Who is ChefonFIRE and what is he all about. For almost 20 years I have spent time in the hospitality industry, holding every position from dishwasher to owner. I spent years as a manager, owner, or consultant working for and with some of the best people in the industry and have enjoyed almost every minute of it:) Along my way I noticed that the vast majority of people in the industry from hourly to management worked extremely hard but had very little if anything to show for it. Having been blessed to have been educated about money from an early age, it bothered me to see so many people that will be destined to a life of had work with no end in sight. I believe you see this in other industries as well such as nursing, where the individual is passionate about serving others so much as to actually neglect themselves. One day after sitting with my oldest daughter who works in the hospitality industry at a concierge company, we were going over her finances as well as her plan to attend college and purchase a car. We looked at her savings account, checking account, the 529 college savings account, and even her ROTH IRA that she started. Later at work I had a casual conversation with two individuals about their boss not giving them a raise even after they had explained to him that they needed more money to live off of. I started to explain that he doesn’t pay them based off of their financial needs but based off of the contributions they make to the business and the value they add to it, but then it hit me, they didn’t need a raise, they needed someone to teach them about money, about saving part of their income and investing it, just like my daughter was doing at 16 these people in their thirties needed a financial plan.
Enter ChefonFIRE. I decided then and there to help as many people as possible to gain control of their finances and financial futures. I started this blog to educate newbies to the investing world, what everything meant and how retirement was possible for anyone. So many people I spoke to believed they needed to be rich to invest in stocks, or have a high income, most were shocked after opening a 401K and contributing enough to get the company match that they barely noticed any difference in their take home pay. For many that worked at a publicly traded company it was fun to have them purchase a share or two of their company and say now you are part owner of this company, they always smiled. For anyone that has never worked in the hospitality industry, it is a hard and unforgiving industry but if you are willing to work hard and put the time in, you can be rewarded greatly. Imaging being at every party but only you are the one serving, going out to the bar every night but you are the one cleaning it up later, cooking for hundreds of people with a hundred different expectations and preferences who complain about everything, getting burned, cut, spilled on, and yelled at, all while standing on your feet for 10-12 hours in a hot kitchen or crowded dining room. One thing I always told the young cooks or servers when talking about saving for retirement was to look at the old chef or server who had been doing it for 20-30 years, they were worn down and tired looking but with no alternative but to continue working because they were 100% dependent on the next paycheck, I would say wouldn’t you rather be sitting in the dining room eating with friends at 60 rather than working in the back?
In closing anyone can attain financial independence. The great thing about it is that it’s not about how much you earn but about how large a percentage of your income you can save compared to your monthly expenses. So even the $10-$12 an hour line cook can take steps to lower his expenses, which will automatically increase his ability to save, all while lowering the total amount he needs to retire. In retirement you won’t need to replace income so much as be able to cover expenses. Learning this puts control back in the hands of the saver and makes saving for retirement not only a reality but a responsibility, that many feel empowered by.
I hope you enjoyed this short article and thank you for taking the time to read it.