I gave a fair bit of thought as to what to call this article. Some of the names that I thought of were “The privilege of being on the path to FI” and “The Good fortune of being on the path to FI”. I settled on Gratitude instead as for me this allows for appreciating the luck, good fortune and privilege of being on the FI journey whilst not making it seem like it was all random without any effort and awesome work from yourself included.
My Buddhist background
After graduating Uni I had a gap year, and during this year I got heavily into Buddhism after reading ‘The Art of Happiness’ by the Dalai Lama. Over the next couple years, I studied Buddhism very closely and read countless books on the subject, I even went to see the Dalai Lama in Manchester as well as going to a couple of weekend meditation retreats. I will no doubt do a future article on my experiences and thoughts on Buddhism but it’s worth clarifying that I was only ever interested in Modern Buddhism (no literal rebirth, Karma, nirvana) and that I don’t consider myself a Buddhist anymore. I mention this however as I am no doubt very influenced by much of what I learnt and am still very grateful for some useful ideas/practises I picked up during this time. This has no doubt informed the creation of this article.
So what do I mean when I talk about gratitude about being on the path toward FI. I simply mean acknowledging, appreciating and being grateful for the good fortune, privilege that you have for being on this path towards FI. There is no doubt that some people will feel that they are independent and are completely self made. They have put all the effort in, worked two jobs, learnt about how to achieve FI and have been disciplined throughout the process. Other people who are not pursuing FI could for sure be in the same position as me if only they tried harder, retooled, got that degree, worked day and night to start a new business etc… Now I believe that the above sentiment is indeed true up to a point and that you can be a relatively independent person but that this is in no way the absolute truth. There is so much more at play, so much that we have no control over.
Now all of what I state below is meant to be the generalities, it’s all about probabilities. A person born in a country without many freedoms or options to a poor family with an abusive relationship with parents still could end up on his path. But I would argue it is much less likely.
Time period & Country you are born into
I feel very fortunate to have been born in this time period that we currently live in as a well as a modern free country (relative yet again). We are performing so well on so many different quality of life metrics and things keep improving. This is not to deny problems and areas where there is decline but I feel so fortunate to not live in a world dominated by superstition, unequal rights, real poverty etc. Just having access to the Internet, a warm house with running water and a hot shower is bliss. We have so many luxuries available to us and countless activities you can partake in in the modern world many of which we of course naturally take for granted. Having this setup as a foundation for which to build FI on is the take home here, we live in a time period and country where FI is a possibility for probably more people than it ever has been at any time before.
Continue reading “Gratitude for being on the Path to FI”
I thought it would be nice to make a short post while chilling in the lobby of my hotel during the final day of my lads holiday outing to Amsterdam. It’s lovely just to sit back on a nice sofa with gentle music playing. Watching people and the world go by… it feels like it’s been hours already but that’s another side effect of being in the dam :D.
Pre FI Aware Days
Some of my most fondest memories come from going on family holidays when younger. The feeling of just being on holiday where most of your daily worries can just be parked or put on hold for a week or two. It’s interesting when your entire surroundings change for a period of time. I love that nothing NEEDS to be done but there are always things to be doing on holiday even when that includes specifically not doing anything at all. I used to look forward to my yearly big holiday which included Florida or New York at the time. I would spend a fairly large sum of money and take lots of spending money too. I usually paid for the holidays in full on CC and then would pay them off over several months.
Since learning about FI
I for the past few years have gone to European destinations at least once a year. I always look for a good deal, go on a weekday etc. I certainly have not lost the joy of looking forward to and of being on a holiday but the days of multi thousand pound holiday are things of the past for now. I much prefer to go to 3 star if I can help it rather than a 4 or 5 although right now I am sitting in a 5 star lobby due to an irresistible deal… To try and be as efficient with money as possible though – I use a Revolut card so I can get the best travel currency exchange rate and withdraw from cash points without being charged (£200 limit a month). I get travel insurance for like £5 online and I don’t waste money on drinks/snacks that are charged at ridiculous prices. I find a supermarket and get better priced goods or simply take bottles of water out with me to help save.
I am certainly not a complete spendthrift though. I enjoy eating out, paying for experiences and activities out. I had a Chinese massage and speedboat ride earlier.. I did the speedboat ride first hehe. As of now, I still have only spent £250 over 5 full days though, so not bad. Money well spent for me. Maybe what makes these holidays even easier for me to justify is that they are still coming out of my matched bettings winnings and the next 4 or 5 holidays are already covered :D.
Local trips & Staycation
I have recently been going to more places in the UK itself and have recently gone on many day trips to Liverpool and Manchester etc. I definitely don’t need to go abroad just to have a good time. I have had many staycations during he last few years also. It’s interesting how sometimes I get a strange reaction from people at work when I tell them I am not actually going anywhere on holiday but simply am having a staycation. I even had a two week staycation a year or so ago where I wanted a 2 week kind of trial of being FI to see how I would find it – it went well albeit two weeks simply being used mostly to relax from having worked for so long.
So do you all still go on holidays? Have you reigned it in completely or do you still have a guilty pleasure of a traditional holiday that can’t budge?
Chris – The FI Journey
There are many people who are pursuing FI almost solely it seems to escape the so called ‘Rat Race’. I am sure we can all relate to this in some way ourselves as work isn’t usually a place we go to beaming with energy and excitement looking forward to another day. Fridays don’t tend to be the most depressing day with Mondays being the best due to us having a whole week of wonderful bliss fueled work ahead! I have read so many FI forum posts over the years of people dreaming of never having to work for their awful boss anymore, no more long traffic filled commutes, no more office politics, no more writing TPS Reports! The list of things at work which we despise can be long indeed and being able to escape these things can be a huge motivator in striding towards FI.
You apparently didn’t put one of the new coversheets on your TPS reports – Office Space Movie quote
Despite work not being perfect and still providing frustrations at times, I have definitely changed my views over the last few years as I have been in both a really bad job and now find myself in a really good job. This post will discuss my ever evolving thoughts on Escaping the Rat Race.
Work before FI
Its interesting trying to remember exactly how I viewed work before I started on this path to FI. I had only been working for 4 years from the age of 23 as I finished Uni at 22 and then had a gap year. I got into the FI world as it were at 27 so I hadn’t been working for very long without having FI as an ultimate future possibility. I do recall not feeling like rushing into work which is exactly why having 3 months off after graduating from Uni turned into 6 months and then finally into 1 year. I remember thinking that I will be working for the rest of my life so why rush, I have earnt a break after working hard (I was never one to leave assignment of the FYP (Final Year Project) till the last week or few days before hand in :D…. oh no wait, that was me!).
I think at this time my priorities were more on things that were happening at that moment. I certainly didn’t think about retiring early or that I might be able to do so. I was just like everyone else it seemed who used a credit card for certain stuff, my monthly money came to an end before the month itself usually so the last week was usually tight. I really needed that money to go in on pay day and it was a relief. I did feel under more pressure at work because of this bigger reliance on needing the cash and being hit negatively so quickly if I didn’t have it. Work was just something we all HAD to do for money we DESPERATELY needed.
Work in the early FI Days – The Bad Job
A big driver of my initial interest in FI was to escape the rat race. I loved to read articles and stories of people who needed to no longer work for an income. Work really was something I disliked. I had an awful boss who was very nasty, there was a really bad work atmosphere because of him. We had unmanageable work loads where it felt like you was setup for failure because in doing something, there would always be something you wasn’t doing that would be highlighted. The thought of being able to escape this situation was just awesome. The idea of FU money seemed to appeal more when having an awful boss.
Continue reading “Escaping the Rat Race”