Is Financial Independence Possible?

I, go back and forth on the vision of the future. The pendulum keeps swinging back and forth on whether financial independence is even possible. At work it seems impossible. There is an aging workforce who may not even have the option to retire. If they can’t retire, could we even consider financial independence? I ask a lot of questions. Prodding constantly; trying to figure why they didn’t save up enough money to retire.

People at work constantly say they can’t afford retirement. Not sure why because people at work drive super fancy cars, wear nice clothes, go on nice vacations, and have nice McMansions. I’ve heard some visitors say “wow your parking lot is full of super sleek cars!” So it makes me doubt if we’ll ever get out of the rat race.

My parents don’t have a retirement fund. No, they didn’t overspend their money. They immigrated as blue collar workers and really had no financial education in terms of investments, etc. My parents can save. They are penny crunchers, but they have no clue as to how to invest. Their earning power over the years has not been high. This is a huge problem in the low income immigrant population. A problem I plan to start tackling soon. So their retirement is dependent on their children. This puts a lot of pressure on both my brother and I.

Well, my brother is not necessarily aware of this pressure since he’s only 16. But he will in a couple of years. One of the reasons I’m pushing him so heavily to do well in high school. While I don’t believe in the education system (I think it’s completely broken…topic for another day), I believe it’s one of the best ways for children of low income immigrant families to get out of the cycle of poverty. I’m not the only one. My first boss in high school (I worked for a non-profit) is a prime example. He would remind me of this quite consistently. He came from a blue collar neighborhood in Illinois where you were expected to stay forever working for the factory and have babies. He says his mom never forgave him for leaving, joining the military, going to med school, and rising up to colonel and chief of staff. But it was what allowed him to take care of her in her old age. So, I constantly think about my parents’ retirement. Is anybody facing a similar situation?

After coming across Root of Good’s blog, I got a little more motivated. His main points are living a modest lifestyle and saving. We only need around $40,000 a year to live a modest lifestyle. He wrote a step method to do look at your savings. If a $1,000,000 is your goal, then start with $10,000, and then do $50,000, then, $100,000, etc. Treat every goal like a milestone.

I, also, ended up reading FI’s plan on how he plans to retire by 30. He’s built up passive income through rental properties and dividend income. He’s done great! He’s going to exit the corporate world next year. Pretty great!

So, maybe it’s not impossible. If we never try, we’ll never know. So I’m using a combination of Justin’s (Root of Good) method to set goals. I’ll be talking more about my own personal goals and our goals as a couple in a follow up post.

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Do you think financial independence is possible? Are you working towards it?

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18 comments

  • I need to check out ROG’s site more since someone else just told me about it. I think you are at a great spot right now. You have a good solid job, you’re smart and ambitious, and you know what needs to be done. Don’t let those silly elders at work scare you…they made their own bed by what looks like lifestyle inflation. Learn from them of what NOT to do…and I think you’re going to be just fine!

  • You’ll do just fine, Savvy! Most people would actually have no trouble saving for retirement, especially if they work all the way until their 60s — except they have giant holes in their savings buckets. By controlling your spending, you’ll be totally fine no matter what happens. If you want to retire very early, then it’s just a matter of doing the math and getting more extreme with your plans.

  • I have the same problem. My parents never planned for their retirement, both low income blue collar workers. Now they can barely pay their mortgage and utilities let alone any unexpected life event. At 23 I have to now plan on buying a 2 family home so I can take care of my aging parents and figure out how I’m going to pay for all of this! Needless to say I’m hoping to save for myself and not have this happen to me in the future… I think it’s a Hispanic thing? maybe? no? older generations just assumed they’d live with their kids and their kids would take care of them in old age??

    • Maybe it’s a hispanic thing? I don’t know. My grandparents are in Mexico and live super modestly but grandpa has a pension. But my grandma’s parents (great grandparents)didn’t have a pension and they would rotate between kids in their 90s when they couldn’t live in the farm. My parents have no pension. So it’s up to my brother and I.

  • I think Financial Independence is very possible, but the biggest challenge for most people is the mental component. That having money isn’t the same as spending money.

  • I think financial independence is one of those things that most people will never achieve, but that doesn’t mean its impossible. Just that you have to make it a goal, and pay careful attention not just to your sources of income, but to minimizing your expenses and living within your means.

  • I think those on the outside looking in for FI, think it is impossible, they are like the ones at your work driving the leased Mercedes Benz. Then there are the Road Trip FI, they are the ones working there plan with all the belief they are going to get to there destination. And lastly the FI Complete that we read about who are FI or almost there. So yes the current version of me the Road Trip FI believes it can be done. I’m 6 years 7 months away…………

  • Sam @ Frugaling.org

    I firmly believe that financial independence is possible. In fact, I’d argue that those without debt could be almost instantaneously. The bigger question at hand is what kind of life you would then lead. It’s hard to imagine…

    Thanks for getting the wheels spinning,
    Sam

  • I definitely think that financial independence is possible. WE are working every day toward it and I know that my fiance and I will be financially independent at a young age.

  • I would like to believe with all my heart that early FI is possible for anyone who makes a dedicated effort towards achieving it. This is always much easier said than done, of course…

    I honestly believe the best way to approach the journey is to take it in small, bite size pieces to start with. For instance, I started 2012 with $0/month in passive income. So, my first goal was to earn ANY passive income. I believe my first dividend payment happened in 2012 for $10.00. Not much, but one by one, step by step, the passive income starts to build.

    If you invest long enough, eventually you just get lucky too. Markets go up and your investments reap the rewards. Most powerful when you invest in a down market (2009-2012) and ride the wave back up (2013-present). Some people might follow along on my journey now and think I’m doing something extraordinary… But for those who witnessed everything from the beginning, they’ll see that most of my gains were made due to “getting lucky”.

    You just have to stick with it… Progress is agonizingly slow at first, but just keep winning the little battles and they will add up to something extraordinary later on.

    You can do it!!!
    FI Fighter recently posted…Rental Property #5 Update (February 19, 2013)My Profile

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