Financial Independence Ruined My Life

Financial independence ruined my life, and get this, I am not even financially independent yet.

Financial Independence ruined my life Messy MoneyI was moving through life on cruise control, minding my own business lusting after plantation shutters and granite quartzite countertops.  Life was perfect, at least according to the magazine ideal I had always aspired to.  Barring any unforeseen tragedy, my life’s course was set.  Raise kids, have an OK career, pay off house, remodel it occasionally, work to age 65+ and then hope to retire.  Not an especially fancy life but an average and predictable one.  Oh, and I would have a hot tub too.

Then something changed.

I am not sure that I can pin it on any one event. Maybe it was the Great Financial Crisis or our spending death spiral or growing disappointment with the middle class dream.  An early mid-life crisis, maybe? Stress?  I found myself searching for something and trying to find the answers.  I wasn’t even sure what the question was.  I had an itch that I could not scratch.

I devoured library books. I scoured the Internet, and I found it.   People, everyday ordinary people, have discovered a secret.

~  Financial Independence ~

With planning, lifestyle “alignment”a high saving rate and passive income, financial independence is achievable in a remarkably short period of time, in as little as a few years in some cases.  People can build enough personal wealth and reduce their spending to the point that work is not longer necessary.  I was skeptical but intrigued.

I reviewed the scenarios, and I crunched the numbers.  I calculated and I analyzed and I saw the potential.

I can become financially independent if I play my cards right.

What does playing my cards right mean.

  1. Limiting consumption and minimizing living expenses
  2. A high rate of saving and investing those saving to grow and generating passive income

I can do that!  It sounds easy right?  The principals behind financial independence are quite simple.  The actions you need to take are not difficult either.

The biggest roadblock is my own brain.  My poor brain has spent decades plugged into a marketing machine and it has been molded to the standards and norms of western society.  A brain that is now tasked with tearing down a perfectly conforming life to create something counter to everything I was taught to believe.  It is a scary prospect.  Let’s just say, I took the red pill, got unplugged from the matrix and now face the discomfort of possibility and the prospect of growth.  Possibility and growth are frightening because they can lead to change.Financial Independence ruined my life Messy Money matix

Now that I know that it is possible, I can’t unlearn this information.  I can reject it.  I can choose not to follow the path but I can’t “unknow” that I am capable of achieving it.

So there you have it.  I discovered the path to financial independence and my life has been ruined.  I don’t think it was the life I really wanted anyway so having it ruined was one of the best things that could have happen to me.

 

P.S.    I want it now though!  That is the thing with us humans.  I don’t know if it is our short attention spans or inability to defer gratification but we all have this tendency: if we can’t have what we want right this minute, well then it isn’t worth pursuing.  It is the reason so many diets fail, debts accumulate and gym memberships go unused.  I need to fight against this weakness.  I need a plan….

P.P.S.   I didn’t actually take any pills, that was just a reference to the movie The Matrix.  I just wanted to clear that up.  Thanks.


brokeGIRLrich

 

49 Comments


  1. You sound so much like me. About a year ago we hit financial rock bottom and I started looking at getting a second job to get us out (something I had done many times in the past). I also looked into ways to save money, googling that brings up many blog posts and eventually I discovered the “Financial Independent” blogs that are out there and my life has never been the same. I also agree that once you learn about it you want it NOW, problem is all the people that write about how close they are or already have achieved, they spent years getting there and you can to and will be as successful as them.
    Tyler

    Reply

    1. It was a shock to discover it (Financial Independence blogs) because it flies in the face of what we are taught about money. You can save more than 10%, you can live on less, you don’t have to work until you are 65… and on and on. I am glad i sat down and did the math but yeah I want it now – lol.

      Reply

  2. I can definitely relate to this. I am so impatient that I want this financial independent journey to be done. I want it now. My brain keeps coming up with different plans so that I can reach my goals. But I have to realize that slow and steady wins the race. I just need to learn more patience and discipline! Excellent post.
    Jason recently posted…Student Loan Forgiveness, Part IMy Profile

    Reply

    1. Thanks Jason. I can related – I walk around with a calculator and try to find a faster way.

      Reply

  3. I know exactly what you mean, after a few years paying off debt, and realizing where my money was going, I was wondering why not pursue the ultimate dream – Freedom. To have it you must unplug and live life differently, and I have the bug now for at least 4 years.
    EL @ Moneywatch101 recently posted…The Pay Debt Now MethodMy Profile

