Why would anyone pursue FIRE (financial independence and retire early)? For me, it was different circumstances that brought financial independence on my path.
My entire life, I kept on the standard path. High school, Bachelor’s degree in Economics, and a Master’s degree in Corporate Finance & Control.
My stepdad became unemployed in early 2008 at age 55, when I was still in high school and living at home.
He had a car accident when he was 27, which to this day causes chronic back pain (a few of his nerves are stuck between his spine). He was enjoying his work as a graphical designer but due to his back pain, he wanted to work from home two days a week. That way he could take more breaks and walk around to ease the pain.
His employer wouldn’t let him, and that was it. He got fired.
That’s the first moment I’ve realized employment isn’t providing any security or reliability.
I don’t want to let someone else’s opinion of how well I do my work dictate my life.
What if I don’t get that job?
What if I don’t get that promotion?
I don’t want to live in constant insecurity. I want to eliminate all the what if’s from my life ASAP!
Knowing What You Don’t Want
My stepdad went to interview after interview and didn’t get the job.
Eventually, he found a job as a taxi driver to bring kids with special needs to school. He likes his job, but mostly he doesn’t work more than 3 hours per day – so it doesn’t bring in much income.
My mom needed to get back to work as well to provide for our family.
Even I contributed by loaning my parents money when I was studying – that I got through a student loan, very personal finance proof.
From that point on, I knew that this situation was something I never wanted in my life.
During University I would live independently from my parents, and I would provide for everything myself. My tuition, rent, food, partying, and more.
I had a little help from the government that was lending me money. At the end of my studies, I was left with €25,000 student loan debt, which I believe isn’t too bad.
My mom and stepdad did the best they could in every situation, and I love them so so much. But they have given me this incredible drive to work hard now so I never have to rely on others to provide myself.
I would feel terrible when I couldn’t find a job and the government or anyone for that matter needed to provide for me.
Being (financially) independent gives me the sense of freedom that I can make my own decisions, do whatever I want to do, and choose between good and better!
When the Blog Comes In
I enjoyed the hell out of that seminar and I learned so so much. It was an entire weekend, but really worth my time. During the entire weekend, he talked a lot about financial freedom and retirement.
At that seminar, I decided someday I wanted to start my own business. Just starting consulting people was not something I was ready for yet – I didn’t have the courage.
[Related Read: Money and Confidence To Living Your Best Life]
At that seminar, I decided that I would start putting myself out there – start blogging and writing.
Writing was always something I’ve loved but never something I pursued. December 2018 is when the blog was born!
I read Rich Dad Poor Dad, which lighted the FIRE within me even more.
[Related Read: 6 Lessons Learned from Rich Dad Poor Dad Everyone Should Know]
Freedom Is The name Of The Game
Freedom is my #1 value and it’s the most important value that I find plays a big role in my desire for financial freedom.
A way to get freedom now is to build in mini-retirements in your current life. You can do whatever you want in a mini-retirement, go traveling, or work on a passion project being two of those. Negotiating a mini-retirement is easier than you think. Don’t wait until retirement, enjoy life today!
I’ve been traveling for 4 months in 2017 plus 4 months of not working. In 2019 I had another 4 months of traveling. This is the freedom to me.
My Why to FI
I always thought it had a nice ring to it, and now I can finally say it: my why to FI.
Financial independence was so interesting – that was what I wanted!
I don’t want to work for someone else, I want to pursue my own passion projects without any pressure.
When I started working, April 2018, I noticed that I had more money than I needed.
Shortly after I started investing, which I already knew a decent amount about because of my economic background.
I also started investing in crypto, which is something I see as my play money – nothing that I am relying on to bring in any returns.
Since I discovered Financial Independence in November 2018, I grabbed on to it very tight. This was my opportunity to get out of the rat race.
The idea that having a big enough nest egg that your investments would fund your expenses forever was both incredible and very new to me!
I Dove In Head-First
I calculated my savings rate, discovered I was doing very very well.
Since I am living in a shared apartment, my housing costs are very low.
My employer pays for my car (I get taxes deducted for it from my salary and that’s it).
I considered myself very lucky to be in this kind of position with little to no lifestyle inflation compared to when I was studying. With my current savings rate, I expect to retire in 10 years – at age 35.
If you’re curious about my monthly financial reports, you can read them here:
- March Financial Report and Clothing Ban Announcement
- February Financial Report and Barcelona Business Trip
- My First Financial Report in January 2019
I love the part where w
If you’re curious about the HOW of Financial Independence and Early Retirement, you can start here:
- 11 Steps For Your Simple Monthly Money Routine
- What is a Safe Withdrawal Rate for Early Retirement?
- How Is Early Retirement Even Possible?
- What Is Your FI Number?
What is your Why to FI?
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.