I grew up in an immigrant household. I have by popular consensus the best mother in the world. My Father was the right amount of disciplinarian to help balance her out.
My immigrant family growing up was/is like a lot of immigrant families.
There was an abundance of love and enough money for all the necessities, coupled with an extreme focus on achievement and “making it”.
The last two decades of my life has been spent trying to make up for the perceived lack in money of my childhood.
It’s been in many ways a worthwhile pursuit.
The chase led me to pursue an education with a clear return on investment. To a degree path that led to a career that I love but that also paid well and that had room for growth. This chase has led to making sound investments that will continue to (hopefully) pay off for years to come. The desire for wealth has also led to tens of thousands wasted on hard lessons in the school of knocks.
Hare brained schemes, bad investments, bad or incompetent partners, partnerships made out of fear, crooked contractors, and chasing fast returns in the stock market – all of which, incidentally, turn out to be fast tracks to losing money.
Along the way I discovered a movement that helped me to put context around all of my savings and investment efforts.
The F.I.R.E. movement, which stands for Financial independence, retire early, helped to give me words to describe the shining target for my desire to be financial free. Previous to the F.I.R.E. movement all I could say was that I knew there was a world with more options that I could envision but I wasn’t sure of how to get there.
The F.I.R.E. movement isn’t what I’m here to talk about though.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that the pursuit of a financial endpoint is just not enough. As nice as big deposits are, they are inherently meaningless at some point. They ease discomfort but can’t usher in happiness. They can ward off hunger but never really leads to satisfaction.
This realization has been growing in tandem with my net worth. I’m nowhere close to the financial goals that I had set for myself but I’m making steady and consistent progress, and lord willing, will arrive there someday. The steady progress in net worth at some point becomes un-linked from a steady growth in happiness.
At that point you have to make a conscious decision to turn your attention from financial goal setting to goals that have inherent meaning and lead to increased happiness.
Nowadays, I’m trying to prioritize seeking fulfillment over paychecks. Now every financial decision has to be run through a decision matrix that balances peace of mind with purpose. I’m less interested in profits without purpose.
I still prize freedom these days. In fact, I treasure the thought of this freedom even more than I did as a younger man because I know that my time grows shorter with every day lived.
I am really working on making the shift from working to be F.I.R.E. to be working on Fire. Filled with purpose and focused on fulfilling the vision that God has for me.
I wish the same for you.
Fly or Fall.