Four Years of aiming for Financial Independence – A Reflection

Hello, dear readers. I calculated that by October of 2022, I will have been striving for financial independence for 4 years. Crazy! This is also the 4 year anniversary of the blog. I’ve learned some interesting things these years about myself and the journey to financial independence. I thought it would be good to share them with you today.

What have I learned in 4 years of aiming for financial independence?

  1. I like blogging. I’m surprised that I am still doing the blogging thing. My expectation was that I would have given it up by now. I have taken extended breaks, however.
  2. Side hustles are hard for me. I am suprised at how difficult it has been for me to generate income outside of my day job. Although I’ve dabbled in several small business inititatives, I haven’t generated more than a few hundred dollars on a good month. This is something that I thought I would be able to do fairly easily – I was wrong.
  3. Priorities have been identified. For me, time with family and friends and taking care of my health are more important than side hustles. I think this can explain some of #2. Time is my most limited resource and I really don’t know how much I have left.
  4. Having experiences now has become more valuable than frugality in some cases. Although I wanted to be super-frugal in order to accelertate my path to financial independence back in 2018, my family never wanted that. I have come to accept this and be as flexible as possible.  I’ve ALSO come to realize that my attitude has changed about how fast I need to get there, and what “luxuries” I want to allow myself in the meantime. Here’s the thing: I could die tomorrow. So I’m not sacrificing experiences that I could have now in order to have them in 10 years when I may or may not be here. I am taking more of a slow-FI approach, which I have mentioned previously on this blog. This may have something to do with the fact that I’m older than most FI-ers and don’t expect to reach it until age 55.  That said, I’m still trying to optimize the expenses that we do have where possible! I’m looking at you, evil internet service provider.
  5. Trading time for money is key in my circumstance. In relation to being super frugal – I have determined that if I continue to work full time and be a parent and manage a household, I need to trade time for money in some circumstances. Although it would be great to be super-handy and super organized I just don’t have the time for it if I want to have a life.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I need to spend some cash to free up my own time. Examples of this include hiring a house cleaner occasionally, occasionally ordering meal kits, eating out every week or two as a family, purchasing prepared food at the grocery store even though it’s more expensive, and hiring an electrician to install that light fixture that has been sitting on the floor for 6 months vs doing it myself. That reminds me, I need to call an electrician…
  6. I don’t have a solid post-FI plan. Although Hubs and I have discussed what we might do after we are financially independent, we really don’t have a solid plan. I know I will probably continue working part time doing something, but I’m not sure what. We know we want to do some slow travel to various parts of North America and the world. I’d like to firm this up a bit more in the next couple of years. I would also like to expiriment now with some different lifestyles. For example, renting an RV for a couple weeks to see if we like that kind of life.
  7. Everyone has their own journey to financial independence. Early on, I would compare my progress to hard core people in the financial independence community. I distinctly remember being so disheartened by one  couple on Instagram that I began following. They were saving something like 80% of their incomes to reach financial independence in their 40s. I was already in my 40s, and was saving 20% if I was lucky. It was so hard not to compare myself to these FI “go-getters.” I have realized over time that everyone’s circumstance is different. These individuals had a very different life than I do, different jobs, lived in a different country, and so on. Since this realization, I stopped comparing my financial independence journey to others, and just tried to pick up learnings along the way to improve my path. Also, I have tried really hard not to judge others on how they want to do it. I have heard lots of judgey-ness in the FI community over the years, and frankly it’s unpleasant. The fact that you are even aware of the idea and thinking about how to execute is miles ahead of most of the population.
Celebration Time!

I can probably add lots more learnings to this list. However, I do not wish to bore you with my ramblings, dear readers! Hopefully there is a nugget in here that can help you on your own journey to financial independence. As always, feel free to comment below if you have anything to add. Thank you for coming to my blog.

2 Replies to “Four Years of aiming for Financial Independence – A Reflection”

  1. Hey T—I love how your focus has evolved and shifted as you’ve moved through your FI journey. I think most of us arrive at similar values-based conclusions (ie the enjoyment of life on the way to FI is just as, if not more important, than the final goal).

    This is a way happier, way more sustainable journey. Now the trick is trying to be patient when you’ve deliberately slowed your progress! That was the hardest part for me. 🙁

    But the sense I’m getting from your post is that you’ve accepted and are happy with where you’re at. And I think that’s pretty darned awesome!

    1. Yes, you are exactly right. At the moment I’m working on an updated plan to go to part time work at 55 rather than fully retiring. I probably would have done this anyway but I wasn’t forecasting any income beyond age 55. Meh, the benefits now are worth it I have decided 😃. Patience is key for sure! And also I feel like experimentation is important for me to find out what I really want to do in life!!

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