One of the key concepts on this blog revolves around the word independence. Financial Independence, specifically. The freedom to live life on our own terms as opposed to someone else’s, and the ability to pay for the things we need through passive income streams that don’t require us to trade our time for money any more.
So why would I consider taking less money than what I earn right now? Wouldn’t that be the opposite of working my way towards independence? Well… I think it depends on how you look at it.
Two Steps Back… Three Steps Forward?
First off, let me tell you that I have a great job.
I work in a position that allows me a lot of autonomy. I’m given the opportunity to use most of my skill set as an IT Manager, and I have a lot of influence when it comes to recommendations for new IT-related initiatives.
The people are great, too. Most of us share the same values and work with a common purpose. The management team I serve on really cares for the future of the organization and the families we represent. I’ve been working there for over 11 years now, and am told that I am well liked by our staff (by those who give me annual reviews).
I make plenty of money, have a great package of benefits, and have opportunities to make profit-sharing bonuses as we help our company grow, which is cool to be a part of.
So why would I even be thinking about taking less money and becoming self employed?
Here’s why: Flexibility.
What Would FI Look Like?
I’m the father of two wonderful kids, and (just announced!) a third on the way, due next summer. I LOVE being a dad! The joys and trials that fathers experience FAR outweigh any thrills or excitement that’s found in the world of work and business.
It kills me to see the deterioration of my relationship with my kids as the weekdays roll by. Monday morning we’re best friends, and it takes 3 hugs each for them to let me out the door!
By Thursday evening they’ve lost all excitement for me coming home at night. And by the time the weekend arrives, it’s like starting our relationships all over, especially when it comes to discipline, respect, and having relaxed fun together.
When I think about becoming Financially Independent one day, that’s the first thing I think about. My kids. No more leaving the house at 7:15am, either before they’re awake or just after. No more arriving home for dinner at 6:00 or 6:30pm, exhausted, and trying to function normally in order to show my kids what a good dad is really like for an hour or so before bedtime.
My kids won’t be young for very long. I would hate to achieve FI when they are in their late teens and have missed most of the years they were growing up in my home.
How Much Is That Flexibility Worth?
This is a question I wrestle with quite often. There are other advantages to becoming self employed, like the ability to develop multiple income streams more easily, and possibly the ability to grow income to be more than my full time job pays.
But for me, since I’m working in a job I enjoy, those other perks are not very alluring. What I look for is more flexibility, and if my journey towards FI has to take a “detour” for a little while I think I’m OK with that.
Of course, if I ended up finding a way to gain more flexibility AND keep my income level the same (or increase it) that would be the best of both worlds. When I’ve found a way to make that happen, you’ll be the first to know.
So how about you? Would you give (or have you already given) up the extra pay at a full time position for the flexibility of self employment?