There’s Nothing New Under The Sun

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Everything I’ve ever done or thought has been explored and contemplated by someone else who came before me. What makes me unique is the meandering path I choose.

Just like snowflakes, not one of us is exactly alike but yet we are all so similar. I find people simply fascinating. In particular, I marvel when reading about the ways people have achieved Financial Independence (FI) and/or are working towards it.

There aren’t too many novel ideas. We all have access to the same levers:

  • Eliminate debt
  • Embrace frugal living
  • Discover what you value in life
  • Practice minimalism
  • Drive down your monthly expenses
  • Develop a high savings rate
  • Invest in low-cost index funds
  • Study and choose to allocate a small percentage of your investments to single stocks
  • Diversify with real estate and business investments
  • Start a side hustle
  • Embark in Geo Arbitrage

What makes each of our journeys unique is how/when we pull said levers and what happens to us in the process. Personally what I find the most enjoyable to read is the transformation that occurs in our lives. Many of us discover more joy, focus on strengthening our relationships, find more time for loved ones, and develop a sense of extreme gratitude.

I would like to take some time to talk about five characteristics that can be developed in a person through intentional financial living.


I painted this one 🙂

This is a hard one to develop. I don’t like sitting in rush hour traffic or waiting in long lines any more than the next person.  Which, BTW, I try to avoid by my lifestyle choices. However, I know patience to be a virtue and the way to get it is through being in such situations.

It took me 3 & ½ years to pay off my debt and in the process, I lost a house to foreclosure. I paid off a total of $46,763 and at the start of the journey I was making $40K annually and by the time I paid it off, my salary was $60k annually. I just kept my nose to the grindstone and persevered. I wasn’t willing to think of the albatross around my neck (my debt) as a fixture in my life. I attacked it, I worked hard, I made sacrifices, I stayed the course, I paid it off, and became free.

And what do I have to show for it? Well, I now own my entire paycheck but also, much to my surprise, I’ve developed some patience. I was once told never to pray for patience because you’ll be given all kinds of opportunities to work on it.

I didn’t go into this thinking I wanted to become a patient person. Actually, quite the opposite, I thought I’d like to get this done as quickly as possible. I guess it’s relative if 3 & ½ years is long or short but I’ll tell you this, there were plenty of opportunities to give up and pay the minimum for the duration of the loan. Alas, I chose to be patient and you can too.


You Know He Wanted to Go In After That Fish

Aah, another hard one to achieve. I practice fasting occasionally and always think that helps develop my self-control muscles. Also, not buying everything that catches my fancy does the same.

This year, I moved into a little apartment and could have spent a lot of money furnishing it but I chose to utilize what I already had and was very selective about what I purchased.

I’d also argue that market investing requires self-control. To not panic and sell when the media is reporting a downturn in the market, requires discipline. With market investing it is best to just stay the course. Are you sensing a theme here?


You know how I said I sacrificed a lot during my debt pay off phase? Initially, it felt like I was making sacrifices when I:

  • Moved in with my parents
  • Consistently packed my lunch every day
  • Limited the number of times I went out to eat
  • Stopped highlighting my hair
  • Stopped skiing (okay this one was a sacrifice)
My Favorite Crazies Who Bring Me Joy

However, as I continued down this road, I realized I wasn’t less happy. In fact, I even found more joy in the journey. Why? I think that reason is twofold.

Firstly, I loved working towards a goal and seeing the finish line get closer and closer. There was great satisfaction in staying the course.

Secondly, I learned to focus on the relationships I wanted to foster. I had to be creative in how to do this without spending a lot of money. Cooking dinner with friends, playing board games or taking hikes is just as much fun as spending a night on the town which costs a lot more. 

Turns out that living with my folks was not a sacrifice at all. It actually was a gift. For one I realized the last time I had lived with them, I was pretty rebellious. Getting a second chance in my 40’s allowed me the opportunity to submit respectfully. It was kinda like a do-over.

Additionally, I utilized the library and started listening to podcasts which, BTW is totally free. Actually, that is how I discovered FI. A colleague turned me onto the ChooseFI radio podcast. We can all figure out the influence that one had on my life 😉


Cuyahoga Valley National Park is Peaceful

Oh yes, this is something I believe we all want in our lives. It’s an attractive concept. Heck, Dave Ramsey named his course after it, Financial Peace University.

Financial peace is something that eluded me for many years. I believe when we are lacking peace in one area, it spills out into other areas.

Inversely, when we gain peace in one area of our life, it starts to spread out into other aspects. 

