As many of you readers know, I quit my full-time job just after turning 32 years old.
My original plan was to retire by 40 years old, but freedom became something I couldn’t afford to wait for much longer.
And it’s that word “afford” that led me to writing today’s article.
I couldn’t afford to wait for freedom?
But how much did this cost me?
And what can we really afford?
Although I assign much more value to time than money, that’s not to say that money is worthless.
This world requires us to have money in order to survive and thrive.
And so to voluntarily give up a lot of money takes a hell of a lot of courage.
Or does it?
I’m going to take a few moments today to discuss how I gave up millions of dollars – and why I couldn’t be happier about that.
Giving Up Millions Of Dollars In Potential Income
I left my auto dealership job in May 2014, near the peak of my career earnings. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that my job income potential trajectory was on the upward climb, meaning the odds are pretty good that I’d be making more money today than what I was making in May 2014.
That’s partly because of inflation, partly because of the nature of my job and how they structure pay, and partly because I’m a hustler.
I was on track to earn something like $60,000 that year.
By leaving as I did, when I did, I gave up a massive future stream of income.
But let’s quantify that just to put it in perspective.
I was 32 years old when I quit.
Let’s assume I was a regular worker bee who was looking at a typical career span.
That means I would have worked until I was 62 years old (the average retirement age).
So that’s 30 years – three decades – of potential income from the day job that I totally gave up.
It’s hard to say exactly how fast my income would have grown, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that I could have and would have saw an increase of 3% per year. My own efforts would have probably put a floor on much of that.
But let’s just, for the sake of argument, assume that my income wouldn’t have grown a penny over 30 years.
Just on the basis of static income, I lost out on a little under $2 million.
Of course, the odds that I’d still be earning $60,000/year in 30 years (which, by then, would be very little money) are practically nil.
And so the more realistic look (the income growing at 3%/year) at what I “lost” by quitting my job puts the final number closer to $3 million.
But Gaining Millions Of Moments
As much money as this would have been – and this is a lot of money we’re talking about here – I also knew I couldn’t afford to stay at that job and earn the money.
How could I not afford to earn millions of dollars?
Time is money; money is time.
It would have required me to give up a lot of time in order to go and make that money.
I would have given up millions of moments, exchanging that time I could have spent on pursuits, passions, and activities I really enjoyed, on tasks that I didn’t particularly enjoy at all.
The first book I read when I decided to undertake the journey to financial independence was Your Money Or Your Life.
The title is almost subliminal. And it’s also sublime.
As soon as I read that title, I almost shouted my answer out loud:
If the choice is between my money or my life, I will always choose my life. I don’t even know how the question could actually be something anyone would pose.
And yet that’s a question we pose to ourselves every single day of our lives.
Whether or not we realize it, it’s a question we’re being asked all the time. And unfortunately, the answer most people give is “money”.
By choosing the other answer, I’ve been able to build a life that’s customized for and by me.
My life is now filled with countless pleasurable moments that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience if I had chosen money.
And the same could be true for you – if you choose your life over your money.
How To Have Both Time And Money
Now, it’s easy to say that we should choose our life over our money.
But as I noted earlier, money is required in modern-day society. We practically cannot live without it.
Yet it’s a thing that’s also not worth our lives.
If living requires giving up our lives, what good is living?
That’s why the solution is to have both your money and your life.
And that’s where financial independence fits in.
If you can cover your basic expenses in life via passive income, you’re free to choose your life over your money.
That’s because your money is choosing your money – the snowball effect of money means money gets better at replicating itself the more it does so means your money can and will be far more efficient and skilled at making money than you ever could be, freeing you up to tackle all of the other wonderful aspects of life.
I mentioned at the outset of this article that it would seemingly take a lot of courage to quit my job in my early 30s and give up millions of dollars in the process.
But it really didn’t take all that much courage at all.
That’s because I was already, at the time, earning a fairly significant amount of passive income, and I knew this passive income would grow over time, rendering me financially independent sooner rather than later.
Time, my vision of a future me, applied frugality, intelligent investing, compounding, strategic entrepreneurship, hard work, and geographic arbitrage were all combined to make this happen, and I can now sit back and enjoy the passive and growing dividend income my FIRE Fund generates for me – my money is choosing my money for me, every single day.
Financial independence gives you courage because your new worst-case scenario becomes your old best-case scenario.
It gives you the freedom to chose your life over your money because the choice ceases to exist, essentially. You can have your cake and eat it, too.
But you have to first make the choice to chase after financial independence.
You first have to choose your life. Once you do that, the money will naturally follow.
So if you see that fork in the road where it’s your money or your life, I think you’ll know with path is correct.
Don’t think about the money you’ll give up. Instead think of the moments you’ll gain.
What do you think? Would you be willing to give up millions of dollars in exchange for millions of moments?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: gubgib at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
P.S. If you’re ready to give up money in exchange for moments, become financially independent, and reclaim both your time and your money simultaneously, check out this great list of resources that helped me become financially free at 33!