In a sentence (or two):
This site is all about giving you the information to take control of your life, put your finances in order and mentally preparing yourself so that work becomes truly optional. It’s all about building wealth for a happy life, and nothing to do with getting rich quick!
It isn’t going to be easy.
In fact, at times it will be god damn tough.
But you know what? Easy things in life are rarely valuable.
So if you feel like there is something more to this life than a job to pay the bills, then stick around. If not, don’t waste my bandwidth and please click elsewhere.
Read my disclaimer and lets start arresting bad financial habits together…
I’m in already!
Already know about Financial Independence (FI) and don’t need further convincing?
You can skip my introduction below by clicking on these key links to my site:
The Building Blocks to FI – these are the four fundamental steps to reach FI.
Our FI Plan – see how we are planning to achieve financial independence.
Our Numbers – see our numbers: income, expenses, savings rate and debt.
Humans of FI Project – Stories from people on their journey towards FI.
FI Score Test – A calculator, game and test all in one to track your financial progress.
The Ultimate Directory of FIRE Calculators – a huge collection of free calculators, spreadsheets and simulators.
Financial Independence Score Directory – have a nosey around what other people are scoring and learn how they are amassing their wealth.
Sitemap – Every blog post and page on the site listed out.
What is Financial Independence?
FI will ultimately allow me to build enough wealth to have work become optional.
Yes, financial independence means I could retire much younger if I wanted to (late 30s, early 40s perhaps?), but that’s only the start of what could be possible.
There are many definitions to FI. It could be pure where at one end, you no longer need to work, but you have accumulated enough money or passive income (income without work) to cover your expenses.
At the other end is much more loose understanding of FI. Here, it is simply being able to exit the traditional workplace environment but still do some form of work, such as property investment, blogging and so on.
You may have also heard the term FIRE: Financial Independence Retire Early. Although some are trying to re-frame it as Financial Independence Recreational Employment which is more accurate.
For most of us, there is a positive correlation between age and money.
As we age, we tend to earn more. Some quicker than others. Some manage to accumulate wealth along the way.
Others spend at an ever-increasing rate, get into uncontrollable debt, leaving it until it is too late to plan for their retirement and having to work much longer than they had hoped.
Time, on the other hand, is different.
The older we get, the more time poor we become.
Time poor, both in its absolute and its relative term.
We all remember how slow time passed when we were younger. The summer holidays felt like ages. As we got older, our busy lives have made the weeks, months and years feel like they pass by much quicker.
The one thing you will learn about me is that apart from my family, time and therefore my freedom to do what I want is what I cherish most.
“The days are long, but the years are short.” – Gretchen Rubin
FI requires an honest reflection about yourself to determine what it is you value most in life.
Do you value your time or your possessions?
Do you want to go with the crowd or do your own thing?
Do you want the potential stability of a monthly income a normal job provides, or to have flexibility in life by creating your own income stream?
There is no right or wrong answer to this and there is definitely no judgement here.
My wife (Mrs. CFC) and I have spoken on many occasions how we envy people who have the personality to live a care-free life. We look at these people and admire their ability to live without having to constantly think and plan ahead.
There is no judgement here.
It’s your life, live it how you want.
I am here to show you an alternative and how it can be achieved.
Being normal is bad for your health
Growing up, society expects the following from us: study hard and get a career.
Yet, this notion of a ‘career’ comes at a hefty price.
We are increasingly selling more of our limited time and brain-washed through the media, advertisements and poor financial education that the monetary value and the number of material possessions we have are signs of our success.
We live in a time of abundance and waste.
Our parents or grandparents used to think about how they can ensure there is a roof over our heads and where the next meal will come from.
Nowadays, for most of us in a developed country, it is about how we can pay for that new car, have that bigger house or buy that thing we don’t really need. Throw in consumer debt, coupled with lifestyle inflation or ‘lifestyle creep’ (where your spending increases as your income increases), then what we have effectively done is chained ourselves to our jobs until such a time when we can finally ‘retire’.
This is what normal looks like for most of us:
- Wake up early in the morning.
- Rush to get ready for work (have breakfast if we’re lucky).
- Get stuck in traffic on commute.
- Struggle to find parking or battle is public transport.
- Work – if you’re lucky, get a lunch break (a Police Officer? – haha!).
- Finish work late.
- Battle the traffic or public transport back home.
- Rush to prepare something resembling a dinner.
- Prepare clothes for work the next day.
- Sleep and repeat for the next 40+ years.
If we’re lucky, we can retire in our 60s still with a bit of energy and health left in us.
What many people don’t know is that it is absolutely possible to become financially independent much younger and not have to take the gamble of whether or not you will still be healthy.
Increasingly, I am reading about and seeing people working until they are much older.
