Thanks for joining us, Jaymee. Tell us some more about yourself.
My name is Jaymee. I’m 27 years old. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and have for the last 16 years after immigrating here with my family from the Philippines.
I’m a Registered Nurse by profession delivering babies at my local hospital; most of the time, it’s as fun as it sounds! I’ve worked full-time at this job for 4 years. In my first year working full-time, I made gross $80,000CAD. It’s higher now after 4 years of raises and because I work mostly night shifts (which adds an extra $5/hr to my base pay).
After I finished high school, my plan was to become a doctor. At the university I wanted to get into, I needed two years of full-time study before I can start applying for med school. My parents suggested I do it through the Bachelor in Nursing route and apply for med school two years into the nursing program. This was a smart decision because even if I didn’t get into med school, I still had a practical degree to graduate with and a clear career path afterward. I’d also get experience in healthcare to decide whether it’s for me or not before I invest any more years and money into it.
I don’t remember exactly when I decided I didn’t want to become a doctor anymore. It might have been around the time I realized I’d have to invest at least another 5 years of my life into school; I’d be in my late 20’s by graduation and that’s assuming I make it all the way through with no hiccups. I didn’t want to spend the better part of my 20’s in school, accumulating more debt but not increasing my income (back then the only way I knew how to get an income was to work a job!). So I finished up my nursing degree and was lucky enough to land a full-time position right out of university.
When I’m not at my “9-5”, I’m writing content for my own personal finance blog, the Smart Woman Blog, working out at the gym, checking out the local real estate, taking personal development classes/workshops or traveling to warm, sunny places where the beach is easily accessible.
I was in a relationship with someone for 5 years before breaking up last year in March. Now, I’m single and living with my family in their basement. You might say I’m the “stereotypical millennial”.
What does your ideal day look like?
My ideal day looks like this:
– Sleep in until I’m ready to wake up (usually between 9-11am)
– Meditate x 10-15 minutes then read from an actual, physical book (no kindles or iPads for this lady) while having my morning coffee on the balcony/patio/outside
– Cook a good breakfast (I love breakfast food!) and enjoy it with my significant other
– Rest a while after my meal
– I’d probably do some writing, reading, or watching TV during this time
– Hit the gym, finish up with cardio or yoga
– Have lunch
– Do meaningful work – on my blog, or some other project
– Catch up with a friend or friends for an afternoon coffee or dinner together
– Unwind in the evening, relax or maybe catch a sunset (I love sunsets too!)
– I’m a night owl, so I may do some more work before thinking about going to bed. I’m most productive late at night – I like to strategize, look at real estate properties, write blog posts, brainstorm, etc.
– Sleep… nothing puts me to sleep faster than having a productive and joyful day.
Oh and I should mention that I plan to live in Canada for part of the year and live somewhere warm by a beach for the other part of the year, like in Costa Rica or Fiji! So some of those days, I could be having my morning coffee while lounging on the beach. Or going snorkeling with friends during the evenings instead of just a dinner together. I love the warm weather and I also love the conveniences and beauty of living here in Calgary… so I guess I should just do both.
Why do you identify as an introvert?
For the longest time, I resisted identifying as an introvert. In my head, introverts equal anti-social loners who lack the social graces to mingle with other people…and I didn’t want to be that.
Now, I embrace being an introvert, once I understood what it actually meant. For me, I absolutely enjoy my alone-time and feel charged energetically when I get this time to myself. I can be in social settings but only for a limited amount of time. Otherwise, I start feeling distracted, exhausted and anxious from all the noise and stimulation.
I’m starting to find a balance that works for me so that I get my precious alone-time and still excel in areas of my life where being with other people is essential (like networking, or being a nurse! Go figure!).
Do you think your introversion motivated you to pursue FI?
Absolutely! As a nurse, my job requires I deal with people all the time. I encounter a whole range of different people and personalities on a daily basis. I see them at their best and worst times and I’m expected to act professionally no matter the situation. If I’m not careful, I burn out very easily. At the beginning of my career, this happened a lot because I didn’t have the experience to deal with it. After 4 years, I’m much better now but it also helped me realize I don’t want to be doing this full-time until 50-65 years old. Being FI will mean I have assets that can cover my basic living expenses, so I can choose to step away from bedside nursing if I wanted to for my sanity’s sake.
Did your introversion have an impact on your occupation choice?
Honestly, I didn’t consider my introversion when I decided to become a nurse. I didn’t think it was a big deal either because nursing is one of those occupations where you can do and experience different types of work under one job title. I can be a floor nurse dealing with patients, or a research nurse working a desk job for example.
Does your introversion have an impact on your career?
Yes, it does. I deal with people every day. All the stimulation, noise and crazy of our Labour and Delivery unit, especially during a day shift, wears me down energetically.
I am competent at my job and I have a naturally nurturing character that helps me take care of people. But I also need to prioritize my needs and self-care in order to keep doing what I do. If I don’t, I may not be at my best to perform my job. I might be less patient, easily frustrated and stressed and more prone to making mistakes or slip-ups – something you want to minimize when dealing with mothers’ and babies’ lives.
