The Mindset Shift That Reignited My FI/RE Journey

Hello! I’m Fueled By FI/RE.

The year is 2018. I am one month from my 24th birthday. My husband, Mr. FBF, who I’ve been in love with since I was 16, is upstairs studying for a professional certification. The most beautiful cat in the world, Macy, is sleeping next to me on the couch. We are in a cozy townhome that we bought last March.

Today we will do dishes and laundry, fix a broken armoire, clean our bathrooms, prepare food to eat over the next few days, and generally prepare for the week ahead. A Sunday well spent brings a week of content, right?

Tomorrow and every day until Saturday, between commuting, eating lunch, and actually sitting at my desk, I will spend at least 10 hours at work. I love my job – for the most part. I work in digital marketing, in a research and analytics role that was specifically created for me and my talents. I feel that my work has some level of higher meaning and noble purpose – I help better the lives of our clients and of my coworkers by making our clients money (and therefore my company money!). My coworkers are fun, diligent, brilliant, and caring. I think I can genuinely say I love every one of them. The opportunities to make money, build my career, and make an impact on my company’s trajectory are virtually limitless where I work.

At the end of each night I will arrive home, exhausted from thinking so hard and staring at a screen all day. I will watch TV and hang out with my husband, drink some wine or tea, depending on how far removed I’d like to be from the day I just had, and go to sleep. Then wake up and do it all again, until I arrive back at the weekend, where I do one or two fun activities and spend the rest of the time preparing for the next week.

I lead what I believe to be a very normal life. Maybe even a little better than average in some regards – my husband and I say that finding your partner early on is a silver bullet to a great life, and in many ways, I really believe that. We have no debt besides our mortgage (we paid off $18k in student loans shortly after we were married), and we have more in savings and investments than anyone I know who’s close to our age. I have a great family and friends who are like family. But a life built around my work schedule is not how I imagine my “best life.”

Ever since we knew we wanted the other to be in our lives forever, Mr. FBF and I have been dreaming about our shared vision for the future. We both want four kids, to be able to send those kids to college and raise them in a comfortable lifestyle, to live in a beautiful home that we design around our precise tastes and lifestyle, to be financially independent, and to retire early – as early as possible while still accomplishing the rest of our goals.

And now we get to the point of this blog. Since college – before we even started working full time -, we have been dreaming about retirement as a magical place we would one day find ourselves in that would give us the time and space to live our lives the way we really want to. We imagine retirement as a time when we spend ample time with each other and our (future) kids, pursue our hobbies, focus on health and wellbeing, and just generally have the time and energy to focus on what we care about and to be as happy as possible, rather than whatever our jobs need us to care about.

But after a year and a half (I feel like this is the sentence that decides whether you love or hate me), I’m not satisfied with this strategy. Putting off our best life until we have enough money to indefinitely sustain it is definitely possible, and I think it’s what a lot of people do (or at least those who don’t go the complete opposite direction and live for the now with complete disregard for the future), but it’s not how I want to live. I’d rather start living the life I want now than put it off for some more opportune time.

So how do financial independence and retiring early play into my plans now? I still believe that living by the principals it takes to achieve these things are necessary to live my best life for the whole of my life. Financial independence gives people radical freedom to make choices about how they spend their time. I’m going to use the principals needed to achieve FI/RE (bringing in as much money as possible while spending as little of it as possible) to fuel my life strategy over the long term, but rather than making them a means to an end of an ultimate goal of being financially independent and retiring early, I’m going to use them as a framework for how I live my best life. That shift in mindset may seem minor, but it’s transforming the way I’m approaching my life.

Moving forward I’ll share with you the strategies I use to cut costs, make more money, and decide how I choose to spend that money, keeping in mind that I want to be financially independent as soon as possible while being as happy as possible every day both before and after I get there.

This blog is different than many FI/RE blogs I’ve come across in that I’ll readily admit that I don’t have all of the answers about how to accomplish my goals. I’m just beginning the journey to achieve them. But I’m committed to finding ways to achieve them and sharing everything I learn with you. I’m bringing you on my journey, and you can be a spectator, a mentor, a critic, a friend; whatever you choose, I’m glad you’re here.

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