Ya’ll have Mrs. Picky Pincher to thank for this post. On Ruth’s recent article regarding her series of unfortunate travel events, Mrs. Picky commented that she’s been hearing that the pursuit of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is pointless.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that about debt freedom as well (and thought it myself for many years). People, when they hear you are pursuing one or the other of these lofty goals will comment with sentences such as:
“Everyone has debt. It’s no big deal; it’s just the way it is.”
“Why would you live like that (i.e. super frugally) for so long? You should be enjoying life now.”
“You’ll never make it. It’s not possible to be debt free/reach financial independence” etc.
Anyone pursuing a financial goal that requires strict limits on spending and extra hours making money has probably heard one or more of these excuses. But is it worth it? Is the time and sacrifice to reach (or maybe reach) an astronomical goal like debt freedom or financial independence worth it?
Let’s talk a bit about the benefits vs the downsides of pursuing these types of goals.
Everyone Has Debt/No Savings/Can’t Retire Early
Yep, most everyone does. Most everyone is also miserable about their financial situation. The latest reports show that 76 million Americans are struggling financially/just getting by. That’s a large chunk of the U.S. population’s adults. But as my mother used to say back in the day, “If ‘everyone’ jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?”
The truth of the matter is that any type of a goal that deviates from “normal” is going to require that you swim upstream. And most people don’t like that. Nobody likes to be alone in their misery. It’s much easier to make excuses for a bad financial situation if there are a large number of people around you in the same bad situation.
Those who break out of their bad situation and go for something better upset the apple cart in that they bring to light the lie that debt freedom/financial independence cannot be achieved.
Don’t follow the crowd. Don’t give up on your financial dreams. I promise you’ll like it better there.
Live for Today (You Only Live Once, After All) or Sacrifice for Later
The problem with this excuse is that for most of us, “later” will come. I turned 50 this summer and I’m still in shock and how quickly the past 30 years have gone.
So the real question becomes: Do you really want to live in this same financial hellhole thirty years from now? If so, keep on spending and not pursuing financial freedom and debt freedom. However, if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, get to work and change things up.
I have a feeling you’ll find as we did; that the things we were spending on didn’t bring us as much joy as we thought they did.
On the other hand, the sacrifices we’ve been making have been improving every area of our lives. As our financial stability has improved, so has the rest of our lives.
Debt Freedom/Financial Independence is Not Possible
Says who? Brian, who paid off $109k in credit card debt in under 5 years? My partner in crime here on Fruclassity, Ruth, who is nearly free of $250k in debt in just over five years? The list is endless. Spend any time at all in the PF blogging world and you’ll come across hundreds of people who share their stories of debt freedom.
The difference between those reaching their financial goals and those not reaching their financial goals is simply the commitment to do something different.
No one who has reached an astronomical goal like paying off thousands in consumer debt or saving enough money to be financially independent did it without sacrifice and hard work. It’s time to trade in today’s “I want it, so I shall have it – and NOW” mentality for something better: true financial peace that will allow you to see the world outside of the lens of “Should I, could I, can I afford the payments?”
Money in and of itself cannot buy true happiness, but when you live a life where money is not a consideration in the decisions you make, you’ll likely find you’re making much more intentional decisions for the right reasons instead of the “can I afford it?” reasons.
What do you think? Is the pursuit of debt freedom/financial independence worth it?