Year 4: The Fork In the Road (2015)

by FI Fighter on April 6, 2015

in Progress, Thoughts

Year4

When the year 2015 first began, I was in Miami, experiencing the first panic attack of my life. Unable to calm my nerves down, I desperately tried everything I could think of… Nothing worked, until I finally decided to take a cold shower to shock my system and give it a chance to reboot. Luckily, that worked, and I was able to make it back home to the Bay Area in one piece…

But something changed that night, and that experience left a scar that I don’t think I will ever forget. I realized just how fragile life really is, and on the plane ride back, I just knew that there was no way I was going to be able to continue running the race.

Not soon after I returned back to work from my vacation, I alerted the company about my growing concerns over my health, and luckily, I was able to go on a leave of absence. During the time off, I’ve had much to think about…

Year 4

This is Year 4 on the journey to early financial independence for me. And although I’ve made tremendous progress over the past few years, I can say that without question, this year has already been the absolute toughest one of my life so far. During the end of 2014, I took on a new job that I should have known I was ill-prepared to handle: physically, mentally, as well as emotionally. It didn’t take long before the newly added stress wreaked havoc on my health, forcing me to do something I’ve never wanted to do: go on short-term disability.

It’s tough… A large part of me wanted to simply grind it out one final year in Corporate America, before parting ways and riding off into the sunset. I wanted to go out on my own terms, not like this… basically crawling to the finish line. The whole situation is frustrating, but as always, I’m going to try and do my best to turn a negative situation into a positive one. Things happen in life for a reason; we can either sit back and complain about it, or do everything in our power to make things better. I’m gonna go with the latter, and everyday I’m working on getting just a little bit better…

At A Crossroads

With that said, today, I find myself at a crossroads. When I first went on a leave of absence, my plan was to rest up and attempt a comeback to Corporate America for at least a little while longer… Where I stand today, realistically, I’m not sure if that’s even going to be possible. Now that I’ve been away from work for a few months, I will be brutally honest and confess to readers that I have absolutely no desire to put my health in jeopardy ever again… My body is slowly recovering from adrenal exhaustion, but even a momentary thought of working the 9-5 again puts me back into a great state of discomfort. No joke.

At this point in my life, I just don’t think the risks are worth the reward! I have worked extremely hard and hustled for many years, trying to build up a solid financial foundation. I think I’ve reached that point, and whether or not I’m able to convincingly declare early FI or not is a moot point to me. Objectively, when I sit back and observe everything that’s happened so far, I can’t help but be grateful and appreciative for everything; I’ve accomplished more over these last 3 years than I could have ever imagined possible. Truly, I am thankful beyond words! Not only for my own personal financial success, but for many other things: being able to network with other like-minded individuals, investing with other freedom fighters, mentoring youngsters just starting off on their own journey, and just sharing all the ups and downs with friends and family.

Bottom line, I don’t need early FI to be able to walk away from a toxic situation. There’s no shame in making it to pretirement! My money garden has been planted… Could I use some more money trees? Sure, of course more wouldn’t hurt, but even if I never invest another penny for the rest of my life, I doubt that I would end up starving, either. My net worth recently eclipsed $900,000, and my monthly cash flow is at about $2,000/month, not including dividends. Right now, I’m almost guaranteed to become a multi-millionaire by the time I’m old and gray… by simply doing NOTHING.

Delayed gratification stops NOW! It’s time to practice everything that I’ve been preaching on this site for so very long — Life is finite and I’ve got to make every precious moment count!

Quite frankly, I’ve realized that I don’t EVER want to spend another soul-crushing moment working in a cubicle or lab again! Right now, it’s still too premature for me to shut the door for good, but outside of a miraculous recovery in an insanely short amount of time, I just can’t see myself going back to the grind…

The Future Starts Now

I’ve got bigger goals and dreams than I’ve laid out on this blog. Over time, I look forward to sharing the details with readers as I continue my own evolution, and attempt to grow as a person.

These past 3 years have taught me a lot! I’ve gained a lot of investing knowledge, as well as life experience. Nothing would make me happier than to be able to give back to the community that has been so gracious to me:

My life mission will be to try and help as many people as possible achieve early financial independence so that they will someday be able to live the life they’ve always dreamed about having.

How will I achieve this ambitious goal? Well, for starters, I will attack this new goal of mine with the same fury and conviction that I had when I first started my own journey to early FI 3 years ago. No, I don’t expect things to be easy, but I know a thing or two about working the Grind. The thing is, I definitely do not mind working hard… I just can’t dedicate my blood, sweat, and tears into doing something that I have no interest in, whatsoever, anymore. Working as a drone in Corporate America was a necessary evil to help me get to where I am today, but now I want to bring meaning and purpose into my life every single day.

As someone who has documented their progress since the very beginning of this journey, I believe I can bring a lot to the table. I am proof that is is entirely possible for someone just starting out to get to early FI in a reasonably short period of time. The key challenge will be figuring out a way to balance both risk and reward.

Reminisce one time… early 2012

Anyway, when I peer off into the future, I can’t help but get excited! I’m looking forward to building my own business and living my own version of the life I’ve always dreamed about having.

