About me

About me

I’m married with 5 kids. My wife is a stay-at-home mother, though she taught elementary school for a year before putting her career on ice for a couple decades until all the kids are in elementary school.

I spent 5 years getting an undergrad degree in engineering. I then spent 4 years at a Fortune 25 company doing grunt engineering work. I was surrounded by grey-haired people who had been doing the same thing for their entire careers. Convinced I would rather kill myself than rot in cubicle hell for the next 40 years, I plotted my exit. First, I tested the waters by temporarily leaving my well-paying job (I was making $90k/year when I left) to pursue a master’s degree while on educational leave. Emboldened by my positive experience outside of cubicle hell, I took the plunge into 5 more years of school. It was brutal, but miraculously our family survived.

Thus far, we’ve accumulated wealth the old-fashioned way with frugality. I haven’t tracked our net worth religiously to date, but here’s a rough timeline of our income & net worth.

  • Mid twenties.
    • Earned $15k/year in income working as teacher’s assistant + random summer jobs before graduating.
    • Finished our undergrad degrees.
    • At graduation, our net worth was $10k ($0 debt).
    • Took first job paying $55k/year.
  • Late twenties.
    • Got several raises and earned $90k/year before leaving on educational leave.
    • Started & completed master’s degree.
    • Net worth $100k ($0 debt).
  • Early thirties.
    • Took 5 years earning advanced degree, during which I earned $25k-$30k/year.
  • Mid thirties.
    • Completed twelfth year of college with net worth of $225k ($0 debt).
    • Took job paying $200k/year.
    • Bought first home for $400k with 20% down payment funded by Roth IRAs.

Our goal is to be financially independent in our mid-forties with ~$1.5M in investments (producing $45k/year in income in perpetuity at a 3% withdrawal rate). Let’s see how this goes, huh? It’s not as impressive as some of my blogging counterparts (Mr. Money Mustache, etc) who retired at 30, but with five kids and 12 years of college under my belt, I didn’t necessarily take the fastest path towards financial independence.

I created this blog to document our journey and illustrate how dumb-simple the process is. Hopefully someone will get use out of it.


This site is for entertainment purposes only, as disclosed here: https://www.frugalprofessor.com/disclaimers/

16 thoughts on “About me

  1. Love the blog! I’m a mid-thirties attorney with five kids aged 2-9 and a stay at home wife who taught for a year (Montessori). We have a 2.875% mortgage, use many of the same frugal, investing, and life hacks, shop weekly at Costco, are generally in a pretty similar financial situation, and my first job paid $55k. I guess what I’m saying is that I can relate. I love MMM and GCC, but you are more relatable. The stuff that you do differently from me is great – I’ve got a handful of open links now to investigate further.

    Some suggestions that may or may not be helpful. In the “Things I Like” page – a list of books (money or otherwise) would be great. Your links currently take you away from your site and to third-party sites. Perhaps you could set it up where when someone clicks on a third-party link, it opens in a new tab. I spotted a few typos. I’m far from a grammar nazi, but to maximize your appeal, it might help to clean those up. Keep up the great the work and thanks for sharing.

      • P, thanks for the kind words! It’s like the twilight zone coming across another mid-thirties dude with 5 kids and a 2.875% mortgage. Glad to hear you like the blog. You’re certainly right that it has some typos. I’ll try to clean that up. Perhaps I can have Mrs. Frugal Professor to do the editing. Good point about the redirect on the links. My life hack for that is CNTRL+click in chrome, or even better if using a mouse (and chrome), click the link by pressing down on the middle mouse wheel button. But the better approach, as you suggest, is to not rely on my life hacks for readers clicking a link.

        If there are life hacks I’m missing, let me know. I guess that’s one of the benefits of being so transparent in this blog. If I’m doing something idiotic, perhaps my (5) readers can help redirect me.