These days, I work more night shifts. I found that I am happier and feel more balanced when I do. It’s usually less busy at the hospital at night (except when it’s a full moon out). There’s generally fewer people to deal with. I’m lucky that my job and lifestyle allows me to do this.
Does your introversion have an impact on your professional network?
Sure it does! Compared to a more extroverted colleague, I’d say my professional network is probably smaller because for me, it’s quality over quantity. I only have so much energy and time to invest in relationships that what little I have, I give only to the most meaningful connections. I nurture relationships that give me joy, where we have a lot in common in terms of goals, mindset and vision, or one that helps me grow because they’ve got a different take on things than I do. Having a large number of contacts where I’m not able to keep track of who is who only adds stress to my life.
Has your introversion impacted your professional relationships?
To a degree, I would say yes. I find “office politics” extremely draining so I do the best I can to avoid it. I work with 95% women as a nurse in a Labour and Delivery ward, so there’s honestly some cattiness that goes along with the environment, it can’t be avoided. Due to this, I think I come off as quiet and disengaged at times when I don’t participate in the politics.
I’ve made a few friends from work, those who I connect with on a deeper level, and that keeps me from feeling lonely when I’m there.
In terms of business outside of work, I get to choose who I want to collaborate with in my real estate investing business as well as the operation of my blog. I choose people who I jive with and enjoy being around, those who have similar goals and visions, those who energize me… so it’s easier for me to open up to them. In order to be successful in these ventures, authenticity and trust between partners is essential. There’s only a handful of people who fall in this category at this time, so I’m able to nurture those relationships with my limited time and energy.
What advice would you give to someone more introverted?
There is no limit to what you can and can’t pursue because you’re introverted. From my experience, as long as you’re being mindful of your needs as an introvert (giving yourself plenty of alone-time, setting one-on-one meetings instead of an event for 100+ people, not packing your schedule with so many events/meetings/networking, etc.), you can be successful in any endeavour you choose to pursue. The only limits you have are truly the ones you make up in your mind.
What should extroverts understand about introverts?
Extroverts, please respect our need for space and time alone. My last boyfriend is extroverted and he thrived very much in social settings. He made friends easily and loved to spend time and money to go out.
I, on the other hand, could not keep up with him. With my erratic shift schedule and need for time alone, I often skipped out on many social events with him.
Instead of respecting this need, he judged me and thought that I was anti-social and didn’t like his friends because I was saying no to events. Because we saw things from different perspectives, it put a rift in our relationship that eventually led to us breaking up.
So be respectful of our needs. We don’t wish to put a damper on your fun, we just need to prioritize our sanity over trying to make as many friends as we possibly could. And don’t hold this against us.
What should introverts understand about extroverts?
Don’t prejudge extroverts and don’t presume you can’t learn from them because you’re not an extrovert, or they’re not an introvert. There are many things we can learn from extroverts so when you can, jump at the opportunity to “hang out” with an extroverted friend. Watch them in their natural environment and you’ll see!
My friend Andrew M. is an amazing conversationalist. He can strike up a conversation with ANYONE, whether it’s in a professional business setting, or just bowling with a bunch of new people he’s never met before. People are attracted to him instantly. Watching him interact with people is amazing and I’ve learned a thing or two about how to be charming myself. I can tell you it’s worked wonders for my life overall.
What do you wish you had known about introversion and career success earlier on?
Being introverted is NOT a barrier to success. We just approach the process differently than our extroverted parts. What is important as you’re building up towards your definition of success is to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and play around with those to your advantage.
I’m a happier nurse when I work more night shifts because there’s less busy and crazy, so I do that.
I go to networking events and seek out the few contacts I want to know personally; anything more is too draining, and I’m fine with this.
I skip out on social events with friends because I really just need time alone to myself, and I don’t feel guilty for doing so.
I’ve created a life I love by accepting who I am and what I need. If that’s not success, I don’t know what is.
Where are you in your FI journey?
Very early! I didn’t learn about FI until recently… I didn’t even think such a thing was an option, unless maybe if you win the lottery or you’re born to an affluent family. Three years ago, when I started my blog, I did it because I wanted to stay accountable to paying off my debts at the time. I accumulated $50,000 in student loans and credit card debt by 23 years old. I knew being in debt sucked and I didn’t want to be in that position any longer.
I found the FIRE community online shortly after and it opened up a whole new way of thinking for me. People in my position (plus many of whom were in much more difficult situations than I am) were retiring decades earlier than traditional retirement age and living life on their own terms, doing what they love and still meeting their basic needs financially. I thought those people were crazy, like who would want to save 50% of their income??
Then after working full-time at my career for three years, my days began to look exactly the same, the same “day in, day out” and I began to see the ceiling I would eventually run into in my career. I’m making good money now but I’ll reach a salary cap and I only have so many hours to sell to my job. I didn’t want to sell 40+ years worth of those hours to working a job. I wanted to spend more of those hours to things I enjoy and love, with my family and friends.
