Early FI – There Are No Rules!


I’ve been blogging now for over 4 years, and anyone who has followed along for awhile now knows full well that I don’t very much like to follow any set rules… For instance, when we first got the party started, I was extremely focused on Dividend Growth Investing (DGI), and most of my early posts centered around that idea. Well, over time, things started to change quite a bit, and before long I was discussing topics such as: Real Estate Investing (REI), Travel Hacking, Precious Metals, Clean Energy, etc., etc…

I’m not ashamed to say that I tend to change with the seasons… And I’ll most definitely do so again in the future.

I am predictably unpredictable…

So, it’s no wonder why I couldn’t hack it long-term in the world of engineering… and was destined for a life of early FI.

Living your life inside a confined box, every single day of every single week of every single month of every single year…

Over and over, again and again…

Man, that gets old fast…

Yeah, I think I’ll pass and go do something else, instead.

Well, now that I am “living the dream” and in post FI, you might be wondering what life is like for me these days?

In all honesty, everything is indeed totally unpredictable right now and I play it by ear most of the time.

Now, for many people, this type of “reckless” lifestyle isn’t well suited for their personality. When I recall back to my days working as a wage slave, I vividly remember all the engineers that I used to work with who always seemed to operate under the premise that life had to be this highly structured routine… I guess over a long enough period of time, even if that type of lifestyle philosophy doesn’t really jive with you, if you look around and see everybody else doing more or less the same thing, you might just cave in and do what everybody else is doing…

I’m here to tell you that you most certainly do not have to live life that way!

I sure as hell don’t…

Last month, on a whim, my family and I decided that it was the right time to visit Japan. We probably finalized that decision during the beginning of the week, booked some flight tickets the next day, packed our bags by the end of the week, and by the weekend we had arrived in Shinjuku.


Just like that…

Initially, I really had no plans or any idea of how long I would actually be staying in Tokyo for… It turns out, we were all having so much fun that we decided to extend our trip for a full 2 weeks… My brother, mom, and I are all retired now, so why not? We don’t answer to anybody no more…

And all this talk about structure?

Why do you need that? After the first week, out of the blue we decided to book a house in Edogawa, which is a bit further out from all the hustle and bustle, but still inside Tokyo.

Sure, let’s go experiment and try something new…


So we did… Then we were off to: Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Kobe…

All of it unscripted.

And that’s kind of been what my entire life has been like post FI… Everyday is Saturday… For the most part, I have no stress in my life anymore; I deliberately made efforts to cut out all the bullshit that used to drive me crazy.

  • No more having to put up with toxic people.
  • No longer having to be fake and a “yes man”, trying to make good impressions in useless meetings.
  • No longer having to look over my shoulder, worrying about getting canned because the company is struggling financially yet again…
  • No longer having to rush through meals worrying about being late back to the office…
  • No longer owning a car. Don’t have to worry about: car insurance, filling up gas, car maintenance, license and registration, blah, blah, blah… Just take the bus/train everywhere I go.
  • No more cellphone plan… Just pay as I go SIM.
  • No longer having to put up with crappy weather… If it’s “too hot” or “too cold”, I just relocate elsewhere.
  • No more alarm clocks. I sleep whenever I want and nap all the time…
  • No more having to wear expensive, uncomfortable clothes trying to impress people I don’t even care about…
  • Etc.


Clearly, with all that overhang outta my life, it’s gotta do wonders for my mood and stress levels, right?


And once you’ve finally managed to break through the rut, you really do start to appreciate life a lot more… It is the most incredible and liberating feeling to know that I can basically do whatever I want on any given day…

For instance, when it comes to my Japan trip, sure, I posted a few pictures on some of the good food I was enjoying, and places I was sightseeing, but lost in all that noise is the real truth…

And here it is…

I like to travel, but I’m not big on having to see every last touristy thing out there… For example, in HK, you’d be surprised with how little I’ve actually explored the city… When I find something I really like, I don’t mind indulging in it… a lot.

Ichiran is probably my favorite ramen restaurant in Japan… Luckily for me, you can find them practically everywhere these days…


But because I enjoy this type of comfort food so much, I just kept on eating it… I probably ate at Ichiran no less than 5 times during my most recent trip throughout Japan.

