My own journey with Financial Independence (FI, F.I.R.E) started as recently as 2018 and as I was a bit of a saver already and had managed down my debt, I did have an immediate love-in with some of the things I was reading and hearing. I started to listen to podcasts and to hop across the websites such as this perfect place to start; Mr Money Moustache (https://www.mrmoneymustache.com) and the informative Choose FI (https://www.choosefi.com). As I read into the detail I got more and more passionate about sharing with other people and more importantly the younger people that I knew in my life.
I would get a lot of curious questions from them and some interesting replies such as, “retirement seems so far away off to me but I just trust it will be ok in the end” or that other nugget of a response… “I don’t earn enough so why bother”.
I would always persevere and dig deeper into the reason why they would think in this way and I discovered a multitude of attitudes, some of it hereditary (parents), some of it blind to the facts and a lot of it so, well to be honest, focused on thinking in the moment and just putting it off because it was complicated and stressful. I do get that as it can be.
The putting off comment I would always call it when I heard it and frame it gently as denial. To excite minds I would try and break through with some insight and factual numbers on the subject that would peak interest from the friends that were younger than me – in their thirties to be more precise.
The numbers and calculations that I would share would grab some attention and the idea of compound interest and how it can make the difference in the long run impacted on them along with the positioning of how Einstein called it the 8th wonder of the world. Not sure if that is true, have a check, but the point is that it got attention and also a little bit authenticity.
Note: I do think we should be teaching this stuff in school now as the financial awareness of the young is blissfuly ignorant and the future is increasingly challenging. With my two children I am doing my part, but if you are a parent then start them young and get them involved in saving and stick with it. Get them in that mindset early and be constant with their education on it and make it good fun and even gamify it.
Gamify: Gamify definition, to turn (an activity or task) into a game or something resembling a game: Many exercise programs have been gamified, with badges and scores.https://www.dictionary.com/browse/gamify
Anyway, back to my conversation with some of my younger friends. Any breakthrough was always when I would talk about buying back your life so that what you do in the future can align with your own personal values. Laying out the traditional lifestyle and the idea of retirement at a very ripe old age and flexing this against a more thoughtful life, one where you understand what you spend and save and to then plan accordingly so you can design your life rather than have the life you are supposed to have as designated by the system. A cheap shot as I do secretly think everyone wants to be a revolutionary. This approach always generated a rich conversation and the idea of buying back time, buying back your life was the starter for some of them to head off for deeper exploration into what they actually wanted to do with life and what they stood for and bed it into a new focus of saving some money for the future as many of them didn’t.
It is easier to make a difference if you have the time to think and reflect and this is why I wanted to share on this blog. To make a difference to others.
As a closing thought for today, I am not near F.I but I am in the mode of constantly thinking about it and it helps with a lot of my decision making. Obsessive?, I am not yet obsessive but I am very aware of it and I refer to myself as a Curating Consumer when I have to explain to others why I am not buying the latest and greatest thing to hit the market. Inevitably this begets curiosity and it is always a little more interesting when I have to explain why I choose to duck this latest product because I am buying “back my life”…
But I am. Buying it back piece by piece.