What is your reason for financial independence?

Thanks to work and personal travels, I have set foot on 25 airplanes so far this year, with at least 6 more plane rides planned. Essentially I have been on a plane every single month so far in 2017. For someone whose job isn’t supposed to have that much traveling involved, 2017 has been a busy year.

For the most part, I like getting on a plane to visit different cities, whether be for work or for leisure.

But I really really don’t like air turbulence.

I get it, air travel is pretty safe nowadays. Planes are designed to withstand turbulence. Turbulence won’t break off airplane’s wings and cause the plane to crash.

I have heard the analogy… a plane going through air turbulence is similar to a car hitting bumps on the road.

In both cases, the traveling vessel (plane or car) vibrates slightly due to the bumps on the transportation path (air or road). We are just more used to bumps on the road while sitting in a car.

I get the analogy and all, but I see a huge difference.

Cars are moving on roads connected to the ground, whereas planes are cruising at 36,000 feet (~12,000 metre) above the ground!

If roads are bumpy, you can stop the car, and the that’s the end of all the bumpiness.

With planes, you can’t just stop and park the plane in midair!

Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty comfortable with minor turbulence. I just don’t like going through bigger ones.

What do I mean by bigger turbulence?

The ones where the flight attends suspend meal & drink service. Or the ones where the pilot goes on the PA and tells the flight attends to strap in. Or the ones where the plane keeps lurching and shaking for 30 minutes or longer. Or the ones that plane suddenly drops and you are lifted from your seat.

They are not pleasant at all. For some reason, I seem to encounter bigger turbulence when I fly. When this happens, I always feel uneasy. My hands are sweaty, I am tense, and I keep thinking the “what if.”

What if the turbulence is so bad and causes the plane to nose dive?

I know they won’t happen but my mind just keeps wondering.

Then I start thinking about what is one thing that I cherish the most.

99.9% of the time, my mind goes to my kids and Mrs. T. I often pick up my phone and start looking through pictures of Mrs. T, Baby T1.0, and Baby T2.0 to help me calm down. I think about the funny moments with them and how good it would be to get hugs and kisses from them at that very moment.

Moments with loved ones are what we cherish the most in life.

Although money can buy many things in life, money cannot buy memorable moments. Furthermore, all the money in the world won’t do any good if you don’t have the time to spend with your loved ones.

This makes me ponder and reflect. Why do I want to achieve financial independence?

My key reason for achieving financial independence has always been so I can work because I choose to, not because I have to. But when start peeling the onion and examine deeper, I realize that my key reason for financial independence is to have more time.

More time to do things that I love doing. More time to do things that I want to do. More time to be with my loves ones.

Baby T1.0 and Baby T2.0 do not care how much their toys cost. What they care is whether their daddy can spend quality time with them or not, they care whether their daddy can listen to their stories, play with them, and create unforgettable moments & memories with them. Similarly, Mrs. T is not materialistic, what she cares the most is whether the both of us can spend quality time together, have hygge, and have a good time.

Life is more than making tons of money, living in McMansion, dressing in expensive brand name clothes, wearing Rolex watches, driving Ferrari’s, or going on fancy exclusive vacations.

Life is about finding what makes you truly happy and content. Life is about learning and improving yourself as a human being. Life is about unconditional love. Life is about giving and helping others. Life is about finding your life purpose.

Financial independence is and should not be the end. Financial independence is a journey. Reaching it is merely another step in life that will lead to something bigger.


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23 thoughts on “What is your reason for financial independence?”

  1. So far, I have spent every single day In my son’s life, from when he wakes up until when he goes to bed. If you gave me $10 million to not have experienced that time, I would say no way.

    There are some long days, that’s for sure. But I wouldn’t trade any amount of money not to be there with him or for him for at least the first five years of life before going to kindergarten. And I plan to be there for him until he goes to college.

    I have envisioned this moment for the past 5 1/2 years since leaving work in 2012, and it is absolutely everything I could’ve hoped for.

    Just know that it is nice to “escape“ by going to work. Distance does make the heart grow fonder. But all I need is about three hours of distance day maximum and then I just want to spend time with the family. Hard to do that if you have a full-time job.


    • Hi Sam,

      Having a kid changes your world doesn’t it? It is a strange feeling looking at a “mini you” growing up in front of you. This is something I wouldn’t trade away for any money either. Someone asked me a while ago if I had the chance to redo everything again, would I choose to not have kids to become FI earlier? My answer was no. If you’re not a parent, you will not understand the reason behind that answer. If you are a parent, you’ll understand why. 🙂

  2. Time is the best when it’s optimized. Financial independence is like a huge game hack for time. My reason for FIRE was the moment my sweet natured husband threw his phone at me when he was so stressed out from work. Can’t bare to see him sad so I find myself just dreaming harder and harder for that day. Almost feels pathetic hah!

  3. Couldn’t agree more, and great to create space to reflect every now and again. I think the “why” is important to keep us grounded not just for financial independence, but also the work we do (or even blogging!… I’m new to this space but will try to always remember why). Its easy to lose sight of that if not careful.

    • Exactly, we all need reasons to keep us motivated and grounded. It’s easy to lose sight when you are chasing after FI. It’s important to enjoy the present moment too.

  4. Time, pretty much time. More time with the kids, with MrsSLM, with our wider family. More time for myself, to work out, to better myself, to get healthier. I’m not a fancy car or michelin star restaurant guy, they won’t matter much to me in the long run.

  5. Ms. Our Next Life just wrote about how the biggest luxury of their upcoming retirement is the luxury of time. That really struck me… I always feel like I am “out of time” or “need more time”. The luxury of time to choose to spend time with family, live adventurously, work on something I love and follow my passions is quite an enticing prospect.

    • It was a great article, I really enjoyed reading it. Not having the feeling of “out of time” or “need more time” is indeed a luxury that everyone of us is looking for.

  6. More time is a common reason for FI, how you spend it might be another. We don’t have kids, but do love spending time with people we care about. With the freedom of FI, doing whatever you want without feeling any financial pressure seems ideal. For me another reason is to enjoy live more slowly.

  7. My primary reason for FI is also to have more time to spend with the people I like and doing the things I like such as sleeping or reading. My secondary reason is because I don’t want to work 40 hours a week for the rest of my life. 🙂

  8. Time is a great one, Bob! It seems like we just don’t have enough of that – work seems to get in the way and occupy too much of it.

    For me, I’m all about my having more time for my daughter. She’s actually the reason I pushed myself in the direction of FI. When she was born and I had to go back to work and not be with her, it crushed me. She’ll be around 9 or 10 when I quit my job in a couple years, but I like that I can still be there for her whenever she needs me.

    — Jim

  9. Totally agree Tawcan! For me, financial independence was all about having more time to spend with family. I could care less if I had a fancier car or a bigger house…those things hardly matter compared to spending as much time as I can with my kids.

    • Pretty neat that we share the same reason why you want to reach FI. Fancier car or a bigger house doesn’t mean a better life and doesn’t mean you get to spend more time with your loved ones.


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