“Honestly, financial independence isn’t about the money. It’s about something much bigger: having the freedom and flexibility to live life on your own terms, never being at the mercy of a job.”
What if I told you that you can set yourself up for your 30s, 40s, and beyond so you don’t have to rely on your soul-crushing job anymore.
I’m Chris Reining, and here to help you do just that.
After graduating college I took a job in corporate America, and a few years later bought a condo and BMW. Happily living the American dream.
But one day, sitting in my cubicle, I thought, “This is it? I just have to do this for the next 40 years?”
You can probably imagine how I felt. Getting up, driving to work, dealing with an inbox full of problems, driving home, eating dinner, watching TV, and knowing you’re going to live that same day over and over again.
I wanted more out of life, to live it on my own terms, and this is when I realized something so obvious: you have a choice.
You don’t have to work, get money, spend money, and work again, repeating that cycle until you’re so old and sick you can’t work anymore. Instead you can work to save, save to invest, and eventually stop working because your money is working for you.
Simple enough, right?
Yeah, so that’s the wild journey I decided to take and at 35 accumulated enough and at 37 called it quits. That landed me a front-page profile in The New York Times, an appearance on the TODAY show, and features in Business Insider, CBS, CNBC, CNN, and more.
You might hear all this and think I’m special or lucky. What I can tell you is that I didn’t start out with any money or anything like that. I just decided to take action.
If this sounds good, why not sign up and learn how to have your money work for you. Years from now, when you’re living life on your own terms, I think you’ll look back and be glad you did.
P.S. Believe it or not, I don’t really like writing about myself because I’d rather share practical advice to implement, or ideas to think about.
So the following is just a big chunk of stuff about me. I figure someday this site will be all that’s left of me, so I might as well start writing my own obituary.
1979: born in Illinois
1989: became a shareholder of Wrigley stock
1994: started working as a dishwasher
1997: began college at tiny Millikin University, as a Finance major
1999: decided to major in Management Information Systems
2000: started a business developing websites for small businesses
2001: graduated college, moved to Madison, Wisconsin to work at SecurePipe (now Trustwave), started investing in index funds
2002: created the cybersecurity site packetfu.org, publishing articles and research papers
2003: quit my job, and started working at Alliant Energy
2004: became certified as a perimeter and intrusion analyst
2006: started investing in individual stocks
2010: decided to become financially independent by aggressively saving and investing
2012: became a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, created chrisreining.com
2015: promoted to Business/Enterprise Architect; profiled in The New York Times
2016: quit corporate America
2017 to present: started living off investments, and began writing more
I’m an INTJ, and love being alone
I don’t hate people, people wear me out. So I’m much happier spending 10 hours a day alone so I can get immersed in whatever I’m learning or studying, whatever I’m creating or making.
In my career I was interested in things like linux, OpenBSD, programming. I would spend eight hours on these things at my job and come home and spend eight hours tinkering.
Eventually I got bored with it. There was nothing big left to learn, and I need to be learning, growing, and stretching or I’m not satisfied.
That’s why my life’s work really is investing. I’m a passionate reader and learner, and the more you read and learn about investing the more you realize how little you know. It’s the one thing that can hold my attention forever.
I’m a minimalist
I’m wary about bringing things into my life. It’s easy to buy new things, but much harder to get rid of them, so I’d rather just not participate.
And I’m always asking myself if I’m using the things I own. If the answer is no I get rid of it. Always consolidating and optimizing.
This is a common theme throughout my life. During the week I eat the same meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Shopping and meal prep is simple, and I don’t have to think about what to eat.
Or how my entire net worth is an S&P 500 index fund, a handful of stocks, a condo, and a checking account. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.
I’m an investor
I’ve loved investing in stocks since I was 10. The idea that you can sit there doing nothing while your money works for you is extremely appealing to me.
The problem was that I didn’t grow up rich. I started with nothing, and so my career was the way for me to acquire capital to invest.
After retiring from corporate America I started living off investments. About 95% of my money is in the market, the remainder in cash.
I don’t pay attention to financial news, macro events, predictions. What I believe is that American business will always be worth more in the future than it is now. That’s what I invest in.
I’m not easily distracted. When I’m performing a task it gets 100% of my focus. Writing, learning, creating, whatever. If we’re meeting you won’t see my phone. In fact, my phone has been on silent since the day I got it.
I don’t have an assistant or anyone who helps me. People don’t believe this, but every article I write or email I send is done right here on this keyboard. Everything takes me way longer this way, but so what.
I walk away and never look back. I practice non-attachment, because it makes me more resilient. I’ll walk away from silly little things like my barber or dentist, to bigger things like my car or career. I don’t like feeling dependent on anyone, or anything.
I’m disciplined and methodical. If some action has a positive impact on my life, or gets me to where I want to go, I start building a long-term habit around it. On the other hand, if something is addictive or has a deleterious effect, I stay away.
I don’t follow trends or think short term. I don’t get caught up with what’s flashy and novel. Instead, I live a simple, modest life where I mostly keep to myself, eat healthy, work out, do yoga, meditate, and read. None of this is for me, it’s for my future self.
Any questions? Contact me.