Work was tough last week – long hours, lots of pressure and an unsatisfactory discussion with my boss about the future of my role. It reaffirmed for me one of the key reasons that I’m pursuing financial indepence (FILLS) – to be free from the golden handcuffs of work (or at least this job) and have choices around how I spend my time. To live a life of purpose, meaning and joy without the burden and daily grind of paid work. To have the mental space to be present with my family at night, instead of responding to emails. The chance to pursue my dreams and ambitions rather than those of my corporate masters.
Regardless of whether you love, hate or are ambivalent about work, removing your reliance on a paycheck is both liberating and prudent.
Better negotiating position at work
Within the FI community there is the concept of “f@#k you” money. This isn’t necessarily financial independence but rather having enough money put aside that you have the confidence to stick up for yourself , negotiate more strongly for a pay rise and push back on unreasonable requests from your employer.
FU money lets you take more risks, knowing that you can support yourself for a while in the worst case scenario. Having enough money saved to put yourself first increases your options and possible rewards. The confidence to walk away from your employer should the need arise puts you in an unparalled negotiating position – they need you to get the work done but you now have choices and the freedom to make them. FU money shifts the balance of power in your favour.
Better able to handle economic downturns
Given the US/Chinese trade war, an inverted yield cure (10 year bond rates falling below 2 year bond rates), slowing growth in many markets, and Europe dealing with Brexit, many economic forecasters are predicting that we are on the verge of a global recession.
This typically means higher unemployment rates, lower wages and incomes, depressed real estate values and tighter credit – all of which are bad news for those living paycheck to paycheck.
Being more financially independent, allows you to better weather these semi regular economic storms, that can otherwise decimate those less prepared.
For those well positioned it can also be an opportunity to add to their investment portfolio given depressed share markets and property values.
“When everyone is afraid be greedy, when everyone is greedy be afraid”Warren Buffet
Better able to choose what you want from life
Being financially independent gives you freedom. Living the life you choose may be very different to the life you feel you need to live now where the majority of your week is spent trying to earn a living and pay the bills.
Financial Indepence makes work optional. If you love work keep working, if you want to do something else that now also becomes a possibility. You can choose where you want to live (not just where the jobs are), you can choose more meaningful ways to spend your time, you can travel, you can spend more time with family and friends, you can learn new skills and you have the capacity and time to pursue lifelong dreams.
“Do not lose hold of your dreams and aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.”Henry David Thoreau
A path forward and no regrets
Yes this week was a tough week at work. There will be more ahead. However I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
There is a saying that we all suffer one of two things – the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. I don’t plan on going through life as a downtrodden, mindless worker drone, living paycheck to paycheck, complaining about their lot in life and looking back on life’s missed opportunities. The short term pain to pursue financial indendence will soon pay off. Hard now feels better than indefinite struggle. Action feels better than complaining. I’m looking forward to clawing back those previous hours spent at work and thinking about work.
Thanks for reading
Mr Simple Life