Eric over at Retire29.com recently wrote a blog post about how it’s never been easier to achieve financial independence and it got me to thinking — why don’t more people achieve FI?
From what I can tell, it all comes down to expectations. We live in an era where we can basically get anything we want, anytime we want, courtesy of the internet. Have I ordered chocolate from England as a birthday gift for a friend? Sure have, on multiple occasions. Took all of 2 minutes to do so and it arrived in my mailbox a week later.
We’ve quickly forgotten just how good our lives are, as we constantly reach for “more” and “better.” It wasn’t so long ago that typical american homes existed without indoor plumbing or electricity. We take so much for granted, from washers/dryers to televisions to internet access. These used to be considered luxury items and now it’s rare to find a home without them. Our expectations have gone up considerably over the years.
Meanwhile, there are people in other countries who go without what we consider basics. It shows just how fortunate we are to live in this great nation.
You don’t need to go without these conveniences to achieve financial independence. But you do need to realize what is an actual need versus a want. I would argue that internet access is quickly becoming a need as more people work from home. But if you don’t need it to make money, could you get by with a cheaper plan? Streaming video isn’t a valid reason and is most likely just a distraction in your life anyway.
It took getting older and gaining some experience for me to make the conscious decision to stop squandering the money I make. For a long time, I was enjoying life, spending whatever money I had with nothing to show for it. If the recent recession has taught me anything, it’s that circumstances can quickly change and it may take a long time to get back on track. I’d rather slightly change my expectations now, than be forced to make severe changes down the road.
We live in a great time, where the world is at our fingertips. Don’t squander this opportunity to create the future you envision. Change your expectations to be that of financial freedom (and early retirement, if that’s what you desire), rather than of more luxury goods that will soon be forgotten.