I’ve struggled a bit even within the FIRE community about my path to reach Financial Independence. It wouldn’t be an easy path to recreate for the general population, and actually following it would be nearly impossible. However, there are things that someone else within the community can gain from my story.
Listening to others in our community about their paths made me realize, we all feel this way. We are unique in our experiences and our life stories. We found the community at different phases of our lives. Our upbringing and childhoods were different. The privilege or lack thereof is also different. No one has the cookie cutter path for a financial independence journey that will be followed by the masses.
We all see ourselves and our journeys as individual. So welcome to the FI community, welcome to your own unique personal finance journey. While your path is unique, there are people who have gone through parts of your journey or there are similarities that can be gleaned from one another’s lessons, stories, and paths.
|Look to others who have been on this path before you||I’m the youngest of 4 children. When making a decision about college, I was able to look at their decisions to come up with a better plan for me.|
|Get scholarships for college||Finding ways to have others pay for college can help you minimize debt while starting out.|
|Selecting a high paying career||I was mathematically inclined and studied Industrial Engineering in school.|
|Negotiate Salary||I did my research when accepting a full-time position, researching cost of living difference and where I could add value or where it didn’t financially make sense for me and asked for more. When changing companies, I also asked for a 20% increase in pay because I could.|
|Live like a college kid for as long as possible||Post-college, I got roommates and didn’t purchase much furniture. I slept on a mattress on the ground for 3 years after college until I moved abroad then the company paid for my furniture and lifestyle.|
|Purchasing used cars||When I was graduating college, I needed to purchase my own vehicle, so I purchased a used car with the help of my mechanic cousin. While that car still runs, I gifted it to my parents years ago. I also purchased and financed a car 5 years into my FI journey (interest rate under 2.5%, so I didn’t want to pay cash). Situations change so no shame on financing a car, but when just starting out used vehicles are great.|
|Expatriate – House hacking||I found a way to have a company/others pay for housing and utilities.|
|Expatriate – Travel hacking||I got to live in another part of the world so traveling within that area gave me cheaper flights.|
|Asking for help||Along my path, I’ve been blessed to have an amazing support system, but I’ve also learned to ask for help on things I need and be generous with my energy to support others in my life.|
There are so many other examples of different paths people took and lessons they learned along that way. What I love about personal finance is that it’s personal, especially for how you accumulate and save money, but the general rules about money and investing are actually surprisingly similar.