How I Am Going To Quit My Job And Be Financial Independent In Only 5 Years
Being a blogger means that you have friends all over the world, including Norway! I have got to know Route 2 FI over the past few months. He has been incredibly honest about the Financial Independence (FI) movement. And I have had A LOT of questions and he has answered them all with honesty and humour.
You see I am not sure it is possible given my circumstances, I even wrote about it for Mouthy Money. I am 42, I run my own business, Mrs Mummypenny, I have three young children, a fairly expensive mortgage in the South East of UK. And I don’t earn £100k a year (yet). But once upon a time, when I was in my 20’s before children I had a cheaper mortgage and I earned around £50k, then would have been my ideal time for FI building.
But I didn’t. I spent the money and bought stuff. Okay so I did get on the housing market early, aged 25. And I did start investing into a stocks and shares ISA. So I now sit at aged 42 with some money in my pension (no where near enough), a little bit of investment and a chunk of equity. No where near financial independence, but on the way.
I will hand over to Route to FI, aged 31 from beautiful Norway.
Why do most people spend decades in careers they don’t like?
The norm is to go to school, graduate, take a job, climb the corporate ladder and stay there for 30-40 years.
Then you are free to enjoy life when reach retirement, currently 67 for me or 65 for women, but set to change to who know what in the future.
Have you ever wondered if this is the life you really wanted?
I don’t understand why more people questions this.
If I asked you right now to tell me the truth; would you retire right now if you had enough money to cover all your expenses?
I have Always Been Frugal
Financial independence is a term used to describe a person who doesn’t have to work (which provides income), to cover their expenses.
Definition: “When your income from other sources than your normal day job exceeds all your life costs”.
This is also called passive income.
I have always been frugal, I think it lies in my nature to be careful with money.
During my studies I lived on approx. $850 every month. I’ve done over 10 years of different university studies, and because of limited income as a student I was forced to not splurge.
This is a habit I’ve kept and I haven’t really upgraded my lifestyle too much since then.
During my studies I travelled to India for a month, and then China 6 months later. These trips changed me.
I saw people living at the street, people poorer than we can imagine.
But I also visited villages where everybody was smiling, where they shared stories around a campfire and showed happiness.
I asked one of them about how much they lived on, and he said it was around $3 a day.
This really got me thinking
How could they seem so happy with so little?
And why do I chase material things at home?
Because I always thought that would make me happy.
With these thoughts in the back of my head as I travelled, I started to welcome the simple life.
I stopped buying new things, simply because I didn’t have enough money anyway.
And as a consequence of stopping buying new things, I stopped wanting new things.
And as I stopped wanting new things, I noticed that things didn’t have any effect on my happiness at all.
Discovering Financial Independence And Setting A Goal Of Quitting the 9 – 5
In the end I finished my masters degree and entered the cubicle 9 – 5 world.
My first paycheck was approx. $3,300. Almost four times as much as I had lived on the last 10 years.
I remember I thought: “What am I gonna spend that on?”
My spending was still around $950 / month.
This meant I had over $2,000 $ extra to spend per month, but I didn’t want anything new.
I had the things I needed to be happy.
I started to wonder why my friends wanted me to chase a life of excess, when in reality I already had everything I could possibly need.
For 3 years I have been working 40 hour weeks for the purpose of buying more and having more.
But all the way there was nothing I wanted to buy.
So what good was a job for me?
What was I supposed to be working for?
One day my brother told me about how to invest my money and I was completely hooked.
Was there really a legal escape out of the 9-5?
I couldn’t believe it! It was too good to be true.
The principle for reaching financial independence is to save up 25 x your yearly expenses.
I’ve done a lot of tracking over the years, and my average spending over several year is $1,500 – $2,000 per month.
If we assume I spend $2,000/month every month, I’ll end up spending $24,000/year.
25 x my yearly expenses is therefore $600,000.
In other words, I will retire when I have a net worth of $600,000.
Escaping The 9-5: Financial Independence In Only 5 Years
Okay, so let’s get honest here.
My net worth is already almost $200,000.
There is no way I could have retired from the 9-5 in only 5 years starting with a $0 net worth.
So how did I get from $0 to $200,000 in the first place?
- By living frugally and saving 50 % of income for years (but with an extremely low salary in part time jobs).
- By working 9-5 for three years after I started working full time and saving almost 65 % of my salary every year ranging from $57,000 – $81,500 (current job).
