Home Lifestyle The Path to Financial Independence is Never About the Money

The Path to Financial Independence is Never About the Money

by Charles

It always starts the same way, I see it happening again and again. There is a movement happening, the status quo is changing and the confines of which our predecessors laid out is no longer. The grip they have is weakening. A select few have woken from the matrix, pulled out the plug and were dumped out of the goo container. (Nerd Moment Alert) There is a real movement happening that no one has even heard of. The Financial Independence community is coming for you!

It always starts the same way. The internet tries to sell you a lot of things, but for the first time in my life I learned of something so amazing and life changing…yet it seemed so attainable. People always had the power, me, you, Aunt Sue down the street. Turns out we were always in control. I don’t know about you but I was brainwashed since the moment I touched this earth and it takes hope to find the willpower to think differently.

I don’t know about you but I was brainwashed since the moment I touched this earth and it takes hope to find the willpower to think differently.

The concept is simple: save more then you spend and invest. Nobody teaches you about the stock market. The movies that are mainstream always paint it in a negative light, usually because it involved some giant scandal. Scandal = bad, so when someone watches that movie now they think the stock market is bad and would never invest. Information is so overwhelming in this digital age that data from the most unfounded sources dictate our lives.

Information is so overwhelming in this digital age that data from the most unfounded sources dictate our lives.

Finally a carrot on a stick passes my way. If you are reading this, then it may have already crossed your path as well. If you haven’t met it before, let me lend you my hand. This is the journey to Finacial Independence. A movement, a cult some would say. I say it was a lifestyle (total F**ing uprooting) change.

Save 65% of your income and retire in 10.5 years. Source.

Don’t roll your eyes yet. This possibility is real. You can choose a different path than the norm, save your MONEY and retire. Just so happens the math works out. If you save 65% of your income, you can retire in 10.5 years. 10.5 YEARS. The source I referenced has the details of how, should you ever be so curious.

For those who already knew, and those that do now. This path is all about the money. You need to save that money so it gives you a liveable income for the rest of your life. So then, the money is put center stage. It becomes a driver to reach that goal. Dare I say, a passion to live your life by; maybe even your life’s purpose.

So then, the money is put center stage. It becomes a driver to reach that goal. Dare I say, a passion to live your life by; maybe even your life’s purpose.

The start to FI or FIRE is the same for most. Look at any blog and you will see it. Start by looking at your finances, cutting out spending, waste, cable, cars, houses, anything and everything that isn’t essential. Create a budget, create a plan, create every nitty gritty detail on how best to optimize that money to maybe even save more than 65%.  This obsession goes on for months and you reach a plateau. Looking down you yell “I made it!” Only to realize that the sign next to you reads: Year post 1, 9 more years to the summit.

….

..

CRAP!

What an exciting year. You never felt that level of drive and motivation before. Except you are still practically at the start line. All the drive and motivation was aimed at optimizing your money and looking out into the horizon set ablaze by the posibilites of not having to work.

All the drive and motivation was aimed at optimizing your money and looking out into the horizon set ablaze by the posibilities of not having to work.

Doubt sets in, questioning every step you’ve made up to this point. Where did that year go? All that time, effort, energy into the one thing that is dragging you down. How am I going to make it another 9 years? Put me back into the matrix, the truth hurts too much.

Put me back into the matrix, the truth hurts too much.

The truth is the more we understand FIRE/FI as a possibility the harder it is to wait for it. This means all that motivation is swept away in the waves of that glistening ocean. Drowning. In your own damn goo.

Turns out, this is a beautiful moment. Don’t close your eyes, don’t struggle. FEEL. No, you didn’t die. This is your rebirth. Your true awakening. (God, now I sound like an evangelist- stay with me here)  This is when you realize the money doesn’t matter. You begin to question everything you’ve done, at all stages of your life. Who am I? What is my purpose here? Who do I want to be when I grow up? What will truly bring me fulfillment, joy, happiness, love, laughter, excitement, meaning in this life?

This is when you realize money doesn’t matter.

This is the moment when you can work on the most important job of your life. Actually looking inward, ignoring all the outside noise, to see who YOU are. What YOU want. Understanding your own wants, needs, desires. Life is short. Don’t forget to live it.

When we started this blog I was enthralled with the idea of spreadsheets and the math. I would, after all have so much of this to share. Turns out- this blog (and podcast) took another direction. One that treats the human as a whole. One that ignores the money half the time because it really has absolutely nothing to do with it.

[This blog is] one that treats the human as a whole. One that ignores the money half the time because it really has absolutely nothing to do with it.

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15 comments

Half Life Theory May 23, 2018 - 4:02 am

So beautiful, and very well put. When you discover FI, money is the single most important driver. But after a year or 2, you simply realize, what is the point of escaping one master (your employer), just to become slave to another (money).

Don’t get me wrong, money provides you options, but financial independence should be a much deeper experience. The end goal in my opinion should be living a life so free, money doesn’t even matter anymore.

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Charles May 23, 2018 - 6:23 am

Thank you! It is really neat to see some of the people who have already reached FI and say they don’t care about money anymore. I think we all just need to remember that money is the tool, not the goal. I may have to quote you on your end goal down the road, very well said.

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Half Life Theory May 23, 2018 - 11:21 am

Feel free to use the quote sir! Again, great post!

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Ms Zi You May 23, 2018 - 5:58 am

I love this post, very insightful and very true – the real FI is understanding yourself and your relationship to society.

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Charles May 23, 2018 - 6:26 am

Thank you! It gives you control back in your life.

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freddy smidlap May 23, 2018 - 6:57 am

i remember “why” i started looking into financial independence about 12 years ago. i was working lots of mandatory overtime for lots of extra money at a semi-lucrative but thankless job. i decided to throw all that extra at eliminating debt and then into investing, which i enjoy very much. a few years of this went by and i realized that we reached a debt free FI number but the habits that got us there remained. we’re down to 1.2 incomes in our house and comfortable with that. you know my biggest takeaway? it’s a lot easier to come to work when you know you could leave any time if the going got miserable like in the past. it’s very relaxing.

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Charles May 23, 2018 - 8:12 am

Freddy, that is awesome to hear. Sounds like you were able to recapture some of that time back, something I am looking at in the future. Possibly even going to part time at some point.

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Yellow Brick Freedom May 23, 2018 - 7:38 am

Awesome post! It’s definitely not about the money – it’s about the meaning behind it. I think if this was explained more on the onset to others, many more would be interested in pursuing the lifestyle.

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Charles May 23, 2018 - 8:07 am

So true. The money was the initial carrot on the stick. I just had to realize I wanted a different carrot, which pursing the FI lifestyle enabled me to see.

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Tread Lightly, Retire Early May 23, 2018 - 11:46 am

As someone who has paid attention to the FIRE movement since the early days of MMM, I’m seeing this shift I’m the community as a whole; FI is getting to be less about never working again and more about reclaiming control of your life as a whole.

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Charles May 24, 2018 - 6:13 pm

And what an amazing shift it is 🙂

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Firethe9to5 June 8, 2018 - 12:00 pm

“The truth is the more we understand FIRE/FI as a possibility the harder it is to wait for it.”

Never was a more true word said. And that’s when the mindset shift was needed for me.

Thanks for this post!

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Bethany June 11, 2018 - 3:56 pm

I am so glad it resonated with you. Thank you for reading.

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JoeHx June 11, 2018 - 11:20 am

It’s such a freeing feeling when you are in a situation where money doesn’t matter.

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Bethany June 11, 2018 - 3:55 pm

Agreed! It is really a mindset shift for us.

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