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”
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”
When I was working at my previous place, I had a conversation with a work friend of my mine about Financial Independence. This came about because he was talking about how he had just come into a fair sum of money (£10,000) and he was not sure what to spend it on. New car?, Las Vegas? He really didn’t know what to do with it. I chimed in and said well why not invest most of it and treat yourself to something with £1,000 or something.
The conversation progressed and we spoke about it a few other times. Now at this point, I was fairly new to all of this FI business and was hooked on learning more and enjoyed talking about it more openly. I told him that with my current savings rate and a fair wind I could stop working in 23 years time at 50 and all my necessities would be met – £1000 a month with house owned. I didn’t tell him I saved over £1k a month but he could tell it was prob close to that, he was shocked… shocked that I would sacrifice so much fun, joy, entertainment for some future in 23 years time that might not even come and when it did just to live on basics covered only. He proudly said “Live for now man, spend now while you’re still young and healthy”.
Live for now or later
This idea that I might be depriving myself wasn’t something new to me. I had heard it many times on forums and comments on certain blogs. There was a dichotomy set up of live for now OR live for later. Below are common things I have heard online, in real life and that I have come up with when thinking about it:
- You’re only young once
- Stop sacrificing your happiness now for future happiness that might not come or not even be what you thought it would be
- You could lose all that money, if you spend it on doing things then you will actually get use out of it
- Stop living your life on fast forward, why do you want to race to being older. It’s like you are racing towards the box.
- You won’t enjoy your money as much when you’re older
- You are restricting your life far too much
- In short – you are depriving yourself
Am I depriving myself? Am I living my life on fast forward desperate to get to future FI. Now I think these are great questions and it’s easy to simply say no, of course not! and be done with it but there often can be some truth in the general view that you could be depriving yourself in the here and now whilst on the journey. I have certainly come to see this with myself.
Examples of my deprived life
- I could go on several holidays a year all around the world with many weekends away (Paris & New York even would be on the table every now and then)
- I could own a Mercedes car, even a Porsche if I wanted instead of regular basic car
- I could buy £200 jeans and have a full wardrobe of designer clothes but I buy from Sainsbury’s or Tesco instead
- I could have all sorts of gold chains and expensive watches but I don’t
- I could have a 70inch TV and buy new technology and stuff for my house almost every month.
- I could buy Sainsbury’s tase the difference or Tesco finest selections on all my food. I could eat like a king!
Continue reading “Depriving yourself whilst on the journey”