Ask the readers – What motivates you on your quest for financial independence?

Being a dad is a challenging yet rewarding job. At almost 15 months, Baby T2.0 is now able to communicate with us more and more. She would nod or shake her head to show yes or no, she can also communicate by using a few signs. The other day Baby T2.0 started signing “more cold tea.” Baby T1.0, meanwhile, thought it was hilarious what her sister was doing and started laughing hysterically. At one point, he was laughing so hard that he couldn’t catch his breath. Mrs. T and I couldn’t help but laugh at the same time, this of course, caused Baby T1.0 to laugh even more.

Needless to say, we had a lot of fun and everyone was having a great time.

Moments like this is exactly what keeps me motivated to continue our quest for financial independence. Although we want to travel and explore the world when we are financially independent, spend quality time with my family and enjoy precious moments is even more important.

Seeing both kids developing their own personalities and becoming more and more independent bring pure joy to me. This is especially true considering the bumping rides we had with both kids early on…

A few days after Baby T1.0 was born at home, he lost a lot of weight, a total of 14%. This was quite high, considering he wasn’t that big to begin with, having born at 37 weeks and 5 days. To make matter worse, he was jaundiced to his knees and elbows. Breastfeeding was not working well. On day three, our midwives told us to go to BC Children’s Hospital to get some donor milk. By the time we got home from the hospital, we got a call from the midwives, telling us that we needed to head back to the hospital to get light therapy because Baby T1.0’s bilirubin level was too high.

When I got off the phone, I could see Mrs. T crying in our bedroom while trying to feed Baby T1.0. She was broken. What was going to happen to our little poor boy?

I didn’t show it but deep down I was scared that our tiny little boy would not make it. Mrs. T must had similar thoughts too.

So on Halloween night, Baby T1.0 got admitted to the hospital to start light therapy to get rid of jaundice.

The obstetrician put us on a 3 hour feeding schedule. It involved feeding Baby T1.0 every 3 hours on the clock so he could get 8 feeds per day. We were also told that we should try to squeeze in a 9th feed if we could. Feeding every 3 hours might sound pretty easy on paper, but it was HARD.

Because Baby T1.0 was jaundiced, we had to wake him up for every single feed. Mrs. T would try to breastfeed him first and I would take over to feed him donor milk. Mrs. T would then pump during this time. Once Baby T1.0 consumed all the donor milk dosage, I would then feed he expressed breast milk from the previous feed. The whole procedure could take anywhere from 1 to 1.5 hour.

We came back home after 2 days of hospital stay and continued with this 3-hour-crazy-feeding-schedule. Both Mrs. T and I were desperately sleep deprived.

At Baby T1.0’s one month check-up appointment, we found out he wasn’t gaining weight fast enough. So our midwives told us to continue with the 3-hour-feeding schedule. We also introduced formula to help with the weight gain.

We continued the 3-hour-feeding-schedule for over 3 months. Mrs. T continued pumping 7 or 8 times a day and we managed to get about an hour of sleep between each feed. I honestly don’t know how we survived 3 months of this crazy schedule. When I went back working full-time, after the short 2 week parental leave, I was surprised I never took a nap during lunch, despite sleep deprivation. Both Mrs. T and I were walking around like zombies. We weren’t living, we were barely hanging on!

It was a huge relief to finally go to a feed-on-demand schedule.

Having gone through the ordeal with Baby T1.0, we were prepared for a similar experience when Baby T2.0 was born. Despite eating and pooping well, Baby T2.0 was jaundiced and had to be admitted to the hospital for light therapy (Fact: Asian descendents are more prone to jaundice). We were put on the 3-hour-feeding schedule when we were in the hospital. Luckily, Baby T2.0 gained weight quickly and we were only in the hospital for about 10 hours.

When we returned from the hospital we went back to the feed-on-demand schedule with Baby T2.0. Although we were experienced parents, we still had many bumpy rides with Baby T2.0. Because no babies are alike.

