My 36th birthday has come and gone.
A year older. A year wiser.
Well, the older part is definitely true. Still working on the wiser part.
It was a fun birthday.
Oh, and there was that non-gift I gave myself.
But it occurred to me sometime during the celebration that every day is my birthday.
Yep. It’s basically true.
Financial independence can make it so that practically every day is your birthday.
Check it out…
Do Whatever You Want
Let’s say your birthday is today.
What would you want to do?
I’m guessing, first of all, you wouldn’t want to show up to your job, assuming you have a job.
You’d probably want to call in and say you’re taking the day off.
Well, financial independence makes that pretty easy, since you don’t need to have (and likely won’t have) a job at all.
You might have passions. And these passions will probably pay you money.
But anything you do once you’re financially free will be at your choosing, discretion, and will.
I didn’t need to call in on my birthday because I didn’t have a boss to call in to. Haven’t had a job in four years. And I don’t plan to change that anytime soon.
Another thing you might like to do on your birthday?
Wake up when you want.
I’d be willing to bet a lot of people out there would prefer not to be awoken very early in the morning by a machine that screams at you. It’s a pretty reasonable request, really.
Well, that’s also pretty easy to accomplish within the construct of financial freedom.
It’s a simple and wonderful thing, actually. And totally worthy of a birthday gift to yourself.
In fact, after waking up without an alarm clock for years now, I’ve almost forgotten how to even set the alarm clock on my old iPhone 4S.
I’d count waking up when I like to as one of the best benefits of financial independence. And it was also one of the things I enjoyed most about my birthday.
What’s another thing you’d think of? What else would you want to do on your birthday?
Maybe you’d want to travel. Maybe set aside a few days to see a new place.
This is actually something that’s not only possible when you’re financially independent, but it’s arguably far, far better.
For instance, I’m actually living in a foreign country. I’m not just traveling here. I’m living the benefits of travel (different culture, different language, different foods, expanding horizons, etc.) full time, constantly.
While traveling somewhere for a few days doesn’t give you much of an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in a different country (especially if/when you’re staying at some fancy and isolated resort), becoming a dividend expat and living abroad indefinitely allows you to more thoroughly become one with a set of people.
I could go on here, but you get the point.
When you’re financially independent, you’re free to build every day into your idea of a perfect day. And then you can repeat that over and over again, setting yourself up for an awesome “time loop”. My routine is just that, which is why my birthday looked the same as every other day – complete with a gym visit.
Collecting Your “Birthday Money”
As a kid, one of the aspects of my birthday that I used to most look forward to was receiving cards with a little bit of money in them.
Sure, I read the cards. There were, umm, words on them.
But it was that cold, hard cash I was really interested in.
I kind of counted on a time frame that lasted a few days before my birthday until a couple days after my birthday as the “money receiving” window. Cards. Checks. Money, baby!
Well, that same feeling – it’s a pretty special feeling – is now replicated, basically, every day.
Indeed, I collect, on average, a dividend a day.
As I like to say, a dividend a day keeps the unwanted job away!
And looking back on the, say, five-day window surrounding my 36th birthday this year, I collected $574.45 in dividends from 20 different companies in my FIRE Fund.
Aww, shucks. These companies must have known I was turning 36.
Nope. I’m just a simple shareholder going about my day.
Not only was that a hell of a lot more money than I ever collected on any birthday I ever had, but it came about for doing nothing.
And it’s a process that plays out over and over again. Dividends are the gifts that keep on giving.
Happy birthday to me!
The Celebration Of Being Alive
A birthday, at its core, is a milestone. It’s a celebration of being alive. You’re commemorating your birth, but you’re also making your appreciation known for still being alive.
Being alive, by the way, defies incredible odds. The probability of being born at all was estimated at one in 400 trillion.
After factoring in all the ways in which you could pass at any time, celebrating a birthday is a very worthwhile thing to do.
Well, I can’t think of a way to be more appreciative of life, and indeed enjoy all that our one, short life has to offer, than to be financially independent, own your time, and take control over your choices.
Life is too short and unlikely to be anything but incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be alive.
But to fully take advantage of that unique and short-lived opportunity requires as much time as possible, because, quite frankly, we’re given such a little amount of it.
And so you need to buy time. Money is time; time is money. However, money can always be made, while time cannot. There will be more money tomorrow, yet less time.
As happy as I now am with my life, it wasn’t that long ago that I was downright miserable.
Yet I was still very unhappy about 10 years ago, back when I had such little time to myself because I was so busy spending it on activities (i.e., my job) that I didn’t enjoy or choose for myself.
But if you’re financially independent, you have choice over everything. You’re able to live a much more authentic and content life, which in and of itself sets you up to appreciate everything you have.
If that’s what a birthday is at its core, being financially free allows you to replicate those feels just about every day (while keeping in mind that even people who are FIRE still have occasional bad days).
A birthday is something to look forward to.
There’s the milestone, the celebration of existing (which defies incredible odds), the food, the cake, the loved ones, and everything else you’re able to build into it.
But I say it’s something that shouldn’t be a once-a-year occasion.
Everything a birthday conveys, and everything it really says about someone, is something we can and should have every single day. These are aspects of one’s life that should be looked forward to every day.
So keep moving closer to FIRE.
And then customize your day, collect your “birthday money”, and celebrate life!
What do you think? Can every day be your birthday? Looking forward to FIRE because of that?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
P.S. If you’d like to become financially independent, which would allow you to make every day your “birthday”, check out some amazing resources that helped me achieve that at just 33 years old!