The standard definition of financial independence is to have sufficient personal wealth to live off of, without the need to work in order to cover ones expenses. In other words, in order to achieve financial independence, your assets will need to generate an income that is greater than your expenses.
But what does financial independence mean to us?
Even though we both feel very closely aligned with the standard definition of financial independence, and know that this is our ultimate goal, we believe that financial independence should mean more than simply achieving a high net worth.
And after a great deal of reflection, we have come to the conclusion that for us, financial independence means having the freedom to choose our destiny.
At the present time we are both working for large corporations, and although we are grateful for our jobs, and the life we have been enjoying as a result, we both know that we don’t want to be locked into our careers forever.
We believe that there is more to life than waking up every day at 6:00 am, working for said company, and then coming home exhausted eight to twelve hours later to do it all over again the next day.
Sometimes it feels as though we should have our own starring roles in the movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray.
We don’t consider ourselves to be lazy by any standard, and we have both worked very hard to attain our present levels in our careers, but neither one of us can consent to the idea of doing this routine for another 25 or 30 years.
And despite the fact that we are both satisfied with our careers, we believe that there has to be more to life than this. We can no longer ignore our sentiment and know that as humans our time is finite, and that we only have so many waking hours over the course of our life span.
Our concern is that by living our day-to-day lives as though we have an endless supply of hours, we are shorting ourselves time to enjoy the very things we both desire.
We both feel that we deserve to have the freedom to decide how we want those hours to be lived. Hours that we can use to learn new things or discover a new interest. To be able to change career paths on a whim. Or maybe give up working altogether and travel the world. It doesn’t matter what we choose, we just want our freedom so we are able to make those choices.
Here are some of the other benefits we see on the road towards financial independence:
- Stress-free living – We will get to live a streamlined, more relaxed lifestyle. There will be little need for us to get caught up in the trivial pursuits of everyday life. We won’t bother to compare ourselves to others and will no longer be concerned about what others think of us. We will feel a greater sense of unification as we both work together towards our dream of becoming financially independent.
- Peace of mind – We will get to reap the rewards of a life that rejects consumerism where we no longer need to make frivolous decisions on what we should buy. Advertisements will bear no meaning and we will oblivious to what the media attempts to convince us otherwise. We will be far more happy living a debt-free existence where we know that debt is a common cause of depression. We will also be able to enjoy a life free of financial stress and know that we will more resilient against the occasional financial calamity.
- Time to focus – We will get to spend our time with a renewed purpose. We will be able to delegate more hours to reading, learning new things – or as corny as this sounds – taking in the sunshine on a beautiful day. We will be able to invest more in our health and devote our time to cooking more nutritious meals and exercising regularly.
We can live deliberately and use our time more efficiently to customize our desired lifestyle, and no longer live with regrets as to how that time was used.
In the end, Mr.FE and I couldn’t be more satisfied with the benefits we will gain along the way in our quest to become financially independent. We both know and accept the seemingly long road ahead of us, and understand that there will be some obstacles along the way. But we are more than eager to accept this challenge and look forward to the day when we’ve finally achieved our freedom.