I’m a huge fan of Financial Independence. It’s the pinnacle of personal finance achievement and everyone should at least learn about the concept. Of course, it’s even better to pursue financial independence and then achieving it. We reached financial independence in 2012 and I retired from my engineering career soon after. My life improved so much since then, it’s unbelievable. I encourage everyone to shoot for financial independence because it’s such a great goal. There is no downside to it.
Well, that’s what I used to think. But, now I’m not so sure. Financial independence has been fantastic for us, but nothing is 100% good all the time. We’re running into one of these downsides now. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Trouble in Paradise
You may have seen this if you follow me on Twitter. Here is a tweet I sent out earlier this week. If you’re not following me on Twitter, click over and follow retirebyforty. I post regular life pictures and comments so you can see what the ER lifestyle is all about. You can also follow me on Instagram if you prefer that platform.
Change is the only constant in life
Mrs. RB40 (my wife) has been happy at work and she doesn’t mind working while I’m a stay at home dad/blogger. It’s a great situation for us because we can continue to save and we don’t have to worry about healthcare. However, she came home in a huff and gave everyone a hard time earlier this week.
It turns out that her boss is leaving for greener pastures and her job is going to change. That’s too bad because she is in a great spot at work. She gets to do what she enjoys and impacts the organization in a positive way. This shift means she will get a new boss. While the vision/mission of the organization won’t change, her role will (even though she is really happy for her boss). Her current project which sets a foundation for other projects may be deprioritized. She’ll either get pushed to work in a different area which she doesn’t care for or absorb those duties in addition to what she’s already doing. (It’s already coming down the pipe.) Of course, it’s an opportunity to move up as well, but she doesn’t want or need that either. Her current job is just right and she doesn’t want additional stress and responsibilities. Her current work/life balance is very good right now.
That’s the problem with a job. Even if you have the perfect job, it will change. A job won’t be perfect forever. I liked my engineering job when I first started, but I couldn’t stand it by the time I quit. That’s why saying you won’t retire because you love your job is a fallacy. You probably won’t love your job in 10 or 20 years. Also, there is no guarantee that your employer will still love you. These days, most employers prefer younger workers who are more driven, have long term potential, and are paid less. Experience doesn’t mean jack because technology changes so fast now. More and more jobs are outsourced or turned into independent gigs. No job is secure, so don’t ever think you’re indispensible. Everyone can be replaced.
The downside of financial independence
Fortunately, we are already financial independent. We will be fine if she quits her day job and joins the RB40 team full time. Sure, I’d miss her income and healthcare coverage, but it’s not a big deal. At this point, we can afford it. She’ll be much less stressed so it will be worth it. She always wanted more time to do non “work-related” things (more volunteering, designing and other creative arts stuff.) This is the opportunity to do it.
That’s the downside of financial independence. When you’re FI, your tolerance for workplace BS drops like a rock. If Mrs. RB40 wasn’t financially independent, then she would just soldier on like everybody else. But now she has more options. She doesn’t have to deal with any workplace BS if she really doesn’t want to. In all likelihood, the workplace will settle back into some kind of rhythm and her job will probably be fine even if it does change. I think she should hang on for a few months to see how things shake out. It might not be as bad as she imagines. Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems, right? Also, she’s not quite ready to retire yet. Let’s stick to the 2020 target date.
Okay, that’s it for today. This is a short one because it’s been a semi stressful week here at the RB40 household. In addition to Mrs. RB40’s problem at work, I’m trying to replace our undead HVAC from the 80s. I met a few contractors to get an estimate and they are all pretty expensive. It’s been somewhat disruptive because they all take about an hour each to go through everything.
What about you? Do you think there is any downside to financial independence?
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Image credit: Daniel Pascoa
For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.
Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.