This is the twentieth in a series of personal finance blogger interviews with fellow personal finance bloggers. Today’s guest is Gretchen form Retire By 40 Blog.
Who is Gretchen?
Gretchen: I am a 23 year old accountant who lives in St. Louis, MO. I grew up in a small town, and couldn’t wait to move to the city. Any city, really! I met my husband, The Big Guy, when I was 14, we got married when we were 19, and the rest is history. I got my first job right out of college, and then a month later found out I was pregnant! Since then, life has been a roller coaster. The Big Guy stays home with Baby RB40, and I work, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, The Big Guy’s health is starting to fail (nothing major, he’s just aging before his time), and I really want him to not have to work. Hence, Retired by 40!.
Why did you start your blog?
Gretchen: I love working, but The Big Guy’s body just isn’t going to hold out for him to work. He stays home with our daughter now, but I didn’t want us to live paycheck to paycheck for the rest of our lives. I wanted to travel, but the only way to do that was to make a drastic financial change, namely setting a goal of retiring by 40. I started the blog for accountability, because knowing that even my small readership is seeing my financial successes and failings really motivates me!
What are your favorite Blogs?
Gretchen: Right now, I really love Cat over at Budget Blonde, because I feel like we’re in (sort of) the same place in our lives. Plus her kiddos are super cute! Michelle, at Fit is the New Poor is awesome, and so is Holly at Club Thrifty! My most recent obsessions, though, are Laurie at The Frugal Farmer, and Six Figures Under!
When did you first become financially literate?
Gretchen: I would love to say that I started being financially literate really young, seeing as I grew up with an accountant for a mother and I am one as well, but once I hit college I made some mistakes, like taking out a loan for a car, and buying an ATV for the Big Guy. Once I found out I was pregnant, I started the blog and really drilled down trying to revamp our financial lives.
What was the last item you regretted purchasing?
Gretchen: The first car I took out an auto loan for. It was only a couple of years ago, and I don’t regret the cars since. But, I do regret the first one I bought, because from there, it just snowballed into another auto loan, and then another. If I had never taken out the first loan, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in today.
If you died today, would your family be OK?
Gretchen: Yes – but only because of life insurance. My daughter is very lucky in that her dad gets to stay with her everyday, and I know that my life insurance will be enough to set them both up for life.
What are you teaching (or will you teach) your kids about money?
Gretchen: I wish I knew. We are working on a plan that will teach her to save first, give second, and what is left can be used for obligations like bills. I don’t want her to ever be in an overextended financial position like we are. We already know that we are not going to pay for her college, but instead encourage her to get a job and pay for it herself, and are working on the best way to handle allowance (should she work for it all, some of it, or none of it?) Any suggestions are welcome!
What’s your dream job?
Gretchen: The job I have right now. I love being an accountant. It allows me to be my control-freak perfectionist self. In fact, it is encouraged. I work in the hotel industry, which I love, and I also love the people I work with!
If you’d like to be featured in a future interview, please consider participating and please contact me.
To review past interviews please click on the Interview Series link at the top of the page.