I’m am an early 40’s professional who achieved FI (financial independence), based on the standard 4% rule where savings are 25x annual expenses, right around age 40 after 12 years of working. My wife and I did this by saving aggressively. I started this blog to share what I’ve learned through my own experiments over time as well as what I’ve learned from others.
For most of my life, I focused on achievement; getting good grades to get into a good college, then a top graduate school, then getting a job at a good company, and then working hard to progress in my career. I followed the script really well and it worked. But I also remember rescheduling our honeymoon for a training class at work. My wife and I even delayed children to get established in our careers since life seemed so competitive and tough. And we periodically faced stressful trade-offs between work and kids when they were very young.
As part of the typical mid-life crisis, I began questioning whether this was all worth it. When exactly does the struggle end and life begin? When can we relax a bit? When can we say no at work? And what exactly was it all for? I also started researching happiness and also ran across the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community and my thinking started to broaden.
After thinking a lot, running the numbers on our investments, and really reflecting on spending versus happiness, I started to feel that life no longer seemed quite so tough. It wasn’t that my job pressure decreased. Instead, by saving a large portion of our income and investing it over time, our net worth had grown to the point it was now compounding quickly and would soon cover our lifestyle expenses without the need to work for money. I started to feel free and more excited about the future. I was working (almost) as hard, but it seemed every month I became more relaxed and less stressed. It was really great.
Now we are at the point where we are both FI and have a comfortable cushion. It turns out that we actually enjoy our work, especially now that we don’t need it. But now we give our jobs a “performance evaluation” every year to see if they are worth keeping. Even though we currently choose to still work, we now feel so much more free! This feeling of freedom, of choice, regardless of what we actually choose, is amazing. But it’s not priceless. The price is financial independence and I believe it’s a price worth paying for anyone that feels as strongly about being free.
I started this blog because I want to connect more with others to both continue learning and also share what I had learned in order to help others save, Invest, and Become FREE too!