The topic of financial independence is usually also associated with the concept of minimalism.
Something about this has always felt off.
Have you ever come across people who are happy-go-lucky? Who make things seem effortless? Who get a lot more done in a day and seem less stressed about it?
I hate those people.
But I want to be one of them.
Charles Duhigg summarizes this conundrum well:
There's actually a big difference between being busy and being productive.
I care a lot about getting the most I can out of the least amount of resources. And if your're looking to become financially independent, you likely care about it too.
I find the rat race absurd, and the concept of toiling away until "Freedom 55" where you fly away to some mysterious land devoid of stress equally nonsensical. For as long as I can remember, something about this has felt off.
It wasn't until I started playing sports competitively, where I was trying to actively get better each and every day, that I came across the concept of purposeful practice in Matthew Syed's excellent book Bounce. These TED talks here and here are the best outlines of this concept I have come across.
If you get the process right,...the results...are going to take care of themselves .
I also started seeing stress in a different light, after noticing that the more things I had on my plate that I cared about the better I seemed to perform. This TED talk here was extremely influential.
One thing we know for certain is that chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort. And so I would say that that's really the best way to make decisions, is go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.
If pursuing financial freedom, your savings rate is all that matters. But another important facet is the time spent working to pursue that freedom. For most people, that means a job which earns them a wage.
I spent a year of my working life (2015) diligently tracking the hours I spent at work vs. the hours I actually did something that contributed to my job. I found that the 80/20 rule applied, where only 20% of my time was spent achieving most of my results. It was a frustrating exercise, because I realized that my actual $/hr earnings had the potential to be much, much higher. I realized the importance of work productivity, especially the opportunity cost associated with all those unproductive hours. I realized that the people who get a lot more done in a day and seemed less stressed about it were the ones that spent their time well.
I quit my job soon after that realization (2016).
You can't improve what you don't measure
I am now on a quest to maximize both my savings % and working hours %. Similar to savings %, which is defined as the ratio of your savings to net income, working hours % is defined as the ratio of your time spent working to total time spent awake. The chart below explains the concept visually.
I now track these metrics on a monthly basis. Since quitting my job in 2016, I decided I would never again get caught up in the rat race, and started fresh to lay the ground work for a fulfilling life (savings rate % is zero). Over time, I hope to move into the 'best possible scenario'. My chart is listed below.