Why FI? (Financial Independence, that is)

Why FI (Financial Independence)? People have different reasons for seeking financial independence. For some, it’s to buy big houses and fancy cars and live a life of luxury. For others, it may be to travel the world. Still for others, it may be to dedicate their time to a cause they feel passionate about.

So why is it that I’m trying to achieve financial independence for me and my family? Why have I set this goal for us? It’s not an easy question to answer. I’ve been giving it some thought lately, and there seem to be many reasons. I’m going to list some of my reasons here:

  • To be able to give more freely and generously – I first became interested in personal finance when I was living out in Missouri and Kansas from 2007-2008 for my first job out of college. I met some of the nicest people there and made some really good friends. I also started listening to The Dave Ramsey Show on the radio and read his book The Total Money Makeover. He teaches Christian principles for managing money and calls it “God’s and grandma’s ways of handling money.” He hates debt and spends his time teaching people how to become debt-free. He also teaches people how to build wealth. A lot of people can do that. But the key difference that really struck home for me was his lesson called The Great Misunderstanding, which focuses on giving. He says that if you build up all this wealth yet don’t know how to give, you won’t really have financial peace and will have completely missed the point. Baby step 7 of his 7 baby steps is to Build Wealth and Give. So why FI? So I can give more freely and generously.
  • To be able to choose what I pour my energy into – I started working at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2008 as a patent examiner. While the job is a great fit for me (independent work with a flexible schedule that is production-based, not time-based), I don’t think it is something that I am particularly passionate about. I work from home 100%, so I don’t get very much social interaction during my work hours, which I believe is a necessity for human beings. I am grateful to have a job, but the production quota at work has gradually become more and more stressful as I’ve moved up. It would be great to enjoy the work that I am doing so that I can do a better job without being stressed. So why FI? To be able to be free to choose what I pour my energy into without stress or financial worry.
  • To serve the homeless – I was having a conversation with a friend recently, and she asked what I wanted to do after I retire. I told her one of the things I wanted to do was to help homeless people, and she asked me, “Why can’t you do that now?” I thought about that for a minute, and I realized, she was right. There really isn’t anything stopping me now. I decided to put that into action now when I can. Now, when I see homeless people (yes, even in Fairfax County), I try to stop and buy them a meal. I’ve done it three or four times now, and it’s felt really good. I was a little afraid of how they would react, but each time, they were very grateful. It’s not making a huge difference in the grand scheme of things, but I believe it has made a difference for that person that day. It’s easy to characterize the homeless as lazy, but they’ve probably had a much more difficult upbringing than most of us. I believe God loves them just as much as He loves us and would want us to treat them well. Why FI? To serve the homeless.

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ – Matthew 25:37-40

  • To be able to spend quality time with family and friends – Right now, our jobs are a very big part of our lives. It dictates what our weekdays and sometimes even our weekends look like. It determines whether or not we will have time to hang out with friends or make it to a wedding in another state or country. We spend less time with our son because of our jobs, and sometimes we’re more stressed and less patient with each other because of our jobs. I know part of that is necessary for personal growth, and we need something productive to do with our time. But it sure would be nice to freely schedule time with family and friends without worrying about something that takes so many hours out of our week.

Before this list gets too long, I’ll cut it off here. I may update this post in the future as I think of other reasons. I did mention some practical things I wanted to do with the extra time in a list at the bottom of this post here.

(Featured image source)

29 thoughts on “Why FI? (Financial Independence, that is)

  1. Nice post. I always wonder what to think of homeless people. I wish we could do something more for them. Sometimes, I think that unless we change the system to a more sustainable way of helping, we may just be enabling. Then, I realize that many of the homeless may have psych issues. We need better social workers and sustainable ways to help those in need. With that said, I think helping when you can does not hurt anyone.

    • Thanks! I think it’s important to realize that they are probably going through a tough time, many times through no fault of their own. A little help can go a long way.

  2. Thanks for coming by to read about our debt-free story. For whatever reason WP is being glitchey and won’t let me reply to or post your comment. Maybe tomorrow….
    One way we have found as a family that we are able to “give like no one else” is by sponsoring a child through Compassion International. Some day we would love to visit her in Brazil. It has provided our pre teen daughter a way to connect with they way much of the world lives.

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