Why Do I Have To Be Financial Independent To Live My Dream Life?

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No matter how far you travel, you can never get away from yourself

Haruki Murakami

This blogpost will tend to be more philosophical than the others I’ve made so far. I’m an idealist and I have a rich inner world. If it were up to me I could easily stayed inside most of the week just doing writing, reading and thinking.

About the quote above and why I relate it to the topic of this blog post: While I dream about FIRE every day, I just realized that basically nothing is going to change in my life after I hit my FIRE-number. I’m still me, I’ll still be the same person. No matter how far I will come in my FIRE journey, I’ll still have to handle my everyday “problems”. It’s not like all my issues and dilemmas will magically dissappear when I got 600.000 $ in my index funds. So why is it a part of me that still believes everything will be fine when I hit that number anyway?

My current work situation

Nothing extraordinary here. I work 9 – 5 as most people do. The problem (as I see it) is that my job drains my creative energy, so when I come home from work I don’t have any more energy to work on what I actually want to do. My leftover energy is spent on my GF, weight training, making dinner/meeting friends and then prepare for the next day. When the weekend arrives, I’m normally so exhausted by work that I don’t have the spark to do something creative.

I know I should read Atomic Habits by James Clear to get rid of my procrastination after work, but anyway..is it normal to get so low on energy by a day job? My daily schedule is like this: preparing for work –> 45 min commute –> work –> 45 min commute –> thinking about work and preparing for the next day. It feels like I’m trapped in a hamster wheel! How can I live this life for 6 – 8 more years? Is it an option to start working part time now? E.g. Semi-FIRE? And then delay my orginally FIRE date, so I can enjoy life more today?

I want my time back. It feels like there’s never enough time to do things I like, for example reading all the books I’ve delayed, writing more, watch more films, spend more time in nature and play board games with family and friends. I believe FIRE will help my situation so I don’t have to work anymore. At least I don’t have to work with something I don’t want to.

Switch to part time work

 Will this really be a solution? Or will I be depressed by knowing that my finances isn’t that secure anymore? Because, if I’d work 3 days a week at my project management job, and then had 4 days free time, maybe I would have the time to launch a side-hustle/business on the side? I have some ideas, but really..I think I’m just scared to try something new, to jump into the unknown. It’s like I must now that something is secure before I hop into it. I hate that. The book “Into The Wild” express this a lot better than me:

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Switch career

To keep my head up some more years, I can switch career to something I probably would like even more. But is it sure I will like my new career more than my current? And for how long will I eventually enjoy this career? Will I get tired of it fast?

Something that has been on my mind lately is to switch career to become a career counselor. That’s quite ironic isn’t it? I want to help other people to find their career, and I can’t even find mine? Anyway..I like to help people, and the most happy moments in my life is when I am able to improve someone’s life. Or what about life coach? Do some people actually work as a life coach for a living?
I found a life coach course I liked here: Life Coaching Certificate Course
Has anyone taken it? And will it be worth it?
It would be extremely interesting to start a buisness as a life coach/career coach.

Why rush to financial independence?

I ask myself these questions:

What’s motivating my desire to rush toward financial freedom in the first place?

What does financial freedom mean to me and why do I need it now?

What will I do with my life after I achieve financial freedom?

For most people (and me included), the common answer is that they dislike their careers and just want to end the pain so they can do something they really want.

Their real goal is to have sufficient financial security so they can give themselves permission to do what they really want with their lives.

They’re in a rush to retire because they want to end their current careers and get a new life. They have entrepreneurial dreams and goals they’re ready to pursue.
Unfortunately, they labor under the myth they need financial freedom to do it.

What Am I Going To Do After I Retire?

I ask myself this question because it is important. Why can’t I just do what I want right now? Do I really need financial independence to do it?

Is my financial freedom goal driven by what I’m “moving toward” or by what I’m “running away” from?
This is a critical distinction because “running away”-goals lead to momentary satisfaction – a honeymoon period – before dismay and discontent set in. “moving toward”-goals are what lead to happiness and fulfillment.

The sad truth is that I think my financial freedom goal is in the “running away”-part. My motivation for FI is to escape the 9 – 5, so that I can be able to design my own life. Complete freedom to choose for my self. But I should change this to a goal that I can move toward.

..because if I had all the time in the world, what would I do? I think I would go for a long vacation. But after that? I know I would use my time to create something. A life coach business for example. Because after all, let’s be honest, I can’t go around all day doing nothing! I would bore myself to death. And that’s something that I think is what all FI-bloggers have in common, wh got so much creativity we just want to show the world, but we’re stuck in the 9-5!

This is my journey for freedom! Will you join me?


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18 Replies to “Why Do I Have To Be Financial Independent To Live My Dream Life?”

  1. I really liked this article as I find myself sometimes asking the same questions.
    I already work less hours (90% and hopefully soon 80%), and I seriously think of switching careers. Or maybe a different job will do?

    Concerning “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, my boyfriend is reading it, has implemented some of the suggestions and is happy about it. Having read a few pages myself, I think it’s an interesting read.