    Reply

    1. It is the ultimate dream isn’t it? Good luck on your FI journey!

      Reply

  4. I think the journey is as important as the end result. Being able to live the lifestyle is part of the process because you live it forever. Sometimes we only look at the end goal and forget to enjoy the journey along the way to the finish line. I’m glad your life has been ruined as well 🙂
    Lance @ HWI recently posted…How to Save an Extra $500 Each MonthMy Profile

    Reply

    1. LOL. Didn’t think it would take over a year to get to this point mentally but better late than never!

      Reply


  5. Recently what i have discovered is, in the race to be financially independent, i have stopped living a life that is independent.

    If you haven’t understood this, we are independent no matter what we do, it is the idea of i need to be financially secure is making me dependant on finance.

    Reply

    1. Good point – are we ever independent and are we just trading one dependency for another. Food for thought. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply

  6. I can’t believe I missed this post! So glad I found it this week 🙂 Ugh, I so feel you on the ‘want it now’ mentality – I want to be financially independent like… yesterday 🙂 Like the saying goes, good things come to those who wait (and plan, and change their lives…). Looking forward to following your plan! Good luck!

    Reply

    1. Thanks Melissa. The FI principals are profound indeed. Accepting it was possible was the first step and took a long time to get there. Now for a plan…….

      Reply

  7. “I can choose not to follow the path but I can’t “unknow” that I am capable of achieving it.” That’s what keeps us going despite that “I want it NOW! Or I’ll give up!” inner-toddler who screams from time to time. I like your description of how you started on this path. No job loss or divorce or illness to give you financial stress and give you a kick start – but discontentment and a search for something better. I think you’ve found it : 0

    Reply

    1. We did have some short-term financial stress during the great financial crisis (most of it was of our own making) and maybe I am not acknowledging it – if that makes sense. I need to think about that. I am surprised that the journey to FI is a process and that it is 90% mental and 10% about the money. That’s what it feel like so far anyway. Thanks for coming by 🙂

      Reply

  8. I know what you mean about wanting it now :)!!! It’s like, ok, I’m saving, I’m being good, am I FI now? How about now? now? 🙂 🙂

    I feel like I’m getting a good lesson in patience and trying to live in the moment!
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…October 2014 ExpendituresMy Profile

    Reply

    1. And what about now? LOL- Love it.
      If you are succeeding at living in the moment – great job – and i might come by for some help in that area. I need it!

      Reply

  9. If you’ve lived the “subarban dream” for as long as I’m guessing you have, I’d be willing to bet you already have enough capital to retire. (I haven’t read your blog yet)

    Unless you’re house-poor and have a negative net-worth.

    I have an investment strategy that might interest you.
    The Starving Artist Canada (@blerghhh) recently posted…Trade Summary: catching upMy Profile

    Reply

    1. House poor-ish maybe. I will have a look at your investment strategy (bull put spreads perhaps?). Appreciate you coming by.

      Reply

  10. I’m all for my old dream dying. I’m not even sure I had an old dream. I think learning about Financial Independence was the first time I’ve really strove towards something other than paying off my student loans.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturdays #62My Profile

    Reply

    1. I can imagine that after paying off the student loans there would be a moment of “What now?” You are fortunate to find FI early and are miles ahead of others.

      Reply

  11. I love this post May, as I feel EXACTLY the same way about it ruining my life! And even more so about wanting it now!! It does create a few rough patches with my wife when I get overly obsessed about it, as she doesn’t quite get it yet (I might need to convince her to try one of those Matrix pills), but I’m sure in the long run it will benefit us both 🙂

    Reply

    1. It can be tough getting the spouse onboard. When I sit down and show him the progress we are making he is a bit more receptive but we do need to find a way to balance living today and planning for the future. Appreciate you coming by.