So then those people who were financially independent and retiring early didn’t seem so crazy anymore. I decided I wanted to give it a shot. I wanted to cut the dependency I have to a paycheck from a job.
Today, I’m in the debt pay-off and wealth accumulation phase of my FI journey. You might wonder why I’m doing both at the same time instead of debt-payoff first THEN accumulate wealth. That’s because I’m using real estate investing as a big part of my plan and I’m leveraging debt to acquire properties. In the next year or two, I hope to flip my first house.
My net-worth is currently just over $50,000 with two mortgages on two properties, no auto loan and some debt I’m still working to pay down (student loans mainly, plus a line of credit). In terms of investments outside of real estate, I’m saving money into an employer-matched RRSP and a defined-benefit pension plan… so if all goes to sh*t, I’m hoping I can still retire comfortably at 65 years old with these savings.
What is your FI strategy?
I’m buying as many assets as I can and real estate is my favorite asset class right now. I recently purchased (with a business partner) a half-duplex that’s got two suites in it to rent out.
I also still have my first house which is now a rental. This was a house I bought for an ex-partner and I in 2016 but after we broke up, I found it too big for myself to live in. I tried to sell it earlier this year but no one would buy it, so I rented it out instead.
I’m currently living with my family paying them rent while these two properties are rented out.
I plan to acquire more real estate as I’m able to. I love the idea of being able to leverage mortgage debt to control a tangible asset. Over the next two years, I hope to flip my first property also.
In addition, I’m saving money in an RRSP and a defined-benefit pension plan provided (and matched) by my employer.
If things blow up in my face, I hope to at least have these nest eggs to retire on.
I’m attacking my FI plan from both ends – at the beginning with my wealth accumulation strategy and at the end with a traditional retirement savings strategy. Eventually, they will meet somewhere in the middle where I have enough assets I can draw from (either passively or by selling a property) that will pay for my living expenses while at the tail end, my retirement accounts and pension have compounded and grown to an amount that can support me if I wish to draw from that instead. Where they meet in the middle is when I consider myself to be financially independent.
What are three things you want to do more of when you reach FI?
1. Hands down spend more time with my family and friends who I love. I also want to be able to treat them whenever I want to, like pay for dinner, help them when they need help or bless them with nice things, especially my parents.
2. Travel to new places around the world. I’ve got a world map (where you scratch off the countries you’ve visited) that my girlfriend gifted me for my birthday last year and it’s looking so bare right now – I need to change that.
3. Inspire more young women to create a life they are proud of. I envision one-on-one coffees or small gatherings where we mastermind and intentionally create the life we want to be living.
What are three new things you want to learn when you reach FI?
1. Learn to play the piano, guitar or violin… perhaps all three!
2. More about real estate investing – new branches like interior design, flipping homes (being more hands-on with a project) or investing in multi-family or commercial buildings (something I wouldn’t have done yet by then)
3. Photography and learning to edit photos
4. Doing a bikini competition (I know you said 3, but this is a tie for 3rd place)
What is the financial move that has had the most positive impact on your journey that others can learn from?
Pick your partner wisely, because it will affect your finances.
I began a relationship with a man when I was still a university student. He is 11 years older than me so I thought he had his life together – turns out he didn’t.
After five years together, I went from a broke student to making almost double what he was making. He couldn’t hold down a job for long and when he did, he spent his money on liabilities. He had a major financial mishap that happened before we even met that he decided to run from, instead of dealing with altogether.
So when we bought our house in 2016, the banks from his past found him and threatened to garnish his wages to pay for that mishap. He told me his solution was to just “stop working” so they couldn’t garnish his wages… after we just bought a house!
So for five years, thinking that I loved and cared for this man enough, I tolerated his behaviour and carried him with my good financial habits. I would’ve been further ahead in my financial journey if I hadn’t stuck with him for as long as I did.
As soon as I was able to cut ties with him, emotionally and financially, I saw my life explode into exponential growth and I’ve never been happier.
So again, pick your partner wisely!
What money mistakes have you made that others can learn from?
House hacking is almost as good as compound interest. If I can do it over again, I’d buy a good house that was already suited. I’d live in one of the suites and rent out the other. This way, someone else is subsidizing my housing expense and helping me pay down my mortgage while my property increases in value over time. It’s a good strategy. You can also do a roommate situation where you rent out rooms in your home, but I personally will not do well in this set-up because I like having my own space too much (introvert right here!).
This is all great advice! Thank you, Jaymee!
Drew thank you so much for sharing my story via this platform. I now embrace that I am an introvert and I hope others reading my story, and can relate with my story, will too. I have no doubt that FI will be mine sooner than later and my introversion will help me get there.
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I struggled for years to decode why going to work, socializing in loud places, and taking trips with large groups were so draining. Finally, after gaining an understanding of introversion, I started to progress professionally and socially. Coupled with my newfound knowledge of introversion, the concept of financial independence was the motivation I needed to improve my life.
This blog documents my journey and the journeys of other introverts, lessons learned, and strategies for a meaningful and fulfilling life as an introvert in an extroverted world.