As a beginner investor, and recent convert into the “Financial Independence Early Retirement” camp, I thought it would be prudent to establish some Core Fundamentals to follow. The journey to the finish line is definitely not short, and one must always constantly remind themselves, “what am I trying to accomplish again?” This is especially true in moments when the going gets tough. I liken this journey to running a long marathon – there is an initial surge of energy and enthusiasm that propels you early in the race, but over time, this energy wanes, and this is when you really have to dig deep and muster everything you’ve got to follow through to achieve your goals.
I am a strong advocate and believer in achieving financial independence for a variety of reasons. Chief among those are:
The intense desire to become a renaissance man:
Even as a kid growing up, I instantly recognized the human desire for trial and experiment. Looking back, I can recall many care-free days spent: learning a new sport, picking fruit from neighbors’ trees, playing games with other kids, learning about different cultures and languages, tearing apart and rebuilding bikes, etc. The list goes on and on. As an adult, I don’t believe that my desire and curiosity for the world have diminished. In fact, I would argue that I am even more inquisitive and fascinated than ever before.
The problem, I feel, is that the mainstream rules of society do not promote for active, “adult learning”. Once you reach a certain age, you are supposed to have become wise and educated. It is implied that you know things, when in fact you might still feel like there are a billion new things you want to dabble in! Modern society expects you, for the most part, to become specialized and content with doing the same thing, day after day, year after year. Your new role is to work a 9-5 job, blend in, and leave the learning to Generation Next.
The want to set and control my own daily schedule
Human beings desire freedom. It’s as simple as that. Nobody likes to be constrained. So, why then, are most of us a part of a system that encourages you to be at a fixed location 8 hours a day, 5 days a week? Nevermind that you are perhaps even more productive away from the office (how much time is really lost at the water cooler, meetings after meetings, conference calls, weekly status updates, etc.?). What if I desire to work in my pajamas today? What if I want to stop mid-day because on this particular beautiful, sunny day, I’d rather be outside hiking? Why can I not be trusted to continue my work afterward? Even if I promise to throw in an extra work hour for each personal hour I take? So far, I have yet to find a boss who will take me up on this offer. Did I mention that as kids we got a thing called summer break every year?!?
The fear of decay
The old saying goes, “use it, or lose it”. This quote resonates ever more truly as the years go by. For me, the proof is in the pudding. If I don’t exercise at least once a week, and then attempt to run one mile continuously the next week, I’ll be gasping for air mid-way through. So, if my lungs can lose conditioning this quickly, just imagine how my brain must be feeling! With every passing day, and every passing year, my depth of knowledge only appears to be diminishing. Yet I keep on insisting on adding more specialized knowledge to this already over-flowing gas tank.
Get busy living or get busy dying
Our time on this planet is short and I want to maximize it. There is a belief that time slows down for those who live life to the fullest, and constantly have new, exciting experiences. Everything is fresh and intensely memorable. How often does “all in a day’s work” elicit strong, memorable sensations for you? My biggest fear is to wake up one day, realize that I am now middle-aged and not have the foggiest idea of what I had been doing for the past 20 to 30 years!
So, as the popular Sprite commercial once asked, “what’s your motivation?”