I first came across financial freedom, retire early or FIRE last year in November. And it changed my life would have been an understatement.
I never looked at money this way before. When I was freelancing, I would earn quite a good amount but I would save it enough just for long travels. As a result of which I never really had a good retirement fund expect for the PPF contribution I would make yearly and that too I wouldn’t max it out entirely. Whatever, I would save in the months of Jan-March I would put that in my PPF account. How times have chabged! These days I max it out by April, which is the starting month for a financial year.
I started my financial independence journey from Jan of this year. So it hasn’t been that long, but it has completely changed my perspective on work and money.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you are aware that I don’t look at retiring early as it’s not something I think I would be capable of. On days when I have nothing to do I convert into a couch potato. There would hardly be anything productive I would do. To live a good life you need sense of worth and being a couch potato has no sense of worth to it. Yeah I’m lazyass like that!
Retire Early is out of question for me even though it sounds great on paper. Although once in a while I would like to take that extended leave and be a couch potato or go on an international trip at least twice in a year. But that’s nothing that I can’t do while working. At my current company we have 22 days of holidays. Consider Monday-saturday leave means 9 days of travel days which are more than enough for most of backpacking travels withjn Asia. I wouldn’t do a 9 day trip to Europe or the US. The airline cost itself wouldn’t justify the number of days. And there are so many places to visit in Asia!
That got me thinking what exactly am I trying to achieve via Financial Independence.
For the largest part of my life I haven’t had any savings to my name. This has always left me paranoid and scrounging for money or living paycheck to paycheck. This is a lot of stress to carry and unnecessary since I have all the means to not leading a life of living hand to mouth.
Getting to that BaristaFI means I know back of my mind I have enough money for my retirement. And I can enjoy what I am currently doing without worrying about how I’ll live the next month. It also allows me to excel at what I am currently doing. Emotional and financial baggage can lead to underperformance and as I get into the best earning years of my life, I want the satisfaction of doing best work.
So what is Financial Independence to you?