When you put your life on the internet, you will be subjected to ridicule. If you can’t deal with that, then it probably isn’t a good idea to put things out on blast. This blog documents one person’s journey to early financial independence and the steps they are taking to get there. Never should it be implied that each and every single move made along the way is the correct one.
For the most part, I believe I am very forthcoming with my early FI plan. Not only do I freely share reports such as Net Worth and Cash Flow statements, I also put out regular Goals lists and Progress reports. Every stock transaction is documented, along with all real estate investments.
I don’t do so in order to brag, or compete with other people. Rather, I believe these actions add more value to the blog as it allows me a way to share the financial aspects of the early FI journey in real-time. Sure, I don’t have to do that… If I didn’t want any backlash, I could just do things behind the scenes and wait until I became a millionaire… Then, I could emerge from the shadows and offer “financial advice” to other people… You know, act like those know-it-all financial gurus who only know how to criticize and direct other people on what to do… but will NEVER reveal a lick about how they made their fortune themselves…
I choose NOT to be one of those people…
I truly believe that many readers have benefited from my transparency, and I have received a good number of e-mails thanking me for my openness. Of course, I always appreciate the support I get from this site, and those kind words only increase my desire to keep this blog going. I sincerely want to help as many people as I can on their own journey to early financial independence.
However, when you put things out on the spotlight, you will also have your fair share of critics who will scrutinize and ridicule your every moves. That’s all fine and dandy, and I learned to deal with those things a long time ago…
But that all pertains to finance… When it comes to other aspects of my life, I have been very reluctant to share certain parts of it. I do prefer to keep certain things about my life private.
Health used to be one of them. When I elected to disclose to readers my recent battle with Adrenal Fatigue, that opened up a whole new door for critics and speculators to walk through.
I’ve been reading all sorts of things spewed about my situation on the internet, so I think it’s time that I set the record straight — My situation and condition are NOT the result of me pursuing early FI! I’m NOT sick because I chased early FI too hard! I’m NOT unwell because I got way too caught up in the investing game…
Let me step back and tell the real story…
I’ve been a hard-worker my entire life. Part of that stems from the fact that I grew up in a poor family and never had much attached to my name. As a kid, there were no music lessons, or science camp, or any of those fancy things that many kids got to experiment with… So, you could say that I’ve never had an entitlement mentality for a single second of my life. Even today, I still feel like the odds are always stacked against me and that the only way I will succeed is to work harder.
When I was in high school, I grinded weekends my entire 4 years just to have some spare change to toss around. It was in high school that I really learned to hustle… I got so used to being busy all the time that it started becoming ingrained into the very fabric of my being.
I didn’t miss a beat in college and worked my ass off to graduate on time, in 4 years, with two degrees in engineering at a top-tier university. Luckily, my health was vibrant back then, and I could handle all the stress and abuse without incident.
I wasn’t so lucky post-college. For whatever reason, I thought it was a good idea to work a full-time 40+ hour/week job and to attend graduate school full-time (3 courses each semester in Electrical Engineering) concurrently. Being the Type A personality that I was, I didn’t want to make a compromise and have to choose between a full-time job and graduate studies. I said, “I’m going to do both. No sweat.”
Well, that turned out to be a terrible mistake. About half-way through my first year of graduate school, I started to notice a change in my body. I was starting to observe pain that I could not shake, and I was beginning to feel more tired than usual. But being young and naive, I thought nothing of it and kept on grinding… That’s all I knew how to do.
Looking back, of course it was a stupid decision. I would go from work to school and then spend all night doing homework and studying for exams… On weekends, I would sometimes even volunteer to work overtime so that I could learn more… sigh… On top of that, I even found the need to throw in guitar lessons in there… There was just never any downtime… I didn’t budget any time in my schedule for rest and relaxation!!
Days quickly became weeks and months and then years… Until, one day, you wake up, and realize that you are no longer the same person that you once were… The differences are imperceivable from day-to-day, but they gradually add up over the course of the long run. I was hurting myself… but too stubborn to stop.
Why? Because I was scared for my future… Like I mentioned above, I grew up poor and was conditioned to work hard. Further, I was brainwashed into believing that a good paying 9-5 was my path to salvation in this world… So, there was no way in hell that I was going to jeopardize losing that. I didn’t know another way out existed!! When the economy crashed, I worked even harder… sometimes until midnight just to prove my worth. Again, I was young, stupid, and impressionable… I was a company man and thought they had my back and my best interest in mind. I followed the lead of some of my older co-workers, and it pains me so much to know that to this day, these people still don’t know any better and are STILL slaves to the corporate system… But I digress.
I became sick not because of early FI… but because I didn’t know about early FI!
When I finally discovered the concept of early FI in late 2011, the damage had already been done. With or without early FI, I wasn’t going to survive much longer in the rat race without some downtime to repair my messed up body. If anything, being on the journey to early FI these passed four years has been a blessing.
My mind has never been more free. The prospects for my future have never been brighter. And even now, I’m able to take time off of work without fear of repercussion. Even if I was forced to go on unpaid leave, I would be able to weather any storms and make it out ok.
If anything, early FI has given me my life back… The journey to get to this point wasn’t easy but it definitely isn’t to blame for my current situation.
I can’t even begin to imagine the stress I would be going through right now had I never discovered the concept of early FI and decided to act on it.
Early FI was probably the best decision I ever made in my life. Both financial and health. I only wish I had known about it at the beginning of my working career.
That’s the honest truth…