I love the freedom that this mindset gives. My monthly outlays are so low that I could do most any job and still easily support my standard of living. Half if not more of every dollar I earn currently goes towards savings and investments and I hope to continue to grow that savings rate further.
Currently I live in New York City with my girlfriend and two cats. We work six days a week and love most every minute of it. I am in a highly competitive tech sales field and she works double duty in books and fitness. We have kept a pretty heavy pacing of work over the past two years and do not see an end in sight, but I know change is always coming. I often think about how people at the New Years are planning the next year. In reality we already know what that is generally going to look like very often because it is extremely close! We have planned vacations or dates, life events are planned months in advance. We don’t have time to take a long view because it creeps up on you very quickly.
I would prefer to take the New Year to reassess my five year plan out to 2022, and I invite you to do the same. I have no idea the next steps along the path of my road to success however I think it is prudent to plan the end goal to have at least something to aim at. I do not think it best to pin ourselves down or be too hard on ourselves about our goals, because we could die any day and enjoying life should be a major priority. Having goals and drive however, will help you enjoy life as well – experiencing the feelings of effort, stress, and accomplishment.
It will be interesting to see how this piece looks in retrospect, and how they evolve in the future.
Poverty Level FI by 34
I currently operate from a mindset of freedom, but by mid 30’s I expect to at least be at the poverty line in regards to the 3-4% rule. I do not plan to sit back and retire early, but I will feel more comfortable shifting to riskier and more interesting ventures at that time. My girlfriend’s current debt level of $100,000 in student loans makes this a bit more difficult, but we play Life on hard mode and don’t worry about complaining. I do not expect to stop at this point but I may be able to relax a little bit more mentally.
Timeline: 34 – 35 years old
Married with Kids
I grew up with a very small immediate family. Father is an only child and my mother’s only brother is a childfree child himself. I generally prefer not having a typical large family as my experience is that they tend to get in the way and take up time. At this stage of my life I generally cannot afford to give my time up to anyone, I barely have time for myself to be frank. However some day in the distant future I fully expect to settle down and want to teach mini versions of myself how to survive and thrive even better than I have. I love animals and for now I can only handle dealing with cats, but I do believe sane and educated people have a responsibility to propagate purely to combat the teeming masses of mouth breathers born daily.
Timeline: 29-32 years old
NYC Home Base
NYC is my home and it is difficult to explain the hold it has over me. I generally am more of an outdoorsy person that hates crowds and other people. Something about New York though, you can just feed off the energy that is everywhere in the city. I can’t imagine leaving for good and I expect to be here for a few more years at least before the next move. Having my family based in the metro region as well as my current real estate investments and contacts makes it likely I should plan for a base of operations in the most cost effective manner for the coming years. This will likely occur gradually as I build up my rental portfolio as I do not see value in the SFH market in the tri-state currently. Spreading my rentals across a few towns in the region will help for variety as well as diversification to some degree. Its very difficult to tell what is going to be nice with some of the systemic problems, and extremely difficult to afford the desirable places in this wealth accumulation phase.
Timeline: 33-35 years old
Masters Degree Abroad
One of my major goals and reasons for aiming at financial independence is my desire to pursue education abroad. I was unfortunately a terrible student in college and was not eligible for any Study Abroad programs. I wasn’t studying at home so why would they let me study abroad eh? My extended family is all mainly still situated in Bavaria in southern Germany, and every time I visit I fall more in love. I did my undergrad degree in a business discipline because I wanted to have a secure future, it would feel the height of luxury if I were able to go back and study Enlightenment era philosophy or European Public Policy purely to satisfy my own interests. Reading and taking life easy in the farmlands of Bavaria would be blissful and also extremely cost effective. In comparison to US degrees, Europe costs pennies on the dollar. My girlfriend feels the same way so while it may be crazy its not impossible. This is a more out there goal to be sure, and requires a good degree of hustle on my part to get to a comfortable financial position by then.
