So if wife and I are FI, why are we still working?
Well, as I wrote in “FI Explained”, Financial Independence does not equal Early Retirement. When we started seriously pursuing FI after I obtained my PhD in 2016, we never set a goal to retire in our 30’s, even though theoretically we could retire if we wanted to.
So what is FI? FI = Financial Independence. Gotta love acronyms. But what exactly does “Financial Independence” mean?
A pretty common definition is that you’re no longer financially dependent on your parents or some other caregiver. So basically when you’ve moved out and you’re earning money on your own – enough to pay for all your expenses. That also means you aren’t racking up credit card balances!
While this level of financial independence is an important first step, on this site we’ll be talking about something MUCH bigger. So what DO we mean?
My wife and I discovered the Financial Independence community in 2016, which opened our eyes to the possibility of achieving FI at an early age with moderate incomes. With a healthy amount of effort, we achieved FI four years later at ages 35 (me) and 33 (my wife).
Four years sounds quick, doesn’t it? In reality, our journey to FI started the same place as it did for many other folks in the FI community: our childhood. We were both fortunate to grow up in middle-class families that emphasized the value of saving money from an early age. We both had allowances that we earned through doing chores, and we were both expected to pull most of our weight when it came to funding our education. But we also never had to worry about whether we’d have food on the table or a roof over our heads, which makes us vastly more fortunate than millions of people around the world.
Welcome to Engineering Your FI! We have MUCH to discuss.
Here are some questions we’ll tackle:
What is Financial Independence (FI)? Is it the same as Early Retirement? What about this FIRE acronym I saw in a news article once?
How do I get me some of that FI stuff?
How can I use awesome numerical and plotting tools to make the best possible decisions that will deliver me to FI ASAP? For example: Should I refinance my house? What health insurance option should I choose?
How do I change my mindset and lifestyle to achieve FI ASAP? AND be overall much happier with my life, even while spending far less money?
How can I travel for (almost) free around the world?
How do I raise kids in the FI universe?
How do I save a ridiculous amount of money doing DIY projects like home repairs?