In my last post, I mentioned that we had been making minimum payments towards repaying our student loans and at that time it was “life of a pre-FI’er.” What the heck does that mean?
FI is short for financial independence. Some pronounce it F-I or as one word that rhymes with pie, which is my preference – mmm pie. There are a lot of really great blogs that go into depth in defining the concept of financial independence and how to achieve it and I really did not want to create a new one. I created this blog as more of a supplement to the movement and outline our journey as we seek financial independence.
Freedom – it is the one word answer that I would use to describe the term financial independence. In a more pithy answer, keeping in laymen’s terminology, the concept of financial independence means that you have enough income to cover your expenses without having to be employed or depend heavily on others. Without having is key, it is providing you the freedom needed to actually live your life without having to be mandated to perform.
As mentioned earlier, there are many great other people who have defined this movement to reaching financial independence. To live in a manner that your expenses are covered by what is being brought in as income is a lifestyle that is not new. It is a concept that is, however, misunderstood.
Anyone can become financially independent. Just stop working. Live in a tent in the woods. Hunt and grow your own food, do not consume anything that you cannot gain on your own. But that is an extreme lifestyle choice and I nor my wife would accept – our cat, Chester, would, I think, well maybe not, he’s grown accustomed to being fed and laying on comfortable ottomans.
Just be a bum?
Not really, but it does make it sound like this is the lifestyle. Many of us grow up in life being asked, “What do you want to do? What do you want to be when you grow up?” It is great to have dreams at that young of an age and I envy those who have always known what they desire and reach those desires. Except life isn’t always that simple.
Most of us are forced into a path, follow in the footsteps of your elders, or what society would have us do. Go to school for as long as you can, the job will come. It typically does, and ends up falling short of expectations. Or the dream job never comes and you are forced to take a job, because society deems that you work, make money, buy things, live your life, the American dream.
It isn’t about not doing anything, because that would be the simple way. I mean yes, laying on a hammock in the jungle drinking a beer is a lovely goal, I simply cannot do that for the rest of my life. It is about doing what you want. We’ve all heard “follow your passion” and I’m in the camp that is shitty advice. In his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs made it a point to push the statement, do what you love. Again, shitty advice. Do what you need to do, to obtain a level of financial independence, then, do what you desire.
When talking about Financial Independence, a lot of people get excited about the RE part. Financial Independence, Retire Early. Boomers, especially, have gone through the “work all your life” path and if you are lucky, you retire at 65, move to Florida and take bus tours to the Grand Canyon. I’m not a fan of this path nor the retire early and do nothing path.
I’ve always told those around me that I will most likely work until I’m very old. But it won’t be for necessity, it will be in order to belong, work in what I love, feel as if I will continue to contribute to society. Have the freedom to do what I love, instead of what I have to do.
As I said earlier, there are plenty of bloggers who write more in depth of the subject, here are a couple of my favorites:
- Mr. Money Mustache – Started a cult following blogging about how to not live beyond your means.
- Millennial Revolution – Kristy and Bryce didn’t chase the common dream, made a million dollars the slow way, now travel the world.
- Early Retirement Now – Big Ern as he is known, discusses the paths to take on how to invest and more importantly, spend when you are retired.
- Get Rich Slowly – One of the originally bloggers, JD Roth talks about money.
There are a slew of others, just Bing FI Bloggers and podcasters, I’m sure you will learn some great things!
Yeah I said Bing, take that Andrew!