The last time around, I thought I’d get a bit more creative and experiment with the preference sheet a bit…


“Strong flavor”, “1 clove” of garlic, and “extra firm” noodles is not my typical request…


It turns out, I actually quite like that latest combination!

Anyway, my point is this — You just have to be you… There are no more games to play, people to please, and pressure to have to conform to what everybody else is doing or telling you that you need to do when you have achieved early FI…

And if you thought I ate a lot of Ichiran, I indulged even more at Sushi-Zanmai!


Early FI is all about freedom of expression.

Life is too short… Embrace the things that makes you happy.

Now, I’m back in HK and looking forward to starting up a workout routine again… Knowing me, I’ll probably keep at it for a few months before the itch to explore creeps in again.

And that’s just fine…

I will travel and explore at my own pace… I’m not out to race across the world just so that I can brag to everyone about how many countries I’ve seen, and how many touristy spots I’ve checked off my bucket list… I don’t even have no bucket list… And more times than not, I prefer the “hole in the wall” diner where only the locals hang out…

Actually, it turns out that I’m a really big fan of Japanese supermarket food… Many good (cheap) meals it has provided me!


You don’t have to be one with the crowds… There are no right or wrong answers…


It’s your life!


Make your own rules… And have a blast every single day!


Fight On!


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Brian - Rental Mindset

This is a great reminder for me. I write about real estate investing, but have some more general personal finance things I have been considering writing about. I should just put it out there and not worry about sticking too closely to rental properties.

Dividend Hustler
3 years ago

Thanks for sharing Jay. Good for you bro. You’re doing it up your way.
Keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working. No regrets.
Take care and don’t stop the hustle. Cheers bro.

Investment Hunting
3 years ago

An unscripted life. What a great way to describe it. You’re doing what I always tell my wife I want to do. I want to retire with with enough money that any 1-week vacation, can evolve into a 1-2 year trip. I want this unscripted life. Good for you for going for it!

3 years ago

Unscripted life is the key reason why I want to achieve FI. FI will provide so much more choices and freedom. Being able to travel last minute it something I would love to do.

Ichiran is totally awesome, really like the fact you can decide the taste of your ramen. I also like Ippudo a lot. 🙂

Rudy SMT
3 years ago

Well said, Jay. Life is a journey of experiences. Our society has program people to comply with rule and lifestyle habits: Study hard, get a job, pay your taxes, raise a family, retire one day (hopefully), and sure thing “die.” I agree with the “toxic people” part. Jobs are contaminated and even if you’re a positive and outgoing personality with a creative mind, over time, you’re going to lose it all. My friends, quit before happen to you. Take years to recover. When I retired from the corporate world at 31 years old, took 3 years to realized and repaired… Read more »


[…] links! Personal Finance Is…Very Personal by Dividend Hustler Market Timing by Roadmap2Retire Early FI – There Are No Rules! by FI Fighter Knowing When To Break Your Own Rules by A Wealth of Common Sense Update and Recent […]

Midwestern Landlord
Midwestern Landlord
3 years ago

It’s about freedom to live life on your own terms. It is hard / impossible to do that with a job and a boss. It is much better to create your own destiny and have more direct control over your day. I no longer have a boss that can tell me what to do, how to do it, and then threaten me with no longer having a job if they deem my performance becomes substandard. Who wants to live life like that?

3 years ago

That’s the beauty of financial independence. Freedom! I want to tell everyone about the joys of FIRE and freedom. I’m encouraged by all the excellent personal finance blogs such as your own blog that have started up. All these messengers will gradually become difficult to ignore.

That food looks delicious. I don’t care if it’s palm oil that’s been used thousands of times. It’s making me hungry!

Jordan T
Jordan T
3 years ago

Good for you Jay! Such an inspiration

Julie @ Millennial Boss

Japan is on my list of places to visit! Also, so lucky to have retired family members who can travel with you! I plan to reach FI in my thirties but don’t expect my sister or parents to be retired yet. Glad to see you’re enjoying FI so much!