“Honestly, financial independence isn’t about the money. It’s about something much bigger — having the ability to live life on your own terms, never being at the
mercy of a job.”
Do you want freedom and flexibility with your life?
Maybe that means working on your own terms, and not feeling tied down to any one thing. Or maybe you’re just sick of constantly worrying and stressing about money.
So 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. Instead of begging your boss for a day off, you can have every day off.
Hi, I’m Chris Reining, and I’m here to help you do just that. After graduating from college I took a job in corporate America, and a few years later bought a condo and BMW. I was happily living the American dream.
Then one day, sitting in my drab little cubicle, I thought, “This is it? I just have to do this for the next 30 years?” Get up, drive to work, deal with an inbox full of problems, drive home, eat dinner, watch TV, knowing you have to live this same day over and over again, for the rest of your life.
You can probably imagine how I felt. I wanted more out of life, the freedom and flexibility to live life on my own terms. And this is when I realized something important: You have a choice.
You don’t have to work, get money, spend money, and work again, repeating this cycle until you’re so old and sick you can’t work anymore. You can work to save, save to invest, and then stop working because your money is working for you. Sounds simple enough, right?
Yeah, so that’s what I decided to do, and by 35 I became a millionaire and then a couple years later retired early. 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 got lucky, but I can tell you I didn’t start out with any advantages or 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, too. Years from now, when you’re living life on your own terms, I think you’ll look back and be glad you did.
Okay, here’s the real “about me”. 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 autobiography.
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 business
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 for becoming a millionaire
2016: quit corporate America, retiring early
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 all. 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. The more you learn about investing the more you learn how little you know. It’s the one thing that can hold my interest for a lifetime.
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 be involved.
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 was starting with nothing, 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 invested in the market, the remainder in cash.
I don’t pay attention to financial news, predictions, or the market. What I believe is that American business will be worth more in the future than it is now. That’s what I’m invested 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, every email I send, is written 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 things like my barber or dentist, to bigger things like my car or career. I don’t like being 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 life where I keep to myself, eat healthy, work out, do yoga, meditate, and read. But these things aren’t for me, they’re for my future self.
Any questions? Contact me.