After a decade of dabbling in different career paths, I finally realized a 9-5 job was not for me. It all started when I couldn’t stand a passive aggressive coworker and hostile boss. I began thinking about how I could leave my 9-5. Over the next few years, I experienced a series of intense office drama and used it as motivation to get the heck out of the rat race.
Financial independence retire early (FIRE)
First, let’s make sure we are on the same page when it comes to defining financial independence. Financial independence is when you have enough money to live on without having to work.
Financially independent people have assets, like rental property and stock funds, that generate an income at least equal to their expenses.
Achieving financial independence is a great goal and I’m living proof that it is possible. It can be tough to manage emotions surrounding money. Yet, at the same time, I was able to use my emotions to attract even more abundance.
My financial history is far from perfect.
There are many things I wish I did differently with my money in my 20’s and early 30’s. I made a lot of financial mistakes from not investing early to overspending on things I didn’t need. The worst was spending over $30K working with an energy healer who turned out to be a con.
Even as a business major in college, one would think I’d be better with my personal finances. The thing is, I was good at understanding financial topics in theory but I wasn’t good at applying it to my personal goals.
It wasn’t until I realized how much I craved freedom from a cubicle that I started waking up to my beliefs and habits around money. And when I really couldn’t stand my job, I knew I needed to have an exit strategy.
Sometimes I stuck to this plan. Other times, I would just quit the next day without a Plan B.
To be clear, I was not in major credit card debt. However, I did graduate with over $50,000 in student loans and loved to travel, like a lot.
Oh and let’s not forget, there was that $30,000 blunder among other big unnecessary expenses. When I was working in the public and private sector, I made six-figures which helped with my debt and preferred lifestyle.
But since I was so unhappy at my 9-5, I knew I needed a plan to be able to reach financial independence earlier than the average retirement age. I knew I had more to contribute to society than sitting at my cubicle.
So I got clear on my “why.”
Why financial independence? I wanted to have the freedom to be able to blog full-time without having to worry about paying the bills. I wanted to be able to travel whenever I wanted, take a nap in the middle of the day, and practice more yoga.
Allow the Universe to do it’s part in helping you manifest financial independence.
Regardless of whether or not I was able to achieve financial independence sooner, it was the moment that I set my intention to do so that the Universe got to work. By co-creating with the Universe, it didn’t take long until I reached financial independence.
There were certainly times when I got in my own way by being too attached to a particular outcome. I was also trying to control every aspect of the journey to reaching financial independence.
When I’m motivated, it’s easy to channel an excessive amount of time and energy to reaching a particular financial goal.
At times, I tried to take full control of matters that were out of my control. But I soon got back on track whenever I caught myself.
The key to manifesting is not always what we do on the mental, physical, or emotional level. But on the energetic level. After all, money is energy. And energy flows where intention goes.
Here are the 3 ways I was able to reach financial independence (and leave my 9-5 for good):
1. Create multiple income streams.
There are many ways to have a side hustle these days. You don’t even have to start a business to do so. This includes freelance writing to renting out your car. I did both!
During my weekends, I taught yoga and wellness workshops at the local hospital. I also worked the front desk of a yoga studio at one point too!
The fun part was the journey, not the destination. I got to experiment with different types of side hustles. I eventually got to get a feel of what I enjoyed doing and let go of the activities that were not as enjoyable.
Manage your net worth.
Having multiple investments and income streams is important to achieve financial freedom. But keeping track can be a major pain.
I can barely remember my passwords to my social media accounts let alone all the other online accounts I have.
Through Personal Capital, you can also securely link all your financial accounts to get a complete picture of your net worth.
Over time, you’ll see if your net worth is trending positively. Then, take steps to make adjustments in your spending and savings habits.
Over 1 million people use the Personal Capital app to track and manage their net worth. Are you ready to face your numbers too?
2. Invest with discipline.
It’s all about getting your hard earned money to work for you.
With the money earned from various side hustles, I invested it in the stock market so that it could start earning even more passive income through dividends and capital gains.
Though I have a pretty high risk tolerance, I’m also an empath. So sometimes the market volatility can get the best of me! So here’s how I minimized risks:
Diversify across different asset classes
Diversify within asset classes
Diversify across markets, countries and currencies
Diversify across time
Even the top financial gurus are not able to predict the right time to buy stocks. But if I kept adding to my investments systematically over months and years, I reduced my risk and increased my returns over time.
No jumping in and out of the market. I’m talking at least a ten year long term investment strategy.
Specifically, I followed author of “The Simple Path to Wealth” Jim L. Collins’ investment strategy. I opened a Vanguard brokerage account and invested in Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX). It is a low cost index fund that hits all the diversification points mentioned above.
Yes, almost 100% of my investment portfolio is invested in VTSAX. And I sleep very well each night. Interested in taking a deeper look into this strategy?
Need support with investing?
I hear ya. Determining your asset allocation and constructing your portfolio can be overwhelming.
The registered advisors at Personal Capital provide a range of financial planning support. This even includes home financing, retirement planning, and stock options.
We all may have similar goals for financial freedom but everyone’s financial situation is different. For a significantly less cost than traditional financial advisors, you can receive a customized strategy just for your specific situation today!
3. Surround yourself with the the best financial tools.
With all the financial resources out there, I really can’t use the excuse that my parents didn’t teach me better. Sure there is a lot of sifting through the noise. Gotta watch out of those get rich quick schemes!
There’s a growing number of money apps to choose from. Which is the best one to help you grow your net worth?
If you are trying to achieve financial independence and retire early, then starts with tracking your net worth. After much research and trial and error, here are the online tools that I have used to help me on my journey to financial independence.
Can you retire yet?
I asked this question practically every day of my 9-5. This ultimate retirement calculator helped me get smart on my numbers. Know exactly where you stand relative to your retirement goals.