MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

Financial Independence (FI) and Simplicity

Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Jun 22, 2010 @ 11:17 AM

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I’m not sure if it’s due to the Great Recession, jobs getting even more stressful, life just getting busier for everyone or a combination of all the above, yet whatever the cause, I’ve never had so many new clients contact me with one major burning desire; to simplify their lives.

To simplify, simplicity, keeping it simple, say these words out loud, pause and observe how your body feels. It’s usually when we begin to imagine simplifying our lives that our bodies relax and we feel a sense of joy and happiness. We often become nostalgic for the good old days when, although we didn’t have much loot, we sure knew how to relax and lived the phrase-no worries.

It’s this good feeling we receive or anticipate when simplicity, especially financial simplicity is our destination. This positive feeling then creates the strong desire/energy needed to achieve financial independence, or FI. (FI is the term coined by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez in the book Your Money or Your Life). And if you’re someone like me that was looking for a way to reach FI sooner rather than later, than this vision you hold in your imagination of a purposeful life you design and create will act like a magnet that effortlessly pulls you towards reaching this major financial life goal.

One of the largest and often the most daunting obstacle preventing people from simplifying their lives and achieving FI is usually the tough lifestyle choices that need to be made. In terms of your current lifestyle choices; meaning everything from where you live, your home, your car, how much you save, spend and earn to name just a few items; what’s negotiable?-what’s non-negotiable? What’s more important, quality of life or standard of living? Are you willing to downsize your home in order to upsize your options?

Its questions like these and many more above that need thoughtful consideration as you head on the road to FI. Once you have a clear vision of what FI means to you, it’s time to begin planning for this financial goal. The sooner you start planning, the sooner you’ll be there. And if you need some inspiration to get you moving, check out my wife Pat’s newly published book Year Ahead/Year in Review and see just how you can plan your best year yet! You can read her blog at Plan Your Best Year.