The other day I was playing Lego with Baby T1.0. He found some wheels from his Lego box, where we keep all the Lego pieces, and went on to build an “airplane car” with random Lego parts. While busy constructing, he was telling me stories about the airplane car and how we could use it to go to Taiwan.
Once the airplane car was constructed, he then started telling me even more stories about all the adventures the airplane car was capable of.
After talking non-stop for 10 minutes or so, he went on about his imaginary dog called Doey (we have a friend that has a dog called Zoey, so we think that’s how Baby T1.0 got the name Doey from). According to Baby T1.0, Doey also had an airplane car so he could come to Taiwan with us. But Doey needed to go back to Vannuver (a place he invented based on Vancouver) first to get some clothes for the trip to Taiwan.
Needless to say, as a 3 year old, Baby T1.0 has pretty good imagination.
I remember having wild imagination when I was a younger. I used to play with Lego for extended period of time and making up adventures with the Lego pieces I was building. Ah the good times.
Sadly, as I grew older my imagination faded. Reality set in and I used less and less of my imagation.
As I listened to Baby T1.0’s stories and stared into his innocent eyes, I wished this kind of innocence and imagination could stay forever. But I knew things can and will change.
Use your imagination!!!
When it comes to the FIRE community, many of us like to run simulations and calculations. Hence, there are tons of FIRE calculators available on the internet; for folks looking for standard retirement age of 65, there’s also the retirement freedom calculator.
Do these simulations and calculators make us fall into the“finish line trap” where we care more about the end goal than the present moment?
Sometimes, we are so laser focused on the end goal of being financially independent, we forget what it means to enjoy the present moment.
Some of us are so set to become financially independent on a specific date, we fail to see the big picture.
We fail to use our imagination and have some fun during our journey of becoming financially independent.
Life is pretty boring if you can’t have some fun along the way.
Let me be frank, talking about money all the time is pretty damn boring.
There I said it!
*Wait for the angry mob to throw stones at me*
So, use your imagination and imagine what it would be like to be financially independent. What would your daily life be like?
Better yet, practice being financially independent… because practice makes perfect.
Why not have some fun and book a Wednesday off work and live that day as if you are already independent? Use your imagination on all the possibilities and make them happen!
The key message I am trying to get is…
If we are not happy right now, reaching financial independence will not magically make us happy. Financial independence is not a magic pill that fixes our present problems. Whatever problems we wehave now, you will most likely have the same problems when we are financially independent.
The waiting till problem…
Now imagine that you are already financially independent, what is one thing you would do immediately?
Now ask yourself, what’s prevent you from doing this?
For example, one thing Mrs. T and I would love to do when we are financially independent is to explore the world.
But not being FI should not prevent us from setting foot on different parts of the world. I can book vacation time from work and explore the world a few weeks at a time, despite not financially independent yet.
Have you ever told yourself that you will wait to do something until something else is finished first?
It’s very logical on the surface but it doesn’t make any sense.
Take traveling and exploring the world as an example. Should you wait till you are financially independent or retired before you start traveling and exploring the world?
That’s what my grandparents did. My grandpa kept telling my grandma that they would go to Japan once he retired. Unfortunately, my grandpa never saw this dream come true… he passed away 2 years before his retirement date.
Some things are worth the wait, some things aren’t. Don’t keep waiting until it’s too late. Life is too short and too precious.
Use your imagination, dream up, and make it happen now!
Finding your personal balance
So many of us that are thriving for financial independence by sacrificing the present moment. This is what delayed gratification is all about.
But how much sacrifice is warranted? How much sacrifice is too extreme?
Is having a frugal lifestyle so we can save as much money as possible to invest a warranted sacrifice?
Is not having TV at home an extreme sacrifice?
Is eating instant noodles on a daily basis to cut down your food expenses too extreme?
Is driving a 15-year-old car a warranted sacrifice?
I truly believe living on either extreme ends is no good (i.e. spending like YOLO or extreme frugality). The key is, finding your own balance between spending now and saving for the future.
The correct balance for you is probably not the right balance for me; what’s my balance may make sense to you. But that’s the fun of personal finance… is it personal!
Isn’t it amazing and fascinating how much kids can teach us about life? Now only if they can learn to sleep through the night like their parents. But that’s another post for later. 🙂