The Why of FI

Right now I’m reading I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. And shortly into the book, Ramit brings up one of the most important aspects of PF. Why? Why aim to be rich or independently wealthy, or financially independent? This lines up with my previous post about having a clear sight picture.

If you don’t know why you want something, you probably won’t want it very much. Everything is easier and more desirable with a clear picture of the end result.

Today, coincidentally, I was also binging posts on Choose FI and came across the Why of FI post written by Ms. MoneyPenny. It talks about evaluating your current life and making a conscious choice to determine what you’d like to change.

This is the hardest part for me. I know that I must improve my finances so that my later years improve or so I can retire early but both results don’t appear clear in my mind. This might be due to current financial stability but surviving isn’t thriving. I enjoy starting something and watching it improve even incrementally.

Case in point, I love RPG’s. I like seeing a digital character improve through small steps until it’s the best character it can be.

I wonder…

Can the path be the goal? I suppose, like the end of my previous post…. we’ll see.

Advertisements

Starting Late

Part of this blog’s existence is to offer advice and tips to folks who, like me, started down the road of PF and FIRE late in life. I will chronicle my progress and pitfalls here for the world to see in hopes of making other people smarter.

One of the oldest stories in PF is that of two people who walk the path of investing at different stages of life yet end up at VERY different destinations. The first person invests $100 per month for ten years starting at age 20 and stops investing additional money at age 30. The second person starts at age 40 and invests $100 every month for 30 years. The second person, with more money invested NEVER catches up to the 20 year old because of compounding.

This tale shook me as a 20 year old but not enough to action. Here I am today, nearly 40, and I’m no different than person #2. My investments will never catch up to the smart whipper-snapper.

My blog is dedicated to #2 people. People who, either through fear or analysis paralysis didn’t invest early and want to start today.

There really is NO better time than NOW to start planning for the future. Whether your future is not working or having a smooth retirement or both, at whatever age. This blog is to help the #2 people from becoming #3 people… the people who never sorted their finances and never invested.

According to this CNBC article, 34% of Americans have NO SAVINGS!

That’s nuts!

I know that’s an extreme example and there are plenty of people who live a successful life that fall everywhere on that spectrum. But it’s still a shock!

So keep reading this and other PF, FIRE, and investment blogs. Read the popular books. Gain wisdom and grow rich.

Weekly Links

Youtube Channel:

Matt D’Avella

https://www.youtube.com/user/blackboxfilmcompany

I like this channel because the videos are well-lit and appropriately short (here’s a tip, if you’re watching an informational Youtube video and you can’t STAND how slow the person talks, click the gear icon on the video and change the speed to 1.5x, problem solved!). You may not be a fan of the minimalism movement but many of the tenets fall in line with those of the FIRE community. Some of the videos have very thought-provoking concepts. Give his short video series a look.

Individual Video:

Yosemite Backpacking Trip: How to Backpack Yosemite National Park

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqMmziKT6uA

If you like to go backpacking, hiking, or camping, this video checks off all those items. My family loves this stuff and I believe our ideal future includes a LOT of outdoors activity whether FIRE’d or not.

PF Blog:

Millennial Revolution

https://www.millennial-revolution.com/

I don’t agree with everything on their website but I love the attitude in their posts, the stories, and the travel advice. Their backgrounds gave these guys a leg up on the average person for reaching FIRE but the information there is still great!

Enjoy!

The Buy It Once Rule

Have ever been working on a car, piece of furniture, small motor, or other object with screws and have the screwdriver snap in half along the metal?

I have.

It was at that moment, many years ago, that I decided I was only going to buy things once… or as close to once as possible.

The screwdriver had been purchased from a convenience store in a pack of about three different sized screwdrivers for less than 10 bucks. I didn’t have any delusions that such a cheap object would last forever but it really WAS spectacular when it snapped.

Imagine the Terminator 2000 from Judgement Day fragmenting into a hundred pieces after being frozen… yeah, something like that.

Anyways, this rule has to do with spending your money on quality items WHEN, and ONLY WHEN you need to buy it. A good example is the screwdriver or other hand tools. By making a smaller investment up front for the better option, you might save yourself from having to buy it again in the future thus doubling your expense.

My parents have a kitchen knife in use today that they used to cook for me when I was a child. It’s been sharpened down and now closely resembles a filet knife but it’s sharp and durable and my parents only had to buy it once.

This isn’t a new concept and I’m sure you’ve heard it before but it’s worth repeating here because the effect of owning a quality item for many years is rewarding spiritually and financially.

What items do you have that have stood the test of time, and what things have you bought that failed right away?

Having a Clear Sight Picture

No goal is possible without being able to clearly visualize it in your mind.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with that idea, these past few weeks. Since I learned about FIRE and Personal Finance I’ve been attracted to the idea of having money work for my family and spending more time experiencing life. Honestly, who hasn’t? Most wild dreams include large sums of money. It’s no surprise that FIRE is catching on.

One thing I’m struggling with is why am I working towards FIRE. I’d like to think that I would spend my days traveling the world with my wife in areas where cost of living is low and the dollar is strong. Or perhaps RV’ing around the U.S. exploring everything the country has to offer. Perhaps I would go to work at jobs that do nothing but make me happy.

But none of those ideas fill my head with a clear picture.

It’s kinda hard to imagine a future where a daily job isn’t required. Perhaps it’s because the idea of not having to actively work to earn money is such a foreign concept to most people. We preach working hard your whole life and showing up on time. We preach that you can either work for someone else or you can struggle to get a business off the ground and be rewarded with decent pay but in exchange for all of your time.

Moving forward I hope it becomes clear so I can have a purpose behind the action. For now I’ll settle for putting the money in the right places until the fog settles.

The Added-Investment Value Rule

Here’s another tip that I’ve put into practice with the tenacity of a hungry raccoon.

Choose a value that’s comfortable to you to add to every purchase.

For us, it’s $5.00.

Now, go shopping, and save your receipts.

At the end of each week (if you feel okay with that frequency) add the number of receipts you’ve collected, multiply that by your value and then invest that value in whatever form of savings account or investment vehicle you use.

For us, it’s Betterment.

Example:

You spent money at stores 7 times this week, so…

7 x $5.00 = $35.00

So we would make a deposit of $35.00 to our Betterment account.

It’s a simple way to save more money and add pressure to your impulse purchases. Do I really want that Coke from the gas station knowing it’s going to cost me $7.50ish?

Be careful that your fervor for investing doesn’t have you buying more just as an excuse to invest. You can always just invest the money without the purchases.

Give it a try.

Hard-hitting Motivation

I spend a lot of my leisure time these days, reading Personal Finance (PF) blogs and one that I’m exploring pretty heavily is 1500 Days.

I was looking at his most-popular posts and one of them was simply titled “Enough.”

From there, I found a piece of motivational speech that shook me pretty hard. The thing is, it’s not a new idea or even a difficult concept to grasp. Here’s the quote by Mr. 1500 as he’s called on the site:

“I don’t have much fancy stuff, but I have more time. You can’t buy any more of that. Ever.”

That’s pretty heavy, right?

We can never buy more time. Maybe right now, time isn’t important to you because you’re having fun accumulating wealth or partying with your friends or anywhere in between on that spectrum. At some point this quote should shock you to your core. Have you ever heard of a person on their death bed wishing they had just made a little bit more money?

If you want to derive action from this quote, it might be earning enough money so that you DO have more time. More time with your family. More time not worrying about your future. More time enjoying the life you’re actually living now instead of continually dreaming for something marginally better.

I should probably take this advice too…