In the FIRE community one question that gets asked all the time is, what’s your why for FI? We each have our own motivation to change our approach to life and money and stop following the pack. Shortly after Ali and I made that decision in June of 2017 I asked Ali this question, “Why do you want to stop working right now?” Her answer was amazing and very simple. “Because I want to spend more time with you.” Talk about a mic drop. That was it. That’s why we decided to stop working. To spend more time with each other, and more time traveling, reading, walking, cooking, going to the movies, and talking about silly things as well as important things.
One thing we have read over and over again is the concern from people that they might be bored if they stop working. And on top of that, some people have approached us asking for advice with their biggest fear, that their spouse might drive them nuts if they spend all their time together.
I have to say that I could not wait for the day that Ali and I didn’t have to go our separate ways five out of seven mornings every week. Some weeks it was even six out of seven days spent apart as my job often required weekend work. And there were lots of weeks when we said goodbye one day at 5am and didn’t see each other until 10 pm a few days later as Ali had to fly to other places for work all the time. Sure the awards miles she collected were great but I would have rather had her home at the end of each day. Those days and weeks when we spent very little of our time in the same place were stressful for us.
We really enjoy each other’s company. We are not at all alike, and yet we are really similar. We have very different interests, and we also enjoy doing the same thing a lot of the time. I love that about us. And I love that we don’t have the urge to climb the corporate ladder anymore since that doesn’t always lead where you think it will.
After working in the print industry for over 25 years, my ladder climbing stopped short at the little company where I worked for the last 14 years of my career. Far short of where I thought I could reach because my company was actually starting to shrink over time. And I didn’t want to stay and watch the company downsize along with our industry.
Ali had a great role in a small group within a large company, but felt blocked from change and growth there. And when she jumped to another company there was so much dysfunction at the new shop that she just wanted to jump off the corporate ladder and leave all of that behind.
Finding the FIRE movement when we did in 2014 was serendipitous. We were both ready to make some type of change in our professional lives, and we knew it was time to consider the idea of leaving our jobs. It’s said that more money does not always make you happier. But getting more time back definitely can. We are not rolling in money by any means. We reached our FIRE number in 2017, and created a budget for full time travel at what we spent on average in 2016-2017 when we still lived in Seattle. And that was not a lot as we had greatly trimmed our expenses down by that time.
We are relishing in a less structured approach to our day, week, and month. And we don’t have a “must see bucket list” for every location we travel to. We are taking ourselves to new locations, and living our days as “just us” everywhere we go. We are certainly not bored, we are taking in new sights and cultures every day. And if shit happens and we need to take a few days off due to a common cold or a bee sting, it’s no big deal. That’s just life and we can always find something to enjoy in our day.
Do we miss our jobs? Somedays I do. Do we miss the people we worked with? Yes, I do miss many of them. Would we go back to work someday? I would not if it meant less time with Ali. This life right now, is my dream life. Forget having a dream job, I want my dream life. I feel like I won the lottery. Maybe what we did was build our own lottery and winning was hopping off the ladder, quitting our jobs, and getting to spend more time together.
That’s my Why for FI. It’s more time with my wife and my favorite person. No amount of money is worth working another day for someone else if that means spending my day away from her. Period.
So – what’s YOUR Why for FI?