Finding Motivation for Financial Independence

Financial Independence Motivation

Let’s take a step back from the numbers this week.

There’s something more powerful than numbers that affects your financial freedom.  And that something, is your motivation.

I’m not going to get all fluffy and spiritual on you, but I think it’s worth thinking about how to boost motivation.

If you can get more motivated, you have way more chance of reaching your goals and living the life you want.

You might have noticed some people seem to achieve crazy amounts of things, in a short space of time. Look at Elon Musk!  He’s accomplishing huge things in record time.  And if anything, his achievements are accelerating.

Maybe an extreme example.  But how does this work?  Why do some people seem to just get shit done, while everyone else watches?

To me, the answer is in peoples deep motivations and desires.  Some people find things they’re passionate about and work relentlessly on achieving results.

It seems like a few people struggle with this aspect.  So, I want to share ideas behind how I found the motivation to become a super-saver and reach financial independence at age 28.

 

Finding A Reason

Most people are basically the same. It’s mainly just different thinking that makes people choose a different path from their peers. Which then of course, changes their future.

To achieve financial independence at a young age, or any age really, people need a reason. Not just any reason, it needs to be a strong and powerful.

Strong motivation will come from a strong desire for a different future.

So what’s your reason?  Why do you want to achieve financial independence?

Whatever it is, it had better be strong enough to propel you forwards.

If it’s just a case of “well it would be nice”, it’s pretty unlikely you’ll be motivated enough to make the changes necessary and stay focused on the end goal.

Everyone will get their motivation from different places.  The important point is that you have to get it from somewhere!

Do you crave more family time?

Do you want to switch careers from your high pay/low enjoyment role, to a lower paying but high enjoyment job?

Maybe you just want time to work on your hobbies, read a mountain of books, spend more time with your kids, catch up with friends and do all the things you never manage to find the time to do currently.

Related post: Life After Financial Independence – What Does it Look Like?

You might even just want to stay in your current job, but do less hours.

Strengthening your financial position, by having investments providing you with an income stream, might be all you need.  With investments covering some of your bills, just a bit of free time might bring your life back to a happy balance.

My point is, the reason must be strong enough to motivate you into action!

 

Fixated on Financial Independence

If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen.

In the great book “Think & Grow Rich”, Napoleon Hill found that to achieve a big goal, the most important factor is you must have a burning desire to achieve it.

This was one of the first wealth books I read.  And I have to say, I fully agree.

Even if the goal seems super hard or even impossible, don’t underestimate the human mind when it’s fixated on a goal.

I’m lucky in the sense that I didn’t really lack motivation.  When I have a strong goal, my mind tends to fixate on it (maybe too much), and starts brainstorming all the things I can do to make it possible.

I wanted financial independence so bad that (somewhat embarrassingly), it was the first thing I thought of when I woke up and the last thing I thought of when I went to bed.

It sounds kind of ridiculous to say that now, but it’s true.  My mind would constantly be working on different ways to make it happen.

I’m not sure if other people get like this?  Maybe I have an unusually obsessive personality?
Whatever the reason, it worked out well!

 

Motivated Saving

The most powerful thing I learned from the Early Retirement Calculator, is that our level of spending was directly gnawing away at our future freedom.

Once we saw that link so visibly staring us in the face, we realised that some of our expenses were simply not worth our freedom.

This gave us huge motivation to prioritise better and save more.

Many people think about saving as a sacrifice.  That we need to sacrifice things in order to save.  I don’t see it that way.

To me, we are sacrificing our life, in order to spend. 

The more we spend, the further away our future freedom becomes, so it had better be worth it!

 

What would you rather be doing?

One of the easiest ways to find motivation is thinking about what you’d rather be doing, when you’re at work.

Most of us would have a list as long as our arm, of things we’d rather do, than flop out of bed on a cold morning for another soul-sucking day of drudgery.

If you wouldn’t do your job for free, chances are you should be doing something else!

It’s fair to say we’d all rather be working on things we’re actually interested in, not for the money. If you can’t think of anything… think harder!

What activities do you just love to do?  What really makes you want to get out of bed in the morning for?

What’s the job or project you would be happy working on, for absolutely no pay at all?

For me, the lure of unlimited free time was irresistible.

I wanted to spend lots more time with my partner and my dog.  Investing became a passion for me, so I wanted to spend more time reading and learning.

I also thought maybe I’d start a blog, to jot down my thoughts, sharing what helped me, and in turn hopefully help other Aussies on their own journey to financial independence.

If you’re interested, here’s how we spend our time these days.

 

Lost?

People that have been in the workforce for a long time, appear kinda lost.

It seems that the longer they stay in their job, the more they lose motivation and drive for what they really want out of life.

Because they’re chained to their job, they assume there is no other way.  It becomes accepted that “this is just what I have to do”.