Timeline: 35-38 years old
I do not like to travel too much so this may be a bit of a stretch but I hope to eventually set up some measure of home base in the nicest beach city I can afford. Growing up, the Jersey shore is the main hotspot for clean and enjoyable beaches within some realm of accessibility of Manhattan, but I am not the biggest fan. There is not much appealing on the East Coast that I’d be interested in, so it is mainly looking like a California future is ahead. I am often told I would fit in well out west with my mannerisms and mentality, so in my near future I expect to start visiting the major spots on my list to be able to accurately plan further.
Timeline: 35 – 40 years old
Volunteering with Animals
Another main reason why one should focus on Financial Independence is the freedom to give back to the community and country that has allowed us to attain this level of success. I have spent much of my life volunteering with Animal Welfare organizations and fully expect to throw myself deeper in as I get older. Unfortunately I need to focus on becoming financially stable now, so this will have to wait, but I expect to at least go back to regular volunteering if not a more in depth community organizing role. I have been around presidents of these organizations to the extent that I can feasibly see myself not wanting the headache of running one, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.
Timeline: 35 – 40 years old
I have no real belief in the myth of passive income. I read a classic book when I was younger that coined the term TANSTAAFL.
There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
If you think there is then you are dreaming. So my goal is not to pursue the mythical sit back and do nothing money, but to aim at a more lifestyle friendly business. I have been in Marketing and Sales for almost a decade at this point and I want to develop my capacity to work remotely. It is no secret that half of the draw for digital marketing and internet related jobs is the work from anywhere on your computer setup. In the future I see us heading towards it would be embarrassing to not have a more in depth hand and presence in the Internet. There is so much opportunity online, slowly but surely I will continue my education and testing to break in.
Timeline: Present to Perpetuity
I enjoy physical labor. Limited amounts to be sure. Having a renovation project or a home to get some sweat equity in excites me. I really enjoy grabbing a beer, some music, and painting and sanding till two in the morning. I do not see myself purchasing my own primary residence any time soon but I do expect to continue to comb the market for good deals on small multi-family homes with my business partners. There is so many future synergies with anything regarding real estate, I plan to buy and hold as many strong cash flow units as I can until I can create a property management and development company to take care of the grunt work. The tax benefits are also amazing as well and I am lucky to have found similar minded partners to pursue these goals with. Full dream would be to end up with a few higher cash flowing ones possibly trading up into small apartment buildings. Ideally at least one multi family on the cliffs overlooking Manhattan – the possibility for multi-generation style housing with a view sounds like a win to me.
Timeline: Present – 45 years old
It’s messed up but this is what New York does to you. It’s not FIRE. You can’t even really think like that in the atmosphere. It’s designed to actively attack such thoughts about savings and fiscal security. Every day I wade through tourists at Times and Herald square that are frivolously spending money left and right. The whole city is about making and spending money. Now while I am not one for consumerism at all, I certainly do have the desire to just be able to fully enjoy everything the city has to offer. Food, shows, apartments, it is impossible to live in this city and not have big goals. This feeling is addictive and incredibly wasteful – generally not my style. Who doesn’t want to enjoy the best things in life at least to a moderate degree? Do we not work hard enough to deserve them? I will reassess as time goes but I think that it gives life a very strong edge – being out hunting. I could see myself dying from boredom if I retired at 35.
The goal is very simple, freedom, it just requires some progress from my initial starting point. I am not one of those trying to retire early and do nothing from my early thirties on. Mainly I cannot abide the thought of being 40+ years old and not fully in control of how I spend my time. Where people initially used to focus on becoming C Suite execs or middle management, I would instead prefer to focus on location independence and minor entrepreneurial efforts. I never had a penchant for people management, and in my experience I have seen pay be distorted towards revenue driving roles and not management.
I have not found true enjoyment in my job in business yet, but I have found a skillset in Sales that will take me there – there is a way to make money and enjoy work at the same time. I believe the Tech Sales industry is going to explode in the near future even further than it has today. If I continue to work on my abilities and with market maturation I hope to be able to sell the technology that furthers mankind – whether that be micro-satellite bandwidth or the first Robot Personal Assistant. I would love to be able to participate in a product or field where I truly feel that I am helping further our species and its growth.
What about you? Have you set your goals for 2022?