Tag Archives: financial independence

Financial Independence – What it Looks Like to You

When one is on the road to wealth, the dream of financial independence lingers in the distance. Financial Independence means different things to each person. For some it may mean being able to take year-long luxury vacations around the globe and returning home to a mansion. For others, just being able to live a modest lifestyle and not have to work in order to afford it is enough.

I ran into this interesting article discussing financial independence.It posed a few questions which help paint a clearer picture of what this dream would really be like:

  • What time would you wake up?
  • Would you be awakened by an alarm clock or by your body’s clock?
  • Once you arose, what would you do first? Second?
  • When and what would you eat?
  • What would be the main activity of your day?
  • How would you spend the evening?
  • What would determine when you went to bed?
  • What would your home look like?
  • What kind of vehicles would be a part of this typical day?

I thought I’d take a stab at answering the questions, as they probably will help guide in my determining my ideal lifestyle with or without said financial independence. How would you answer these questions?

What time would I wake up?
Probably 8 or 9am.

Would you be awakened by an alarm clock or by your body’s clock?
Body’s clock. I hate alarm clocks.

Once you arose, what would you do first? Second?
I don’t know. If I don’t have work to go to, I tend to just waste time. I’d probably be bored very quickly. I’d likely waste away my days unless I had a project to work on… like work.

When and what would you eat?
If I had “luxury” financial independence, I’d have a cook who would make me healthy delicious fresh food everyday. I’d also be a better cook because I’d have a nice kitchen and a maid who would clean up after the mess I make. I’d frequently dine out – sometimes at fancy places but mostly at modest restaurants. I’d try to eat healthy. I’d have a personal trainer.

What would be the main activity of your day?
Well… other than sleeping and watching television, which would get old fast, I’d want to be working. Maybe I’d take classes. If was wealthy I’d want to just spend my life learning. I’d probably take a bunch of psychology, art and writing classes. Maybe I’d just get a bunch of master’s degrees. I’d spend a decent amount of time floating around my pool. I’d travel and take lots of road trips across the country.

How would you spend the evening?
Cuddling at home with my boyfriend, watching movies, taking relaxing baths in a luxury bathroom that I designed. Sleeping.

What would determine when you went to bed?
What I was tired. It would usually be pretty late. I’d be doing something creative at night and fall asleep whenever, knowing I didn’t have to wake up at any set time in the morning (unless I had class.)

What would your home look like?
It would be in a neighborhood where I had friends who lived close by, who were also financially independent or had more flexible lifestyles. It wouldn’t be giant, but it would have a sizable yard with a private pool (optional) and enough room for entertaining and having guests. I would personally design my own unique kitchen and bathroom. I’d have a robot that does my laundry and folds/hangs my clothes!

What kind of vehicles would be a part of this typical day?
I’m fine driving the basic honda/toyota type car. If I was the rich kind of financially independent, I might buy a Tesla. But I’d be too scared to drive it because I tend to bump into inanimate objects. Maybe I’d splurge on a Lexus or something. I don’t need a Ferrari.

What is most interesting about this analysis is that clearly I’d be massively bored if I was financially independent. I like to work. In fact, I can’t imagine ever retiring. Still, I want to achieve financial independence. To me, financial independence is $2M in networth, or $1M with a modest lifestyle in one’s 30s/40s that is growing to $2M. It isn’t some super fancy lifestyle. And even if I was financially independent, I’d want to work. I would just want more flexibility in deciding where and when I work. And I’d also want to have the opportunity to take more classes and change careers frequently, not caring about taking lower level jobs to be learning something new all the time. Hmm.

Is my networth really $300k?

My networth calculations are a bit of a hot mess right now. I’m not sure exactly what to count and what not to count. Actual networth figures don’t matter that much (they change so dramatically each day due to fluctuations in the stock market once you have a couple of hundred thousand dollars in savings) but given my goal this year was to hit $300k with a $325k stretch goal, I was surprised this morning to find my spreadsheets telling me that I have actually already hit $300,000 in networth.

Of course with my unemployment period that isn’t going to last for long, but I’m going through and checking my calculations on this bold number which seems off. I must have made a numerical error somewhere, right? Well, let’s see…

 

Account Amount
Cash (Liquid)
Checking $10775
Savings $370
TOTAL CASH $11,145
Debts
Credit Card Debt -$333
Paying Soon -$4,000
TOTAL DEBTS -$4,333
Property
Car $10,000
TOTAL PROPERTY $10,000
Investments
Sharebuilder $93,083
Vanguard Stocks $24,299.37
Prosper $856.04
Lending Club $387.53
Startup Co Stock * (this is likely worth $0 and a $16.4k loss) $16,400
TOTAL INVESTMENTS $135,026
Education
529 Plan $4399
TOTAL EDUCATION $4399
Retirement Accounts
Vanguard IRA $26,674.61
Sharebuilder IRA $13,805.69
401k $63,044
TOTAL PRE-TAX RETIREMENT $103,524.30
Vanguard Roth IRA $28,263.81
Sharebuilder Roth IRA $12,228.92
TOTAL POST-TAX RETIREMENT $40,492.73
TOTAL NETWORTH $300,254

So. It does appear that my total networth reached $300k this month. Hurrah. It’s not “real” because it includes $16.4k in startup stock in one company that will likely go under and thus that will be a $16.4k loss — plus I don’t like including my car in my networth because that is going to go down in value in the coming years, however the Kelly Blue Book value for my car in good condition for a dealer trade in is $10,728, so I’m pricing it at $10,000 assuming I could sell to a private party for about this amount in a few years if I desperately needed the cash. I’m not counting what I estimate to be $1665 in frequent flier miles which, valued at a half cent each, I’m saving up for my big honeymoon trip. If I can get 2 cents per mile then they’re worth $6600. But, again, I’m not including those in my networth as they’re extras and will never be something I can get to spend if I ever run out of money.

As noted in my earlier post, while on unemployment I want to try to maintain my networth. A lot will depend how quickly I can get a new job, since my unemployment paycheck doesn’t even cover my full rent ($1800 unemployment taxed at 35% = $1170 and my rent is $1350, as I’ve noted previously.) If I can get a new job by Oct 1 I think I can recover and exit the year, based on these calculations, with $300k networth at a minimum, unless the stock market tanks. If I can’t get a job for months though my networth will start to drop. It’s not the end of the world assuming I can get another good job by end of the year, but I’d prefer to have one by Oct 1. I don’t think I can get to $325,000 networth which was my actual goal for this year, but I’ll be content exiting the year over $300k.

If you’ve been reading my blog you know that I try to save / earn interest on investments to increase my networth by a minimum of $50k per year. In my 30s I wanted to bump this to $75k per year until I have kids, at which point who knows what I’ll be able to save on an annual basis (ahh.) I really want to get to $500k before I have my first kid. Saving $75k per year would be a huge help because that means I just need 2.5 more years to hit this goal. However with $50k a year I need 4 years more. Given I’m going on 31 and want to have my first kid by the time I’m 33, I have to take this $75k annual savings goal very seriously. What this requires is landing a job that I love (enough) and a solid paycheck ($130k minimum, ideally $150k – $180k) and a semi-frugal lifestyle for the next 2-4 years.

Once $500k is obtained if I earn 5% on average that in one year that’s $25,000 in interest alone without compounding. Of course I will still want to work and make money (I won’t feel comfortable with my networth until it is $2,000,000) but the $500k sets me up for a quality life as a mother where I can opt to work full time or take some time off to spend with my kids. So I feel ok about where things stand right now — I just would really like to find a great new job, stat.