Welcome and thanks for reading this blog. I truly hope you find something of value here and can use this information to positively impact your life the way it has changed our life. We wanted to fill you in on the authors of this site and why we started writing.
Personal finance is a very nuanced, complicated, and personal topic for every person involved. That said, the basic formula underlying the entire process for wealth accumulation and retirement isn’t a secret. Spend less than you earn, invest the remainder, and eventually, you’ll succeed. Even most of the specifics of that path are well worn and not particularly complicated. Nobody talks about how the bias in personal finance is baked into that simple advice.
The name Retire at Plaza and Main St combines two of my passions in life: personal finance and Walt Disney World. It can describe the aspirational future life we are currently working toward. All this hard work needs to pay off eventually.
A Terrace With A View
You didn’t immediately catch the Disney reference in there? It is a relatively esoteric reference to a place that isn’t really on any of the maps or called out in the guide books. Specifically, it refers to a small terrace outside the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom where people often enjoy the ice cream treats they just purchased. It is a beautiful location right off the hub near the water looking at Cinderella’s Castle.
The views are fantastic on sunny days of both the castle and Main Street from the old-fashioned parlor chairs under the yellow umbrellas. The fireworks and people-watching in this location are fantastic as well, given the prime location.
Ice cream makes anything better
Also the ice cream… Did I mention the ice cream (hand-scooped ice cream, too)? It is a peaceful location where even adults can feel like kids again and the theme is so immersive that it is easy to completely forget the outside world for the moment.
Figuratively speaking, the location is right next to the center of the Magic Kingdom which was designed in a hub-and-spoke model. The hub is where all guests are funneled to the middle of the park in front of Cinderella’s Castle and can then choose to radiate outward to the various lands of entertainment depending on their desires. It is a nexus point for decisions on where to go and what to do where all choices are just as valid as the next one, and they all eventually lead back to the hub.
The hub represents possibility
Personal finance and the path to financial independence is similar in that there is no right or wrong way to do it necessarily, and everyone can make the choices that suit them the best. The idea that we would be financially independent enough to functionally “retire” at the corner of Plaza and Main Street and sit at this spot whenever we wish (even when not on vacation) implies that we have succeeded.
Leisurely enjoying a sunny day with an ice cream cookie sandwich while looking at a castle is our idea of a relaxing time. Yes, we get all philosophical here, too, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously (see adult Disney reference above).
We both grew up in Central Florida going to the theme parks with very fond memories of the areas, attractions, and resorts. We go there regularly even now and enjoy making memories with our family and our son that he’ll carry with him his entire life, too. It is a place where even adults can forget their worries for the day and just enjoy spending time with their friends and family. Additionally, we are the weird adult Disney fans you occasionally read about online. Just not the really weird ones.
Coworkers and friends often come to us for advice on vacationing to Disney, and we used to regularly contribute to one of the larger Disney blogs as guest posters.
Origin Of Retire at Plaza and Main St
I personally liked the idea of merging my interest in personal finance and Walt Disney World because it gives me a platform to talk at length on the topics that interest me the most without going into the aspects of these subjects I’m less passionate about. While I love news about Disney or the stock market, I’m just not passionate about reporting breaking news on those subjects as much as I’m passionate about sharing what I know about personal finance and vacationing at Disney. I’ll leave the breaking news to the sites dedicated to that output.
Nobody does Disney & Personal Finance
Mixing the math and logic of retirement planning with the magic of Disney is surprisingly niche content relatively unexplored because I might be the only one odd enough to want to merge them. While researching the topic I came to the conclusion that blogs that mention personal finance and Disney are doing so in one of two ways: a personal finance blog writing about a vacation at Disney to discuss the best ways to save money in the process or a Disney blog listing the best places to live or part-time jobs to have once you’ve already retired and moved near Disney. None seemed to offer the intersection of both that I’m passionate about, hence the origin of this content.
We can argue about whether the personal balance sheet or income statement is more important in the journey to financial independence. I’ve seen this debated online in the past and people have strong opinions on both sides. I personally believe it depends on how far down the path to financial independence you currently find yourself.
Eventually in your personal finance journey you get to a point where you are functionally on auto-pilot until you reach your “financial independence number” or FIRE Number. Your FIRE Number is the investment balance at which, theoretically, you could withdraw from to maintain your current lifestyle for longer than you plan to remain alive without depleting the account. That was a really morbid way of putting that… sorry. It’s basically the amount of investments you need to be self-sustaining for the rest of your life.
The first step in any journey is getting a thorough understanding of where you are right now so that you can plot a course to your ultimate destination. Personal finance is no different in that we need to first assess our current financial situation, good or bad, and create a plan to get us from here to financial independence. You need to get all of your financial transactions in one place.
We had to fire our financial advisor. He was a nice guy and meant well I’m sure but he had to go. It started off great with a free financial plan and help rolling over old 401k plans. He even set up an IRA and a 529 College Savings Plan which, at the time, seemed like something a professional should do. We just didn’t know what we didn’t know. Once we realized exactly how much he would cost us in the end we decided to fire our financial advisor.
In other words: “What should I do with my money and when, please”. I’m sure this is the same question most people are asking themselves. Everyone has money and needs to put it to use but there is no real unified plan. There is no personal finance flow chart to walk down for each stage in our life. Or is there?
Mixing the logic of personal finance with the magic of Disney
The purpose of this blog is to help regular people navigate the same path to financial independence I’ve chosen and thus have the most experience. The original purpose of these posts was to be a collection of acquired wisdom to share with my son when he is old enough but if the path is good enough for him to follow, I figured I should make it available to others. Additionally, I’ll share some math based breakdowns of my life and Disney. I want to mathify life and help everyone see the beauty in knowing the numbers that surround their life.
Our financial independence philosophy is important. You should know if the writer is on the same page as you when reading. First I should explain why we are pursuing FIRE personally since it often helps to understand the context. We are pursuing financial independence to have the financial security to give our life as many options as possible in as many situations as possible.