Is financial independence worth pursuing?
What is the cost of financial independence?
Life is a zero-sum game because we have limited time. We can only do so much in the 15 hours we remain awake every day. This has to be subdivided between learning, the day job, family, and why not some fun. Taking on FI, is a time-consuming task, especially if you want to start early and you have an average salary; sacrifices need to be made.
Investing in FI means that some parts of your current life pie need to be replaced by FI centric activities. Think of it like this; you are on your lifeboat; it has the capacity for 15 passengers.
The passengers on your lifeboat are those that fill in most of your time. You cannot add more, you need to throw some of the current passengers overboard.
FI does take time, especially if your day job does not permit the savings necessary to acquire cash flow generating assets that will support your desired lifestyle.
Out of the 15 passengers on your lifeboat, there are some which are rowing in the opposite direction you want to go (Obvious negatives). There are others who appear to be rowing but in fact are just going through the motions (Stealth negatives). The lifeboat itself can be upgraded and improves (Increasing efficiency) and then there is the core team. The stars which make things happen in your life. How will you re-organise your lifeboat to increase your chance to berth at paradise bay? Let’s take a look.
Giving up the obvious negatives:
On let’s throw some passenger overboard. These are the ones which are purely dead weight.
- Thinking small
- Low self-esteem and Self-confidence
There is no unique on how to do this; you need to help yourself to solve these issues. Tools such as Self-help books, Coaching, Therapy and Good friends. Do make a difference. Do not ignore the bully passengers in your lifeboat the ones that are there just because …
Giving up the stealth negatives:
Some other passengers have been just cruising or satisficing. They look like they are an important part of the lifeboat system – but in fact, they are not. These stealth negatives are just consuming resources without giving out much in return.
- TV and Movies
- Facebook time
- Reading the News
- Eating out, frequently
- Buying snacks, on the go
- Socializing with the wrong people
Consider changing some of these “supporting activities” to other supporting activities which add real value. It should not be all work, work and work – what about switching the time used for these stealth negaitves to exercise, meditation, walking or yoga.
Upgrading your lifeboat.
Increasing the efficiency of your lifeboat will help you get to your destination faster. A well-oiled engine a clean hull and a crew which is pulling in the same direction will make you get where you want faster.
Mental and Physical Health are the basis of good performance. A sense of internal motivation which drives you to your goal in the face of challenges is necessary. Better diet for the body and mind to increase the quantity and quality of your output
Delegating tasks to others while you focus on your side hustles or your core team is a tool. Even though this it is not considered frugal in the short term. Does it make sense to clean your house if you can work on a side hustle which generates $50 an hour? Simple things such as outsourcing your cleaning to a Roomba can give you more time.
Learn more: The tools for financial independence
The core team
Big Decisions ahead! You know that you need to get to paradise island but there is not enough water to go around for all the crew.
You come to a decision that you either sit on this mediocre beach locked in the matrix or look paradise bay which is somewhere beyond the horizon.
A sacrifice is needed .. which one will be thrown overboard.
Who will be thrown overboard?
- Enough sleep
- Quality time with your children
- Quality time with your better half
- Quality time with friends
- Quality time with extended family
- Relaxing time for yourself
- Exercise time
- Spending money and time on travelling
- Spending money to make unique memories and create deeper bonds with all of the above
- Pursuing dreams before you achieve FI; which will definitely consume time, energy and money. If they were easy to achieve they would not be dreams.
What is the real cost to jump to your next FI milestone?
For the average person, FI requires needs to be done in steps
- A good income. Time to study and get experience. I
- Side hustles (if the income is not enough)
- Investing the savings
All this has a cost, and one can openly question if the cost of getting FI is worth it. Fundamentally no one’s tomorrow is guaranteed.
The returns on your FI investment may only be savoured by those mentioned in your will.
The person at the doorstep of early retirement is not the same person you have internal conversations with today. The emotional needs, physical needs, mental needs and financial budgets will be different.
Will those who achieve FI look back and question if what they lost to get here was worth it?
Is FI Worth it? – I think it depends on how much FI time we are talking about. If the result of your context will lead to a few years of FI at the sacrifice or your core passengers, then one has to question deeply if such a cost is warranted.
If there is a high probability of achieving FI before 40 or in the very early 50s then the cost of FI can justify some sacrifice today, in the hope that you will strengthen your core team once FI is achieved.