Aiming for a joyful life

A few post ago, I wrote about the fact that FI is not longer my main interest. I came to the conclusion that FI is only a means to an end. And there are many more means to the final end of happiness and joyful life.

Now that  I am less focused on reaching a number, and more concerned about living now my ideal life, I actually see a lot more people having similar conclusions. Or at least, that is how I interprete blog posts and conversations with friends. And it helps a lot!

Here are some of the posts that planted the seeds to this shift from FI to a joyful life.

“The goal isn’t more money. The goal is living life on your terms.”(Chris Brogan) The dutch blogger gelddromer mentions on his homepage a great goal: The freedom to do with your time what you want. He and his wife both work half time, leaving a lot of freedom to do what they want.

The there is Tawcan, who states that you should practice living FI already now. He has a long list of things you can do already now that make you happy, that bring joy, other than working really really hard . That is still needed. Doing these activities brings a taste of FI, teaches you what brings joy and allows you to define already your schedule now

As experienced by the Madfientist, joy should always be part of our life. Going into isolation and not having fun in order to be FI faster is not the solution. When you have not already done so, go and read the post. And read the conclusion: “Don’t focus solely on the finish line because once you get there, you may be disappointed. The journey is the important part so figure out all the things that make you unhappy and use your FI savings to eliminate them.” Amen to that!

Don’t be a donkey and enjoy what you have now. Focus on a few things now, and lateron, on the rest. Focus on what is good in your job now, not on the bad things.

There are many, many more. The final connection came at the Antwerp meetup.

With that in mind, and after having  a few in depth talks with my wife, It became clear to us that the journey is indeed the most valuable there is. The destination is only the last step of the journey. Once FI, another journey will start. Why? Life does not ends when you are FI, it continues. You will still be looking for joy and meaningful experiences. So, why delay?

With that in mind, we know use the money we have to remove things that make us unhappy, to pursue experiences  that make us happy. Even when this delays the FI date. When you think about it, it is no delay, it is actually bringing the day to today. It only means you have not reached a certain, arbitrary number.

Some examples of what we do

  • Increasing the travel budget to have more family time while getting great travel experiences
  • Working for less money at a job I actually seem to like. It means dumping the golden handcuffs. The past 2 weeks have been really hard: long, long days at work, working public holidays. No, I do not rant. I look forward to the results we will have. And we are a few steps away from going live. exciting times ahead. I might even do this for free… (would I be FI of course! 🙂 )
  • Taking 20 days of extra holiday this year to have a lot of quality time during the summer. It means: throwing the savings rate out of the door for 2017! Nobody here cares. we all look forward to the quality time and memories we will get.
  • My wife works 80 pct
  • Experimenting with some house rules like screen free moments, an intentional gaming
  • Date nigths


Let’s also be clear: we are not giving up on being fully FI one day. By putting in place a systems that is based on our values and believes, we will one day reach FI. The when just becomes less important. The focus is now rather on how we can life our target life already now.

We do all these activities while still being frugal and living below our means. we allocate money to the activities we value most. Other budget items get the minimum they need.



8 thoughts on “Aiming for a joyful life

  1. Ciao ATL,
    I find that living “FI” is difficult not so much for the financial point of view (which is a difficulty) but mostly for cultural related issues that evidently (with me at least) have a strong root in the past. I come from a generation and a set of parents that could not conceive “not having a job” to be part of the society, and this rule was passed down to me during my earlier days.
    Now I have a great struggle where a part of me is scared in taking a lower pay job and endures in terrible work relationships just for the paycheck at the end of the month. The feeling of “guilt” for not having a good job sometimes is really heavy on me…
    I might have to find my way still, but reading more and more about the FI freedom posts that recently have started appearing in the community it’s a great drive to re-think the way things are and approach life differently…
    Thanks for sharing and ciao!


  2. Going from financial independent to financial awareness is a big step. No hard goals or numbers. FI is hard to reach in the North West European area we live in. Especially with the current tax system. Only a few die-hards, like Mr. FOB, Team CF or WDYR can reach that goal because they started on time. The financial awareness gives you enough head start on the rest of the non-aware rat racers to enjoy the maximum of life in the present and in the future.
    Maybe we have to introduce a new term? FAMJOL (Financial Awareness, Max Joy of Life) besides the FIRE? In that case we will be FAMJOLs and you own a FAMJOL blog 😉


  3. You give a lot of things to think about ATL. We’re just a handful of years away from reaching FI so we’ve been thinking a lot about how we want to start easing into that lifestyle while still building to fully FI. Great post, thanks!


  4. I really like the date nights. We realized when we were on holiday how important it is to spend enough time together (and without FI discussions).
    We like to balance things out, but we also search for ways to get to FI. Preferably without handing in too much of the joy in life. We are still early on in the game and know that if we work on things now, we can maximize profits later. Finding the balance between working, hustling to FI and having fun is key, but also a thin line at the same time.


  5. Well done! I think this could have really helped me if we weren’t already at FI. I am SO glad we were almost there when I learned about it. I would really have had to make choices like you are making – otherwise I would have been sucked in by the whole FIRE concept.


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