On a high level, being financially independent means having enough passive income to cover expenses. Fo me, however, financial independence means more than that. It means spending more time with the people I love and doing things that I truly enjoy. If doing things that I enjoy happen to make money, that is just a bonus.

Life is too short to be chasing after money and power every day. Determine what is precious in your life and use them to keep you motivated to reach your goals.

So dear readers, what motivates you on your financial independence journey?

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41 Comments

  • Reply
    Mrs. Adventure Rich
    June 20, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Mr. Adventure Rich and I are motivated by freedom and the ability to have options. We want to be able to choose to spend more time as a family, help those in need, give back to our community… ultimately the freedom to live and serve in a way that aligns with our passions, talents and lifestyle. The prospect of freedom from the typical “servitude” of today’s world gives us hope and motivation along the way!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Freedom and the ability to have options are reasons why we want to reach FI too. Having freedom and options allow you to live the life you want, rather being controlled by your work.

  • Reply
    Matt @ Optimize Your Life
    June 20, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Wow. Thank you for sharing that story. That sounds like it must have been really tough to get through.

    I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s about time with your loved ones. I don’t have children yet, but I intend to take my foot off the gas when I do, because it will be more important to me to spend time with them than to make more money and rush to the finish line.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Hi Matt,

      Yes it was tough to get through but somehow we did it. It just shows that parents will do whatever it takes to make sure their kids are OK. That’s the power of parenthood. There’s definitely no point to rush to the finish line and ignore what’s important in your life, like loved ones.

  • Reply
    FI3000
    June 20, 2017 at 9:56 am

    For me it’s all about choice. I feel uncomfortable when I don’t have options. Although I don’t mind working and actually kind of like my job I worry that I won’t always feel that way. I don’t want to be stuck in a position where I’m hating my job but have to go for X more amount of years so that we can keep the lights on. Financial independence will give me the option to either just stop working or maybe take a few years off and decide if I’d like to try something new. I estimate I’m about half way there now and hope to be fully FI in about 8 years.

    Cheers,
    FI3000

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:23 am

      When it comes down to it I think most people are looking for options and freedom in their lives and being FI will allow you to do that. You can work not because you have to, because you choose to. Fully FI in about 8 years would be very awesome!

  • Reply
    Ms. Frugal Asian Finance
    June 20, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Thank you for sharing the story about your babies! It must have been really tough on you guys. We have a toddler, so we know what dealing with jaundice and sleep deprivation is like. Mr. FAF and I were also like zombies the first month Baby FAF came home from the hospital.

    We know it’s exhausting to have a baby, but we’ve been planning to have a second child. For me, financial independence is not only for a better future for Mr. FAF and myself but also for our children and future grandchildren. =)

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:24 am

      It’s definitely exhausting to have a baby but it’s extremely rewarding to see the baby grow up. Let’s just say having two kids is exponentially more work than having just one kid. That’s great you’re already thinking about your children and future grandchildren, that’s the way I see it too. To set ourselves up well financially so we can pass it on to the next generations.

  • Reply
    DivHut
    June 20, 2017 at 10:21 am

    That’s an easy question for me to answer, time. Full control over my time. FI was never about achieving a certain lifestyle or acquiring a ‘better” life via newer car, nicer living space, etc. It’s all about time. My time.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:46 am

      I love this. It’s never about achieving a “spending” lifestyle for us either… but it’s all about acquiring a life that we can control our time.

  • Reply
    Passivecanadianincome
    June 20, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I would love to have the time to travel more or enjoy the summer. Currently we have had 2-5 party’s bdays etc every weekend since April. It gets a little annoying when that’s the only quality time I have with the lil one and the wife.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:47 am

      We are getting into birthday party season too. Had one last weekend and two this weekend. The thing is, you don’t have to attend these birthday parties. Maybe that’s something I need to tell Mrs. T in the future.

  • Reply
    weenie
    June 20, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    It’s choice for me – if I end up hating my job or become fed up of working full-time in 7-8 years’ time, I’d like to be in a position to be able to choose to ask to work part-time hours or to walk away.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Having choices is a very important reason why most people want to reach FI. It’s having the ability to decide what you want to do, whether to work or not.

