So what’s the difference between retiring and financial independence? For the longest time I thought they were the same. But, it turns out, there is a difference. When you retire, you stop working. When you achieve financial independence you never stop working… but the work you do is not work, it’s passion.
For years now Honey and I would talk about retirement, the day we would have enough money set aside to last us until we die or die trying. But, in reality, as I recently discovered, that’s not what we were really looking for. What we thought was retirement (those days in the future where we could do what we wanted to do) was actually a longing for financial independence. So, recently we’ve changed our goals. Let me break it down for you.
Our previous and misconceived goal of retirement was this.
- Save up as much money into our RRSPs and Pension at work. (401 k plan in the US )
- Pay off the mortgage as soon as possible
- Be debt free. That means no debt what so ever except basic monthly expenses.
- Since our jobs had a great medical plan, we would get our teeth fixed, and that included braces and getting all of our old fillings taken out and fixed up as good as new.
- Get the kids out of the house (by teaching them to save and be independent)
- Sell the house, make a profit, buy a new smaller house.
- Put the remainder of the money into our Tax Free Savings Account.
- Quit our jobs and live within our means
- Do what we want to do. Go for walks, hit the pool, write, do art etc.
But then I discovered as we got closer, or should I say are getting closer, our goal was 55 years old. (That’s only a 5 years away as I write this.) Things started to change. I have a friend of mine who is financially independent, he buys apartment building with his company and he loves to help people understand the value of owning “doors” (every door represents an apartment or living space.) I’m pretty sure he’s close to a thousand by now… anyhow, he was telling me I should get into the market with him. “Come on man jump in the water is warm and the profits are good.” And I believe him. He’s an honest and gracious man who has made all of his money honestly, and none of it came easy. He used to live on the streets. He worked his ass off to be where he is.
The problem is that he loves what he does, sure, I could invest some of my RRSP’s into his business and make some money to get me to retirement sooner, but is that what drives me? Is this what I want? I’m not saying in the next couple of years I won’t do it, I never know what I’ll learn tomorrow. I, like him, want to do things that bring me joy and stoke the passions of my fire. So, what is my fire? Well, that where it gets complicated. My wife says I have “passions for the moment” or “I’m on fire for this subject right now”. Being ADHD I find it hard to stay focused on one thing and to tell the truth I don’t want to stay focused on any one thing… so, what am I to do?
Ok, hold on I’m getting distracted from my main goal here. What I discovered recently after talking with Financially independent friends and acquaintances is that I don’t want to retire, I don’t want to stop working, I simply want to work and do the things I have passion for and I need those things to bring me in a passive and direct income. Only then can I cut the shackles of the 8 hour work day that I call my life today. (not that there is anything wrong with that, I will write about that later.)
A friend of mine the other day said this to me, “What does success look like for you? And I don’t want you to tell me a dollar amount, I want to tell me what it is… what is life like as a successful you?” Well, I’m all like, “I don’t know I don’t want to do anything and I want to do everything”. “Tell me about he says”.
Ok, what does my life look like for me to be successful? Here goes.
I wake up in the morning, and look over to see my beautiful wife laying next to me. We get up have coffee and go for a walk and we brainstorm our day, then hit the pool to sit in the hot tub and pop into the sauna. I chat with the regulars and discuss life. We get back home around 11 am and my wife starts to work on her art (what ever that is for the day. she sculpts draws, paints….what ever). This is important because watching her do her art brings her great joy and thus brings me great joy. I on the other hand begin doing what I’m doing. What is that? Well one day I’m doing my cooking show for my YouTube channel, or maybe I’m doing my Building Crap with Chip show, or maybe I’m working on my blog or my novel or poems or short stories or I’m getting a call from some company that needs my ideas and they call me for a brainstorm session or I’m helping solve the problems of pollution and homelessness or Honey and I are working on our comic strip sketches of life or I’m helping my kids with their buisnesses or I’m working on my new song with the band I just put together or… I think you get the idea.
For me a successful life is doing what I want to do right now, but how do I make a living doing those things? I have no degree in marketing or social work, I do everything half ass cause I think that’s how it should be done. Well, not everything half ass. But, if I want to be financially independent, I must find a way to make these things happen. But, as soon as I am locked into one thing I want to do another. this is my life with ADHD, and I like it that way. I love the fact that I don’t want to focus too much time on any one thing… I love it.
So, where does that bring me? How do I do it? I will try to post on this subject over the coming days and months. I will work toward financial independence and see if I get there. I started listening to this one podcast call Choose FI and I have asked my kids to do the same, so far I like it. With friends and podcast and a little more education I may just reach my goals… I’m really starting to believe I will.
Ok, that’s it for now, see you soon. Hopefully? 😉