Paying for a car repair without stress is just a small part of the picture. It’s more than just being able to afford emergencies. It’s knowing you don’t have to worry about retirement because you’ve worked with your financial advisor to invest consistently for decades. It’s the freedom to quit your J-O-B to do something you love, even if means getting paid less.

You won’t get ahead if you don’t have a plan for your money. Instead, you’ll find yourself wondering where your money went at the end of every month! That’s not financial independence; that’s a recipe for financial disaster. If you’re married, get on the same page with your spouse about your budget. If you’re single, find an accountability partner.


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The formula-lover in me wonders about doing something like this for defining these levels based on the avg income of cities. Your definition of “blockbuster FI” is being able to live anywhere in the world, which could be the point – but the low end of blockbuster could be wherever in the world you want to live. I like that idea of planning for options.
If someone receives $5000 in dividends from stocks they own, but their expenses total $4000, they can live on their dividend income because it pays for all their expenses to live (with some left over). Under these circumstances, a person is financially independent. A person's assets and liabilities are an important factor in determining if they have achieved financial independence. An asset is anything of value that can be readily turned into cash (liquidated) if a person has to pay debt, whereas a liability is a responsibility to provide compensation. (Homes and automobiles with no liens or mortgages are common assets.)
What do people do all week when they are retired, especially when retiring early? I retired early and struggled with being preoccupied after 3 months. It turned into boredom and slippery slope of troublesome lifestyle. I finally returned to my career part time after bucket list. I consider myself semi-retired and enjoy working more once I had balanced time off. The pros are contributing Monday through Thursday, time off, salary to pay taxes, benefits, lower stress as compared to being self-employed/ business owner, and don’t driver my partner crazy. It has taken me years to unlearn setting goals and feeling inadequate if not chasing the carrot even when I don’t need to. It surprised me. My partner enjoys working and is seeing how far she can go. It’s is probably reassuring that she doesn’t have to work, and allows her to take more risk. I have improved, but have not arrived. I guess this is a good problem to have, but I just wanted you to know retirement is not always paradise, and semi-retirement may help make the transition. 

financial freedom reddit


At the beginning of this year, as I was setting investment goals I came up with $2.4M as the amount of liquid cash needed for me to say “I quit!” That would put me in the Baseline FI category. It would take a truly horrible job for me to quit and settle for budget FI. I don’t think I could handle being FI on a tight budget for too long because I would get bored due to not having enough money to pay for experiences/travel which currently bring me a lot of joy.
If you have 20 years left to live and only require $60,000 a year, having $1,200,000 can also be considered enough even if you make zero return. The only problem is that your purchasing power will decline by ~2% a year due to inflation. The other problem is that you don’t know exactly how many years you have left to live. Therefore, it’s always better to have more rather than less.

It’s funny you mention the different psychological levels of financial independence. I read a lot of blogs and there is this one Blogger who goes on every single other blog and shouts from the top of his lungs that he is a multimillionaire. But he has no self-confidence because his wife still works. His writing oozes insecurity probably due to the lack of friends, lack of success from his site, and lack of purpose. He also likes to write about his investments, but he’ll only publish his winners and never his losers and he’ll never talk about them when he does make an investment.

My wife continues to work a really good sales job. I retired from corporate America in 2015 to work and consult with startups. I’m currently a co-founder of a healthcare software and services startup. I also have a pension that kicked in right after I turned 60 last October. Our combined incomes/pension are around 250K with our only debt being our mortgage which still has 7 years left @ 3.5%. I’m also thinking about paying a little extra toward principal to shorten the term to 5 years and coincide with when I turn 65.
My blogging buddy Joe from Retire by 40, who is six years older than me, is a good example of having enough money, but finding it difficult to overcome the fear of not working. Every year, he questions whether his wife can join him in retirement, even though he’s been retired for over five years, has close to a $3 million net worth, and has online income and passive income to more than cover their annual living expenses. Every year I tell him she could have retired years ago, but he’s adeptly convinced her to keep on working.
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This is probably the most exclusive level of financial freedom. Hopefully, your financial freedom plan will allow you to outlive your money. Having more money than you expected to spend is great. Building enough wealth so that you could not possibly spend all of it is another. This group will likely be filled with people who either won the lottery, inherited a fortune or are founders of companies – think Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Even if they went on a spending spree buying planes, yachts and automobiles; they would still have a hard time spending all of it. I should note that both Gates and Buffet have pledged to give away a vast majority of their wealth when they pass. I would be unfair to count that as “spending all their money.”
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