Hello There! I’m Dave, a 35 year old US Army Officer. I’m currently stationed in Japan with my wife and two children. I’ve been an avid personal finance hobbyist for the past 10 years or so. The closer I get to the finish line of my Army career (3 years or so away), the more my mind dwells on what is beyond.

For a solid couple of years, my mind’s default setting was to ruminate on the possibilities for my future beyond the military. How and where would I fit in? What extra training and certifications should I work on now to be ready upon my military exit?

Then I came upon the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement. I listened to Grant Sabatier speak on the Jill on Money podcast. I realized that with my expected military pension, and increasing my already high savings rate, I likely wouldn’t have to work at all. I could work, and likely will do something, but to not have to…that was intriguing.

So then I thought, swell, I’ll have all the money I need to sustain my family financially, but how long will that be? Will I still feel like traveling, hiking, biking, diving, etc..30, 40, or 50 years from now?

That’s when I started to see the connections between my three main focus areas in life: personal finance, health, and being a decent dad.

I also noticed that I was about to join the few at the fringes. I knew I had to step even further away from the consumerism, convenience, and short term priorities of most Americans. It was my “Matrix Moment.”

Author’s Note: I truly despise clichés. I’ve struggled to come up an alternate analogy other than this “Matrix Moment” construct. I know I’m not anywhere near the first person to use it. If you’ve got a better idea, help a brother out.

Red pill and blue pill in Morpheus' hands from Matrix movie

I saw that physical health and fitness were foundational to ensuring quality of life over the extra long retirement that was becoming an option for me.

I already knew from my Army experience that free time, without loved ones to spend it with is generally unfulfilling and undesirable over the long term. Throughout this process, I have to stay engaged as a husband and father. There’s no point reaching the finish line alone.

If I want to ensure that after my military service, I never have to work again, I need to fully optimize my 3 or so final years of employment. I need to step up my savings, reduce expenses, and do so in a way that doesn’t feel like a mandated austerity program.

I started this blog to document my family’s journey for myself, my kids, and to hopefully persuade others to join us in the… DANGER ZONE!!!

Tom Cruise as call sign Maverick from Top Gun.