In the second half of 2021 I had the absolute pleasure of being interviewed by Jessica from The Fioneers about my experience downshifting to a lower stress job.
If you’re not following The Fioneers I encourage you to head on over to their socials and blog and subscribe to their content. I love their content because they don’t cover the usual path to Financial Independence (e.g. reduce expenses to the bone, and invest at least 60% +++ of your income).
Instead, they are taking a different slower and more sustainable approach to Financial Independence coined Slow FI and write about their own journey via their blog. My favourite recent blog post is their experience in 2021 ‘Designing a life we don’t want to retire from‘.
The Fioneers also have a number of interviews with others who are taking a different approach to the conventional financial independence journey. My recently favourite interview was with Mr. 1500 who reached financial independence in 1500 days (no that’s not a misprint). But, this achievement wasn’t what The Fioneer’s interview focussed on at all. The interview with Mr. 1500 was around why he was telling people to slow down and enjoy the journey. The interview is aptly named ‘Avoid the “Death March” to Financial Independence‘, and I strongly encourage you to read it.
This brings me to my own opportunity to be interviewed by Jessica from The Fioneers around my experience ‘downshifting’ to a lower stress job and still working towards financial independence. For those who aren’t familiar with ‘downshifting’.
‘Downshifting’ your career involves taking a step down in the role you have now to a level with less stress or minimal management duties.
For a long time, I loved working having a high pressure / high stakes job role. But over time, the stress and expectations of it wore me down. I didn’t want to be on call every day. I didn’t want to deal with the politics. I just wanted to do a great job and come home.
This post is for those who are worried they may have left it to late to start a journey of Financial Independence. My hope is that it will inspire you to start your journey if you haven’t started, or help you stay on your journey if you’ve already started.
Follow those who have walked or are walking the same path as you
I’m not sure about you but I get a lot of reassurance and inspiration from those who are treading or have treaded the same or similar path as me.
I can’t help but feel a little disheartened when I can’t apply the same methods that others are using to reach FIRE for example:
Don’t buy a house to live in,
Avoid owning a car,
Live at home with your parents,
Keep your grocery bill under $50,
Start investing at 18,
I’m sure that I’m not alone and you may have personal circumstances that preclude you from applying certain financial independence advice as well. This can often feel like a barrier, or a blocker in your FIRE journey and with every additional blocker you can start to feel a little less confident in achieving your goals.
This is where it becomes so important to find narratives that are similar to your own. This will help you to stop seeing your own personal circumstances as insurmountable blockers to FIRE, and reassure you that you can overcome them and reach FIRE.
I’ve listed a few of my favourite inspirational Late FIRE blogs below:
Project Palm Tree – Shaun is an Australian who officially declared that he was starting his Late FIRE journey at age 52. He is aiming to retire at 60, and shares his experiences on his blog.
Burning Desire For FIRE – Frogdancer Jones is an single Australian mother to 4 now grown men who retired at 57 (without a 6 figure income). I have followed her journey for many years initially on a site called Simple Savers. If you want to be inspired read this.
Late Starter FI – A blog about starting your FIRE journey in your late 40’s. Late Starter FI isn’t retired yet so this is a great blog to follow for the honest up’s and down’s of being on a FIRE journey.
Started at 50 – Becky and her husband Stephen from Colorado started their FIRE journey at 50 and retired early at 63. I loved their story and we both share similar retirement hobbies.
Stop the comparison
Comparison is the thief of joy.
My situation is different to your situation and vice versa so if you do struggle with comparison try to work on your mindset by focussing on what you can do and implement rather than anything you can’t implement (shut out that noise).
If you want to read more on how your mindset can affect your finances click here.
Stop wishing away the past and live a life of no regrets
Constant feelings of regret from mistakes you have made, and opportunities you didn’t take will eat you up inside if you don’t let them go.
I started my journey towards FIRE at 32. Prior to the age of 32 we made a tonne of ‘financial mistakes’ including misusing credit cards, buying brand new cars with loans, didn’t invest, and we even pulled out our superannuation (retirement) to buy a swimming pool (these are just a few of our mistakes).
In order to move past these mistakes and work towards FIRE it was necessary for us to acknowledge our bad decisions, learn from them, let go of the regret and forgive ourselves. If you don’t forgive yourself and learn from it then its difficult to grow from it.
Ask yourself. Is there anything you regret, and are you still holding onto it?
Focus on your strengths
As you get older you start to gather more life experience, information and knowledge. You can turn these life experiences, information and knowledge into strengths which someone just starting their FIRE journey at 18 or in their 20’s won’t have.
Starting your FIRE journey a little later means you are more likely to have an established career that can assist you to get to your FIRE goals.
You may have previously travelled the world in your 20’s so you don’t mind skipping a few holidays and putting the money you would’ve spent to your FIRE fund.
You had your kids early and your children might be adults when you FIRE so you won’t have to factor in the costs associated with raising children in your FIRE number.
You’ve had a bad experience with consumer debt, and dug yourself out of debt. You will never let yourself get back there again.
These are all examples only, and may not apply to your situation. That said I’m sure you can think of your own lived experiences, and I encourage you to write them down and think of them as strengths you will use to succeed on your FIRE journey.
FIRE is a marathon not a sprint
Lastly for the overwhelming majority of people who achieve FIRE it takes a long time, and it won’t happen overnight. It’s easy to feel like everyone’s reaching FIRE so quickly when you don’t reflect on your own journey.
Make sure to celebrate each mini milestone, give yourself a break when you need it, readjust with your learnings, and then get back on that bike.
Ask yourself. When was the last time you celebrated how far you’ve come?
Lastly I don’t know who needs to hear this but you’ve got this (and if you ever need to someone to reach out to on this journey feel free to hit me up).
I’m keen to read about any other awesome Late FIRE blogs that you may have come across (or that you may blog on). Feel free to add them to the comments below.
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