Many have questions with regards to our 2025 Plan for financial independence since it is quite out of the ordinary to choose to live a more modest life in order to reach freedom from having to work until the average age of retirement, which was 63.6 years in Canada in 2015 according to Statistics Canada. We definitely need to have a certain motivation that pushes us to live in a way that is somewhat against the tide of the consumerist tendencies of our society.
Where does this motivation come from? What really pushes us to maintain a frugal lifestyle and ‘’deprive’’ ourselves of all sorts of luxuries in our lives? I’m obviously using the word deprive sarcastically as we truly consider that we don’t lack of anything and actually live a rather lavish life despite that our annual spending is much more modest than the average spending of Canadian households, which was estimated at about 67 000$ (after taxes) in 2015 according to Statistics Canada.
And, essentially, what will we be doing of our days when we no longer need to be employed in a full-time job while still being just in our thirties?
Why do we want to be Financially Independent?
This question basically comes down to the fact that we had this need to answer to a small inner voice that, since as long as we can remember, kept telling us : There must be more to life than this lifestyle!
This voice was possibly already present when we were just kids stuck in school all day, impatiently waiting for the sound of the school bell in order to get back to our passions, whether it be to ride our bikes around our neighborhoods during a sunny Spring day or simply go off to read a good book. I clearly remember, however, in my student jobs that the famous rhythm of working from 9 to 5 would lead me to question the essence of living this way.
It is also this little voice that, as I would be returning from travelling, when I was slowly starting to think about the return to daily life, and about when I would have saved enough money and vacation time to leave again on a trip, would come back and whisper : there must be more to life than this lifestyle!
This feeling of wanting to do more with our time is also present when a loved one would need help, whether it be to complete a project or to get through a difficult period such as an illness. Instead, we only manage to free ourselves for a meager afternoon, through our crazy schedules and then we find ourselves back at work on Monday, reflecting on how we would be way more fulfilled back helping that loved one instead of at the office.
Hence, it is with the ultimate goal of finding that desired more that seemed to be missing from our life that we eventually reached the conclusion that our financial independence would allow us to obtain it.
According to me, lots of people attempt to meet this desire to liberate themselves from the 9 to 5, 5 days a week work routine until in their sixties, with actions that actually end up bringing them further from this goal. For example, by spending hundreds of dollars in lottery tickets because they believe that winning would give them what they need to avoid staying in a lifestyle that does not fulfill them. Others will spend hundreds if not thousands on entertainment products and services in the sole objective of disconnecting from the dreaded routine.
As for us, we understood early that having a modest lifestyle would allow us to reach our objective of financial independence in our thirties and thus be able to get more out of life.
What will we do of our days if we become ”retirees” in our thirties?
The answer to this question is pretty simple: exactly what we want to do with our days!
Being financially independent doesn’t mean that we will be freed from all obligations. Indeed, we have kids so their school will remain a priority and we will maintain a routine surrounding their school schedule. This is however the type of obligations that we chose and that make us happy. Furthermore, we will have a lot more flexibility in our everyday life to spend our time doing exactly what we please.
We will therefore be able to decide to go on a trip whenever we wish, whether it be according to the temperature or to less hectic periods to travel and thus less expensive. We will be able to offer help to our loved ones whenever they need it. We will be able to live according to the rhythm of the seasons, without having to waste any beautiful sunny day in a dark office to try and meet a deadline we care nothing about. We will basically be able to truly organize our activities as we see fit and our time will rightly be ours.
Having more time to do what we want will not translate in an increase in our spending. Indeed, the beauty of living with the objective of becoming financially independent is that we are already aware of our ideal cost of living and we are not the type to fill our free time with expensive activities to entertain us because we know that doing so would bring us farther from our objective. We know that becoming financially independent will actually fulfill us much more than those activities ever could and we have already done the exercise of aligning our expenses with what is truly important to us, as described in the article The Wealth of Simplicity.
A brief note on the idea that we will be ‘’retirees’’ in our thirties
I use the word retirees lightly because reaching financial independence will not mean that we will never receive a salary or monetary compensation for things we will do once we leave our full-time jobs. It will simply mean that we will not depend on such a revenue to fund our cost of living since our investments will cover all of our expenses.
Many articles from blogs on financial independence discuss this subject, for example this article by MMM : Mr. Money Mustache vs. the Internet Retirement Police or this article from the Riches Relaxes (translation – Wealthy and Relaxed), a francophone blog that I recently discovered and really enjoy, written by a Québécois couple in their thirties that will retire in June 2017, which indirectly discusses this definition of ‘’retiree’’ for financially independent people : Et si tout le monde était Riche Relax (translation : And if everyone was Riche Relax). (Update May 2019 : Sadly the Riche Relax blog is now defunct, so sad, would have loved to read about their now retired lifestyle).
In conclusion, it’s possible that some of our activities once we are ‘’retirees’’ will bring us revenues but those will simply be considered as a bonus and we will not depend on them to finance our way of life. It just so happens that once a person can allocate their time to what they are passionate about and according to their own schedule, activities that result from doing so can become income sources.