Hello and Welcome!

Do you have a “good life” that you know could be even better?

I’m Jenny and I started Good Life. Better. to share my journey to financial independence and retiring early-ish (around 57).

While my life has definitely had its share of challenges and tragedies, generally, I’ve had a “good life”—you know, a life I could describe as a “6 or 7 out of 10” or “not bad.”

But as I got older, I grew tired of everything just being “fine.” I wanted something more.

My journey began in 2014. I was in my early 40s and had started tracking my net worth. Despite doing what I thought at the time was enough to be able to retire someday, I didn’t see much year over year progress and found it very, very frustrating.  I couldn’t help wondering: will I have to work until I die? Will I never be able to do all the things I want to do but can’t right now because my job takes up so much of my time and energy? Will I end up as a bag lady living under the interstate?

I wish I could say these worries led me to immediately change my ways but the reality is it took a couple of years of me thinking about these questions before the frustration (and fear) forced me to take action.  Finally, in 2017, I tackled my debt—paying off almost $60,000 in 16 months—and then ramped up saving and investing for retirement so I could achieve financial independence and feel comfortable that I will not outlive my money.  I also sought out new opportunities at work, and focused on better managing my anxiety and getting healthier.

Why “Good Life. Better.”?

I know I’m not the only woman who turns 40 and wonders if this is all there is to life.

Like me, they look at their finances and wonder if they are doing enough and if not, what they should be doing instead.

Maybe they like their job okay, but wonder if they should stay put, try for that next promotion, or even seek out something completely different.

Some may also know it’s been a while since they stepped on a scale or went to the gym, and wonder how much longer they will be able to get away with not prioritizing their health.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone!

Here’s What You Can Expect From Good Life. Better.

  • Thoughtful articles on how to improve your relationship with money and plan for retirement
  • Inspiration and how-tos for saving money, paying down debt, and budgeting
  • Career advice to help you figure out your next move
  • Information about healthy habits and bringing more happiness into your life.

How I Made My Good Life Better

Once the frustration grew to the point that I knew I had to do something, I undertook some serious soul-searching and formulated a plan of action (you can read more about what I did in my first three posts: Getting Unstuck, Staying Unstuck, and What I Did to Start Making My Good Life Even Better).

Since then, I have been able to get out of non-mortgage debt, tackle my anxiety, and pursue new career options in a new city.

I am still a work in progress (who isn’t?).  But I am trying to change my life for the better every day.

More Stuff About Me

My catsWhen I am not at my 9-5, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, reading cozy mystery novels or books about personal finance, and being out in nature (preferably without running into any snakes).  My wonderful feline furbabies also keep me busy!

Want to know more?

  • I played bagpipes in my high school marching band.
  • I have sworn off ever going back to school (I have two post-graduate degrees so should probably have done this sooner).  It has been a surprisingly freeing declaration to a formal education junkie and I highly recommend it!
  • I hate onions.
  • I dislike odd numbers (except—strangely enough—for 13 which is my birth-date).  When I go to close out of my inbox, I always try to have an even number of emails.

I have also had several members of my immediate family die young.  Their deaths have shaped who I am today and continue to affect my perspective on life.

  • When I was 15 my father died unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm and even 30+ years later I still think about him every day.  He was a good man and I wish he had been a part of my life for decades longer.
  • Eleven years later, when I was 26, my mother died from a rare autoimmune disease.  Unlike my father, she was a cruel person and we did not have a good relationship.  Therapy has helped me deal somewhat with her anger and unkind words but it is still painful.
  • Finally, when I was 39, my older brother committed suicide (you can learn more about how his death affects my life here: I Hate Birthdays—But Not Because They Mean I am a Year Older).  I am sure before he died I would’ve said nothing could have been more painful than losing my dad but now I know better.  

Thank you for sharing my journey—I’m so glad you’re here!