Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Lately, my thoughts drift violently between 'getting a stable paycheck-producing job' and 'packing my bags and leaving for a perpetual world trip'.

Yeah, I'm not kidding. This is what happens when you have a little too much time on your hands...

Since young, I'd always leaned towards creative pursuits - music, art, photography, exploration. I almost pursued music/graphic design as my major. The problem, however, is that these pursuits don't pay the bills; or rather, it would be a real struggle to make ends meet.

At least, that's what I thought at that point in time.

So I adjusted my bearings, and headed towards the metropolis - submitted myself as a victim to the allure of the corporate ladder.

Seven years later, here I am, feeling as unfulfilled as ever. I have food on the table, my bills are paid on time and I'm not broke (I mean, I would be if I don't find another gig soon) but somehow, this does not feel right.

I thought creative pursuits would be a struggle, but hey, on the flip side, a traditional corporate career path like the one I'm in right now isn't any different. I've learnt that either path is a struggle, so why not choose the one that provides some form of enjoyment?

The thing is, expectations sink in as you age.

"Those are hobbies, need to get a job" 
"Have you gotten a house yet?" 
"Are you getting the new Apple Watch?" 
"Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?" - everyone expects a 'I'll be head of department by then, have kids and dogs running around...' kind of response. 

Those expectations may hold some weight. However, if you were to respond to each and every one of them, you'd be living life according to what others expect of you.

What a silly, silly thing to do.

Don't even get me started on the impact of those expectations on your finances. One thing is for sure - people who achieved Financial Independence (F.I.) didn't respond much to expectations.

If you like fine watches, yeah sure, go for it if you can truly afford it. But don't get a Rolex just because your clients expect you to have one strapped around your wrist.

It takes effort to manage expectations, but those who can ignore them are bold.

I know for a fact, that acquaintances who ignored expectations but had the work ethic, drive and perseverance achieved so much more than those who pursued a traditional career path.

The main reason why I'm trying to achieve F.I. by 35 is because I see it as the freedom to pursue what I want without having to worry about a paycheck anymore.

In short, Financial Independence is not the end game, it's merely a means to an end.

The pursuit of freedom is my coping mechanism, but I'm starting to ask myself if wearing an ill-fitting job for 10 years to finally pursue what I want to do in life is worth the sacrifice.

The insurance here would be to work on those pursuits concurrently. There's nothing stopping us from getting our freedom fund in order while we work on our true interests.

But to be honest, I'm not sure how everything's going to work out.

But I'm OK with that, too.

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  1. I keep getting an itch too. There's (always) talk about layoffs in my industry. My wife and I talked about it again last night and decided it wouldn't be that bad. I'd be a stay at home dad, we'd save a ton on daycare, and we'd look at other options. We have plenty of money to weather the storm so no need to freak out!

    I'm sure people who haven't been saving like you and I would look for the first lifesaver thrown their way instead of working on building another boat before their ship sinks!

    1. Yup, it's amazing how choices seem to 'magically' appear when we're prepared.

      When we're well equipped, there should be little to worry about. Even if we sink in the storm, at least we gave it our best shot.

  2. Damn brother! FI by 35? Good for you!

    Excellent post - and some pretty deep thoughts. I'm right there with you, though. I constantly think "what if..." yet I still slave at my corporate job every day. I think it's about risk tolerance - how much do we need to save to feel comfortable leaving our comfort zone... if that makes sense.

    I too live a life of frugality and hope to reach FI sooner rather than later, but I think dreaming of what WILL be can be used as a motivator. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Chris, FI by 35 is a very very ambitious goal for me. But the thing is FI is highly subjective - maybe it's a million bucks...or it could be way less than that.

      I agree with you about risk, but for me it's more of the trade off. I'd rather be Financially Independent on a $2,000/month passive income than to trade another 10 years of my life running on the corporate treadmill.

      As I mentioned in the post, it's merely a means to an end. FI is never the end game :)

  3. When we' re young, a lot of emphasis is put on having dreams, setting goals, and working hard to achieve them, anything is possible, etc. It's so disheartening to hear people lower their expectations, give up and just settle because we're expected to do so.

    I am also trying to ignore the expectations but keep the worth ethic and perseverance going. Hobbies can make you happy, help you learn new skills and have the potential to become a career.