Most people imagine that the financially independent lifestyle involves sipping martinis on a beach, while being fanned by dutiful attendants. People imagine it’s living it up in Vegas, betting millions on the tables, while attending wild all-night parties. With your expenses being taken care of with your investments, why would you do anything else?
Sadly, this isn’t how the average financially independent person lives their life. Financial independence usually involves following your passion, while being freed from the rigmarole of working a conventional job. With your basic expenses taken care of, financial independence allows you to pursue projects you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to devote time to. Some financially independent people travel the world. Others spend more time with their family and friends. Some take up farming, or stock trading, or making music, or blogging. Some of these passions can even turn out to be financially lucrative and start earning an income of their own.
You’d think this is strange — someone who doesn’t need to work any more would probably be buying Ferraris and drinking themselves silly each night. But this is behaviour typically exhibited someone who’s lucked out and won the lottery. Financial independence is anything but winning the lottery — it involves years of planning, sacrifice, dedication and patience. Because lottery winners have become fabulously rich through no effort of theirs, they typically exhibit self destructive behaviours. It’s no surprise that most of them end up meeting sticky ends.
People who’ve earned their financial independence, on the other hand, are a lot more careful about their hard-earned freedom. Having fastidiously saved and invested for several years, they don’t go overboard when they’re finally wealthy. Even when financially independent, they keep their finances and expenses in check. Being financially independent doesn’t mean spending money wherever you please — it means first discovering what’s important for you, and then building a lifestyle which allows you to spend as much time as possible doing it.
Financial independence also involves some degree of frugality. It can be tempting to see a large balance in your account, but most successfully financially independent people will resist the temptation to withdraw a sizable portion to splurge on a material purchase. People become financially independent through being frugal — most continue being frugal after becoming financially independent.
Also, being financially independent doesn’t mean being unproductive. Many financially independent people become quite good at their hobbies — unencumbered by the burden of earning a regular income, they can spend large amounts of time on activities that most people wouldn’t be able to devote time to, and can often become experts in their fields. Financially independent people often gravitate towards location independent jobs, such as blogging, vlogging, and stock trading. Some of the best people in these field are financially independent.