• The Recovering Passive Investor

Start Here 1: Beginning Your Journey

Updated: 6 days ago



Just to be absolutely clear. I love my job, I love the opportunities I have with my job, I love (most) of the people I work with. I may be unique in the FI community where many, if not most, were not happy with their jobs or worked long hours or were just plain burnt out. I enjoy working, I enjoy being busy, and I actually have fun in my job. However, I have much higher priorities in my life going beyond my work. .


Both my wife and I feel very fortunate to have the jobs we have and always lived pretty frugal lives. Even through all this frugal living, we still enjoy our lives and the journey. We still vacation a couple times a year. Heck, we went to Japan, London, and Taiwan (3x) last year and spent less than $5,000 for everything. As many who have traveled to Japan or London can attest, these locations are not considered cheap by any means. We did all this while growing our net worth and saving a good chunk of money.


SO YOU SEEM TO HAVE A GOOD LIFE, JUST KEEP THIS UP FOR THE NEXT 30 YEARS, RIGHT? WRONG!!!!


So why am I working so hard to be financially independent and taking the option to retire early?


My parents never went to college. They worked hard to provide for me and my brother. They tried to provide us with everything a kid would want: toys, video games, etc. They talked for years and years about retiring, but kept holding it off saying they would work “one more year”. My parents finally retired in December 2014 when my mom was 57 and my dad was 67. They had plans to travel the world. My parents went on a cruise at least once per year during their working years and had at least two planned as soon as they retired. My dad also was glad to finally have more time to head up to the family cabin to work on a long list of projects that have been put off for years. Because I was living in San Francisco at the time and my parents in Utah, I did not see them as often. However, we planned a surprise birthday party for my uncle (my dad’s brother) in August 2015 in Seattle. My parents, myself and my wife, and my brother and his wife and kids all made the trek to Seattle. I had not seen my parents after they retired and August was the first time I saw them. When I saw my dad, I immediately knew something was not right about him. He had lost a good amount of weight and he looked extremely pale. I asked my mom what was going on with dad and she replied that he has felt tired recently. We had a very nice birthday celebration and it was nice to have the entire family together for the first time in many years. After we all returned home, I encouraged my mom to take my dad to get checked out.


I still remember that September day like it was yesterday. I was traveling home from a business trip in Florida back to San Francisco. On JetBlue, they offer free wifi and I logged in during the flight because I knew this was the day my parents were meeting with the doctor. My sister-in-law was giving me a text play-by-play on Google Hangouts of what the doctor was saying. The doctor said my father was diagnosed with Stage IV stomach cancer. It was incurable. I was absolutely shocked! However, this explained the weight loss and paleness my dad was experiencing. This diagnosis came at the end of September and this was also the day my parents had a cruise planned to Fiji. Needless to say, they did not go on this trip. By the beginning of January 2016, one year after my parents retired, my dad passed away.


So you might be asking yourself what does this story have to do with FI? As I said in the beginning, I love my job and am so grateful to work. However, the higher priority in my life is to be young enough to still enjoy life, serve in my church, and discover new passions. I have every intention to retire as soon as I can so I can do those things that I truly enjoy and not worry if I am getting paid for it. My wife and I want to travel the world, we want to go on church missions, and we want to enjoy our many hobbies before we get too old or worse die before we can really enjoy it.


WHAT’S YOUR MOTIVATION?

Why do you want to be financially independent? Why do you need this money? Your motivation is the first important step to FI. It is not about saving millions of dollars without a purpose. I believe FI is saving enough for you to enjoy the life you want to live in retirement. I don’t believe it is as much as you think it needs to be.


HOW DO I GET THERE?

Now that you know WHY you want this money and financial independence, how do you do it?


A lot has been written on this subject. There are so many great FI website and blogs out there which I will share throughout the future posts. Just remember one thing, everyone’s situation is different. There are general concepts which I think work for everyone, but then there are certain concepts specific to the individual. Below are the general concepts I believe work for everyone:


  1. Know your why?

  2. Know how much you are making? (What’s coming in)

  3. Know how much you are spending and where are you spending it? (What’s going out)

  4. What’s your FI number?

  5. What can you eliminate or reduce in your spending? (There’s always something… always)

  6. Invest, invest, invest

  7. Retire when you hit the number


I will go through these one by one in upcoming posts and also elaborate on other ways my wife and I have increased our income, cut costs, and invested for retirement.


This is also another way for us to share our story and our journey to FI. We are not perfect and have made mistakes along the way. We are still learning and look forward to continuing learning how we can be better with our money and get us to FI quicker.


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