  • Reply
    Budget on a Stick
    June 20, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Our first”why” was after our son was born. We realized what a mess we made and wanted the stress to go away.

    Now my motivation is for early retirement because I’m not sure I will be able to keep up as I need to in job and I want the freedom to do whatever I want

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:48 am

      That’s awesome you had such realization and are focused to achieve early retirement. 🙂

  • Reply
    wealth from thirty
    June 20, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Props to you and your wife. It’s scary seeing loved ones unwell and I imagine especially so if their little loved ones, it’s great though that you live in a country where there is good healthcare and well trained doctors. My “why” is mainly about being able to build more freedom into my life, leaving something for my family and the challenge of honing a skill set I can pass on to my (yet to be made) kids if their interested. It’s probably a kind of pull to leave a legacy and something good.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:50 am

      We definitely felt fortunate that everything worked out. I can’t imagine parents that had to deal with babies that require surgeries and other major medical procedures. That must be heart breaking to have to go through that kind of stuff. We were definitely glad with the Canadian health system when we had to go to the hospital and not having to worry about the money aspect.

  • Reply
    Divnomics
    June 21, 2017 at 2:35 am

    What a heavy story.. I’ve known a similar experience from my sister. Her daughter had troubles with reflux, so they had to feed her non-stop and were hoping she would keep it in.

    I don’t have any kids for my own, but relationships are one of the most important motivations to keep going. Not only with family and close friends, but also all the wonderful people we have already met with a similar FIRE ambition.

    In addition we really like to continue to grow, learn and doing the things we like. Something that the journey itself is already offering us, but we hope to get more off later on.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:51 am

      Yuck about reflux, that must have been very hard. 🙁

      The FIRE community is so awesome, everyone’s so supportive, that’s definitely one of the things that’s keeping me motivated on writing more articles on here.

  • Reply
    KC
    June 21, 2017 at 6:54 am

    My motivation is to be able to be self-sustaining for whatever life throws my way. Seeing the struggles of my parents with money in my early years as well as a surprise firing (aka “let go”) from a company that I really enjoyed working there motivated me to get my butt into gear to protect myself.

    In the end, you only have yourself to protect yourself and your family.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:52 am

      That’s a great reason to achieve FI. Being able to self-sustain whatever life throws your way and protect yourself and your family.

  • Reply
    John R
    June 21, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Bob, mostly answered in your opening post as well as in the responses. Doesn’t matter if you work for minimum wage or are a top executive or politician you are working in “servitude”, you are answerable to someone, that someone pays you money. Our drive was to be FI was to never have to work for someone or be answerable to anyone ever. Today we are 100% on our terms, we do not answer to anyone other than ourselves, our income to cover all our expenses+ is 99.99% guaranteed. The problem (yes problem) we have is time. I estimate that today at age 70 that we need at least another 50 years to finish off what we have yet to do. The early years from age 20 to age 50 was a quality balance of work & family, it was well & truly quality time. As folks get older there are things that come up, it can be anything from health, financial to taking care of loved ones or still having to take care of your children & their problems even after they have left the nest.

    There is no one answer that FI buys you a better quality of life or freedom of choice. There are folks that I know & have known that worked for a paycheque/paycheck right up till they died or after they reached senior citizen status & they were the happiest of people – everything in their lives was ‘pleasantville’. Health & family first, wealth building second.

    Money & FI doesn’t always bring happiness or self-fulfilment, nor does it always given you options.

    Your life, your balance is what makes you happy – different strokes for different folks.

    Knowing what I know now, I wish we were 30 years younger.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Good way to put it John – not having to serve someone else. Even if you’re the CEO of a company, you’re still serving someone – the share holders for example. Being on your own terms is so powerful, unfortunately so many people don’t realize that this is a possibility in life.

