Do you love your job? I hope you do, and that’s great. But things can change…
I used to love my job, but at some point in my career my values and my employer’s just didn‘t seem to match any more.
And after the nth restructuring and a fairly obvious if unofficial company policy to let go senior personnel and replace them with cheaper, junior staff, I found myself in a position that wasn‘t sustainable. The division I headed was dissolved and I was assigned to a new boss.
My old boss had been fired in this latest shake-up and I did not care to work for the new one. My new role wasn‘t bad per se, but I had been weekly commuting 500 km each way between my home and family and my job for almost six years by then, and my prospects at the company were not appealing enough – nor obviously meant to be – to be worth this trade-off in quality of life long-term.
Being prepared helps
Very fortunately though, we were financially prepared for this kind of situation. Both my husband and I always worked full time, actually quite more in terms of hours, in very well paying jobs. But different from most of our colleagues we had lived below our means and saved a high percentage of our salaries.
Had I been aware of financial planning earlier we would probably have invested our savings much more strategically from the beginning. As it is, we were well into our thirties when we started to seriously think about wealth-building and creating income streams independent of our salaries. This was not about aspiring to become rich but about building our own safety net in a business environment where employees older than 50 years are a rare sighting.
Maybe it’s different in your workplace, e.g. if you have a secure government job, but from what I’ve seen during the last years, this phenomenom has really spread across most industries. So even if you continue to love your job and your company they might just not love you back as much at some point. Should that happen I guarantee you that you will be very happy if you are not entirely dependent on your salary, and can at least take your time in finding a new job.
F*** You Money buys you options
Even in countries where you are entitled to unemployment benefits such as in Germany where I live, it will give you a boost of self-confidence when interacting with the job center. Having sufficient F*** You Money when things started to turn nasty in my job has been truly liberating for me. I’ve eventually decided to forgo employed work and try new things such as writing this blog.
My husband still loves his work and has no intention to stop anytime soon. Nevertheless, the ultimate goal of our financial planning journey is to reach financial independence as a couple. To us, this means that paid work for a living is completely optional.
It does not mean that we won’t be working in a job or on projects if something interests us, and if we make money doing that, fine. We just won’t have to. (That’s why I find the label „financial independence“ or FI more appropriate than FIRE). Due to our asset structure we are not going by the 4% or 25x expenses rule used a lot in the FIRE community either, but that’s a topic for a separate post.
Start your own Financial Independence journey
No matter if your own goal is FIRE, to become FI, or just to get on top of your personal finances, I want to support you on this journey by sharing my own experiences, insights and thoughts and by motivating you to stay on track. It’s truly worth it!
What I also want to share is the mistakes we made in investing, and what we learned from them. Reading some of the FI/FIRE blogs, one might get discouraged by how easily other people seem to have achieved a huge and constantly rising net worth. It is important to be aware, though, that the FIRE movement, dominated by US bloggers, has only really become big during the very long running bull market after the big recession.
For anyone who’s held investments in the stock market from the 1990s, the path to financial independence has probably been more bumpy. On top of that, the tax and retirement systems in the US differ a lot from those in Europe, resulting in a bias towards equity investment in the US, which – magnified by the bull market – is the driver behind a lot of high growth-rates in net worth throughout the FIRE community. So I hope you will benefit both from finding some things to copy and others to avoid from our journey towards financial independence.
Feel free to get in touch any time.
Financial Independence Rocks!