You are suggesting that because the risk free rate of return is 2.5% anybody who is not obtaining that return is not invested “properly”. However, risk is a real thing and it affects investment returns, and everybody invests with different objectives in mind. I would argue that anybody pursuing financial independence that is 100% invested in ten year bonds is not properly invested because the return from that portfolio will likely only keep up with inflation (if that). Whereas somebody who is pursuing financial independence would be better served in a balanced portfolio including stocks, bonds and maybe other asset classes. This portfolio is more than likely to return less than 2.5% in any given year, but is a more “proper” asset allocation to meet his objectives than is investing 100% of the portfolio in 10 year bonds.
I see FI as more of a continuum which might vary with age and circumstances. When I was in my early 20s, an FU fund of six months living expenses was the goal. I eventually got up to a few years. After I got married in my 30s, being able to buy a house outright took over – and once that was bought at 40, I focussed on ensuring I had a pension that would comfortably cover all of our costs and a bit of contingency.
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If you want to be financially free, you need to become a different person than you are today and let go of whatever has held you back in the past. It’s a process of growth, improvement and gaining spiritual and emotional strength. In other words, whatever has held you back in the past or kept you less than who you really are will have to vanish. And in return, the powerful, happy, playful, brilliant you will emerge — like a butterfly shedding its cocoon.