How I stay focused on Financial Independence — and how you can too
5 reasons I decided to pursue FI. How I had to give up on my dreams because I couldn’t afford it — my story.
I come from a middle-income family. My father was a teacher and my mother is a homemaker. I started learning ballet at the age of four when my mother saw my tendency to walk on tip-toes at home. (I know, it’s weird. Haha.)
Long story short, I developed an interest and enjoyment in dancing. I aspired to become a professional ballet dancer. I was at the crossroad in deciding my future at 17 years old.
But to my disappointment, I was told that I could not pursue it further because of affordability. So, I realized the importance of finances to achieve one’s goal or dream. I decided to take financial matters into my own hands.
It was then I started learning about managing finances and later on developed an interest in it too. I discovered new terms like financial independence, passive income, etc.
But as time pass, one could get caught up in different situations and responsibilities. It causes most people to lose focus.
To stay focused, a strong reason to strive for it helps to stay on track. In short, pleasure. So, I asked myself these 3 questions:-
1. who I want to be,
2. what do I want to have,
3. and what I want to do.
- and why.
Reason #1: Have more choices
Being able to have more choices gives me freedom. It provides flexibility and control over the decisions I made. But, it comes with higher responsibility — and I’m willing.
For example, being able to wake up, work or sleep anytime would be any 9–5 employee’s dream. But it also comes with the responsibility of being accountable to oneself.
But if you’re willing then why not?
Reason #2: Enjoy doing the things I love
The very reason I aimed for financial independence at the start was that I could not enjoy doing the things I love. It was pursuing a career in dance.
But with achieving FI, there are more opportunities to enjoy doing the things I love. It’s kinda like fulfilling my bucket list items!
Reason #3: Be a better daughter, partner, friend, family, colleague, & being.
It’s where by having more choices I get to choose with whom I want to spend more of my time. It’s also where my contribution needs to my community are met.
Reason #4: Take on more responsibilities.
No, I don’t mean having more work. Rather, have a greater sense of care towards my loved ones.
That’s right. Parents.
Future? Maybe kids?
Reason #5: Be a blessing and leave the world a better place
By ensuring that the basic needs to survive are taken care of, I am able to do more and give more. Hence, becoming a useful person to society. Again, it’s also where my contribution needs to society are met.
So with these thoughts in mind, and a greater sense of importance toward striving for FI, it helps me to stay on course. But thoughts without action do not mean anything.
All good thoughts and ideas mean nothing without action — Mahatma Ghandi
So, here are things you can do to stay focused:-
1. Stay disciplined. Build millionaire habits.
- Have a budget, and make sure your spending < income. Invest the difference. Do it monthly with a “money date” on your calendar.
- Have a reading habit. Learn to improve yourself.
85 percent of self-made millionaires read two or more books per month
- Implement your learnings. Test it out. Fail? Learn more, tweak it, and repeat.
2. Have an exercise routine.
- To enjoy doing the things you want. You’ll want to be fit for it! You wouldn’t want to sacrifice your health only to find out you have the means but are not healthy to do so.
3. Have delayed gratification.
- Delayed gratification enhances your self-control. It saves you from impulsive spending.
- But, remember not to go overboard by cutting off all happiness for regular monthly expenses. It’s meant to save you from large expensive and impulsive purchases.
4. Invest in yourself.
- Learn a new or a value-added skill. Take up more hands-on activities you can pick up on. Especially in your 9–5 job.
- It helps you to raise your earning power.
5. Build a side hustle business.
- Create your own economy. It’s the simplest way to stay afloat if you’re laid off from your 9–5 job or in the transition of a career switch.
6. Take financial responsibility.
- Relying on your finances from a partner or government is the easiest way to be vulnerable when making choices.
- It’s also the fastest way to have a lower financial temperature. Taking financial responsibility increases your financial literacy.
A man is NOT a financial plan. A woman is NOT a domestic plan. -Ian Ochieng
- So, it’s the reason why wealth only lasts for 3 generations.
- The Williams Group found that seven in 10 families tend to lose their fortune by the second generation, while nine in 10 lose it by the third generation.
7. Join a FI community
- Keeping in touch with a community that reinforces the same values and mindset helps to stay on the journey for the long term.
- It promotes a conducive and encouraging environment to strive for the same goal.
Regardless of whatever situation or phase of life, you’re in, be it a single gen Z or a married millennial with kids, or even a soon-to-be-retired boomer, it’s never too late to find your pleasures in life that inspire you to pursue FI and stay focused. Remember to hang out with the right community while creating habits that set you up closer to your goal with reasons in mind. I hope these ideas can help you to stay focused on your goals with the reasons for achieving so in mind. Do comment below your reasons for achieving FI as well! Would love to hear from you!
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I share my personal experiences with lessons I’ve learned along the way as well as other FIRE achievers’ experiences and lessons they’ve learned.