A common question that kept coming up at FinCon is “Why am I pursuing the FIRE lifestyle.” Great question, tough answer.
There is the easy answer of “I don’t want to go to work anymore” but that doesn’t quite do my thoughts on the matter justice.
I have a Hate/Love/Hate relationship with work
Hate letting someone else control my decisions
love (some) of my co-workers
Hate corporate politics and jargon……”Cross compartmental collaboration” anyone?
Love the regular paycheck and getting paid to drink beer (PTO)
Hate putting my future in the hands of someone else
Love solving problems
Hate the fact that I am not passionate about the problems I solved
3000 Bus Rides
Hate doing the same thing twice a day 5 times a week…… and this is where the 3,000 bus rides comes from.
Over the last 6 years, I have scanned my bus pass and boarded a bus in the morning…….then 8-ish hours later I scan and board the bus again to come home. 3,000 times I have seen the same things on the route to/from our house.
And to think that I have proclaimed my love for the bus…..But…
The bus is the lesser of two evils.
I “love” the bus because it beats driving. But I don’t really love it. It’s like choosing between getting kicked in the shin or punched in the crotch. One may be better than the other, but I don’t particularly love the idea of either.
Do I actually love anything about work?
That thought led me to think about the things I like about my job.
Flexibility! Sounds cool, and I might have more autonomy than the person sitting next to me. But having a “flexible” job is still a job, and a hell of a lot less flexible than no job (Shin or Crotch?)
Working as a team! Wait….. we are working to solve problems that I honestly don’t care about. I have spent a year on a successful project and didn’t feel anything outside of “I can put this on my performance report for next year” (Crotch or Shin?)
As I churned through the majority of the “love” column, the only thing that couldn’t be improved by ditching the job was a steady paycheck.
Money is essentially control. The less you have, the more dependent you are on the source.
I don’t like to be controlled.
Which is where a huge part of our FIRE pursuit comes in. If I waited to completely figure out our future plans (travel, projects, hobbies, etc) before making this push it would cost years. Years of work and lost years of investment gains, and I am not willing to give that up.
We have tackled saving and investing in a very iterative approach and I can’t complain about the results. Why not tackle our “retirement” plans the same way. As we experience things we love we move it over to the “Do more” column.
Example: FinCon was an amazing experience, I will do more of that.
So while I might not have it all figured out yet – I at least know a few things I DON’T want to do. 3,000 more Bus Rides are likely in my future, but not 5,000 more if we play our cards right.