Financial Independence, The Long Way

We often hear much about “financial independence”, what that means and how people reach it. Truth is that it means different things for different people and no two are exactly the same. My goal is to reach my personal idea of financial independence, but I have to go the “long way”.

What Is Financial Independence?

Financial Independence is different for everyone but here is what I have found.

Financial independence is generally used to describe the state of having sufficient personal wealth to live, without having to work actively for basic necessities. For financially independent people, their assets generate income that is greater than their expenses. – Wikipedia.org

This could be from dividend investing such as Jason Fieber(formerly of dividendmantra.com). Or from having rental properties such as Paula Pant at Affordanything.com, or any other way that basically means you don’t have to work anymore the money you get from you passive income provides enough to care for your needs and even some if not all wants.

The Normal Path To Financial Independence

For nearly the last century the thought of financial independence was simply called retiring. Most didn’t reach this level of independence until 65 at the earliest or possibly never. They would get pensions from their employer for years or they would save money through a 401k or another type of savings/investing account and use that once they left their 9 to 5, thus the saying “9 to 5 to 65”.

The New Path To Financial Independence

What has become more and more popular is what some have called the “new rich” or more aptly named the early retirement. Not early as in 55 or 60 but people working till there 40, 35, or even younger and then simply living off of what they have saved in that time.

They reach financial independence early because they spend only on what they need and don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of keeping up with the Joneses. They don’t need a new phone every 6 months, or buy a house because that is what you do. Instead they decide that they only want to work for a set amount of years (sometimes 15 or fewer) and they decide what vehicle will get them there (stock market, real estate, etc) and the put everything into that until one day they can retire.

This has brought about a number of wonderful people to look up to that have successfully done this, such as Mr.Money Mustache, or Jason Fieber, or The Go Curry Cracker couple. All of which are more than happy to share their story and help others reach there too.

The “Long Way” To Financial Independence

I unfortunetly wasn’t as smart as them, I spent all my money I would get on silly things I didn’t need, and really don’t even remember. I got deep into debt when I should have been saving, and didn’t invest a dime.

Now my life has been constructed in a way that makes working towards financial independence difficult (not impossible but more difficult than had I started earlier). First I need to get rid of my debt, by cutting costs and growing my income. Then I need to start investing, the chosen path I will be taking to reach financial independence will most likely be dividend investing.

To do this though I have to make sure my family is happy with our lives and at the same time grow to financial independence so I can’t save ruthlessly like I would like, I can’t not go out to eat, or never go on vacation until I reach independence. No, I have to go the long way, the slow grueling way that drives most who have this as a goal crazy. It can and will be done but will take me longer than if I was simply working for just myself.

Conclusion

Life is hard, enjoyable, and exciting if you don’t work with it you will never succeed. It’s my hope to get out of debt and reach financial independence sooner rather than later.

At the same time I want and need to enjoy life because if I don’t than whats the point of everything else?

What are some things you are not giving up that you know is prolonging financial independence? How quickly will you reach financial independence at your current rate?

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, Disease Called Debt and I Am the Future Me

12 thoughts on “Financial Independence, The Long Way”

  1. It’s true that for the last century, financial independence was considered retiring at 65, and I was pretty close to that schedule (retiring at 64 two years ago). I am amazed at all the young people who are pursuing financial independence so much earlier now. I think it’s an admirable goal, but you’re right that you don’t want to completely sacrifice every creature comfort to get there. Everything in moderation, as the saying goes.

    1. So true, I have read about those who sacrifice so much to get to financial independence, and for some that may be the right path. I know for a fact that if I knew what I know now just 5 years ago I would be in a much better state, possible already working only for myself and working towards financial independence. Now however life has become more complicated than it was and it will take some more time to get everything to where I would ultimately like it to be.

  2. I wasn’t as smart as those you mentioned above either. I wasted so much money in my twenties and spent most of that time getting myself into more debt. I wish now that I hadn’t but I can’t change it – I can only improve my situation from this point onwards. What I don’t intend to do is work in a job I hate until that time I reach financial independence (probably around age 65 if I’m honest). Life is about more than work, you do need to be happy along the way. At the moment, I can say that I’m happy with my work since I work for myself and can pick and choose my clients and jobs – I only hope I can continue to do this. I’m still saving like crazy but I hope that one day, before I reach financial independence, I will be able to “let go” a little and enjoy myself without worrying.

    1. I think the most difficult part about working entirely for yourself (and keep in mind I’m speaking without experience at this point) is that your really always working. Even when you go on vacation and set everything up automatically to run well you’re gone there are always some stuff to do well on vacation. But, a time will come when you have saved enough to live and not have to worry about work. Though I think you will probably still work because you enjoy it.

  3. Honestly, having kids before establishing this goal makes things a little harder. Not impossible, but harder. Our income is also much lower than some of these examples, which makes saving 50%+ of your income with children a lot more difficult. And that’s okay.
    BUT they are awesome echelons. I think just knowing that you’re doing the best you can for your individual family and not feeling comparison guilt is a huge thing.

    1. The more complicated your life is the more difficult it is to reach financial independence. Marriage, kids, debt, low income all of these have a major effect on your goals. That being said they don’t stop you from being able to arrive at your “future self” and have the independence, it just makes the journey a little more exciting.

  4. Good for you! I agree that life is all about the journey – since the earthly destination is the same 🙂 I am not a big fan of being super frugal – unless you get great enjoyment out of it. The method I have used to climb my way out of debt is my 50% solution – I use 50% of everything extra (side hustles, overtime, etc) towards my debt, and the other 50% towards increasing my budget/lifestyle. It is a great balance for the family as everyone benefits from the extras, all while eliminating debt… Then you can continue that method using the 50% as extra towards your investments.

    1. What a great idea, my wife and I have our finances set up in such a way that I have to use my side income money to pay off debt mostly. In fact I actually set myself up for failure when we redid how we do our finances about a year ago. I don’t receive enough income for my portion of the bills unless I work extra such as driving for lyft or selling on amazon. My thought was by forcing myself to HAVE to go out and make extra money that eventually it would grow to far more than I need and I can make larger steps towards being debt free.

  5. We are also digging out of debt before we can start accumulating any wealth. But I do agree with you to a certain extent. I don’t think my kids need every gadget out there. They don’t have to be involved in all of the activities. But I do want them to enjoy their childhood. I want them to learn how to swim, for instance. We don’t have access to a pool anywhere, so that is going to cost money. It has to be a balance, and that’s going to look different for every family.

    1. That’s awesome Jamie, I remember growing up we would go to the pool once a week during the summer. I come from a small town and the pool was about 45 minutes away from where I lived so it was an ordeal to get there but we really enjoyed it. I think it’s so important that we make sure that what’s important to us gets taken care of. What’s the point of life if you never get to live?

  6. Financial independence has changed a lot over the last couple decades to be more about freedom earlier in life. This makes sense as work but life balance seems to be a bugger part of everyone’s desires now.

    1. I think most people want the ability to not NEED to work but would still work. I know someone who ran a business for over 30 years and sold it for more money than he feels he’ll be able to spend in his life. After 3 months of retirement he started working in the same field for a company part time because he needed something to do. That’s most people who are serious about financial independence, though they want it most will work even when they have got it, just on things they enjoy.

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