      Reply


  12. Financial Independence is definitely the new dream. It is a concept that has definitely shifted the dreams of many. The only thing better than living the life of your dreams at 65 is getting it started much earlier.
    Michael recently posted…Life for a Student Loan Borrower in CourtMy Profile

    Reply

    1. Fingers crossed it will be much earlier. Just wish we had started earlier – better late than never I guess.

      Reply

  13. I loved this post! It was gritty, kept me on the edge of my seat, and THEN a Matrix reference! Too good to be true! I can totally relate to the financial independence thing. It’s there, it’s possible, people are doing it, now how do I get it??? And yeah, how do I get it NOW? Oh boy, can’t wait to share this post with the other half. Love it May! 🙂

    Reply

  14. Great comparison. It is a lot like unplugging from the matrix, but the difference is you can still enjoy steak once in awhile, just not every day. Having small rewards or splurges can keep us on track and give us things to look forward to on the journey.
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted…12 Ways to Save on Holiday ShoppingMy Profile

    Reply

    1. Thanks Gary. I tried to tie in a steak reference somewhere in the post but just couldn’t make it work -LOL- but I will make sure to keep enjoying it every once in awhile.

      Reply

  15. There are usually tradeoffs in life…and FI is no exception. I think a big part really is that marketing machine, and turning against what it has told us all of these years. Even beyond that, I think a big roadblock is consciously choosing to have fewer material things than our friends and family might have. Once we can accept that latter part, I think the future benefits of FI can be truly seen and appreciated.

    This is giving me an idea for a post….. 🙂
    Squirrelers recently posted…How Spending $3 Can Make Someone’s DayMy Profile

    Reply

    1. Oh I am intrigued! I will be looking out for your post.

      Reply

  16. This post is awesome because it really gives an accurate picture of how change and knowledge impact us and how we react. As scary as it can be at first, knowledge is power and change is good 🙂

    Reply

    1. Thanks Brittany. Change is scary but how boring life would be without it. Appreciate you stopping.

      Reply

  17. Once I found out about the early retirement lifestyle, I went after it hardcore! I think I’ve drifted to a middle way though, where I get more control over my day now but will be working for a longer period of time.
    Jenna recently posted…Do I Want To Be A Digital Nomad?My Profile

    Reply

    1. Balance is important and it sounds like you have found it. Not easy to achieve.

      Reply

  18. What an interesting perspective. I love it! I know what you mean. Now that I ‘ve thought about it and crunched numbers in order to be able to quit my job in favor of other things I’m more passionate about, I can’t get it out of my head. It’s always there reminding me to keep going and keep working even when I need a break. I’m not sure what’s next for me, but I know whatever I choose it’ll be hard because now I know there’s another choice out there beyond the “traditonal” or “regular” American “dream”.

    Reply

    1. My calculator is my best friend. LOL. Good luck with what’s next!

      Reply

  19. You don’t have to give up everything to achieve financial independence! I used income property to achieve my independence. Balance is the most important factor for an enjoyable life.
    krantcents recently posted…Why Save and Invest?My Profile

    Reply

    1. Finding balance is one of the hardest parts – but working on it. Congrats on your FI status.

      Reply

  20. Great post May! It’s so true. FI should be a four letter word. 🙂 It’s amazing how simple a concept it is and how overlooked its been by so many. I want it too!
    Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…20 YearsMy Profile

    Reply

    1. Thanks Brian. Since you have accomplished so much FI should be a piece of cake.

      Reply

  21. Great post! Ever since I found out that early retirement was something that was possible for someone like me, I’ve lost all interest in shopping and spending too.

    I don’t regret how I spent my life before I ‘saw the light’ – there’s nothing I can do about the past. I’m just making the most of what I can do now and the future.

    I go to Hong Kong every year to visit family and in the past, there was always a lot of shopping involved. On my last trip earlier in the year, I managed to keep the shopping down to a minimum, just things that I needed and a few gifts for friends/colleagues. It’s easier to curb spending when there is a goal to achieve!

    Know what you mean about wanting it now though! Investing is long term and can be a tad boring. I hope that I don’t take too many risks to spice things up…
    weenie recently posted…Doing a Proper JobMy Profile

    Reply

    1. You are right – learn and move on and look forward. Good luck on your FI journey.

      Reply

  22. Hi
    Funny but true article. Ever since, I found out about FI, I have lost all interest in shopping or spending. All I can think of is saving $$. I hope I don’t go overboard with this.

    Reply

    1. Yes hard to know where that fine line is between focused and obsessed. Thanks for coming by and good luck on your FI journey.

      Reply

  23. I too am working towards FI and I wish I had learned more about the concept years sooner! It took way too long for me to get off the consumption wheel but better late than never I suppose. Great post!

    Reply

    1. Thanks Kassandra – I wish that I had found it earlier too! Better late than never I guess.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge