With all the buzz these days around personal finance and financial independence, it’s no surprise that people think they’ll actually be happier when they get there. But will they? I beg to differ. Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to reach that almighty goal. Maybe you grew up poor. Or, maybe you want to spend as much time as possible with family or traveling the world. Jobs. Get. In. The. Way. Period. Financial independence buys you a lot. It buys you your time. And, it buys you a golden toilet…if you want it to.
Financial Independence Fringe Benefits
The fringe benefits of financial independence are endless. Whether you want to buy a golden toilet or not, you’ll certainly have the means to do so. That alone, is worth it for some folks!
On a slightly more serious note, you’ll have all the options in the world, because when you hit financial independence, your time will be yours. All of it. And no one is disputing the fact that time is our most coveted asset.
Things you could do:
- Become a race car driver
- Start a new career or business
- Volunteer for your favorite charity
- Join the PTA! (I’ve had dreams about this one. Really.)
- Go to the gym and get your pre-baby body back! This goes for guys and girls alike!
Hazards Of Financial Independence
It’s easy to talk about the benefits of financial independence. It’s much less popular to talk about the hazards of financial independence. Wait. What? Hazards? Okay, maybe they’re less like hazards and more like annoyances.
The closer and closer you get to financial independence, the more and more family and friends are going to think you Have Money. Because you WILL have money. Unless you’re really good at slipping under the financial radar, people are going to figure it out. You’ll have a spring in your step and a twinkle in your eye. Sorry, but you will.
And you know what happens when people figure this out? They expect you to carry more than your fair share of everything. Why? Because you can, and they know it. Unfortunately, since you’re being responsible and scrimping and saving and investing, you will be penalized. It’s started happening to us. We don’t get angry. Instead, we happily help if we can, and it helps us sleep at night. We actually feel blessed – and you will too (when it starts happening to you). Remember, not everyone has the opportunity to chase such a lofty financial goal.
Alternatives To The Golden Toilet
Obviously, everyone who reaches financial independence isn’t on the fast track to Park Avenue. In fact, there are many folks out there that wouldn’t take a place on Park Avenue if it were given to them. Nope. Instead, they prefer living small or minimal or traveling the universe with a bike and a backpack.
I, for one, plan to enjoy more time with my family and take advantage of the extra security and disposable monies to build memories. Boring, I know. But I don’t need to drastically change my current lifestyle after hitting our goals. Why? Because I’m already ridiculously happy.
I have fun doing just about anything and I don’t need to spend a lot of money or travel to far and exotic places – not that I’ll be opposed to either of those two things in my most awesome future. I just know I’ll be happy doing the things I already love to do.
Case in point, as many of you already know, I’m a Restaurant-A-Holic. Currently, I deprive myself almost daily in order to maintain course toward our financial goals. But I’ll tell you what, when we finally hit our numbers, we will definitely be loosening that constrictive belt. Life is too short to not eat out. Speaking for myself, of course. I hear some people actually LOVE eating at home. It takes all kinds, I suppose. 😉 So, I will be going out…and I will be ordering the big, fat, juicy steak! No apologies.
And, I definitely won’t be buying a golden toilet – But it’ll be nice to know I could.
How Much Is Enough?
“They” say happiness is not increased after a person reaches a certain salary. Word on the street is that number is somewhere around $75k/year. Everything after that is just fluff. Sure, it feels good to have a 7-digit nest egg, but it won’t make you happier. The fringe benefit of having more time will make you happier.
So, what do you think? How much is enough? When will you be satisfied? Will you buy that golden toilet? Or, are you not chasing financial independence? Are you, instead, looking forward to a comfortable life and a big juicy steak? Don’t act like it’s not a valid question. 😉