What No One Told You About the Journey to Financial Independence

What if I told you there’s a core ingredient for planning your journey to financial independence. You can have the highest IQ, earn a hefty income with letters after your name, or be the smartest person in the room. However, these credentials may not necessarily make the grade to follow this journey through…

financial independence

First of all, I wrote this post from the fast track point of view (getting through the FI journey quicker). But, it’s not for the faint hearted.

Stashing the cash in the short term, because your job is sapping your energy is one thing.

Having belief and putting everything on the line (i.e. your life) for a few years is quite something else.

This something else requires something special. Without this, fast-tracking of the FI journey is nearly impossible.
As I pointed out above, you don’t have to fast track it. It’s much more enjoyable if you don’t. Personally, I’ve enjoyed the journey since I started investing in my mid 20’s, as I paced my journey. Maybe too much?

However, if you really want to pull the trigger early, then there’s a price to pay. I guess I want it more than ever now.

And that’s why not everyone will see the journey through.
Sure, we could just bumble along for another 10-15 years. There’s nothing wrong with that…but the time is now.

I just have to point out, that some folk arrive at the FI finish line naturally. And kudos to them. This post is aimed at the folk who consciously plow their way towards that magical goal, in a fast track manner.

The Core Ingredient

You need a ferocious determination like never before. Without it, you cannot follow through and smash the roadblocks (see below). And there will be lots.

  • You need to be unusually resilient and very hard working
  • You have to know in a very deep way, what it is you want. Not only determination but direction

It is this combination of passion and perseverance, that make FI’ers special. In other words, they have true grit.

You also need to readdress your why.

Hurdles I’m Encountering on the Journey to FI:

Debt

You can’t live freely with debt hanging over you. Consumer debt is a no-brainer. But let’s take mortgage debt. If I’m going to fast track my journey to FI, then I need to double down on it. Wherever I can (or where I’m paying an above average interest rate).

Doubling down is a bit of a strain and severely impacts your disposable income. I’m not advocating paying off all mortgage debt, just enough to take the edge off things.

Losing Friends

You may lose things in common as your FI journey progresses and jealousy may rear its ugly head. You might miss an important event or night out with your friends because you’re working away from home/ doing late hours.

This is when you’ll find out who your true friends are. If your friends don’t accept and respect your journey to Financial Independence, then you need to walk away.

Feeling Left Behind

Folk you haven’t seen in a while will ask you what car you are driving now. Where you are going on holiday this year etc.
It goes back to that Jeff Goins quote I highlighted in the post, ‘What’s Your Why for FI?’.

“…this is a time of wandering in the wilderness, when you feel alone and misunderstood. To the outsider, such a time looks like failure…”

It really feels like a time of failure but is more of a side step. And that’s why most folk drop out at this point. It’s having the courage and true grit to continue that counts.

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Old Fashioned Hard Graft

With FI milestones, we have to take on more responsibility, in order to earn more in less time. Again, fast-tracking the FI process.

That could mean doing more hours, weekends or going for a promotion.

From experience, working 2 weekends consecutively (19days in a row) and 6 day weeks is exhausting and depletes your personality. Especially over the long term. No one likes a crabbit rabbit.

Burn out is your enemy.

Peer Pressure from Work Colleagues and Friends

My colleagues can’t fathom out why I ride a bike to work. Whilst they are talking about buying high-performance cars, I’m slipping into a pair of waterproof trousers to fight off the elements on my bike ride home.

There’s pressure to live in a big house with all the bells and whistles. You may feel left out of their conversation about fancy heating/ sound systems and lawns that require a garden tractor.

You need to learn to brush that off.

Loneliness

You’re going against the grain, there are no if’s or buts. No one is going to understand your journey (not many anyway).  It’s almost like you’re living in a parallel universe, completely out the loop.

So, it’s more difficult to confide in folk.

How to Overcome These Road Blocks

Here are some pointers to overcome the above obstacles and make the journey more manageable.

financial independence

1.With the debt thing, maybe don’t take on so much debt in the first place (I’m having a pop at myself here). You need to find a balance. When is enough enough for you?

Having youth on your side is an excellent start. If you can start this journey a bit earlier in life, then compounding is your best friend. If you can’t, then you’d better up your salary/ hourly rate and bang in the hours.

2. Losing friends and loneliness go hand in hand. You can address this with Meet Up Groups or Internations. They are an excellent way to meet folk with the same mindset.

Switching off from Social Media is the best thing I’ve cut out on my journey. We don’t want to see so and so smoking cigars on a hammock in Penang. It’s just going to make the journey less tolerable.

3. You have to pace yourself like a runner. So, we have to take natural breaks from the long hours, take the majority of our weekends, otherwise, we’re no use to anyone. From experience, my contracts/ projects have always lasted longer when I’ve paced myself.

4. Have a blow out once in a blue moon. What I’m saying is, get in touch with a good friend and go get shit faced.

You’ve done all the hard work up until now, so it won’t make much of a dent if you spend a few quid on a night out.  It’s a perfect remedy if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

5. Embrace Stoicism. It’s the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaints.

When there is a hardship, suffering, and even pain most of us get emotionally upset and feel that we have a right to complain about it. If you minimally complain and don’t get emotionally upset then you are said to have a stoical attitude or you are a stoic.

In other words, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

financial independence

6. Don’t wait around for this special moment (FI finish line) to happen, or it’ll turn into an anticlimax. Start living for now. Go and investigate that new city (or country) you’re going to move to. Validate the process. Don’t live it out in your head.

Start implementing that new side hustle or hobby you are going to do when you reach FI. Take the idea out your head and start…doing…it.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

— Angela Duckworth

Takeaway

As you can see, the path to financial independence/ changing your life around can be a rocky road. To break the barriers and step outside the ‘norm’ takes balls and conviction.

It’s not so much the actions themselves that are arduous. It’s more about the battle with yourself…your identity. Your new outlook on life.

And it’s not easy changing your identity when others are unconsciously telling you how you are ‘supposed’ to live your life. However, in order to be happy, we need to learn to let go of our old selves (and ignore others). So that we can become what we’re truly capable of being.

And for that, we need true grit.

Now I would like to hear from you in the comments

How is your journey to Financial Independence?

What’s been your biggest stumbling block?

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