The ‘Golden’ Key to Financial Independence
We’ve published blogs on financial independence (FI) before. In them, much of our focus was on the basics or how to prepare and get there. Here, in addition to bridging the gap between now and then, I’d like to focus on financial independence itself and the key to making it successful: Knowing what you’ll do.
My want to revisit the subject might just be tied to watching a little too much of The Golden Girls lately, but it got me thinking. What would Rose, Dorothy, Sophia, and Blanche be doing if their finances didn’t get in the way?
Sure, their lives seem fun — it is a comedic sitcom, after all — but it’s important to remember that both Rose and Dorothy work out of necessity. And Sophia lives with her daughter Dorthy and the girls because of her medical issues (and because her assisted living facility burned down).
The youngest of the group, Blanche, owns the home they live in. While she’s also employed, she seems to work more for enjoyment — or maybe just to satisfy her expensive taste! She appears to be the only one of the Girls who reached true financial independence. She does what she wants!
And planning for financial independence before your golden years all starts with figuring out what you want to do. So …
Envision ‘Future You’
What will “future you” be doing when you reach financial independence?
Retirement has changed drastically over the past century — and since The Golden Girls first aired in 1985. That means you probably won’t spend yours sitting on a rocking chair on the back porch, glancing at that gold watch every so often — or living with roommates-turned-friends in Florida, for that matter.
However, you might relax on that rocking chair after …
- hiking a 14’er,
- going surfing,
- running a marathon,
- exploring an ancient city on foot, or
- playing a double round of golf.
You get the picture. The idea is that you’ll probably want to live an active lifestyle or travel after reaching FI, even if you’re only traveling between home and your vacation home or short-term rental. But recreation and travel aren’t exactly inexpensive, even if you plan to continue working. So plan on what you’ll do.
Plan for ‘Future You’
Some generic rules exist for how much money to have stashed so you can “retire” at a certain age. While you could shoot for saving $2 million or 10 times your salary, these general rules might leave you living more like the Girls than having an active lifestyle full of travel at a younger age. You might also consider a backup plan if, like Rose losing her pension, an important part of your initial plan falls through.
But you probably don’t want the most exciting part of your non-travel days to be walking back and forth between home and the library.
How about …
- brunches with friends,
- paddleboarding your local lake or reservoir,
- going to yoga classes or the gym,
- showing visiting family members or friends your local attractions, or
- even just enjoying your morning read each day over a specialty latte at your local coffee shop?
Again, you get it. Even your “off days” will require some level of expenditure. So save for what “future you” wants to do. Plus, proper planning could help you avoid becoming a Sophia to your little Dorothy.
Then, when the time comes …
Let ‘Future You’ Do You!
Once you reach financial independence, know that you’ve been preparing and saving for this spend-down, and … do!
This complete shift from working life to financially independent life can be tough, and you may want to guard your hard-saved funds. But if you haven’t been planning for continued savings, why do it now? And if you have, your forever savings is likely separate from your own FI-use money.
Plus, we’re here for you. So let us know if you need some encouragement to be the future self that “past you” had been planning for, whether it’s the OK to …
- leave your high-stress job to start working a fun part-time gig,
- live on that cruise ship for a year,
- book your ticket for the first stop on that round-the-world trip,
- start checking every national park off the list this summer, or
- go on that international wine-tasting adventure with your closest friends.
Whatever you envision “future you” doing, we’re here to help you get there. So if you’re considering early financial independence or looking forward to those golden years, let’s get those goals into your financial planning app and … get planning!
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