Hi, I’m Maggie Banks and I live in Alaska with my husband (endearingly called “Mr. T” though he is both thin and white) and our three young kids: Penny (older elementary age), Florin (younger elementary age), and Lui (not yet in school). Mr. T and I are both in our early thirties. We met in college, got married young, and had Penny when Mr. T was finishing his undergraduate degree and I was finishing my graduate degree. After spending ten months unemployed, we moved up to Alaska to experience the Great White North. We were both raised by small business owners who taught us sound financial principles, so we were able to graduate debt free and even managed to emerge from nearly a year of unemployment with enough savings for a down-payment on a house here in Alaska thanks to our unemployment game.
Mr. T is a programmer and works for a company with less-than-competitive income but a great environment, fabulous benefits, and wonderful vacation time. I am a stay at home mom, though I also work 10-15 hours a week from home as a behavioral economics researcher. I read a lot about behavior and money and love to find exciting out-of-the-box solutions to things. I also am fascinated with personal finance and read a ton of personal finance blogs. All of these passions combined one day in summer 2015 as Mr. T’s employer started discussing lay off possibilities and I was reading my favorite personal finance blogs and thinking (as I usually do): “they make way more than us,” “that won’t work in Alaska,” or “look at the success people are having in sharing their journey.” That day, Mr. T and I formulated our plan for early retirement (because retiring early is the ultimate creative, outside-the-box solution!) and decided to make it public as so many have done before us.
Alaska is a remarkable, wonderful place. But things are a bit different here. While Alaska does pay us to live here, we also have to deal with a very high cost of living. So, we’re going to try to navigate this journey in our own Alaskan way. We’ll keep you updated on our plan progress and we’ll also share our own money saving experiences and tips, talk about some awesome Alaskan stuff, highlight some behavioral economics research, and let you in on a little bit of our crazy.