Welcome to my BRAND-SPANKIN-NEW blog!

Hello everyone, and welcome to my new blog!  This is my first time developing a blog, so there are likely a WHOLE bunch of kinks that will need to be worked out over this early period of blogging.  So please bear with me!  I appreciate your time, Dear Reader, as we crank this bad boy up and see what we can do with it.

But first, some introductions….

Who the heck am I?

I’m a mid-40’s married suburban dad, living here on the US East Coast with my wife and two awesome tween daughters.  (Will I keep using the word “awesome” when they’re both teenagers – hopefully so!).  I currently work as a corporate-office-based engineer for a BigMegaManufacturingCorp, while my wife is a teacher who’s working on getting back in the workforce after a long period as a stay-at-home mom.

OK – so what’s up with the “Stealth Wealth” stuff?

Last year, I settled a medical malpractice lawsuit (following a botched “minor” surgery that was anything but minor!) for a seven-figure sum.  Mrs MSW and I have (wisely, I think) chosen to not share this news with anyone, since many people tend to have less-than-ideal reactions when confronted with others with this kind of windfall.  And when I say that we haven’t shared it with anyone, I mean it:

  • Not our parents.
  • Not our siblings.
  • Not with our kids.
  • Not with our coworkers.  (I’ve actually changed jobs since the BME (ie the “Big Medical Event” that triggered the lawsuit) happened, so thankfully nobody at work really asks.

Seriously – the only people who know about this (besides my wife and I) are the lawyers involved.

So, why write about it to the WHOLE F—ING WORLD if it’s a “secret”?

Because this is just too big a secret to keep to ourselves!

But seriously, this additional money has been a game-changer in my family’s life.  Since we’ve elected to keep the news to ourselves, we’ve basically deprived ourselves of potential opportunities to talk about some of the issues we’ve faced with this newfound wealth.  Our intent is to use this blog as our “creative outlet” to talk about some of the things – like this money, among other things – that we just don’t feel comfortable sharing with others face-to-face.

What are you planning to cover in your blog?

One of the things that I fund very exciting is the possibility of retiring early!  When the settlement was finalized, I began doing a lot of reading online about investing, and as part of that I stumbled into the FIRE community. Above all, the one thing we learned is how absolutely f—ing CLUELESS we were about basic financial concepts!  It turns out that we simply just didn’t know what we didn’t know.  While my family’s spending tended to stay on the low side relative to our peers, it never even occurred to me that retiring prior to 65 was a possibility for people like me.  But now – with my current savings combined with the settlement proceeds – I learned that I was much closer to early retirement than I thought.  I’ve always considered myself to be “relatively” financially literate, but over the last year I’ve realized how much I didn’t know about this subject.

I don’t feel that the stories that I create will add any new and/or exciting knowledge to the blogosphere of personal finance.  However,  I do think that the concepts behind the FIRE community are very important, and my hope is that this site will be another one of the many voices out there available to help people learn more about personal finance.

In addition to personal finance, I do plan to talk about some other things that I find interesting, such as:

  • Politics.  I know, I know – isn’t all of the post-election stuff on Facebook enough?  My answer is….yes and no.  I do think that the stuff that happens in this country (both inside and outside of the government) is important.  However, I’m just sickened by the tone and general lack of nuance and detail with which the people on TV talk about these sorts of things.  In my house, it’s gotten to the point where we don’t even watch the nightly news anymore, and we sure as hell will not allow the kids to watch it!  I’ve found that most of the political posts I’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter tends to be snarky, taunting stuff that doesn’t even attempt to explain or justify the nuances of complicated topics.  My hope is that the longer format of a blog post will allow me to talk about things in more detail, and will also allow for comment and discussion as well.
  • Healthcare.  This is a major topic in the news, and as someone who’s become all-too-familiar with the “body shop” I think I’ll be able to add some value to these sorts of discussions.
  • Education.  With a wife that’s a teacher and with two kids in public schools, we have seen the US educational system “up close and personal.”  I do have lots of feedback on this, that I plan to  talk about here.
  • Office Life.  I’ve spend 20+ years climbing the corporate ladder in various MegaCorps, and heave learned the hard way how unfortunately-close-to-reality those Dilbert comic strips are!  As I run into situations at work, I’ll discuss them here and point out the absurdities that are unfortunately all-too-common in a coporate environment.  Maybe I’ll try to get advice from you as well??

Closing Thoughts

Overall, I’m VERY excited to start my blogging journey here.  I’m not sure how may people (if any?) will ever read this, but in a way it doesn’t matter.  I actually love to write, and just the act of writing this stuff down and getting it out of my system is benefit enough.  Hopefully other readers will find this useful as well!