your mom’s approach benefited you. Love it!

    • I hope that if I decide to really commit to blogging that I can share this with her one day soon. It’s so funny to me that I never initially thought of her as an early retiree. And she’s so sour on the concept still – mostly because she loves her current job. On the rare days when she gets stressed out, though, she loves to be able to say, “Maybe I worked my last day after all.” To me, that freedom is what it’s all about! 🙂

  4. This is such a lovely story about your mom, Penny! I am a full on believer of hard work never hurts. I think both of my grandmothers set some of the greatest financial examples growing up. They were both widows at fairly young stages in their life, but both financially independent. Both lived in modest houses & took care of all of their family members and grandchildren. I do believe that their generations were much different in terms of handling money, but it is very awe inspiring!

    • You are so right about older generations having a much different sense about money. Grandparents are the best. I normally give all of my credit (and my blog name!) to my mom’s mom. But I finally can appreciate the example my mom never really meant to set when she retired early.

    • That’s hard. But sometimes non-examples work really well, too, don’t they? I definitely had an advantage with my parents having quite a bit of financial savvy. They both have it in different ways, though. My mom will go to four grocery stores in a week (or a day!) to save $10. My dad would shop at the corner convenience store and never use a coupon if his life depended on it. It always makes me laugh when they try to team up for errands.

  5. My mom, too. But she also has some bad money issues. I can say I learned from her mistakes and now it’s me who’s guiding her towards FI. We make a good team! 🙂

    • That’s so awesome that you’ve teamed up with her. No one likes to make mistakes, but if we or others can learn from them, that definitely puts a more positive spin on things. I’ll check out your blog!

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