This website is for anyone aspiring to a financially independent lifestyle while simultaneously trying to pursue a triple bottom line, which equally values people, planet, and profit (3P). While this is not a common consideration on the path to financial independence (FI), I’ve seen and heard enough comments on popular FI websites, group Facebook pages, and podcasts to know that I am not alone in this sentiment. There is very little on the internet to offer guidance to those of us working towards FI who would like to be mindful of how our investments and actions impact our planet as well as all the people and animals who share it with us. I created this website to crowdsource ideas, resources, and inspiration for all of us seeking a 3P lifestyle.
Hi, I’m Laura. I had a pretty mainstream North American childhood, living in middle-class suburbia mostly oblivious to the downstream effects of my actions. Once I got to college, where I majored in international studies, my horizons began to broaden exponentially. Studying abroad led to service as a Peace Corps volunteer, grad school, and then a US Department of State Fellowship, which propelled me on to jobs that required me to visit and collaborate with people in numerous developing countries as well as marginalized communities right here in the United States.
Along the way a budding interest in the Slow Food movement as well as my desire to be outside more getting to know my neighbors after I bought my first home in Washington, DC (along with the free seedlings my City Council member gave away at his annual picnics) led me to start gardening. This proved beneficial on multiple fronts. Not only did I interact a great deal more with my neighbors, I grew my own food. That eventually led to my discovery of permaculture, which greatly influences my thoughts and actions today.
Somehow in about 2010, while I was living and working in Washington, D.C. I found myself reading The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. The examples and ideas in this book appealed to my nomadic, free spirit and provided the catalytic spark for a paradigm shift in my thinking about how life could be lived. Soon afterwards, I was able to convince my employer to allow me to quit my full-time job and hire me as a part-time consultant. To compensate for the reduction in income I got a roommate, the rent from which almost completely covered my mortgage.
Three years later, in search of a life in a more affordable location with better weather I sold my house and spent two years exploring the southwest. I camped, Couchsurfed, house-sat, and crashed with friends and family all over the region. Even my strong case of wanderlust and love of hiking though, couldn’t overcome my desire to nurture my own garden and integrate myself into a supportive like-minded community. In the end, I ultimately decided to settle right back where my journey started before I left for the Peace Corps 25 years ago in St. Petersburg, Florida.
I’m not pursuing FI in the mainstream way of investing in index funds or real estate and then planning to retire early and live according to the 4% rule. Instead, I’m aiming to create multiple streams of passively and actively generated income to cover my monthly expenses in addition to the solid financial foundation I’ve already established. A key priority of mine is to align my financial investments with my values. That means emphasizing environmentally and socially conscious as well as local investing. I am single, childless, in my late forties, and carry no debt. The house is paid for and I earn regular rental income by having a roommate. I’m also exploring various side hustles, which I’ll share in more detail in other sections. I’ve put away some money in my retirement accounts, including a self-directed IRA, as well as a small emergency fund. Today, I find myself somewhere between agency (according to J.D. Roth’s six stages of financial freedom) and lean FI, with a strong emphasis on frugality and the triple bottom line.
Personal Disclaimer: I am a work in progress. As much as I want to make decisions that equally value people, planet, and profit, I’m not perfect and I don’t always manage or choose to do it. I’m not judging anyone who isn’t walking this path either. I just wanted to create a space for people who are interested in this topic. So internet police I’m putting that out here for the record…..