Welcome to Freedom 101. We are excited to be able to put this website together, and share our knowledge and experiences with like-minded people who are looking to take control over their individual time. The content and opinions we express on this website have been formed from our personal journey to achieving financial freedom, including lessons from the things that have worked well for us, mistakes we have made, and hundreds of hours of research and self-education on a variety of finance related topics.
Individually, and as a couple, we both have a strong passion for all things finance. Since our late teens we have continuously educated ourselves on the path to financial wealth and independence, knowing that one day we wanted to obtain that status. Initially our individual goals of financial wealth were pretty abstract, neither of us had a dollar figure or a list of things we particularly wanted to obtain. We just each knew we wanted to be wealthy; but, like many things in life, wealth was something we had to define for ourselves. Our experiences both before meeting each other, and since, have slowly shaped what exactly wealth means to us.
We both worked hard, long hours, and benefitted from early success in our respective careers. We were well on our way to achieving “wealth” in the traditional sense, and in a pretty traditional manner. But, at around the ten-year mark of our careers we started to hear ourselves saying, “only 15 more years, only 14 more years until retirement”. We even downloaded an app to allow us to countdown our remaining working years, days, even breaking it down as far as the minutes/seconds. (Some people might call that a clue that perhaps we should start evaluating our career choices!)
We began to realize that in our “regular jobs” we were trading our time for a paycheque. What we were lacking was any other sense of value or enjoyment from our work. We had worked hard and progressed quickly, too quickly. We had both achieved what we had set out to experience in our careers, and now it was just about the dollar bills. The problem was, our careers weren’t even halfway done!
We were burned out, and on top of that, our priorities in life were shifting. We suddenly didn’t want to work 80 hour weeks, we didn’t want to travel away from home all the time, we didn’t want to miss birthday’s or Christmas, and we were definitely tired of being tied to our work phones in our “off” time. We wanted that elusive “work/life” balance everyone talks about. We tried to find it. But after many failed attempts, we came to the harsh realization that it wasn’t an option in our fields of work. Work/life balance was a unicorn, it was a nice thought, but it just simply didn’t exist. We needed to make some hard choices about what mattered most to us.
That realization opened our eyes. Spending the vast majority of our time doing something just for the financial return was not a good use of our currency of time in the long-term. We could always make more money, but we only had so much time, and we certainly couldn’t bank on technology advancing sufficiently in our lifetime that we could buy our way to more of it! Sure, our jobs were a necessary means to an end in the short-term, but we needed to develop an exit strategy that didn’t have us spending 25+ years of our lives “grinding it out”, taking us away from our family, and arguably missing some of the most important moments in life.
We began to truly appreciate the age-old wisdom that our most valuable and most limited resource was time. We began to understand that retirement in the traditional sense was not what we were aspiring towards. It wasn’t about not working, what we really wanted was CHOICE over how we spent our time. Not just on the weekends, but ALL of our time.
So as it turns out, our goal of wealth wasn’t about accumulating money or things. Nor was it about retiring and playing hours of golf, sitting on a beach, or joining a bridge club. Don’t get us wrong, we enjoy doing all of those things on occasion; but, what it was really about was achieving the financial means to facilitate freedom of choice over what we did with our time. The freedom to choose became our true measure of wealth.
So we began planning a rough exit strategy from our careers. We started our journey with one pretty big goal. Paying off our mortgage. In seven years. (Hold your horses nay-sayers, we will write a whole blog post on why we chose this avenue over others, and why it was the right choice in our circumstances!).
The goal seemed lofty. Our friends and family gave us patient smiles when we talked about our goal, but no one really thought this was going to become a reality. Even we didn’t entirely believe it was achievable, but hey, why not set the bar high?
Then some amazing things happened. We worked hard, continuously pushed ourselves to come up with creative ways to increase our incomes streams and mercilessly hacked away unnecessary expenses. Suddenly we were AHEAD of our goal, and one day we realized what we were doing was really working. Not only were we going to pay off our mortgage, EARLIER than our original goal; but we had generated sufficient and diversified income streams that allowed us to truly consider early retirement. Like, really early retirement, 34 & 33 years old kind of retirement!
How exactly we got here is something we’ll delve into in detail; but in a nutshell: we set our goals, we put in the work to pursue them, and we made it a reality. It really was and is that simple. It’s wasn’t easy, but it was simple.
Now we have the amazing opportunity to CHOOSE what we do with our time. We love challenges and learning new things, so there is no doubt that our “working” days are far from over. We are not ones to sit around and do nothing; but, now it’s about investing our time in things we feel passionate about. Things we obtain value from. Not just financial value, but things that give us a sense of purpose, and satisfaction.
For us, that means investing in relationships, spending time with our family, finding ways to give back, leaving the world a better place for our kids, and always learning and trying new things. These are the things that matter to us. These are the things that helped us shape our decisions to get here, and are some of the reasons behind why we started this website.
There have been many twists, hairpin turns, hefty bumps, and some epic crashes along our journey here. After each experiencing divorces, difficult jobs, workaholic attitudes, some serious injuries, and two kids later, the road has been far from smooth, but neither of us would change a thing. Through the good times and the bad, a glass half-full mentality has kept us always moving toward our goals.
Hopefully our experiences and the lessons we have learned along the way can help you shape your individual plan to obtain the freedom to choose. To invest your time in the things that matter to you, whatever they may be.