    What about your nutrition, can you change something to be less exhausted?
    And your mindset? Do you have too high expectations towards yourself in your job? Can you slow down and still work good enough?
    Can you reduce your commute time or change it so it is less stressful? I bike to work and I love it, a bit of daily excercise.

    I featured your article on http://www.FIREhub.eu

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Great to hear that you liked the article! Thank you so much for the feature on FIREhub, I really appreciate it.

      So even if you work some less than 100 %, you still think about switching careers? What do you work with now? And what would you eventually switch to?
      I will definitely read “Atomic Habits” soon.

      I feel like I’ve implemented a good nutrition regime in my daily life, so I don’t think that’s the problem. The reason to why I think I feel so exhausted is maybe partly because I’m introvert. You can read more about my thoughts here: https://www.route2fi.com/2018/11/12/seeking-financial-independence-as-an-introvert-infj/

      But yes, I do have high expectations towards myself, sometimes it feels like I’m never good enough. I wish I just could manage to take it more easy. Tips here is always welcoming!

      My commute time can be reduced to 20 minutes if I buy a car, but that’s not an option. I can always switch job, but I started my new job 3 months ago, so I would like to be there at least a year before I eventually seek new oppurtunities. I bike to work in the summer, but that’s not possible with all the snow now. Wish I could use my bike to work every day as well 🙂
      Where are you at your FI-journey? Do you have a blog too?

  2. Hello fellow FI-seeker!
    I’m from across the pond, and I’m on a similar journey as you 😉

    I’ve recently been asking myself some of the same questions that you raise in this post. I so agree with “running away from something”, rather than “running towards something”. I think this is a process that is going to take time…
    Right now, my only “goal” is to accumulate enough money to give myself some future options. I honestly don’t want to be doing what I’m doing right now, for 10-15 more years. My problem is, if I quit today and needed to find a new job/career (I would need to, as I don’t have enough money NOT to), I really don’t know what I would be gunning for…So I stick it out. In the corporate world. Hating every new day a little more than yesterday 😛
    I am greatful for being where I am though (decent job, decent career, decent home, decent family), so I try to remind myself of that every day! 😛

    Good luck on your journey!

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Hello, fellow FI-seeker!
      Thanks for the shoutout. So you’re from Denmark? Similar lifestyle I guess then 🙂

      It seems like we’re in the same boat. But what kind of options would more money give you? And why can’t you choose to work on your options right now?
      This is something I of course ask myself as well. What do you work with at the moment? And what is it with your job situation that you don’t like?
      I’m in the same situation as you, sticking out in the corporate world. The good thing with FIRE is that we all got ourselves a new big goal. It gives us purpose to get up in the morning, so that we can earn a buck that further gets invested.
      What is your investment strategy, Nick?

      Good luck on your journey as well! Will definetely check out your blog 😉

      1. Nick @ TotalBalance.blog says: Reply

        Hello again! It seems I forgot to subscribe to follow-up comments on this post 😉 So I apologize for the delayed response, but here goes:

        Live in Denmark, working in IT, and not really loving it at the moment (still). I’ve recently switched jobs (November 2018), and I think I’m in a similar place as you’ve described in other posts – a bit unsecure about my new job tasks/work area etc. I’ve taken a step up the career ladder in my latest job move, which I’m proud of, but also feeling the extra pressure to “succeed”. Right now, I’d really like to just NOT having to go to work. – To be free to pick any activity my heart felt like doing. But I have bills to pay 😉

        When my friends/family ask what I then want to do (because I tell them I’m not really happy doing what I do) I don’t have an answer. If only I knew! Maybe I want to become a soccer coach, a scuba diver or a bike mechanic (these are just randomly selected jobs – the only one of those I might be able to do, is become a soccer coach, as I’ve actually played soccer on a semi-high level once. But that’s long ago).

        I am trying to figure out, what I could do – If I were to change my career path – but I’ve yet to discover my “caling”…

        My investment strategy is outlined here: http://totalbalance.blog/my-investment-strategy/

        But in short: I plan to invest heavily in real estate (local REIT-like investments), and then keep about 10-15% of my portfolio allocated towards high-risk investment assets – like Crowdlending (which I’m currently dabbling in).

        Winter always gets me (extra) down, so this year I’ve decided to try and consult a life-therapist (I’d really like a Wendy from the HBO TV show Billions in my life – check it out, if you haven’t already 😉 )

        We’ll see how that goes, but it’s obviously not cheap. I already have a body-therapist (Body-SDS) so my “self-development” budget is currenly breaking the bank – but I think it’s necessary for me to try and find my path to a meaningful life…

        1. route2fi says: Reply

          A late response is better than no response 😉 So what are your new tasks? Is it the tasks you don’t like or the the job? Probably it will get better with time!
          Yes, we both have bills to pay (unfortuneately), but we will become FI one day!
          I just read your investing strategy-post. Really interesting! And great to see that you’re almost at 400 k! So when will you retire? And what will you do? I’m a little bit jealous right now 😀

          Soccer coach seems like a dream, I’ve played way too many hours of Football Manager in my life..so maybe I could do the same? Haha. Which football team do you support?

