It's Healthy to Change Lanes in a Financial Journey

Happiness matters. A lot.

Want to be financially free?

There are many paths to Financial Independence. What might be appropriate for you on day one of your journeys may not be a good fit down the road.

If you are just starting, you shouldn’t feel that you have to pick a lane and stick with it forever.

It’s also important to understand that money is only one part of this life journey. Money is a tool to buy freedom, but you also need a purpose to be successful.

My path to Financial Independence included many twists and turns, priority changes, and soul searching.

We grow and change in life. That’s a great reason to reassess your path and adapt as necessary.

Today we look at a few well-known tracks to financial success. These are only two of many, and you should become comfortable changing lanes when a different route makes more sense for you.

The iconic FIRE path.

The book Financial Freedom by Grant Sabatier provides steps to the reader that the author used to reach Financial Independence in just five years.

The book’s focus is on hard work to create more income and the opportunity to increase your savings rate. The approach requires significant sacrifice and can produce rapid wealth accumulation.

Money is the primary driver.

Many prominent stories about Financial Independence Retire Early use tactics similar to Grant Sabatier. There is a precedent that remarkable results can happen with enough hard work and sacrifice.

You may not achieve freedom in five years, but the method does work. Your net worth wins when you earn more, spend less, and save more.

Challenges with this approach include the level of effort and sacrifice required to boost your income and savings rate.

Many people are unwilling to put in the endless work or burn out along the way. This can be especially problematic when your work doesn’t touch your soul.

The Real YOLO path.

Blogger Jessica Lynn from The Fioneers coined the term Slow FI, which describes a much different path to independence.

Living your best life now instead of later is the priority of this approach. Of course, you still need to save and manage your money wisely, but Slow FI isn’t about rushing to the finish line at all costs.

In this approach, you work to structure your life so that you earn, save, and enjoy life along the way. There is a significant focus on enjoyment and much less on when you will reach Financial Independence.

Is it really work if you love what you do?

If you find more joy in working 32 hours per week, a Slow FI approach can help you stay on track for your ultimate goal and free up valuable time today.

You might wonder what’s the difference between Slow FI and traditional retirement. I think, at the core, there is very little difference.

The problem is that most people are not doing enough to reach traditional retirement. Slow FI allows you to enjoy today and focus on your ultimate retirement goals.

You still have to work hard on the Slow FI path. But you get to enjoy freedoms that are put off on a more traditional FIRE trajectory.

If you aren’t intentionally saving and just living a YOLO life, you are not on the Slow FI track. That’s called irresponsible spending. You fit in with most of our population if that’s the case.

Financial Freedom isn’t a set it and forget it track.

In his book, Taking Stock, author Jordan Grumet uses a fable of three brothers to describe multiple paths to Financial Independence. He also talks about the importance of purpose, identity, and connections in life.

These provide meaning in life. Money is a tool to create freedom, but life is about so much more.

It’s important to weigh all variables and match them to your situation.

The benefits of rapidly increasing wealth are huge when you have no money. However, as your net worth grows, you may find more value in discovering your underlying purpose and deprioritizing monetary gains.

Perhaps you are on a path like Slow FI and find that you want to speed up your monetary accomplishments. You are not locked into one lane. You have the freedom to make some near-term sacrifices to provide a boost to your net worth or even permanently change your focus.

Financial Independence can be the ultimate choose your own adventure.

In the world of FIRE, I’m old.

I had no idea about any of the paths we discussed today when I started saving for the future. There are countless other routes to reach financial freedom.

The two paths I highlighted in today’s post are good examples that can produce results when executed well.

However, no law restricts your lane choice, even after you leave the starting gate.

Be flexible.

Assess your needs, understand when you might be burning out, and make a change.

Your happiness in life should be the driver, not just a dollar amount.