My friend was fired today.
She had worked at this site for years, was hardworking, and exceptionally loyal. Based on a rumor, her time at this company abruptly ended, and she was left with plenty of anger and disappointment.
As I comforted my friend, it became another reason on an ever-growing list for reason 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
Hark back to the time before wrinkles and grey hair, where I thought that if I just kept doing the best I could it would be enough to produce a happily ever after.
A lack of wrinkles also meant a lack of wisdom.
After plenty of lack luster learning opportunities, I realized that if I want something to happen like financial independence, I needed to make a plan. And the plan has to be better than cashing out my only retirement plan and paying penalty fees when I wanted college spending money.
A retirement account is not a savings account.
When I started seriously considering financial freedom and early retirement, I had to assess what was good and what was like body odor on a hot humid day.
As a federal employee I have some pretty luxe benefits. I didn’t have guaranteed year-round employment but I did have year-round benefits.
I spent some time being an annoying new person and asking too many questions, but I did find out I could use four years of military experience to boost 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 personal finances with little effort. Especially because I will need to survive on investment returns before I start cashing out traditional retirement benefits like social security, 401(k)s, and Roth IRAs.
I had to figure out how to capture more income streams. Five seems to be ideal with a few being passive.
The tax codes immensely favor capital over labor where many advantages are given to investors rather than people who provide goods and services.Filled With Money
My progress is going well, considering I got off to a late, midlife start.
I have a Park Ranger job that I am very happy with, even if it meant staying in the exact position for 16 years. A bonus that I have a job that I enjoy too!
I started aggressively investing and starting to see impressive results. My returns have been better when compared to banking defaults aka letting the banks dictate what my money is invested. Banks were good at putting my money to work in areas that had high fees and low 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 9-5 gov gig, investing, and cashback apps and credit card rewards.
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 worked through a few financial setbacks before this point though none as severe as my friends current loss. But, as I continue to level up to financial freedom – I feel like those setbacks upgrades resilience, persistence, and sass and I am just beginning to see what I am truly capable of.
At the very least, I will have a lux retirement.