You may be asking yourself why you should care about financial independence. If you find yourself asking this question then I promise you are in the right place.
I often hear people in the financial independence community say they wish they had known about this concept sooner. Let me just say that you’re not alone. I am college educated in finance and it took me five years after graduating to unlock this concept. The ideas behind financial independence are simple, but they are so counter cultural that it takes hard work to fight against the social norms that we’re led to believe about money.
Let me warn you, when you truly understand the concept of financial independence your life will never be the same. You’ll look and think about every dollar you spend differently. That doesn’t mean you have to be overly frugal or give up living for today. It does mean you’ll find yourself constantly questioning if you are spending money on things that truly make you happy.
Then there’s the debt. You’ll start to almost physically feel the shackles of debt. You’ll develop a deep hatred for it. Once you develop that deep down burning hatred for debt is when you’ve officially joined this mini cult known as the financial independence movement.
There will be sacrifices along the way. Some will give up eating out. Others will downgrade a car or turn to an alternative mode of transportation. There are people who will cut out cable and other forms of entertainment. For us, our biggest sacrifice has been living in a home far below our means and putting off upgrades. Our kitchen is super ugly. However, as you start slashing debt, increasing your savings rate, and eventually begin investing aggressively, you’ll see that these sacrifices are more than worth it.
We started our journey to financial independence back in 2011. Nearly $200,000 in debt we were on a path to rack up much more in the next few years. If we followed the path our culture pushes, next up would be a bigger house, then nicer cars, then a slow and steady increase in all things to accommodate our new lifestyle. Thankfully we caught ourselves early enough in the process to turn things around. With that being said, it’s never too late to start even if it is more challenging the further you get sucked into the vortex.
The term financial independence can sometimes give people the wrong impression. Those that haven’t unlocked the concept may assume that reaching financial independence means retiring early to sit on the couch and watch television all day. Others may think this is only an option for the ultra wealthy. Some say YOLO and don’t want to give up their youth for a tomorrow that may promised.
What I’ve observed is that people who reach financial independence are some of the most passionate and purposeful individuals who are incredible contributors to society. When you don’t have to worry about money it provides you the creativity to seek out your true purpose on this planet. Some people have found their purpose already regardless of their financial situation, but many have not.
Financial independence is about having options, control over your time, and ultimate freedom. It’s about leaving behind a legacy for your family. And maybe most importantly its about being able to give to causes that have the power to changes lives or maybe even the world.
My wife, two children, and I are for the most part ordinary people. We make good money, but for most of our journey have made less and now a little more than the average combined income for our education level. We do happen to live in a low cost of living area, which certainly helps. We have also been lucky to not have had any unforeseen life events that have completely thrown us off course.
Yes we are blessed, but there are millions of others in the world in a similar situation who remain on a treadmill of high debt, little savings, modest investments, and high financial stress. If you make median income or higher and don’t live in an extremely high cost of living area, you can do this as well.
Join us on the journey to financial independence. Learn about the foolish mistakes we’ve made and will make. Celebrate along with us when we hit a big milestone. Ask us questions so you can learn from a family who has been paying down debt for seven years at what seems like a painfully slow rate. And finally, I want you to start a journey, or maybe even a pilgrimage, of your own towards financial independence.