Do you ever feel like your finances are a giant lion chasing you around wherever you go? You manage to not get eaten month after month, but just barely. Then, just as you try to catch your breath, you have to start running all over again.
Or maybe you’ve broken the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and you’re able to save some for retirement, so it’s more like a wildebeest trying to run you down. Not as scary as a lion, but you’re still being chased by a large, fast, wild animal that could probably do some serious damage.
Even if you’ve just got a little brown hare chasing after you everywhere you go because your financial life seems pretty good, but you’re still not totally sure when or how you’ll be able to retire. Or you’re in a job right now that you just don’t enjoy and would love to be able to do something different that brings you joy and fulfillment. Or you want to spend more time with your family, or travel, or something else entirely. That little rabbit is fast, and not really scary, but a wild animal nonetheless. And besides, who likes to be chased all the time?
What if you could just not worry about money anymore?
That’s what financial freedom is all about, my friends. It’s not about wanting to sit around and do nothing all day long. Well, if that is your goal, then that is what it’s all about.
For most people pursuing financial freedom/financial independence (FI), sitting around binging on Netflix for 14 hours a day is not the goal.
The intention could be to pivot jobs or careers, Or starting your own business. Maybe you want to be a stay at home parent, or move somewhere that offers a better quality of life, but your career prospects there aren’t that great.
Maybe you love your job and your life exactly how it is right now, you just don’t want to have to worry about money.
I was recently listening to a podcast and the host was talking about how her sister loved her job and had no desire to leave it at all. She was excited to get up and go to work every day and pretty much had won the game. They were financially stable, but required her paycheck to pay their bills. It didn’t matter because she had no desire to leave her job, anyway.
Then one day she got a new boss. All the sudden the game started beating her. She finally understood what so many people meant when they didn’t love their jobs. She now understood having to get up and go to work instead of getting to get up and go to work…
It’s not about deprivation
You’ll hear me say this over and over again. Having a budget, paying off debt, working towards F-you money or financial freedom, none of those things have to be about deprivation now.
Sure, if you want to get there faster, you can cut your expenses more and go without some things for a little while. Then once you’ve reached your goal, you can add back the things you value.
I’m a firm believer it’s just as much about the journey as the destination. What’s the point of pursuing happiness if you’re miserable along the way? Time is truly the only thing you can’t get back once it’s gone.
There are some people in the FI space who will tell you to cut absolutely everything and live on $10,000 a year and deal with it until you get to where you need to be. That’s definitely one way to get there very fast. It works for some people and if you’re one of them, that’s fantastic!
The Lyons are not those people.
We could definitely lower our housing expense (which will hopefully happen a little bit with this next move), and remove other things from our budget. But, we’ve found a nice balance.
We’re happy with our current savings rate, and our lifestyle. We’re very far from perfect and are always looking for ways to improve, but not at the expense of our happiness today.
It’s about happiness
This all comes down to happiness. Not having to stress about money gives you the ability to live the life you truly want.
I’ve heard story after story about people who sat down and made a list of things that make them happy. What their “ideal” day would look like. So many times instead of big flashy expensive things and trips and cars and houses, the list includes things like spending more time with family and friends, going for a hike or walk or bike ride, enjoying a nice cup of coffee or wine.
Don’t get me wrong, driving a car that you’re not worried is going to break down at any given moment and enjoying a nice vacation or traveling is wonderful, and important.
My point is, for most people, day to day happiness is not actually that expensive. That makes financial independence even more attainable!
Even if your version of happy is more expensive, that’s ok too! You can still pursue
F-you money is having enough saved up to allow you to make decisions you wouldn’t otherwise be able to make.
Remember earlier when I mentioned the woman who loved her job until she got a new boss? F-you money would give her the choice to quit and find something new that she did like if she wanted to. Or maybe you just want to take a six-month sabbatical to travel or care for a sick family member.
F-you money is enough to sustain your life and pay your bills for a while, but not necessarily forever. The forever part is financial freedom. How long is “a while”? That depends on you and what your goals are.
I believe an emergency fund is the place to start. Once you’ve got that, F-you money is what you’ve got on your way to FI. How long that F-you money will last depends on how much you have and what your expenses add up to each month.
It’s not about being lazy
Financial freedom is not about sitting around doing nothing. It’s about being excited to get out of bed every morning. It’s about finding out what gets you jazzed and being able to go at it every day without the dark cloud of “but how am I going to pay my bills” hanging over your head in the meantime.
This blog is our journey to that place. I promise you we’ll make mistakes along the way, but hopefully, it’ll help others avoid those mistakes in their journeys, pursuing FI or otherwise. And we’ll have some fun along the way 🙂