Ten years from now, I won't have the freedom to play Lincoln Logs or to sing Twinkle Twinkle with my two year old son. He'll be twelve. I am hopeful there will be other kids too, but I wouldn't view other kids as my opportunity to make up for lost time with my eldest.
If the passage of time is the only thing that enables financial independence, then financial independence is not for me.
In case you're wondering, behavioral economists have a fancy term for this. It's called loss aversion. It means that I am willing to give up a great deal to prevent losing what I have right now. Ostensibly, I am willing to give up the whole concept of financial independence to spend more time with my kiddo.
In which I pursue my life and some money
In our Agile Personal Finance Manifesto, my husband and I laid out a few pillars for our journey to financial independence.
Ongoing financial contentment over striving to fulfill temporal desires
Financial simplicity over financial optimization
Shared life vision over freedom from working
Embracing relationships over embracing plans.
You might be interested to note that not one of these has anything to do with the passage of time. Not one tells us that we value reaching financial independence sooner rather than later.
However, if I were to quit working right now, we couldn't uphold these pillars either. Primarily because a family of 3 is going to be very, very hard pressed to live in a grad student stipend, which would yield to a lot of striving to fulfill temporal desires, financial complexity, relational tension, not to mention the fact that I already agreed to support my husband through grad school.
I could wait three years, when my husband will be back in the workforce, which was more or less the original plan, but I am feeling impatient. Seeing as I have largely given up on a big career in the near term, the job that I'm holding on to doesn't represent a big step towards my long term career goals, and to a certain extent it's holding me back from the life I want to live.
I don't hate my job. Quite the contrary, I love it. I love solving complex problems with interesting people. I feel quite certain that a career (in the traditional sense of the word) is going to be important to me for a very long time. It's just not my priority right now. I feel like I should be "hanging onto my skills" and focusing on raising a kid. Rather than "hanging onto my son" and focusing on growing a career.
Like many working moms what I want is to work part time. Just enough to keep my skills and my mind sharp. Just enough to fuel me for the less complex and often less rewarding task of being a mom.
Figuring this out is no joke, but that's what I'm trying to do. Welcome to my journey. Here's how I hope to do it.
1. Manage cashflow as a single income family
2. Complete/Quit expensive projects
I'm not saying that we will never do expensive projects as a one and a quarter income household, but I don't want that to be a financial stress at the outset.
3. Start a side income business
No more. Turn around time starts now.
4. Grow side income to $1K per month consistently
5. Find Healthcare
6. Quit Job and figure how to enjoy toddler time... all day long
I've reached out to a few friends who have successfully made this leap, and I'm hoping that I can cajole them into doing an interview for this blog.