Worse, ‘retire’ only to have to take on a different form of work (normally lower pay) because they realise that their pension doesn’t quite cover the lifestyle they had become accustomed to. It’s so strange and sad when I see this happen. To retire with all the wealth of knowledge and experience, only to be compensated less for your time.
It makes no logical sense to me at all. In fact, it’s absolutely insane. As you age, surely your time should be more valuable since you have less of it left. It is the basic economic rule of scarcity.
Ah, but wait. The traditional rule of supply and demand does not function here. That’s because we are all replaceable.
The fact that we have less time to live is not a factor in how much we’re worth. We are but a number, in a world that is getting over-populated and where traditional jobs may no longer exist due to automation and global outsourcing.
If you choose to work to keep yourself busy, your mind active or to help society, then that’s a different proposition altogether. However, I would bet that many who work post-retirement are not doing it out of choice.
I honestly believe people fall into this mindset of under-valuing their time due to a poor understanding of how to grow wealth.
This is where the education system from a very young age has let us all down.
At work, I have become accustomed to how little Police Officers understand how money really works. It came as a complete shock for me to hear during one of our well-being talks that Police Officers are one of the highest users of payday loans.
I was not able to find a source for this statistic and the closest thing I could find was a poll conducted by a loan comparison site. However, I have witnessed first-hand how many Police Officers live for their next payday and know very little about their own pensions, let alone how to invest or accumulate wealth. So anecdotally, I can see why a large proportion of Police Officers use payday loans and are so bad with money.
A recent poll I conducted on the site has also strengthened my view that more people need help around how to build wealth.
No Work Hate Here
Now, let me be clear.
This blog is not a hate work blog, nor is it against finding a fulfilling lifelong career.
It is also not about retiring young so that you can sit on the beach drinking cocktails for the rest of your life.
Although, if you follow what I explain on the site, then it’s absolutely possible. However, believe me, life will get unbearably boring pretty quickly if you start doing that in your 30s for the next 60 years!
Even if you love your job (just as much as the cop above), financial independence will give you the ultimate backup plan.
I know very few people who love their job. I know some who enjoy their job (me included), but most are either apathetic about it or just accepts that it is a means to an end.
Bills to pay for and all that jazz.
Here’s a hint to know if you love your job or not.
If you look forward to your days off and find yourself not jumping for joy making your way to work every day, through the rain, the traffic, and not thinking to yourself that at the end of the rainbow is where your office will be, where a single ray of sunlight is glistening on your sweat-stained office chair, then I’m sorry to break it to you, but you don’t love your job.
In which case, to have a job that gives you a sense of security only so you can have half a life is just plain stupid.
I know for sure that no matter how much time I am able to free up once I achieve financial independence, I will still wish for more time to spend with my loved ones towards my final days.
I want to show that FI is possible for even the most modest of public servant salaries.
You really don’t need to be earning a six-figure salary for this to be achievable, but you do need a stable and above average income to achieve FI extremely early (unless you’re happy eating beans on toast indefinitely).
Even if you are considered to be a low-income family, the lessons to achieve FI such as budgeting and maximising income will still stand you in good stead.
By changing my mindset and my relationship with money, I am able to free up extra decades of my life to spend with family, friends or explore the world whilst I am still relatively young and healthy.
I wish someone had told me about this when I was much younger!
I have started to lay the foundations for a Second Generation FI.
I want to show my children that there is another way to live life.
It’s Your Life, Your Choice
This brings me onto a line from one of my favourite movies:
“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” (The Matrix, 1999)
I still enjoy my job. I joined the Police because I consider it to be a vocation. I receive a great sense of satisfaction when I protect a vulnerable victim or an offender receives a lengthy custodial sentence as a result of my investigation.
You might love your job. Will this sense of job satisfaction be guaranteed in say 10 years time if you’re burnt out or working for a horrible boss?
We are constantly under pressure to do more with less. We live in a world that is ever more complicated and unpredictable.
Do you want to take back control of your life and have the option to retire decades earlier? Or perhaps do something completely different which you are truly passionate about and not have to worry about money?
Even if I choose to work after reaching FI, there will be a massive weight lifted off my shoulders knowing that my family’s livelihood does not depend on me working.
That in itself is priceless.
So, which pill would you take?
Note: by clicking to leave, it will take you to one of my first favourite personal finance book. Hey, it’s worth one last try to see if you can get the same value that I did and see what started me on this path!
Humans of FI
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Latest posts by Cashflow Cop (see all)
- How to successfully work from home and not get fired – July 14, 2019
- Financial freedom by making decisions like a Police Commander – July 13, 2019
- How your brain chemicals supercharges the debt snowball method – July 7, 2019