When I’m on the road-usually driving to or from work-I’m either widening my musical palate or listening to podcasts. This week on my daily drive I was listening to the Bigger Pockets podcast. Bigger Pockets is all about real estate investing. There is no need for an explanation as to why I love this one. Anyway, on episode 153, they were interviewing a woman who, along with her husband, is extremely savvy in the field of real estate investing. It turns out, they own 108 single family properties and are still aquiring more! That was, of course, impressive, but that wasn’t what HIT me when I listened to it. What HIT me was something she said about the freedoms afforded to those who retire early OR have the option to retire early.
The woman being interviewed was Linda McKissack and what she said had a profound impact on me and gave me yet another reason for being on FIRE. Her and her husband decided long ago that they wanted to create passive income for themselves in an effort to eliminate the possibility of career layoffs and failed businesses. They ultimately decided to invest in single family rentals. Currently, they are more than able to retire but choose to continue cultivating their real estate empire. The passive income they now enjoy has given them freedoms beyond belief. She decribed how her son-in-law became extremely ill and ultimately, lost the battle. Guess what. They had the option of putting their lives on hold to be there for him. Why? Because they hit their freedom number a long time ago.
They had no idea the decision they made 20 years ago to pursue financial freedom would allow them to be exactly where they wanted and needed to be two decades later. If they had chosen to be content with the traditional retirement trajectory of spending most of their income and retire in their 60s, they never would have been able to be there to support their loved ones when they needed it the most.
Sometimes our options are wildly entertaining or intellectually stimulating, sometimes they’re not. Just as in the example given by Linda McKissack, no one ever plans to be hit with a major illness or difficulty. Most people on FIRE are planning to travel abroad, live in the woods, or explore other passions. But, in the event that life doesn’t turn out as planned, if you reach your early retirement goal, at least you’ll have options.
Listening to that podcast reinforced the notion that financial independence is worth pursuing NOW in order to give ourselves more options LATER. What do you plan on pursuing? What’s your freedom number?
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