“Why do you care so much about money?” “There’s so much more to life than money.” “Don’t you think you should focus on something other than money?”
These are just a few things I’ve heard about money since my family’s journey for FIRE (financial independence, retire early) began.
There may have been a time when having a large sum of money was important to me, but as my quest unfolds, money surprisingly becomes less important.
We are in the FIRE community, how could that be? If you are new to the FIRE concept, it’s easy to believe that it’s all about money.
However, as you make friends and have conversations, you begin to understand that very few people actually desire to be rich.
While money plays an important role in my journey, a life with lots of free time is the picture that becomes clear every time my wife and I complete a budget, invest, and discuss our finances.
Money is an infinite resource. You can have as much of it as you want if you are willing to work hard enough. However, you can’t purchase more time in a day or more years in a life.
By managing our money properly, we afford ourselves the freedom to live and work on our own terms, and that is the true beauty of FIRE.
Saving and investing are priorities in my life, but they fall below several things that are so much more important, such as:
Nothing would make me happier than spending more time with my family than at my job. My wife and I currently spend 40-50 hours per week working and only a few hours a day (if we’re lucky) with our son.
This is my number one priority and reason for chasing FIRE. I want to watch my son and future children grow and be available whenever they need me. I would also love to spend more time dating my wife than giving presentations to my boss at work.
Family is one of my Four Walls of FIRE because in order for my life to feel complete, I want my family to be whole and happy.
Retiring early doesn’t necessarily mean never working again. I would love to work on my side hustles or even have a part time job working when and where I want to.
FIRE allows us to follow our passions and do what we love. Equally important, it allows us to stop doing whatever we dislike. For those who dread going to work every day, FIRE is for you.
Aside from the freedom from work that FIRE allows, I would like to be location independent. I would love nothing more than to live in a quiet area with lots of land.
Unfortunately, when we are forced to follow the work, we tend to end up in higher cost of living areas. Reaching FIRE will give my family the opportunity to live wherever we choose and not count on a strong job market in the area.
While I do have a family member who reached FIRE by 40, financial management wasn’t a focal point in my upbringing.
The last thing I want to do is leave my son a large sum of money and no financial education.
By managing my finances properly to set the example and acting as a lifelong mentor, I strive to change my family tree. Teaching him the value of hard work and making wise decisions far outweighs any amount of money that I could give him.
Whether you’re on a mission to achieve FIRE, have already reached your goal, or are new to the FIRE community, I encourage you to come up with a “why” of your own.
Money is important, but it should be used as a launch pad for your other priorities in life.
Upon reaching financial independence, what does life look like for you? What priorities do you have that are greater than money?