          I will definitely check out that series, I haven’t seen it yet 😀

          Well, I think it is worth checking out a life-therapist. It is money well invested. Because the most important asset in your life is YOU.

          Do you have twitter as well? Would love to chat more about your FI journey.

          Cheers, Route 2 FI

          1. Nick @ TotalBalance.blog says:

            I have difficulties getting in the “flow state” with my current tasks, and thus find my job a bit boring and tedious to be honest – also not really sure where I’m going – but I guess time will tell 😛

            I’m afraid you must have misunderstood something – I’m nowhere near 400k yet 😉 I’m at 15% of my goal atm. – Still 13 some years to go :S

            Twitter? What is Twitter? 😛 (I’m 35 – Twitter never really caught on, and I gave up Facebook and LinkedIn a while ago. Well, I deleted the apps on my phone – I still check them regularly, just not 20 times per day anymore 😛 )

            If you wanna reach me, shoot me an email (totally old school, I know!) 😛

  3. Great article. I haven’t done the exact “life coaching course” you mentioned but I have done a couple of others. Although didn’t generate any income for me, they were worth the time and I don’t regret them.

    Thanks for the links here on your site! Lot’s I hadn’t heard of before with some useful info so I’ll be linking to some of them myself.

    Just found your blog and enjoying the read so far. Thanks for posting!

    Keep up the good work. You WILL get there!

    Cheers,

    Mark

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thanks, Mark!
      Which life courses have you taken? It doesn’t necessary need to generate income, but I’m eager on learning something new!

      Thanks for the good words! Where are you in your FI journey? Will definitely check out your blog as well ?

  4. Such a great post, I feel the same: drained, without energy or joy to do anyrhing else than things that I do not have to think!

    Hope you can reach FI and good luck on the way there!

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thanks, Atiopatinhas!
      Great to hear that you enjoyed the post.
      How are you doing n your FI-journey?

  5. When I read your comment:

    The sad truth is that I think my financial freedom goal is in the “running away”-part. My motivation for FI is to escape the 9 – 5, so that I can be able to design my own life.

    I get the idea that you are perhaps looking it the wrong way. If you start with defining clearly to yourself what your priorities in life are (family, friends, passions, sport, whatever). Then define your perfect life and lifestyle around that – NOW. Once you know what that is, you can do your gap analysis from where you are, and where you want to be, and then build the plan to get there.

    Financial independence for some may include still working (perhaps not 9-5 – but maybe 9-12 or 3 days a week etc) because they love their job and the social interaction that they get from it. Your might be closer to your perfect life than you think.

    As you start to take on elements in your ‘perfect life’ you will gradually push away your current 9-5 life bit by bit. It does not have to be a big bang approach.

    I totally agree that you should ‘run away” from your current life, but ideally define the life that you want to lve, and move gradually towards it at the speed that suits you and your means to get there.

    Just my point of view – hope it helps.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thank you for your opinion! I think I know what I want – more time to read, write, blog, start a business and so on. # working days a week is appealing to me, and this is something I want. But I want a bigger cash flow from my index funds before I step down to a 3 day/week.
      How do you define your FI goal? Do you live the life you want right now?

      1. Thanks for your comment and question!

        As for where we are now:
        I made a big step last year and quit my 9-5 job and set up my blog and Im looking at solidiyfing my other side hustles to support us going forward. For the moment my wife is still working but we are hoping that in 2-3 years that she can give up the 9-5 job also. I think however that she will still like to keep some sort part time job ( the social contact is really important for her).
        I have lots of ideas but am making the most of the additional time to work on the things that bring my pleasure and create real value. I can tell you even getting the 9-5 time back is still not enough to do everything, so I have to prioritise.

        In terms of defining our FI goal, I used a financial simulation application that I built to project our new lives. It took into account our savings/investments etc , incomes (now and future) and expenses (now and future) . It was by running literally 100’s of simulations that I was able to build a plan to be able to leave the 9-5 job early with confidence, and put in place some of the activities that Ive been thinking about for a long time.

        By the way, one of my side hustles is to make this financial simulation application available to others so that they can follow the same process as I did. Its coming soon – hopefully in around 1 Month. You’ll see my news when it happens.

        Good luck and keep in touch,
        Robin

        1. route2fi says: Reply

          Wow, I can’t wait to try that simulation application 😀 Will you launch it for free? Is it like an advanced spreadsheet?
          Really inspiring to read about your journey!
          I think part time work may be a solution for me as well. Some days a week at work would be tolerable 😀
          Could you please link me some of your favorite posts from your blog, so I’ll get a kickstart to your great content? 😀
          I wish you a nice weekend 😀

  6. […] Financial independence means a lot to me because it allows me to take back my time. […]

  7. My desire is to stop working the obscene hours that I work now. The harder I work the more I want to FIRE. I have so many hobbies begging for more time. Astronomy, electronics, being a dad, coding woodworking, reading (I’m developing a stack), and learning a lot more skills. Sigh. I ignored most of my outdoor hobbies. I hope to FIRE in 10 years or so. I hope the market and my habits can make that happen. Time will tell.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      I totally feel you! What is your FIRE-number? Any possibility for reducing it and then FIRE faster?

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