How much are you willing to sacrifice to be financially independent? Are you willing to be extreme that if you have debt you deserve nothing out of the ordinary? Or, are you not willing to sacrifice your current lifestyle for said financial independence?
What you are willing, or alternately, not willing to do greatly affect your financial independence. For someone like myself who loves clothing, travel, healthy eating and items of quality, it can be a difficult decision to give all or part of it up to become financially independent. Throw into the mix only a single income with zero side hustles and the endeavor of independence can prove even more challenging.
How much will, determination and perseverance do you have within you to achieve Financial Independence?
I had an amusing conversation with my mother this past weekend as I tried to persuade her 71 years to get off the couch and help vacuum the house. She has semi-decided to give up on life and takes some heavy persuasion to do things. She’s akin to a four year old with a will of iron. After five minutes of what I like to call “senior wrangling” (which I will note should offer a salary), my mother brought up an astute and interesting point in her argument:
[quote style=”boxed”]Michelle, you have never known hardship in your life.[/quote]
This was her reasoning for not wanting to vacuum. For my mother, the first 27 years of her life were difficult. Imagine yourself for a moment, as a young child again. Instead of having a meal before you, you have to walk and beg for your meal. In bare feet, you walk the roads, your message simple: “Can you spare some milk?” You want nothing more. You do not long for electronic gadgets, fancy smartphones or lavish hotel rooms; all you desire is some milk or food. You have no idea where your next meal is coming from. Your only aspiration is to leave this place and find something better for your life. With no idea where your next meal is coming from, you are willing to take a leap of faith. A leap of faith that moves you to another country, a foreign destination where friends and family are few. That was the beginnings of my mothers’ life and the extreme opposite of mine.
As a youth, I grew up with everything, or almost everything. Kids in high school nicknamed me “Rich bitch”. I could not stand it when they called me that. We were a frugal middle class family and I did have some luxuries that other kids didn’t have. The yearly family trip wasn’t to Disney; instead, it was a trip to Hawaii. Just as if I were to say Mercedes Benz to you, the same analogy goes for Hawaii – what do you think of? The first thought to cross your mind is luxury and richness. Although my high school friends made assumptions, what they did not know was my father saved for these trips diligently and travelled frugally. We never stayed in five star resorts; instead, we had bed and breakfasts for accommodations with a continental breakfast. Lunches were from a grocery store or local market and dinners were the only time we had the five star treatment.
My father was also the sole income earner in the house, as my mother was a stay at home mom. I regularly wonder why it’s so difficult for me to achieve what my father did. It’s hard to make a comparison between now and then as so many things have changed in our world today. House prices are significantly higher compared to wages, the rate of inflation is higher and interest rates are lower.
Are these just excuses? YES and NO. The house to wage ratio is an issue.
My father NEVER owned a brand new vehicle until he was in his sixties; it was always used cars. He still owns the same 37 inch tube (remember those?) TV because it “still works”. My parents still have the same bedroom furniture from the seventies and their living room set is about twenty years old. We rarely had meals out at restaurants but when we did, it had been saved for and we would have a higher quality meal at a nice restaurant. My first car was not a brand new car out of a John Hughes teen saga (remember Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink?) but instead a very frugal 1988 Plymouth Horizon. A deal was made between my father and me that if he paid the $600 for it; I had to take the money from my part time job to pay for gas and insurance. One of my first money lessons.
The conversation with my mother and thoughts of my childhood further instilled the fact of the need for frugality to achieve financial independence. If you want to achieve anything in life, you must spend less than you make, live frugally (not necessarily cheap) and stay the course no matter what roadblock or setback comes your way.
What have I sacrificed?
Sometimes, I believe not enough but I can only move forward and not dwell on the past. Travel, groceries, restaurants and clothing are all on my list of items being squeezed. Without making changes, you cannot reach your destination.
That, my friends, is your Monday Morning Wisdom on Financial Independence.
A general calculation for the time required to reach financial independence is as follows:
An example of someone making $30k/year, with yearly expenses of $10k, paying 25% taxes, with a savings rate of 75%, a net worth of $5k, and withdrawing 4% per year: