The value of living now

When you have a vision of where you want to go with your life, it can be dangerous to end up in a tunnel and only seeing the end goal. In fact, you are then ignoring the journey. And the journey can be equally interesting as the destination. I believe this is especially true for the FIRE journey towards freedom. While working towards the goal, you should not forget to enjoy the now.

One of the attention points for me is clearly to enjoy the now as well. I read stories from other people that count the days towards the goal. It seems that the current life and work is not really enjoyable. To a certain extend, I do understand this: getting out of bed and HAVING to go to work is no fun. That is why I prefer the idea that you start to live the life by design now. And not when you are FIREd!

Try to be living the designed live today

I think I should count myself amongst the lucky ones. I feel that I life already a quite good life. Let me explain.

Root of good created a day schedule that show what life was like when working. It looked kinda like this.

normal_dailyThere is a lot of red, representing the things you do not like a lot.This is no fun to live your life like this. Immediate action seems to be needed. Start to do things you like. Sounds simple?!?

That being said, If you are working in a golden cage  (high salary, bonuses)  but you feel unhappy and you have had some lifestyle inflation, than it will require a lot of effort to first lower your lifestyle and then change to a job that gives more joy and satisfaction. There might be a lot of other cases where is is not as easily done as said. It requires some effort, will power and determination.

When I started to reflect on how I see my life today, I come to a graph more looking like this.

my-view_dailyOk, there are still some red parts on the graphs, but far less than above. The reason is probably that for me, FIRE means that I will still work on challenging projects. And the job that I have today gives me all the challenge I need. Not all is rosy today, but a lot is. I required a few job changes, a few years with peaks of hard work – and still today – , a coaching program to find out what I look for in a job.

I do not see myself stepping out of the work force completely. At least, not the first years of FIRE, not when the kids are still studying and living at home. I do not say I will work full time, but I plan to do work. That is way, today, I can color a lot of the boxes green.

That being said, maybe I am still looking at the world with the wrong mindset. Maybe I have not yet taken then red pill… who knows…

Rather than seeing this on a day by day basis, I would like to visualize my life by design on a yearly basis. This highlights better  the way I want to live my life: It is a mix of interesting work, travel, family time and volunteer work. This is how it looks

yearplan

I really wonder when I will reach the medium term goal and how this will affect my financial freedom plans. A lifestyle like that, not being financially independent will mean I save less than today, thus postponing the FIRE date. Does it matter? Only the future will tell me.

 Learn while on the journey

Another reason to appreciate the journey is that you need to use this time to prepare for full freedom. While on the journey to FIRE, you have plenty of time to find out what really matters to you, what you value most. Is it the prestige that comes from being a corporate director, is it having a lot of fun with the kids, family and friends, is it seeing the world and having great experiences, is it a mix of above?

The fact that you are making a plan means that you think more than the average people about this subject: what do I really value most? To me, it also gives the opportunity to start putting in practice already today some of the value-based-actions.

It is clear that contributing to the F$ck-you money is an important thing that I like. But next to that, I now more than ever make sure that I spend my time and personal money on the things I like the most. And that alone, is worth starting the journey. As our children are very important to us, we have my wife that stays home on Wednesdays to take care of them in the afternoon. From a pure FIRE-date perspective, this is not so smart. From a value perspective, this is a great thing to do. I now realize this more than ever.

On the other hand, I sometimes think that people that do not worry about this, people that do not know this alternative are far more happy today. The so called ignorance bliss.But now that the bug has bitten me, it is part of my life and my luggage…

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6 thoughts on “The value of living now

  1. Hey Amber Tree,

    I really love your perspective on your journey to FI and your focus on your values, and doing what you can to enjoy your life now. Also like the yearly approach to setting out your schedule, and seeing how you want the bigger picture of life to play out. With this great attitude of yours, it won’t matter when you hit FI, but it will be a fantastic bonus to give you more flexibility in your life!

    Cheers,

    Jason

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    1. Thx for the support. For me, it is all about creating options and having flexibility while enjoying life today. If that works out and FI is a few years later, it does not matter that much.

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  2. If I may throw my little experience since I have started investing in dividends, I see my time at work a little lighter because I have a purpose for the money that I save and that’s what makes things a little easier. On the other side I am also exploring (albeit very very lightly) other sources of income (teaching mostly) that might enable me to change jobs and still keep some money coming in, but this time doing something that I actually like doing.
    In Italy unfortunately it’s almost impossible to find a “work from home” situation that for me would be the best solution as I can still work in exports (my current job), I can still travel but I do not have to commute every day one of the things that I see as a total waste of money and time, something that belongs to the 1980s in terms of economic environment…

    Nice post though, I like the fact that the schedule is almost ALL green! 🙂

    CIaociao

    Stal

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    1. That is a good point: By having a goal with the money that we make in the office, we can indeed see an additional benefit from being in the office.
      For the time being, looking for a side income is not on my radar…Maybe it should be…Time will show me.
      In my company, work from home is an option. That gives a lot of freedom already. And being able to work on interesting finance related projects is a great plus. Hence the green.

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  3. Hey Amber,

    Really like the post. It is important to keep everything in perspective like you detail. It is saddening to think about the end of the road. We need to focus on what we can do today. The one thing that I want to stay away from is wasting time and wasting money in the short-term, so it doesn’t affect me negatively in the long-term. In 5-10 years, I want to say that I lived and am still living each day to the fullest. I may not love work, but I want to work somewhere that is fun, challenges me, and helps me work towards my goals.

    Thanks for the post,
    Erik

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  4. In our case, we have found that we are MORE happy, not less, knowing that we’re on the path to early retirement. When work gets stressful, we can think to ourselves, “Thank goodness we don’t have to deal with this for much longer.” And of course there is the peace that comes from having finances in order.

    We love the idea of trying to design the life you want, but also not waiting until retirement comes to do the things that you place priority on. You two clearly prioritize your children, and that’s wonderful.

    Like

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