If you’re on this road, chances are you know what I’m talking about. I sometimes get totally worked up and wonder what I’m not doing, or not doing well enough, or doing wrong. Isn’t there something else that I should be doing? There has to be something I can do to get there faster!?!?
In some ways, I was more content before I realized that I could actually become financially independent within a few years. That discovery led to anticipation, the anticipation leads to impatience, the impatience leads to regret of not having discovered this path sooner, the regret leads to wanting to push harder. Shit, I could have been there already if only I had just…look how young THEY figured it out…I’ll be 50 before I get there…what if the market crashes, have I protected myself…
Calm down and take a breath.
The reality is now that I have optimized my spending to a comfortable level and set my automatic investments based on my preferred risk tolerance, it’s pretty much a waiting game. Patience grasshopper.
Easier said than done, the idea that I need to just sit around and wait for the market to do it’s job and my numbers to increase for the next 5+ years is hard for me. I want to do more. I’ve always needed to have a side project or two to keep my mind occupied outside of family time and work, so I’ve put together a list of things that I can do related to the journey towards financial freedom.
While the heavy lifting has been done, there are still tweaks and points of view that can be of value, which leads to activity #1.
Continue To Invest In Myself
As I’ve written before, investing in myself has led to incredible financial results, way beyond what I could have predicted actually. Why stop now? Strategic, high profile projects at work, coaching up my direct reports, and continued growth and training could get me to the executive level and bring another big time bump in salary.
Increasing my income, while maintaining my current spending level, has the potential to make my journey significantly shorter, or get me to a much more comfortable number in the same amount of time.
Learn As Much As I Can
I’m a car clown, according to MMM. I spend about 2 hours a day commuting. Yes, you’re right, that does suck. Yes, I could move closer to work. I could make my kids leave behind all of their friends, move to new schools, and new sports teams. I could drag my stay at home spouse to an area where she knows absolutely nobody and spend $60,000 in real estate fees to sell my house to move to an overpriced rental in a neighborhood I can’t stand, so that I could walk to work. Not realistically happening anytime really soon.
Instead, what I’ve decided to do is to put that 2 hours a day to good use. There’s a whole heck of a lot that I don’t know about investing, and optimizing my taxes, tricks of financial independence planning, and life hacking.
Podcast are an amazing gift to commuters.
Between the Mad Fientist, Afford Anything, ChooseFI, Invest Like a Boss, and Bigger Pockets, to name a few, I’ve learned a ton about different investment strategies and vehicles, philosophies, tips, tricks, etc.
I’ve read millions of words about those same topics. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t learn a little something here or there that might unlock a faster path, or an unknown strategy. Plus, I just find most of it to be fascinating stuff.
Write This Blog
Writing is a great way to organize my thoughts and approach, to articulate a coherent strategy that I can share with the online community. It’s validation to me that it does all make sense. It’s also opened up an entirely new world of potential online business. While I haven’t made any attempt to drive traffic to the site, and won’t until I feel that there’s enough content to justify it, I’m very excited to learn about that process and see what results I can achieve.
Appreciate The Journey
Despite some of my earlier comments, I’m very happy that I’ve embarked on this journey. I do wish that I’d discovered it earlier in life, as I’d love to be able to spend more time with my kids and my wife, but I’m also a believer that things happen for a reason.
I had four amazing years after college where I spent very little time focusing on work. I snowboarded 100+ days a year, I found my soulmate, and I had an absolute fucking blast! I actually went back to school with the idea that I could gain the skills to be a freelancer and rediscover that freedom I once had…Fat Tuesdays at Alpental anyone? I ended up not taking that road, and instead headed down the corporate career path, but that has led me to now, to the discovery and pursuit of financial independence.
If I’d come out of college with aspirations of FI, I wouldn’t know my wife, I wouldn’t have my three awesome kids. I would have become a slave to the finish line of FI before I ever tasted true freedom. Before I even gave shit about money I learned valuable lessons about what life can be when you don’t care about money. As hard as it can be at times now to stay the course, it grounds me to remember it’s that way because I have a true appreciation for how awesome it was, and how awesome it’s going to be once I get there again, where I don’t have to give a shit about money.
I must admit, I’m a little bit in awe of the people who retired at 30, but I wonder if they really realize how good they have it? WIll they continue to be happy with their choices once they have kids, or go through a significant downturn in the market that wipes out half of their net worth? I hope so, but I think for me personally, there would have been a sense of entitlement that might have led to unhappiness or a lack of clarity in the long term. If your sense of self comes from the fact that you have a high net worth and can do anything you want, what happens if that all of sudden changes or becomes not enough?
Forget About It And Live Life
I have so much going on in my life, that sometimes I find it really healthy to just forget about finances and focus on my family, or go backpacking, take a vacation, listen to tunes instead of podcasts, enjoy successes at work, or take the dogs for a walk.
After all, money is just a tool, one of many that we have. Back to my original point, I’ve done most of the heavy lifting. My savings rate is high, my income is high. I’ve optimized my spending and I have relatively good idea of where my risk tolerance is. I still need to rebalance some of my investments, but that’s a relatively low effort exercise.
Shaka, Hang loose, chill out and enjoy the ride.