Too often in the personal finance community, there are those that battle over what it means to be retired. For some reason people can’t rationalize or comprehend that at the end of the day, the title of being retired, whether early or not, whether voluntarily still working or not, does not matter. To me, these arguments can be summed up and discarded with just one sentence.
Freedom looks different for everybody, but everybody can appreciate being free.
Look, we all don’t make the same amount of money, nor do we all find value in the same levels of frugality. Heck, if you’re here at my site, you’ll see I write primarily about peer to peer lending and dividend growth stocks that are individually selected. In fact, there is a whole community surrounding the dividend growth mentality of investing, and peer to peer lending as well for that matter. And if it isn’t those who desire passive income from dividends, there are those who pursue real estate as their primary means of investing. Pretty rad, and totally different!
Going even further, there are countless other awesome bloggers and people in the personal finance space who are all-in on low-cost ETFs and funds through providers like Vanguard. These “Bogleheads” as they call themselves have found their investing mantra through vastly diversified funds with small expense ratios. They’re in tune with the concept that passive investing and a hands-off approach is what best fills their investment needs. Works for them, so it sounds sweet to me!
The best part about all of this is that every single one of these people can agree on one thing, and that is the desire to be free. J. Money has the Millionaire Club AND the Net Worth Tracker. Johnny Moneyseed has his Rule of 300 and Jim Collins has F-You Money. Dividend Mantra and Passive Income Pursuit have target levels of dividend income. Mr. 1500 also desires the $1MM mark. Mr. Money Mustache said goodbye to the tie with The 4% Rule. Lastly, FI Fighter is crushing his pursuit of freedom by creating his own rental real estate empire. And these are just a tiny fraction of the bloggers who have net worth, withdrawal rate, or investment income goals! Change your focus and you have hundreds, if not thousands, of hard-working, ass-kicking, debt-fighting folks who want to get on the right side of the ledger and join those who are already investing. ROCK ON!
Being free and able to do as you wish, when you wish, is a universal and unparalleled level of financial freedom. There never has to be a battle about who did it faster or better than anyone else, or whether they’ve “made it” and actually retired. In fact, why should anyone care or limit others based on how one word gets defined? Instead, celebrate how awesome everyone is for working for the same goal. I mean really, who doesn’t want to wake up each day and do what they want?!?
And again, why doesn’t it matter if someone wants to keep working? In some ways, there are those who derive great meaning and fulfillment from their work. Sounds like an awesome gig to me. And for others, this could mean getting to stay at home to take care of the kids while their spouse continues to work. No problems there! Some call them crazy, but others want to travel the world! There is no special formula to dictate how to maximize your freedom. Sure, sitting on the sofa rotting away might not be ideal, but for those who have the motivation to find that freedom, I doubt sitting has ever really been an issue.
So to everyone out there, let down your guard, invest in the path that best fits your desire, and pursue your freedom with wild abandon. Freedom doesn’t have to be defined by what you do once you’ve made it, but instead can be defined by the level of character and perseverance developed in the pursuit of that freedom. Again I’ll say, freedom looks different for everybody, but everybody can appreciate being free.
Flickr: richard culver