So what kind of peace came first in my life? Well, I got sober 8 & ½ years ago and undoubtedly that needed to happen before anything else could happen. Simultaneously I returned to faith. Through these choices, I found a new peace.

Eventually, I became ready to work on my fiances because once I had tasted peace, I wanted it in all areas of my life!


At first blush, this one may not seem so obvious but let me define it according to Merriam-Webster:

Faithful –

1: steadfast in affection or allegiance: loyal

  • a faithful friend

2: firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty: conscientious

  • a faithful employee

3: given with strong assurance: binding

  • a faithful promise

4: true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original

  • a faithful copy
I Painted this one too!

So when you make a financial plan and stick to it, you are being faithful. When you put up an investment policy statement because you want accountability in staying true to your plan, you are being faithful.  When you pay off your debt because you made a promise, you are being faithful.


So there you have it, 5 characteristics that can be developed by taking control of your finances. And when you develop these characteristics financially, they’ll spill out into other facets of your life. Trust me, it’s inevitable.

What characteristics have you developed in your personal finance journey?

17 thoughts on “There’s Nothing New Under The Sun”

  1. Cooper @ Two Corporate Millennials

    Wonderful attributes to seek and I had no idea you were such a talented painter/artist Deanna! So cool. I loved the one you listed under Patience. There is so much emotion in that painting. I feel like you can look at it 100 times and find 100 different meanings. Powerful!

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Oh yeah, that was one of my favorites to paint! I cannot take all the credit as I did watch a YouTube video on that one 😉
      It evokes a lot of emotion in me too.

  2. Can I just say… Thank you for sharing your paintings. I love them. I absolutely think you could side hustle these, and if you ever find the desire to do a huge cityscape, please let me know because I would love to buy it from you.

    I love reading your story and seeing what you’ve learned along the way! You have gone through so much and come so far, and it brings me such joy to read your posts.

    You are one of those people I want to hug every time you share something here, and I’m not even a hugger!

    Please keep writing and painting!

    1. We have to meet up in Florida and hug it out, Liz!! I feel the same way about you so let’s make it happen when I come for FinCon.

      Thank you on the paintings. To be honest I’ve been so busy writing that I haven’t painted lately but I gotta get back to it. It relaxes me and I love watching the painting take life!

  3. Hi Ms Fiology… I agree with Liz, the paintings are great. side hustle idea for you on etsy if you are ever so interested. 🙂

    these days I felt like I am the opposite of the 5 characteristics you have listed above, thanks for a calm reminder of what I really should be striving for…

    1. Thank you for the encouragement on the paintings. I actually started an Etsy store called Ms Fiology paintings or something like that, but I need to build up some inventory before I move forward. You guys are inspiring me!

      Oh I don’t know I can certainly see some fine attributes in you by your writing. For one, I see a lady who is honest & kind 🙂

  4. I’ve been sacrificing a few things over the last year and a half to get these loans from college out of my life 😀

    The patience learned from this, the ability to say no, and taking on the “hell YES” or no mentality for things I’ve spent money on has been a great addition to my life.

    I’m not as extreme as many when it comes to frugality, but with my goal and grind I can’t wait to see the end through !

    1. Persistence is the key no matter how slow or quickly you go. I need to read more of your story. Do you publish your progress?

      Yeah, the characteristics you are building are like the hidden gem you didn’t know you’d find while on the path to pursuing financial freedom.

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  6. Have i ever told you how beautiful your site is? Lol

    Seriously from the font, the layout…. even the comment section flows so awesomely. Hmm i think i know who to contact when i need a site revamp lol.

    But yes! There is nothing new under the sun, but how we go about accomplishing our goals on the path to FI is what makes us different. I also love the 5 traits… very genuine and insightful.

    1. You are the with that compliment! Did I just date myself? Do people still say that?? Lol. Anywho, you don’t know how much that means to me. Seriously, I was just wondering the other day if my site was professional enough. It certainly looks clean which I like. THANK YOU!

      It is so fun to learn about everyone’s different path. Thank you, TJ!

      BTW, I think your site is pretty stellar.

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  8. Abigail

    I’ve actually learned to be a little kinder to myself, to let myself indulge in a few select things sometimes (like getting my gray hair covered). To not deny myself everything just because it’ll save a few extra bucks when I’m doing okay saving for the future. So I guess I’m slowly learning to enjoy the journey rather than just looking at the end destination of having $X saved and then life will be perfect. Because that’s not really how it works anyway.

    1. Hey Abigail! I hear you on letting some indulgences in your life. I too am learning to balance frugality with luxury and furthermore, learning to enjoy the journey. You are exactly correct that life will never be perfect so we might as well find joy in the journey. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

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