A Perspective On Minimalism And Financial Independence

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Sometimes I wonder what the meaning of life is.

Often these thoughts appear when I got plenty of time to think.

We go through each day, blessed with hope that it will be different than the last one.

Yet nothing changes.

The routines of the 9 – 5 makes every day pretty much predictable.

We get up at seven. Quick shower. Bowl of cereals. Teeth brushing. Kiss kiss. Then a 45 min commute.

Hopefully you’re at the office before 9 AM.

Then you pretend to fill all of these hours into meaningful job tasks.

Studies shows that we’re actually doing only 3 hours of effective work in the cubicle every day.

The rest of the time is spent talking to co-workers, browsing the web, meaningless meetings etc.

When you’re out of the office at 5 PM, you’ve got a new 45 min commute ahead of you. Then maybe you buy some food, before you finally arrive at home at 6 PM.

Is it only me that puts a big question mark up on this lifestyle?

Is this the life you’ve wanted?

I don’t have kids yet, but I already feel that time is eaten up by work and work-related tasks.

When the weekend finally comes you have two precious days free, but you need to spend it cleaning the house, the car, the boat, the second house, the clothes, the garage, the garden.

Let me ask you, what if you had nothing?

How much simpler would life be?

Instead of 5 rooms to clean, what if you only had three? Two? One?!

How much more time would you have to read, surf, run, play the piano, go out for dinner, travel, do sports, dance?

Instead of wanting more, maybe it’s time we started thinking about less.

Instead of filling up your shelves, empty them. Instead of buying something every weekend, sell something.

Instead of wanting everything, want nothing at all.

The Solution: Embracing Minimalism and FI

Instead of wanting more, I wanted less.

And slowly, I realised I’d been chasing the wrong things all along.

All those years I’d been working 40 hour weeks to buy more and have more, and now suddenly, there was nothing I wanted to buy.

So what good was a job after that?

What was I supposed to be working for?

Nothing.

I didn’t need to work for anything. I was free.

And just like that my dream had come true. I was rich.

This is my way of thinking after all.

For the 9 first months of the year I’ve spent $15,000.

I think I will ”land” the year at aprox. $20K.

So maybe I should change my FIRE-number (25x) from $600,000 to $500,000? This sum is for me alone.

What if I used the 5 % rule instead? $20K x 20 is $400,000.

6 % ? $20K x 16,6 is $333,000.

Damn it! A portfolio consisting of $333K may be realistic by the end of 2020 or the start of 2021.

How much do you need?

I’ve learned that when you stop buying things, you stop needing a lot of money, and when you stop needing money, you no longer need a regular job, and when you no longer have a regular job, you have time, and when you have time, you can literally do whatever you want.

And isn’t that the meaning of happiness?

To do whatever you want? At least that is what I want for my life.

In the west especially, we place a lot of value on material things.

We often define people by what they have, rather than who they are.

Many of you, like I did, might consider that getting your dream apartment, an expensive car, a walk in wardrobe with all your favourite clothes, and a million dollar lottery win will probably get you there.

But imagine you had all that tomorrow.

Picture yourself with all of that. What would you do next?

I’d assume you would say you’re going to spend the rest of your life doing things you love, like travelling, or relaxing on the beach and surfing, or writing music, or spending time with your kids.

Perspectives

But if you think about it, you can already do all these things.

You do not need the house, or the car, or the million dollars for that fulfillment.

And that should tell you that in reality, your happiness has nothing to do with those material things at all.

If you find yourself unhappy, not having the time or money to live the life you desire, start asking yourself, why?

What are you missing in your life? Chances are you’re spending too much time working, and not enough time on the things you love.

But what are you working so hard for?

What do you need to buy that you don’t already have?

What did you spend your paychecks on last year?

Were they essential to your survival? Will you remember those things ten years from now? Think about the stuff you’re buying.

Is it bringing your dream closer? Or pushing it further away?

What about you? How much money do you really need?

The beauty of this equation is that it highlights the value of minimalism and living a simple life with less.

If your lifestyle is too expensive, want less.

Make do with less. Everyone has a choice between living with more and working more, or living with less and working less.

Which will you choose?

I can’t remember the last time I went “shopping”.

I do not spend my day dreaming of things to buy, but rather reading about things I want to learn, writing about things that are on my mind, and seeing places that I’ve always wanted.

I would like to listen to music, sleep, walk, exercise, read and write, explore and relax. That is my ideal day.

In this age of hyper-consumerism and extravagant spending, I’ve been liberated by simply living a life of minimalism.

I am no longer enticed by shiny things. I no longer believe in the lie that success consists of earning more and buying more.

I buy only what I need, and I simply live.

You might just find your dreams are a lot easier to get to, when there’s less stuff in the way.


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6 Replies to “A Perspective On Minimalism And Financial Independence”

  1. I love your thoughts on this subject Route2FI.
    Embracing minimalism and freedom can lead to a lot of change!
    Myself it has caused a future tiny house build, pursuing a lower-paid dream job and having more time.
    Keep up the good work on the blog. Love the reads.

    Why do you think more people haven’t embraced minimalism yet?
    Greetings from Denmark.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thank you, mate!! This gives me motivation to continue.

      I think most people don’t understand compound interest and that it is possible to retire from the 9-5. Where in DK do you live?

      Cheers, Route 2 FI

  2. Abhishek says: Reply

    You should account for your future expenses before coming with final number. Your current stage isn’t going to be the same always

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      True! My financial plan will be updated along the way, mate 😀

  3. This is by far by one of the best and very insightful commentary on a set of topics that are seldom bridged – Financial Independence and the Fundamentals of I (me). Financial experts will only cover the need for the rainy day – they assume you would fall sick, social security would run out, or have a major expense or inflation, etc, but never would they venture into philosophical debates of what is important in life WITH money only there as a “supplement”. It is not THE life. I guess people know it when we bring this topic but still would not cut-back on a 60 hour work-week running around in the worklife circle.

    Personally I have not cut back on expenses with a small kid around who get mostly pampered with books/toys/etc. I spend $4K per month which is a lot. I used to be like you after college, and even a decade into my job at $2K/mth or less, but I guess we have come to a point where we are not cutting down on spending because the salary has gone up. But your article is a cruel reminder that there is no need to acquire a shiny crutch or a gold coffin. That is like building a castle in Titanic. I hope to return back to a more modest life as my dream is also to leave the world with a low carbon footprint. The spend-slope hopefully goes down-hill.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thanks, Shawn! 😀

      Totally agree with you thoughts. Do you have a blog yourself btw?

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