We have made a ton of progress towards our ultimate goal of Financial Independence since I first discovered the concept in early 2014. There have been dozens and dozens of changes, optimizations, and financial goals since then that led us to the position we are in today.
I won’t tell you that it is easy, especially at the beginning. But the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices (and after a few months you realize you’re not even sacrificing much).
I started the Financial Independence Action Series because I wish there was a one-stop, sequential process that I could have followed or at least referenced early on in my journey. Some of this content is not unique (Net Worth Tracking, Savings Rates, etc) but I put it in a sequence that I think makes sense and built out a template to help you track important financial metrics (download below).
Please download the most up-to-date Financial Independence Action Series Template before moving into the first post.
If you are already pursuing Financial Independence, the first few posts might not show you anything new, but as this series builds out I am going to feature other experts in the FI world and highlight the Financial Independence hacks they perfected throughout their journey.
My “Why” For Financial Independence
I didn’t put these in the official FI Action Series format because the reasons are way too personal to template out. I can’t tell you why FI is the right path for you, but I really hope that you drop me a note or comment on one of these posts and let me know what got you started.
Each one of the below posts outlines some reasons we are pursuing the FIRE lifestyle
Retire TO something, not FROM something is consistent advice I hear from the FIRE crowd. I totally get it. I would rather run towards something than from something. But when you aren’t passionate about your job it can be a powerful motivator to find something better.
The biggest barrier to living life on your own terms is money. Needing a regular paycheck keeps you from pursuing your true passions, spending more time with your family and forces you to do things that aren’t appealing.
Money = Choices
If money is the only thing keeping people from living the life they want, Financial Independence is the best way to remove that barrier. This concept resonated with me and I have already seen the changes in my attitude even though our nest egg is nowhere near big enough to walk away from work (yet).
Financial Independence Action Series
Setting your Financial Baseline and Metrics (6 Posts)
Before we can set goals, we need to establish your baseline financial position and metrics. The FI Action Series template is crucial to this section and you will fill out the bulk of it over the next 6 posts.
“What gets measured gets managed” – Peter Drucker
If filling out a spreadsheet sounds boring as hell………….get over it. I don’t love doing it either. But I have seen the benefits of knowing where we stand and it is a must-do step.
The first time we did a spending review was an eye-opening experience. We couldn’t remember what we bought on $100+ trips to Target and seeing how much we spent on food in 30 days was depressing.
Do you know the TOTAL cost of your debt? We look beyond the monthly payment and examine the lifetime cost and the opportunity cost if that money was invested instead of set on fire.
Earn more. Spend more. Earn more. Spend more. You might have slipped into that cycle without even realizing it and it is a deadly destroyer of wealth.
One of my favorite financial metrics, this post looks at how you are allocating your money. I put together 4 different ways to choose from and all the math happens automatically in the FI Action Series Template (link above).
Financial Independence Goals, Accounts, and Approaches (3 Posts)
One of my favorite topics to talk about and track. We have been setting financial goals for the last 3 years and tracking them every quarter. I simply don’t know where we would be without them.
There are really only 2 ways to crush debt. Pay more money or reduce the interest rate. This post focuses on some strategies we have used to kill $85,000 worth of student loans debt.
In 6 years I have increased my salary 136%, from $36,000 to $85,000. I share all the strategies and hacks I have used to make that happen. Financial Independence fuel.
More Coming Soon!
Financial Independence Hacks and Optimizations (1 Post)
This section will be filled with a combination of my experiences and guest posts from friends in the FIRE community that have something to offer that I am not an expert in. After mastering the beginner and intermediate tools, the below topics are more advanced, they may be more difficult, but they can supercharge your progress.
Drew from Guy on FIRE wrote up an intro to House Hacking guide with links back to his more in-depth content. He has gone from a negative net worth to over $500K in 4 years and house hacking is a big part of his success.
More Coming soon!
Related Financial Independence Content
If you want some more FI content beyond the series, take a look at the below posts on Apathy Ends:
I took some time and did the math to get our Financial Independence – Retire Early (FIRE) number. It is based on a 25X multiple of our annual spending with a few safety nets built in.
After finding our magic number, we decided to do run a simulation on how long the journey would actually take. The Mad FIentist simulator is an awesome tool for the FIRE crowd (link to his site below).
Awesome Financial Independence Content outside of the FI Action Series:
Choose FI – Best Financial Independence Podcast around!
Mad FIentist – Has some awesome tools for tracking your Financial Independence progress
Physician on FIRE – His primary audience, no shocker, are physicians. But he has a ton of great FIRE content that applies to us, patients.
Our Next Life – Just pulling the retirement ripcord as I am typing this – if you want some in-depth thought-provoking content, Tanja has it.