After years of working hard, tracking your expenses, saving and investing money, you have finally met your financial goals: You have socked enough money away so that you can live off of your investments. You create enough passive income from your real estate, stock, and business portfolio that you can afford to sit at the beach and drink cocktails all day long. Congratulations!
But wait a minute! Should you really put your feet up and take it easy now?
Retiring early is a nice accomplishment. It really is. I will never forget the feelings of desperation and hopelessness I had ten years ago when I forced myself to go to the office in the morning, knowing that I would have to endure another grueling 12-hour day of corporate B.S. just to get by. It was unbearable.
While I was at the wrong place in my life back then, I am at the right place today, for which I am extremely grateful. Thanks to years of living below my means, grinding, socking away money at every opportunity and reinvesting my dividend income, I can now take it easy. Short-term pain for long-term gain, so to speak.
I feel a lot of people misunderstand the concept of “financial freedom”, though. Financial freedom is not at all about buying a lot of stuff, it is about the freedom you attain when you create enough passive income that you can live life on your own terms. I can’t stress this enough: Being in control of your time and making your own choices is incredibly liberating and fulfilling. Being in total control is what makes financial independence so awesome.
But life doesn’t end with financial independence, it opens up an entirely new chapter in life. A life with more opportunities and higher rewards, but also unique challenges.
The Importance Of Setting Goals
Achieving financial independence is a major accomplishment in life, no doubt about it. If you were already able to drop out of the soul-sucking rat race, or if you are on track to reach your financial goals and will soon be able to do so, more power to you!
But being “early retired” doesn’t mean you should put up your feet and don’t do anything in life anymore. Though it may sound like a dream never having to work again in your life, believe me, not doing anything with your life is hardly an option! Don’t make a mistake here: Sitting all day at the beach drinking cocktails is fun the first week, maybe the second, but the novelty will quickly wear off, and you are caught up in just another routine.
Setting goals, obviously, is a great way of structuring your life and give it purpose after you have achieved “financial freedom. People need to do something with their lives, they need goals and challenges in order to find meaning in their lives and stay in shape physically and mentally.
You want to keep growing as a person, you don’t want to be stagnating.
Set goals that challenge you. Set goals that force you to grow and learn new things. You could set goals such as reading one book per week, exercising at the gym three times a week, learning a new language, running a marathon, or starting (another) online business. You could try to scale your existing business, or look for new investment opportunities for your investment portfolio. The point is that you set challenging goals for yourself that force you out of your comfort zone and keep you on the personal growth track.
If you have already achieved financial independence, or are making consistent efforts to attain it, congratulations! Just by actively working towards your financial goals, you are already way ahead of the pack.
Reaching financial independence is not the end of your life, though. Just sitting at the beach sipping cocktails and doing nothing will be highly unfulfilling long-term, and, frankly, is a waste of your time and talents.
Keep challenging yourself and set goals that push you out of your comfort zone. Learn new things, take on new challenges, share your wisdom, and enjoy a new life filled with exciting opportunities. Most importantly, don’t get comfortable and stop growing!