      Yes money & FI doesn’t always bring happiness or self-fulfillment. As I stated many times on different articles, if you are not happy with your life right now, you’re not going to magically become happy when you reach FI. It’s all about how you see your life and how you handle what life throws at you. FI simply just gives you more options and freedom in life. FI doesn’t bring happiness, neither does more money.

  • Reply
    Buy, Hold Long
    June 21, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    I think I’m motivated for FI so I can have that “freedom”. I would still work but at my own pace. I don’t like the 9 to 5 rat race and how it makes me feel, but in the mean time I am willing to work hard to make my early retirement a reality. Work hard now, relax later.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      Working at your own pace is definitely very appealing. You would be working because you choose to, not because you have to.

  • Reply
    Dividend Reaper
    June 21, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    What motivates me is the knowledge that eventually I’ll be able to approach the Mrs. and tell her that she can retire early and do what she really wants. Nothing in the world sounds better than that to me.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 21, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      That sounds like a pretty awesome plan!

  • Reply
    Adriana @MoneyJourney
    June 22, 2017 at 5:57 am

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that with both your children! I can only imagine how difficult it must have been, but I’m also sure the love of a parent is stronger than anything!

    My boyfriend and I don’t have any kids yet, but we’re thinking about building a serious future together which is motivation enough. We were never the kind of people to keep up with the Joneses and whatnot. A bright and secure future is what determines us to treat money seriously.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 23, 2017 at 11:04 am

      The love of a parent is definitely stronger than anything. Having kids is so rewarding. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mr. Tako
    June 22, 2017 at 9:20 am

    “It means spending more time with the people I love and doing things that I truly enjoy. If doing things that I enjoy happen to make money, that is just a bonus.”

    Absolutely Tawcan! You’re dead right!

    Once I had a family my priorities in life changed completely, and that drove my quest for FI. Ultimately, I don’t make nearly as much money now that I’ve left “traditional” work, but I’m a lot happier! I get to spend more time with my family, and “work” on projects I enjoy.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 23, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Being happier is more important in life than making a tons of money yet have no time to spend with your loved ones.

  • Reply
    Dividend Diplomats
    June 22, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Tawcan –

    It started with growing up being poor with my family and then transpired into further motivation to also never have to work a job for money that I don’t have passion/like. That’s enough motivation and looking back at the struggles that my family has gone through and stil continues to go through; that’s why I want this SO bad.

    -Lanny

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 23, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Hi Lanny,

      That totally makes sense. Gotta love you have so much drive to achieve FI.

  • Reply
    Crescent Moon
    June 23, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Just discovered your blog! Looks great. Will try to check in from time to time.

    BTW, in addition to being a personal finance expert, photographer, and author, do you have a full-time regular job as well?

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 23, 2017 at 11:16 am

      Thanks Crescent Moon. Yes I have a full-time regular job as well. Busy life. 🙂

  • Reply
    Joe
    June 23, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Sorry to hear you guys had so much problem with the babies. Sounds like they are doing very well now so great job. We had some problem with our kid too. He lost weight when he first came home and he couldn’t feed. We gave up on breastfeeding pretty quickly and went to formula. Babies are tough!
    Being a stay at home dad was part of my motivation for FI. But I think it’s mainly to get away from work. I’m a much better father and husband now without the stress.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 23, 2017 at 11:17 am

      Thanks Joe. They are doing great, we just need to get Baby T2.0 to sleep better at night.

      Babies are definitely tougher than you think. 🙂

  • Reply
    Amber tree
    June 23, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Kids are not always easy… IT takes time to figure out what they need. Good job.

    My motivation for FI is to have a regret free life, where I do things I want and that make the difference.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      June 23, 2017 at 11:17 am

      A regret free life sounds pretty awesome to me!

  • Reply
    Frugal Desperado
    June 29, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I’m motivated by my love for travel, but also a deep desire to give my mom a comfortable retirement. My mom worked tirelessly as a single parent to give us the best life possible, all while being the most kind-hearted individual I’ve ever come across. I’d love to be able to give her the comfortable life she’s always deserved.

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