- Reducing my costs to a bare minimum, only spending money on what gives me lasting happiness.
For details on my monthly expenses, you can check it out here.
At the end of March 2024 I will be financial independent.
I will be 36 years old, and my whole life is still ahead of me.
The curious reader is perhaps wondering how the math works on how I’m getting to $600,000 in 5 years.
You can find all the calculations on how I’m going to retire in only 5 years in my detailed post here.
But the truth is that all this is much more possible to reach financial independence with a higher income.
And I don’t have children, which makes it even easier.
Why Do I Want To Reach Financial Independence?
Think about it, both you and me have somewhere else we’d rather be in life, right?
Or can you honestly say that you love to work 9 – 5 for 47 weeks a year?
My biggest financial goal in life is to be financial independent.
The reason for this is so I can take back the control over my time.
It doesn’t feel right to live the rest of my life working in a corporate world.
I want to work on my own projects, have more time with my spouse, family and friends.
To feel like that the work I do, I do for myself and not for someone else.
Financial independence is not about relaxing at the beach, playing golf all day and doing nothing.
It’s about doing work that’s meaningful to you.
I love to work, but only on my own projects.
I am sure Mrs MummyPenny loves her self-employed blogging lifestyle, and I would love to do something similar.
After all, maybe I will end up working more hours than I do now, but it’s totally worth it when you’re on your own and have your own schedule.
Sacrifices I have Made On The Path To Financial Independence
I’ll go into the sacrifices I’ve made on my path to financial independence.
But let me change the view on what’s a sacrifice is first.
Did you know that if you’re 40 years old, you only have on average 336,000 hours left to live on this planet?
Do you really want to sacrifice 1/3 of that time to a job you don’t even like?
And don’t forget that you sleep 1/3 of the time as well, meaning that you have only got 112,000 hours left doing what you like.
I haven’t even mentioned commuting, getting ready for work etc. that as well eats of your time, But it’s easy to see that we don’t have much time to what we really want in life, right?
To me this is the biggest sacrifice of all.
Living an unfulfilled life.
That’s why I sacrifice to live on $1,500 – $2,000 a month now, and save 65 % of my income every month (this is for me alone).
To me this doesn’t feel like a sacrifice at all.
I do all the things that I want to do today (besides from working 9 – 5).
The only thing I want is more time.
And that’s the reason I pursue financial independence.
Set yourself a time limit for how long you want to play the corporate game
Set yourself a limit of for example 5 – 15 years, and work hard those years to max your time in your corporate 9 – 5 job.
Every year you should negotiate for salary increases, save as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to leave your job for a bigger salary somewhere else.
Optimise your skills that will be useful for your future, eg. networking, presenting, selling, negotiating etc., and use minimal time on boring tasks that only gives value for your boss (reports, Excel plotting and all mindless tasks which is unnecessary).
Let the employer that treats you the best (aka pays you the most) win your time, and make sure you spend time developing the skills that benefit you.
When I look back at the moment I graduated my masters degree, it was a weird time in my life.
I was so glad that it was over, but I was also unsure about what I could expect from the 9 – 5.
I already had a signed job contract, but I had no idea what I actually wanted from life.
Engineering? Nutritionist? Children and marriage? Solo travelling?
I was like a big question mark.
Maybe the 9-5 was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.
It gives me time to think and plan, to experience the corporate world, and to build a strong foundation financially.
My plan now is to invest 65 % of my income every month in investments and to quit my corporate job in five years when my net worth is estimated to be $600,000.
And if you want to be financial independent yourself, my advice to you is simple:
- Read the book “Your Money Or Your Life” by Vicki Robin
- Track your income & expenses every month
- Track your net worth, (a sum of your investments and assets less your debts).
- Increase your salary every year. Change your job often to get the best promotions.
- Set yourself a Financial Independence Goal. This motivates you every month when you update your net worth and see you’re slowly getting closer to financial independence.
Still not convinced that Financial Independence is something for you?
You don’t want extra time to pursue your interests and have more options in life?
Well, I’m not forcing you.
And no one says you have to quit your job either, it’s all about opportunities and more freedom.
Come and join me when you are ready, I will gladly teach you what I know!
Well if that doesn’t inspire you to aim for financial freedom then I don’t know what will??!!
Go follow Route 2 FI over on Twitter where they share alot. Thank you for the post!