This past week, I had the opportunity to interview two Canadians that achieved financial independence in their 30’s.
I was curious to hear from them directly and to get a better understanding of how they did it, what it took and their experience along the journey to financial independence.
One thing that jumped out at me during these interviews is that even though they achieved financial independence by deploying different strategies, they did it by focusing on a fundamental concept — increasing their savings rate very early on.
In my future articles in the coming weeks, I will share more about these interviews and let you know how you can get access to them.
I will also write an article on the importance of focusing on your savings rate and share my story of how horrible I was at saving. It was so bad that after my first 5 years of working, I had $0 (i.e. ZERO) in savings.
I will share with you how my wife saved me and how together, we adopted a strategy that allowed us to put money away to invest, knowing my horrible history with saving.
I will also share the correlation between your savings rate and the number of years it takes to achieve financial independence. So keep your eyes peeled for my articles in the coming days and weeks.
Today, let’s talk about financial independence.
What is financial independence?
A google search will reveal many answers. According to Wikipedia, financial independence is the status of having enough income to pay one’s living expenses for the rest of one’s life without having to be employed or dependent on others.
There is a big movement of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) that is gaining more and more popularity here in North America. Their definition of financial independence aligns well with the Wikipedia definition above.
I totally agree with this and I love all of the underlying concepts taught by the FIRE movement. To get a better understanding of financial independence at a deeper level, let’s explore what it isn’t.
To do this, it is helpful to explore the images that come up in our head whenever we hear or think of financial independence. What comes to mind?
Making a killing?
Inheriting a fortune?
Winning the lottery?
Living in Mansions?
Fancy jewels, cars and designer clothes?
This is what I imagine. As Vicki Robin noted in her brilliant book, “Your Money or Your Life”, most of us picture financial independence as an unreachable fantasy of inexhaustible riches. This is financial independence at a material level.
She goes on to make the point that if we look at financial independence at the material level, it will only require us to be rich. But what exactly is rich?
Rich exists only in comparison to something or someone else. What this means is that you may never be rich enough.
“Men do not desire to be rich, only to be richer than other men.” John Stuart Mill
According to Vicki, financial independence has nothing to do with rich. It is the experience of having enough — and then some.
Enough is when you get to the peak of your fulfillment curve. In other words, you have enough money to survive, and get all the comfort and luxuries you require to experience fulfillment in life.
It is quantifiable. It is achievable. Enough for you may be different from enough for your neighbor as what fulfills you may not necessarily fulfill your neighbor.
This concept of financial independence will allow you to dig deeper to find what fulfills you. It will allow you to plan and design the lifestyle that will fulfill you. More importantly, it will save you from all the hassles of trying to keep up with the Joneses.
I’m a fan of financial independence and my commitment is to help as many people as possible reach their goal of financial independence — the experience of having enough.
Getting to financial independence requires clarity. It requires purpose. It requires a change in money mindset. It will take careful planning. It requires a certain level of knowledge. It will require intentional execution using a strategy that makes sense for you.
My upcoming eBook is written to provide a road map to help anyone achieve financial independence. In the coming weeks, as I get closer to the release date of the book, I will show you how you can get it for FREE.
For now, you can join our private “Plan To Retire Well” Facebook community to continue the conversation and to continue to build your knowledge.