        Totally random life hack for a large family: we do a family closet in our master bedroom. It’s a 5×5 Ikea shelf. Each kid gets a row (oldest gets top). Google “family closet” for examples of what this looks like. It makes folding laundry a dream.

        • I started off by getting Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up from the library for my wife. She’s the opposite of a pack rat and was pretty skeptical but agreed to at least quickly skim the book. Then, for the next couple days, she’s taking notes and talking about how she’s going to start doing things differently. I took all the kids to on a Saturday, and she spent a good chunk of the day going through the process in the book – blankets stacked sideways and empty shelves everywhere. Now that she’s sold on that concept, I’ll probably pitch the family closet and see if there’s any interest.

          One more suggestion. A “contact me” link would be helpful. Keep up the great blog!

          • P, good to hear from you. I’m glad to hear that you found that book helpful. The woman is crazy (i.e. your socks have feelings), but at her core the message is of the most powerful and transformative messages I have read in a long time. In an effort of full disclosure, my house is a disaster and I have yet to find a way of implementing her methods entirely with 5 kids. However, I do find myself throwing stuff away without remorse now. And I also try to apply the same principals to time management, etc. Life is too short to not be surrounded by the people, things, and activities that bring you joy.

            Good luck with your other endeavors. Thanks again for your suggestions on the blog. Hopefully I can figure out a way of making it more broadly appealing.

  2. I don’t know how I found your blog, but I am SO glad I did! I couldn’t stop reading, your content is a wealth of information. I have a long way to go, but I hope to be debt-free by my 29th birthday (10 more months!) and put the 401k percentage that my employer matches. I learned so much about federal tax forms, and realize I may be giving the government “free money” with how much they take out of my paycheck. Now I’m going through my past forms to see what I can do differently next year. Truly appreciate all the work you put into this!

    • Keith, Thanks for reaching out. Twitter has always seemed redundant to RSS to me, so I have never gotten excited about it. With that said, I understand the rest of the world disagrees with me. Can you just tweet a URL to my post or is it cooler to tweet to my twitter which contains a URL to my post?

      Thanks in advance for teaching an old guy new tricks. Here’s my twitter “handle”: https://twitter.com/Frugal_Prof

  3. I recently started a blog and would like to use your wordpress theme. Can you tell me what theme it is (I assume you are using a free theme)? Let me know if I should have used a “contact me” button instead (I couldn’t find one).

    • I use GeneratePress. I think it was free. I tweaked it a bit to get it to look how I wanted.

      Plugins I use:
      Akismet Anti-Spam
      Async JavaScript
      Easy Updates Manager
      Jetpack by WordPress.com
      Orbisius Child Theme Creator
      RS FeedBurner
      UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore
      WP Super Cache

      Setting up WordPress was a pain to learn, but hopefully the above can point you in the right direction.

      • Thank you so much. This is invaluable advice. I’m new to this and want to learn something new (my background is accounting). I’ve enjoyed your blog immensely and will be linking to your Excel tools as well as your hierarchy of savings article. It blows my mind that most co-workers don’t even have a clue what to prioritize with their savings, so they end up spending it all.

        • Glad to hear that this was helpful to you. I’m happy to help.

          Like you, I’ve worked with some smart people through my life. Engineering mega corp, phd, now professor guy. Like you, I marvel that people aren’t better versed in taxes. It’s by far my biggest line item in my budget. With a 45% effective marginal tax rate (thanks AMT 🙁 ) it’s a no brainer to shove money into pretax accounts. But many at my university don’t do it. I guess it’s because there is no margin in their budgets.

  4. Found your blog through Justin @ Root of Good. We’re just a little further ahead in our FI journey, but I thought I’d leave a comment because we are also a family of 5 and I am an engineer. We reached FI ($2.4m) this November with the sale of a company and I am planning to work through June 1.

    I love your spreadsheet calculations. Looking forward to following you for years to come!

    • Fred, thanks for stopping by! FI @ $2.4M w/ 5 kids is impressive. Looking forward to learning all of your secrets from you on your blog.

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