What Does Financial Freedom Mean for You + What would you do with it?

by | April 29, 2018 | 0 comments

Do you have a financial independence goal clearly stated. A number which motivates you, and more importantly a reason behind it, a WHY, that spurs you towards the goal’s attainment?

The question went out to both friends and strangers, “How much money would you need before you never had to work again, and how would you spend your time once you had financial freedom?”
I’m sharing the results.
Most people never thought about it. They reacted surprised like I had asked them to describe the orbital patterns of electrons in a plutonium isotope. Not surprisingly, these were the people most likely to be in debt.
Do you have stated financial goal? Not only is a stated/written goal motivating, people who set them, are much much much more likely to actually achieve them. Know where you are going and have a clear WHY. Most people will never get to the destination of financial freedom, and the lack of it of ever being a clear goal is a major deterrent. Have to know where you’re going, because the odds of ending up there randomly, approximate your odds of winning the lottery.

The way financial independence is often measured is 25x your annual budget, in liquid assets. This allows you to withdraw 4% of the total each year, and have the money tree replenish itself with at least an equal amount of fruit each year from investments.  
You can lead a very good lifestyle on $60,000 per year, so $1.5 million is generally the figure where many would feel comfortable taking their foot off the accelerator and coasting. 
That said, the results were all over the board, from my friend Oleg who halved that total to $750,000, stating he would move back to Uzbekistan where life is cheaper, to a high of 2 billion dollars, basically saying, as several did, “Work, no way, I couldn’t imagine life without it.”
Note, Oleg has chosen to lower his nut. Decreasing one’s budget, in this case by moving to a cheaper location, is a viable strategy that will shave years of toil and effort. 
As for the time aspect, most people would want to continue working on something that would interest them, although a decently high percentage of people stated they would never work again.
The take away here, is set a goal, with a defined WHY. For me it was FREEDOM to do with my time what I wanted and the ability to travel, when I wanted. Decide what it is for you, and magnetize yourself to it. 

Below are a sampling of the responses I received just to share with you how others think. 
(not correcting much for grammar or misspellings)
“1 million. Or two if I lived in California. I’d wake up every day at the same time, like 6, have my coffee and go to the gym or I would definitely be taking the time to train for something big, like a marathon, or take a ninja class, 
I’d do some volunteering around the community. Then kick back on my porch and watch the sun go down. I’d also take some random classes like woodworking and build a kayak, some sewing classes and learn another language.”
“For me, it isn’t about not working. It’s about having the choice to work as much as I want, whenever I want. I’m single with no kids. I’m a dentist. If I had 1.5 million in the bank, I’d radically scale back my hours at work, or maybe shift into a teaching role at a dental school (which would entail a large salary cut). I also could retire happily tomorrow and never work another day in my field. I have nothing but hobbies and random interests I want to explore.”

“For me it Was $3M. (he has achieved this goal) As far as the work … I was a VP of Quality but got sick of that. I’m now working for only $25/hour (far less than I was) but I get to work on just things I find interesting. Stuff like: merger and acquisition, strategic project portfolio management, manufacturing improvements. Really a mixed set but I’m generally using my senior connections and analysis capabilities that I developed while working full time.
I’m definitely not saying this will work for everyone. But if you are ready to retire then you might talk to you work and see if there is an interest in you doing the work part you find interesting for much lower cost to the company. Overused I know but I see it as a “win-win” for me and the company.”

“I retired at 50 with just over $1 million net worth. I gave up regular work and sold my ecommerce store, but I still like to keep myself busy with a few side projects. I wouldn’t like to just sit around and never work again. But I want to do it my own terms. I travel a lot with my wife, so sometime I don’t do any work-related activities for months. But when we’re in one place for a few months I may start a new project.”

“I’ll work on my relationship, my soon to be sweet ass dad bod, playing an instrument (mind you I have no sense of pitch, tone or rhythm). But, yeah. I will likely continue to work. I enjoy adding value (perceived by me). I would love the flexibility to try new industries, I want to be able later in life to be able to assist folks who have limited direction and are seeking help.”

“I would never work another day in my life if I didn’t have to. As jobs go mine is fine, but the only thing it adds to my life is an income. If I were financially independent I might try to start a barbecue stand, but I wouldn’t consider that to be work.”

“My goal is about 1.5mil but if somehow I had 10mil I would probably stop working entirely or just do things that I can do on a laptop during plane trips because then I would just be traveling non-stop until my health prevents me from doing so.”

“The figure I would call it quits at is 2 million. Which after putting away $3,000 a month for 20years is doable.
I would definitely stop working, in the classical term of punching in and out of work 40 hours out of my week. Being someone’s employee and wage slave till I’m 65 just doesn’t seem like a good way to spend my existence. Given the fact that I am a minority and a bit on the Fat side, I would probably be dead by the time I’m 74. Which means after 40 years of service, I get my pension and die 9 years later. Seems kinda sad to me, spend majority of your life just trying to get to retirement only to die soon after.
Financial Independence and Retiring Early simply means I get to make decisions that revolve around me and my needs. I get to call the shots, do I want to commute 1.5 hours today to the city? Wake up at 6am to heat the rush? Drive back in grid lock traffic for 2 hours? I don’t have to do any of that. I don’t have to do it because I don’t needs the money anymore.
I can instead choose to wake up at 8am, walk my dog, hit the gym to get my laps in, and go help my brother fix up his purchased home. I can create my own schedule based on what I feel like doing, without having to worry about making ends meet.”

“Probably, but I’d find a startup doing something really interesting that was willing to take me on working much less than 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, in exchange for a very small paycheck, if any, and reasonable equity for the amount I worked. I’d love to help advance the human race in some way by doing something cool and novel, with a potential for personal gain if it does well, but I don’t want that enough to rock the boat currently when the default option is “collect a decent paycheck for a sure thing, even if it’s not that interesting”.

“A couple million would be enough to do that, though. (I don’t need to totally retire, just enough to be able to go on long trips without a feeling of “when I get back, I will have to look for new employment that will probably not be as good as the employment I had before I “left”.)
Look, these are just a sample of the answers received. Many of these are from reddit in the financial independence sub, people who have given it a lot of thought. Whatever it is for you state your goal, and why you want it, then strategize to attain it.


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