Everyone has different motivations behind why they want to become financially independent and retire early. Working towards financial independence is an admiral goal. And one of the first steps is to really know why you are doing it. Knowing why you want to become financially independent will help motivate you. Help you stick the course. Help you realise there is another way to live your life.
So why do you want to FIRE?
Personally, I have several reasons why I want to become financially independent and retire early. I keep these reasons in my mind, and written on my wall above my monitor (not at work- think I would get funny looks then) helps keep me motivated. But enough about me, here are several reasons why I think people want to FIRE. Let’s see if I can cover your reason for FIRE.
Spending time with the family?
Do you want to spend more time with your children? Especially when they are young. Or do you want to spend more time with your parents, since they are growing older every day. You can never get that time back.
Do you want to spend more time with friends? I remember in university and high school friendships felt more real. You spent more time with one another. In this professional working world, everyone is overworked throughout the week. And when the weekend comes everyone wants to blow steam to decompress from the workweek.
There is little time for real friendships. The week is mundane and soul-sucking, and at the weekend you have to be overly active and do exciting things to overcompensate. It’s a boom and bust cycle.
I want to develop a slower lifestyle where you can spend quality time with friend and family and not be limited by the weekend.
Travelling the world? (or even your home country?)
Do you want to travel the world? Visit exotic places and experience a new culture. Do you want to travel your own country from top to bottom (or side to side)? I live in New Zealand, and there are parts of this country I haven’t even visited yet. Like Fiordland in the deep south.
The same “weekend” effect can be seen in travel. Since we spend so much time at work and have limited vacation days, we seem to want to go boom with our vacations. We have to travel to exotic places and have an amazing experience 24/7 for a week or two. It’s full-on.
Becoming FIRE will let you travel slow. No more cramping 7 activities into one day and frantically travelling from one place to another. Being FIRE allows you to travel to a place and really take in the culture and sights. To not have a set schedule, and let you choose your own path.
You could choose to stay at a place as long or as short as you want.
Expanding your mind?
Do you want more time to expand your mind? To have the time to sit down and learn new things. To read to your heart’s content. Maybe go back to university and start a new vocation?
Maybe you want to learn a new language. I have always loved the idea of learning a new language, or skill. And it’s not that I don’t take the time to expand my mind currently. It’s just that work takes so much life energy out of you that when you get home you spend the evenings decompressing.
Once you have achieved FIRE, you can spend every and any day expanding your mind with whatever takes your fancy. With the energy that it requires. Really put all your focus into learning and have the mental energy to learn it well.
Pursuing your dreams?
Do you have a dream that you want to pursue? Remember when you were growing up and you had dreams. Before you started your soul-sucking 9 to 5 job. Do you still remember what they were? Do you know what your dreams are now?
Being financially independent will allow you to pursue your dreams, take risks, and explore what makes you truly happy.
Do you have a hobby that has been neglected over several years that you want to get back to, but can’t find the time? I was an advert woodworker for several high school and university years. Now I can’t find the time to really spend a day working on projects that have been sitting around for years. Waiting to be completed.
Do you want to volunteer your time to help those in need? Make a real difference to people’s lives, rather than preparing reports for someone you don’t really care about, that you know nobody will read.
Volunteering and helping people, animals, or conservation efforts is very rewarding. Becoming financially independent will afford you the time to truly make a difference.
Managing your own time?
Do you want to manage your own time? Rather than exchanging this precious resource for money. Do you want to take control of simple things such as what time your lunch break will be? Being able to schedule your own calendar every day of the week, rather than only two days a week.
FIRE will allow you to do that too.
Quitting the commute?
Do you detest your daily commute? Sitting in traffic surrounded by people anxiously trying to get to work on time. Pushy drivers trying to squeeze in front of one more car in the hopes of getting to work slightly faster.
The wasted time sitting in a car on the commute to work is another big reason for me to want to become FIRE. There is so much time and money wasted when everyone is forced to travel to work at the same time. And then there is the mental toll traffic takes. No one is happy to sit in traffic.
Do you want true freedom? Choices? Options? Being financially independent doesn’t mean you have to retire. In Fact, it means you don’t have to do anything. You are free to choose any options you want.
Stay at work if you love it, but at the same time know that if the job becomes unbearable you can leave. Retire from work and go travelling, read books, help others. Do whatever it is that makes you fulfilled. Train for a marathon. You will have endless options when you become FIRE. You will be truly free to do what you want.
All of the above reasons motivate me to become FIRE. But it is more than anyone of them. It is all about having options and choices. Regaining the control of my time. I don’t think that when I reach the FIRE number that I would actually retire from any sort of work. More than I would take the time to reevaluate my current position and be comfortable in the fact that I could just leave if I didn’t enjoy this anymore. Or that if I decided to, I could spend more time with my family if we chose to have one. Then again, I could quit and start travelling the world full-time.
There are parts of all the above reasons in my motivations to achieve FIRE. The only thing in common is that they all don’t involve having to go to work and sit in front of a computer screen crunching numbers while the world passes by outside. Sure it is OK when it is raining outside, but dam, if the sun is shining it’s terrible.
Basically, I don’t want to be trading my time for money. And my time is essentially my life. I literally want to stop trading days of my life for money. Also, I enjoy the journey. Getting nerdy with numbers and graphs. And following the 10 Steps Needed To Achieve Financial Independence In New Zealand.
Does that cover all the reasons you want to FIRE? Or have I left one of them out? What motivates you to try to achieve FIRE.
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