If you’ve been reading this blog long, then you know that we’re doing everything we can to retire by 40. If you haven’t been following along, then hopefully you know that from the title of the blog??? Retiring by 40, for us, is a 3-step plan. 1st, we need to get out of debt – and this is the phase we’re in now, so you’re seeing posts dedicated to saving money, so we can get out of debt faster. Phase 2 is to develop passive income streams, and Phase 3 is physically saving enough money so that we can actually retire.
The first question is why would we even want to retire by 40? What is all the hoopla surrounding Financial Independence (or FI)?
Why Do We Want Financial Independence?
I’ve owed you all this post for quite some time now….sorry about that! I just didn’t know how to explain this all without seeming sexist or make you feel sorry for us. So with that being said, as you read this just remember that we have an awesome life and I don’t say this to complain. I’m just saying it so you can understand.
The Big Guy’s body is giving out on him.
No, he doesn’t have cancer and he isn’t in liver failure, he’s just aging before his time. He blew his knee out stepping down from a 20-ton dump truck. I know “blew his knee out” is pretty vague, so let me clarify: Because of the Osgood-slaughter’s he has in his knees just because he’s tall, he blew out the cartilage in his knee. In the past 3 years he’s had two knee surgeries to scrape away the damaged cartilage, but he still has tons of trouble with his knees. He’s been told by his Orthopedic surgeon he’ll have to have a new knee when he’s 35.
As a result of his first knee surgery, he was out of work for 8 months. Seems like a crazy long time, right? Yeah, you would be right. Because he blew his knee out while on military duty, we had to jump though about a thousand hoops to get his care covered by the Army. All of that took time, plus the fact that he lost his job and had to find a new one after the recovery period from surgery #1.
During that 8 months of no-work, I was in college, taking 17 credit hours, and working as many hours as I could get as a server, but it still wasn’t enough to make ends meet. It was then that we got into credit card debt. It sucked, to say the least.
The Big Guy was supposed to be getting disability pay from the Army for the time that he was out, but that didn’t come until almost 2 years after the initial injury.
As a result of his injury, he can’t do manual labor. Well, he can, and he loves it, but if I want him to be mobile at all by the time the kiddo leaves for college, he can’t. He also isn’t really cut out for office work. Could he do it? Yes, and he has, but he hated it.
I never want to go back to the days when we couldn’t pay our bills no matter how hard we tried. I don’t want to ever have to be financially derailed because of an injury or some other tragedy. And I certainly don’t want us to get into a situation like that now that we have a daughter.
That is why I’m choosing to work towards financial independence by 40. Right now The Big Guy doesn’t have to work. He stays home with our daughter and he’s loving it! I want him to never have to work again. After all, I love working (some may or may not call me a workaholic) so why should he have to? Worst case scenario, as we strive for financial independence, something derails us and we retire at the normal age. How bad could that be? We won’t ever be stuck in a situation where we cannot pay our bills or we don’t know where our next meal is coming from – especially now that we have a child! Isn’t it amazing how injuries and kids change your perspective?
Of course there are other, less serious reasons. One of those is travel. No one in my family is well-traveled and I want to be the first. There is so much of the world that I want to see, and I can’t do that with a budget that look like ours! Let’s face it – travel is expensive, even if you’re travel hacking and credit card churning like crazy! Not to mention if you’re tied to a brick-and-mortar workplace you have to take time off! I want to travel without worrying about job loss or money and I want to see it all!
Don’t worry – I’ll wait!
Alrighty, now that you understand my anger at the whole FMLA system and my company for firing me you can (hopefully) understand why I want to leave the company I’m with. I actually really enjoy my job and I really like my boss, but I just don’t want to work for a company that would do that! I’m not one of those people who wants to work (entirely) for themselves, either. If I worked from home (either for myself or a company) I would get nothing done. For those of you that do, my hat is off becuase I don’t know how you do it!
I love the structure and simplicity of my day job. I’m thinking maybe a part-time job in accounting during retirement?
And that, my friends, is a very long and kind of sad explanation of why I want to achieve financial independence!
Stay tuned for the next part – Which Debt Should We Pay Off First?
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