One of the first questions people ask themselves on the financial independence journey (after ‘where on earth does all my money go??’) is – why? Why would I go against the grain of consumerism, spending, striving? What do I want for my life instead?
Some people like to get crystal clear about their dream life. Dave Sawyer talks about finding what matters to you – he and his wife have a vision of their future selves in Andalusia. And fair play to them.
For me it’s crucial to think of a dream life, now and in the future. I want to spend more time with my kids, but working like crazy to save for ten years means I’ll have time to spend with them when they are in their late teens and probably less keen to hang out with mum. Plenty of FIRE people manage both of course, and with two incomes you can make a whole range of choices: share the childcare or have one parent stay at home for example. Living off one income is naturally promoted as a path to saving money. For the single parent, there is only ever one income. I need to be able to make choices which give us quality of life now, whilst preparing for that imagined future.
In these crazy times where keeping on with saving, looking after the children and generally keeping the wheels on with life, it can be easy to lose sight of the ‘why’. Whilst I am clear about my Big Dream, and about the small steps I need to take this week, the middle bit is hazier. So in the spirit of remembering the way, I wanted to share my dream.
I’ve had the same one for almost 20 years and it still delights me every time I think about it. My plan, with the kids, is to move back to Kenya (I am not from there but spent many happy years – so this is caveated with the need to fulfill the residency requirements which is helped in most countries, including Kenya, by being financially independent). We’ll build or develop a house with a stunning view, acacia trees, the Rift Valley to wake up to. Interesting occasional work (that I can say yes or no to); sundowners on the balcony with fantastic company; friends around a huge dining table. Somewhere stable the kids can always call home. Bliss. And well worth walking this path, especially if I can do it whilst cherishing every day.