Don’t worry, even though I plan on working harder than ever before (after I fully recover), I’ve still managed to save up a ton of hotel and airline miles in the process, so you can be certain that there will be many more round-the-world travel reports to come! 🙂

Speaking of which, my brother Living Proof is currently out having the time of his life in Dubai… Or is he in Singapore now? Or did he already make it out to Cebu?

I lose track of that guy sometimes… I hope early FI is treating him well. At some point, I will need him to return stateside so that we can tag-team together and start our own rendition of the Bay Area Property Brothers.

The future can’t get here soon enough… Or is it already here now?!?

Fight On!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 VbNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 2:35 am

I recently started following your journey and I’m amazed at the number of parallels between our stories. I’m 30, have had a reasonable amount of success on my FI path and recently had health issues which culminated in my going on short term disability. I strongly doubt that I’ll be able to step back into my previous role at this point.

I am also an avid traveler and am greatly interested in helping others achieve financial success so I very much look forward to seeing the road you take from here on. Congrats and good luck on your future endeavors!

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2 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 7:32 pm

Vb,

Wow, that’s a lot of striking resemblance there. I know how tough it can be to deal with a health condition, so I sincerely hope that things get better for you soon.

Right now, the added stress would do a lot more harm to me, so I it was imperative that I backed off.

This journey has been a spectacular ride. Similar to you, I am looking forward to the opportunity to give back and help others.

All the best!

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3 ChrisNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 4:42 am

So are you resigning from your job? As a business owner and employer I hope so. I personally would never hire anyone who is running a real estate investing business as I know the commitment it takes (I own three investment properties myself). I’m not surprised your health has been affected when you were basically working two full time jobs.

I would guess you will see rapid return to health once you get that big monkey off your back.

Good luck.

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4 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Chris,

I can understand and appreciate your perspective. As an employee, the cards are stacked against you, and if you aren’t proactive and look out for other income sources, you’re always going to be operating in fear that the next round of layoffs is just around the corner.

We’ve got to do what we do in order to protect our own best interests.

Take care!

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5 Adam @ AdamChudy.comNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 8:12 am

Man huge congratulations on deciding to exit the grind. Looking forward to watching the journey.

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6 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Adam,

I haven’t quite exited out officially just yet, but I’m getting very close to doing so. I don’t anticipate things getting good enough, soon enough, to where I can withstand that amount of stress again.

My body’s complaining, and it’s about time I wised up and listened to it.

Cheers!

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7 SavvyFinancialLatinaNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 8:49 am

Congratulations! Your next journey will be exciting.

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8 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 7:35 pm

SavvyFinancialLatina,

Thanks! Looking forward to sharing it with everyone.

Best wishes!

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9 Asset GrinderNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 9:24 am

Wow big changes afoot . Will be watching closely and keep blogging good or bad. You could live right now in a country with a low cost of living and work on the side. Options are opening up for you.

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10 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Asset Grinder,

Yes, definitely the plan is to save on expenses and I know no better way of doing that then to get out of the Bay Area. Overseas is definitely going to happen, sooner rather than later.

I’m in a good place. Going to try to keep as many doors open as possible.

Take care!

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11 brianNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 10:29 am

I’m with you 100% FI….corporate life has a way of sucking the marrow out from your bones with all the constant BS you have to put up with. You worked hard for years and built up a nice nest egg….there is no shame in putting the garbage behind you and let compounding do its thing 🙂

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12 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 7:38 pm

Brian,

Yes, the corporate environment is not a good fit for everyone. I am definitely enjoying life without the tedious meetings and pointless debates that are nothing more than ego stroking for other co-workers.

Time to move on to bigger and better things.

All the best!

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13 MaxNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 11:14 am

Mmm, good luck with whatever you figure out, still gotta get down there to see you sooner or later.

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14 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 7:38 pm

Max,

Thanks! I’m going to be embarking down a path without a certain outcome. It’s exciting and a bit scary at the same time.

Cheers!

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15 No Nonsense LandlordNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 7:20 pm

I will watching and reading how you proceed. Good luck in whatever you do. But from someone who is nearly twice your age, you really have only been at it for a short time.

I am getting ready to pull the plug too, just not quite yet.

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16 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Eric,

Thanks. I wish I could hack it a bit longer, but the body and mind knows when enough is enough.

I’m just going to have to pursue a different path. I can’t say I have everything all figured out, but that’s part of the fun and excitement that is life.

You’re getting close, it must be extremely exciting for you! I don’t have anywhere near the security blanket that you do, so I’ll have to improvise and figure out a way to make ends meet, somehow.

All the best!

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17 F2R30No Gravatar April 6, 2015 at 9:07 pm

FI Fighter,

Congratulations on listening to your body and mind. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision to make. Have you ever thought about doing something part time that you enjoy doing? Maybe some consulting, since I believe you have a software background? Hope all goes well with the transition!

F2R30

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18 Lisa HoashiNo Gravatar April 7, 2015 at 3:24 am

I think it’s so wise that you are listening to yourself, trusting yourself and trusting that the assets you have will be enough. When it comes to taking a break, deciding on “when is the right time” is different for everyone. And it sounds like you’ve found what yours is. Congratulations. I do think that you have more than “enough” to move forward from here into a life that is more healthy and fulfilling. I look forward to following your adventure too and wish you all the best.

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