7th May 2016 –
“Hey, for every ten dollars, that’s another hour that I have to be in the work place. That’s an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only ‘x’ number of hours left before I’m dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?” — Joe Dominguez – Co-author “Your Money or Your Life” (1938 – 1997)
How’s work treating you? Do you do what you do because you enjoy it or really just for the income it pays you?
Does this sound familiar…..?
Get up at 5am
Leave home to travel in heavy traffic often across town.
Work, work, work, all day until 5, or later.
Drive home through even heavier traffic.
Get home an hour or more later.
Shower, eat dinner, an hour or so of family time
Go to bed.
Do it all again for six days in a row before a getting one day a week off to mow the lawns, clean the gutters, do the shopping, and spend some time with the family.
Continue, as above for ‘xx’ years until 65. Retire. Die
Well it may not be exactly how your day goes but until recently, it was pretty similar to my routine, week after week. Well up until the bit about retiring at 65 and dying anyway. It all sounds a bit too similar to what Joe Dominguez said, isn’t it?
Many of us are now working longer hours, including weekends. How can it be enjoyable if you’re constantly over-burdened by your workload? You spend so much of your life there, you need to get something besides money out of it.
Then there’s always ‘The Work/life Balance’ cliché we read about on the posters up on the staff noticeboard, or in the company Values Statement.
“Achieving a healthy work-life balance requires managing our professional and personal life in sustainable ways that keep our energy flowing, our minds and bodies healthy and our whole selves happy and content blah, blah, blah.”
Hmmmmm, tell me, how do you manage that when you’re working 60 hours or more a week? And how many companies actually believe in and promote those values? None I’ve ever worked for.
Since recently determining that I’m now financially independent, it has allowed me to move into what I call my ‘part-time phase’ (some part time work and some part time retirement). So what are the big changes I’ve discovered I can make in my life?
More time to do ‘me’ stuff. Write my blog, explore other income generating projects, exercise more, read books, cook delicious dinners, have an afternoon nap, or just stay up late the night before.
But when I do some part-time or temp work, and it’s usually for not more than a week or two at most, I maintain the following three rules:
- I don’t travel more than 30 mins each way. I’ve got better things to do with my time than sit in traffic for more than an hour each day.
- I don’t work Saturdays or public holidays. I have a life and working 6 days a week doesn’t fit in my lifestyle. I am, however, prepared to work late or at weekends occasionally to help out or to meet a deadline, but don’t make a habit of it. And if you’re not prepared to adequately compensate me for this, then sorry, I’m not interested.
- If you behave like an arrogant, shouty, disrespectful, bully-boy, then goodbye. Enough said.
And because I’m not relying on the money I can enforce these rules. That’s what financial freedom gives you. Choice.
The choice to say, “No, I’m not prepared to put up with that. If you’re not going to reasonable to work with, I won’t be back tomorrow”.
I find myself being a lot more honest as well. I’m not worried about stepping on somebody’s toes and pissing somebody off because I just don’t care.
I don’t mean going out of my way to be arrogant or rude, but not putting up with bad behaviour, or bully-boy bosses who think they’re doing you a favour by giving you a job, or work practices that you morally don’t agree with. Believe me, it’s a truly enlightening moment when you tell Bob he’s a dickhead and you’re not going to tolerate his carry-on any more.
Often, everybody else in the workplace is so scared and timid. They don’t speak up when something’s obviously wrong and they are prepared to put up with a truly toxic workplace culture. But when you have power and freedom and a care-free attitude, you can take more risks and you can tell the truth. One of two things will happen. You’ll either get fired for not being a ‘team player’, or you will be shown a hell of a lot more respect. And both have happened to me at some stage of my working life.
When we reach financial independence we………..
Get off the daily work routine treadmill
Have bargaining power
But early retirees can still work.
Unlike those that retire at 65 or later, early retirees are much more capable of picking up work after retirement.
Not only are you still fit and active, but you still retain the skills from the work that you did before you retired. Or, you have some new skills, such as building, website design, or rocket science, that you have learned as a result of having all that ‘me’ time to study something you have always wanted to do.
In fact, doing occasional work has some valuable benefits.
- Your pre-retirement skill set stays up to date and relevant. This is especially important if you work in a rapidly changing industry such as digital or electronic technology, as you would find that once you get behind the 8-ball, it becomes harder to catch up and harder to market yourself to potential employers or customers.
- Although you have cleverly placed your money into investments giving above average returns, you are in the position to top that up with some side-income which is only going to make your ongoing future financial position all that more secure.
- Boredom. Hard to believe, but especially early on, you may find yourself becoming a little bored with the early retirement lifestyle and crave something more structured to fill your day. You will probably also find that, because most of your friends are still working (it’s up to you to share the FIRE concept with them) you miss the adult company and workplace environment you have been use to for ‘xx’ number of years.
Don’t worry. This will pass as you find more and more constructive, cool ways to fill your days doing what you really want to do. Anyway, isn’t that why you retired in the first place?
If you are one of those lucky people who loves their job, loves their colleagues, and loves what their work throws at them each day, I take my hat off to you. Keep doing what you love and earning/investing as much as you can while doing it.
It’s been said that if you love your job, it doesn’t feel like work. But will you still feel the same way in 5, 10, 15 years’ time? What would you do if you had to stop work due to a redundancy or if you became too unwell to continue working?
So enjoy your working week but take those fist-fulls of cash they give you every payday and invest the majority of it. Because you’re enjoying a simpler, less spendy lifestyle than your friends who want to blow all their income on needless junk, you’re going to hit financial independence sooner rather than later.
“There is nothing to lose and everything to gain from getting as many people on this train as possible, including yourself. ” – Mr Money Mustache
How would you spend your time if you no longer had to go to work every day?
Ms MM and I are still loving our holiday in New Zealand. Another week and a half to go enjoying the amazing sights, experiences, food and wine this country has to offer. Next week I’ll let you know how our Airbnb experience has been as well as the insight I’ve got from our hosts. Worth checking out if you’re planning to travel soon or are looking for an idea for creating a side-income.