Financial Independence Awakening
I’ve noticed a surge of Financially Independent “awareness” lately. Lots of blogs, podcasts, etc. and people are paying attention. I’ve had strangers at parties talk about FI. “Did you read last week’s post from MMM?”. It was only about 6 months ago that I first heard the term. And now, I find out that there’s an almost cult following of the FI “religion”. OK, I know you all know about the movement but I’ve had my nose to the grindstone. I never looked up. My first introduction was after Googling “How to spend in retirement”. Soon after that, a friend referred me to an article featuring the Mad Fientist. I thought, “Hey, he’s just like me.” Later, I went on to Brave New Life. Reading his blog was really Freaky. We followed almost the exact same path at the same time. Really, Really Freaky! One big difference…. these guys all figured it out way before me.
Even though I had never heard about FI, I had strived my whole life to get there. I’d like to take credit for being a visionary long ago but really, the credit goes to my parents. After all, they were the ones who instilled a minimalist consumption attitude. Don’t waste. Be self-sufficient. Work hard but save harder.
My Financial Independence Awakening really started in 2005 when my identical twin boys were born. After the WTF and “Holy Shit” months, I was overcome by the responsibility to really provide them with the best life I could. Not money but life. I knew our frantic lifestyle had to change. There had to be a better way.
This awakening lead to a near escape to BC Canada in 2006 before the kids’ first birthday. It didn’t quite work out but I didn’t give up on the need for an escape. Finally, in 2011, we made the jump from Monument, CO to Sandy, UT in search of a simpler lifestyle. The job was secondary since I had what I needed to retire – the savings just needed to be protected for a few more years. I fell into the trap of being “advised” that I needed $3.1M to retire but more on that in a later post.
Destination or First Stop?
It wasn’t until this past October when I ran all the models and decided we had enough. But even then, I wanted a second opinion – that’s the cautious engineer in me. So, one more trip to the “advisor” where he confirmed that we were good. In fact, we could spend WAY more than we ever would and still be fine. There’s the rule of thumb that you need savings of 25X expenses (the inverse of the 4% rule). Yeah, well, it turns out we’re at 45X.
Time to plan the exit.