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My friend was fired.
She had worked at this establishment for years, was hardworking, and exceptionally loyal. Based on a rumor, her time at this company ended, and she was left with anger and disappointment.
As I comforted my friend, it became another reason on an ever-growing list as to why I am pursuing financial freedom like a weird velociraptor from Jurassic Park.
I don’t want my position, livelihood, and identity to hang on employment. Instead, I want to level up to early retirement and end the game of financial dependence.
Financial freedom is about much more than just having money. It’s the freedom to be who you really are and do what you really want in life. It’s about following your passion, making choices that aren’t influenced by your bank account, and living life on your terms.Rich Dad
Choose Your Adventure
There was a time, when I had less wrinkles and grey hair, that I thought that if I just kept doing the best I could it would be enough to produce a happily haphazard life.
A lack of wrinkles also meant a lack of wisdom.
After plenty of learning experiences, I realized that if I want something to happen, I need to make a plan. When I started seriously considering financial freedom and early retirement, I needed to assess what was good and what was bad like body odor on a humid day.
As a federal employee I have some pretty lux benefits. I didn’t have guaranteed year-round employment but I did have year-round benefits.
After being that annoying new person and asking many questions, I found out I could use my military experience to give a boost in the federal pension (FERS). This would cut four years off the minimum 20 needed for a government annuity. I would have to pay back my time in lump sum or a payment plan.
After pondering the options and crunching numbers, I chose the payment plan so I could keep my current funds where they are safe, sound, and hiding from payment plans.
I had to figure out how to invest because it is one of the few ways to increase my personal finances with little effort. Especially because I need to survive on investment returns before I start cashing out retirement benefits like social security, 401(k)s, and Roth IRAs.
I had to figure out how to capture more income streams. Five is the golden ginger ale in the sky with a few streams being passive.
If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you’ll work until you die.The Oracle of Omaha (Warren Buffett)
Mr. Buffett is normally not so doom, gloom, and boom but as the most successful investor in the world, I will take his advice to the bank because that is where his $100.6 billion is living its golden years.
My progress is going well, considering I got off to a late, midlife start.
I have a federal job that I am very happy with, even if it meant staying in the exact position for 16 years. This is a bonus; to have a job and enjoy it too!
I have started aggressively investing and have seen impressive results. My returns have been better compared to when I let the defaults win aka letting the banks dictate what my money should be invested in. Let’s just say it was heavy in fees and light in returns.
I am still trying to figure out possible income streams but I haven’t come up with any that have yielded results. At the moment, I have three: the Park Ranger gig, investing, and cashback apps and credit card rewards.
One area I have to keep battling against if I want to pick up two income streams and level up.
Winning the Game
After an encouraging phone call to my friend, I sent her an Amazon gift card. It was a small token for her current struggle. I felt grateful to be financially stable enough to give it.
I have have worked through a few financial setbacks before I got to this point. As I continue the challenge of leveling up to financial freedom – I feel like each of those setbacks have given me upgrades in resilience, persistence, and sass and I am just beginning to show what I am truly capable of.
At the very least, I will have a lux retirement with frequent ice cream shop visits and time for doing important things like reading.
Are you pursuing financial freedom? Are we there yet?