My perspective on financial freedom has changed in a way I never expected since I started The Hidden Green.
When I started this blog I thought financial freedom was completely about reaching a number, 25-30 times your annual spending.
Once you hit that number fireworks go off and everything in your life becomes great.
I was completely wrong.
Chasing a number for the sake of reaching that number is the wrong way to achieve financial independence.
The problem with that path is that you are living a means to an end. You are losing sight of improving your present self and situations. What happens when you hit the number is you only find that it didn't actually make you any happier -- it is just a number.
The way I see now to view the journey to financial freedom is through a lens of "winning in increments."
A great way to understand this is using your F-You money you stashed up to give you the confidence to walk away from situations that are not benefiting you and toward situations you love more.
The coolest thing about this concept is your F-You number is up to you! You have F-You money as soon as you feel the confidence to go out an make a positive change in your life.
Once your stash is carrying 6 months of your monthly spending I think you should start thinking of small wins you could make to create a more desirable life.
What I'm saying is for you to use the negotiating power your stash gives you to create better life situations like living with friends, moving to a better located home or finding a work-life you enjoy more.
As you increase the size of your stash you are lowering the risk of any disaster happening when you make big life changes.
And think, once your stash hits 5 years, 10 years, 15 years of spending you are really lowering that risk. At this point you should start thinking of moving yourself more and more into your financial freedom lifestyle.
This way you could be living your financial freedom lifestyle well before hitting your financial freedom number.
For me, I've had the F-You money over the past year to improve my work situation. But probably because I was too focused on that financial freedom number I continued working in a position I really didn't care much for for far too long. I mean it's probably been like 8-10 months too long.
My entire mind space shifted about my job and life situation in October after I wrote the article If Money Didn't Exist. I wrote the article as if my conscious and I were having a conversation about living my dream life. And it finished with this question:
Why not now?
I was shocked when I wrote it. Stumped. Why not live your dream life now?
I kept re-reading everything I had wrote about what I'd do if money didn't exist, and then asking myself "Why not now?, Why not now?, Why not now?"
I saw that I could do almost all the things I dreamed up while having a fun, decent paying job and slow traveling to each desired location. But something was holding me back. What was it?
Over the past 3 years I have felt that I have the golden ticket of a company to work for. That is not a bad problem to have. But I don't want that to hold me back. I want to be able to continue on my financial freedom path, but while soaking in more of my dream life along the way.
So back in October I wrote that I just felt too locked in to my job to leave it. And that my life outside work was great, so that numbed the workday a bit. But at the end of that article I made a goal: To feel less locked in to my job. And I've got some news!
I can't yet say that I've dropped the career job, but I can say that I am making a "winning in increments" move.
On Monday I'll be starting a new role on a new team that I am more interested in! I do really like the company I work at so that hasn't changed, just my role and team which I think will be great. And I am quite excited about that!
My only regret is I should have done it much sooner. Waiting hurt my motivation at work, and that just isn't who I am. I'm going to take this learning with me as I move forward.
Now I think it's only right to promise you another goal. (If I'm going to write about this stuff, I'm going to have to live it too, right?)