Sometimes people just get too comfortable.  Once comfort sets in, change becomes a bit scary.

 

Don’t forget, you have a choice!

I remember having a conversation at work with a mate of mine a few years ago.

On the radio, it was announced that the retirement age was changing from 65, eventually to age 70.

He mentioned how we were going to be at work even longer now.  I was a bit surprised at his comment.

I replied “you know you don’t have to retire at 70?”.  He asked “What do you mean?”, to which I simply replied “you can retire whenever you want, if you have enough savings and investments”.

He just gave me a strange look and seemed a bit stunned.

So, we were both equally shocked at the other persons outlook!

After this, we had many conversations about saving, investing and early retirement.

The best part is, he and his wife are now saving aggressively and are setting themselves up for a wonderful life of freedom in the future 🙂

It seems to me, once people realise what is possible for them, their motivation increases big time.

Because once they know it’s possible, if they’re not working towards it, then they’re missing out on the rewards.

 

Think Hard

Without getting all deep and meaningful, people should spend time learning about themselves.

Learning about what they truly like/dislike in life, and what they would want to be doing if they didn’t need a paycheck.

The funny thing is, once we’ve stopped working, we still need work to do!  But the difference is, it can be work we want to do, that’s truly enjoyable to us.

Maybe you love surfing and want to teach people to surf.  Or you might want to start your own web design company, renovate houses or be a carer.  The list is endless!

It doesn’t matter what it is.  We need to have future work/hobbies to step into, not simply just running away from our jobs.

This future life we’re thinking about, should give us the motivation we need today, to make the right decisions and put us on our path to freedom.

If we all think hard enough, we can find that motivation to reach financial independence.  It lies in what we’d rather be doing with our time, if we didn’t need to work so much.

Above all, having the time freedom for all the things that are important to us, makes for a much happier and fulfilling life.

 

8 comments

  1. Great post Snowball.

    I’d love to be financially independent and retired and be able to do whatever I want. Wait a minute I just realised I already am. Hell I’m feeling more motivated already:-).

    Time to head out and pick some fresh produce for dinner. The chickens are screaming their guts out for more food so they get a whole head of lettuce out of the garden to shut them up for awhile. After that some high quality home brew on the deck might be in order.

    Are you on the WHF SPP bandwagon as well?

    Keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks Austing.

      Haha! You’re certainly living the dream mate, that’s for sure

      Nah, no Whitefield for me at the moment. Been busy buying BKI 🙂

      1. Yeah I like BKI not too big, not too small. I think the IIR Research Report I posted the other day did a reasonable job in highlighting its strengths. Over time BKI could be the better of the low cost LICs. AFI and ARG have size against them going forward.

        As you know there’s been a lot of discussion on PC about income from dividends vs selling capital to fund retirement. I’ve read extensively on this over the years and can see both sides of the argument. But for multiple reasons I still love dividends and that’s where most of our money will always be invested. It’s a wonderful way to invest which has been good to us over a very long time.

        1. Being strongly Millner influenced will certainly help them and I like their quarterly writings where you can see more of how they think and operate. Their size is an interesting point, as they can perhaps be more nimble and less likely to hold onto a business they believe will have sub-par returns. Cheers for posting that report 🙂

          Yes, it’s a hot debate and one similar to property vs shares, in the sense that it will never end. People will just take a preference and agree to disagree. I can see the other side also but feel the dividend income approach is right for me and has quite a few psychological advantages. It’s great to have so many low cost managers in Oz with a dividend focus.

          Thanks for your thoughts, always appreciated!

  2. Amazing post! Like yourself I had a burning desire to be financially free, but it took me an extra 4 years to get there 🙁

    I’ve since quit my corporate job and have started my own mortgage broking business so I can help others in their investing journey 🙂 The biggest difference this time is that I chose to do this, and that makes all the difference in the world.

    1. Jack you’ve done an excellent job getting to where you are, and congratulations on starting your own business 🙂

      You nailed it right there, it’s all about having the choice over how you spend your time!

  3. I was pleasantly surprised by the early retirement calculator. It reckons 20 years which will take me up to 52. Not bad, considering that’s about the time I figure I will want to wind up the city suburban life and head to the country!

    I am one of those that pursue financial independence but want to remain in my job. I love it, so I’m not going anywhere for a little while. But instead, I want to have the security and the option to leave, if I do want to. Maybe when I have kids, I will sing a different tune and decide I don’t want to go back? You can’t predict the future, but you can sure as hell prepare for it.

    1. That’s awesome Pia!

      It’s great that you’re in a job you love too, that’s the ultimate position to be in. It’s the freedom that’s the key, being able to choose. You’re wise enough to see that although you love working now, it may not always be the case 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *