Why I Named This Blog Giddings Plaza FI

I’ve been putting this blog on the back burner for a few days while getting up-to-speed on my current freelance gig—a tech writing project. I’m doing this job remotely, so don’t have a commute. Nice! Because I’m chatty, I do miss having co-workers. But avoiding a long commute is worth the trade-off of talking to myself throughout the day.

Back to “why I named this blog…”. Giddings Plaza is a spot in the Lincoln Square nabe of Chicago. A friend took me to Café Selmarie on the plaza about 10 years ago. We spent a couple hours drinking and people watching, and by the time we left, it felt like the center of the universe to me. We then walked a block further to drink more at the Hüettenbar, but that’s another story for another time.


Years pass…I spend time around Giddings Plaza whenever I’m in Chicago, and, I go to Chicago quite often. It becomes the place where I always feel exactly at home, and know that life is much more than working my soul into the ground for lots of money at a software white collar factory. In fact, I wrote my resignation email from a place on the plaza. True story.

I’ve written in previous posts that I’ve been trying to achieve financial independence early. Despite that, I still made the jump and quit my job. That of course delays FI a bit, but, brings me to why I named this blog…, which is, because living this one life now, and doing it in the best way possible, is f-ing always going to be my top priority, with money coming in behind.

Financial independence is about living a (Golden Rule-based) life that fulfills you. It can’t be about spending as little as possible to just get by. I know there are many out there living on less than $10,000 a year, and they seem to be loving their lives (read these journals on Jacob’s ERE forum). Everyone is different—I want money to spend on travel, wine, going out with friends…and that all requires dollars. On the flip side of the coin, I live in a tiny house, don’t own a car, and try to live an inexpensive/sustainable lifestyle. Because of that, I was able to save over 50% of my income when I had a salary. I hope to get back to that savings rate soon. FI is literally buying your freedom, and having much greater choice in how you spend your hours.

Back to Giddings Plaza: I’ll still be spending most of my time in Seattle, but am hoping to spend 2 or 3 months each winter (LOVE winter in Chicago!) and a couple weeks each hot, muggy, fantastic summer in Chicago. Owning an investment property is part of my goal for reaching FI, and Chicago is a great place for getting a good rental return on a property.

I have some reservations about it, such as high property taxes in Chicago; trying to manage a property from Seattle; and, of course, getting the right tenants. Do you own a rental property, or are you thinking of buying one?

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One thought on “Why I Named This Blog Giddings Plaza FI

  1. debweb

    We own a three flat property in Chicago. Yes, the property taxes are definitely high. But we bought it two years ago in a down market, paid 25% down on $500,000. after taxes (around 8k), and mortgage and insurance, and about 10 k in repairs we had to do, we made about 23,000 in income. If you want more info, feel free to email me.


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