Finding your purpose

Welcome back friends! One thing that I’ve been putting a lot of thought into, done a lot of reading on and watched about 100 too many YouTube videos on, is finding your purpose.

I’ve seen this idea expressed in a number of ways. Finding your purpose; Leading a purposeful life; Deliberate living; Finding your passion in life; Doing what you love; Living your best life; and on and on.

No matter what you call it, I think it all stems from the idea\frustration that so many of us feel: We are wasting the limited time we have on this giant blue ball doing things we hate\don’t enjoy, not learning new things, doing what is expected of us by society, instead of what we might want.

Why FIRE?

chillax

Interestingly enough, it seems over the last year or so, the FIRE world has started to have this epiphany as well. I know when I first started my FIRE journey, the goal was to save and invest as much money as possible, so I could stop working.  I was buying my own time\freedom back, but the question of what I would do with that time never really came up. Part of me thought I’d sit on a beach and chillax. Lately I’ve realized that would get old after a bit and wouldn’t be a fulfilling life.

Quest for answers

This might sound familiar to you, I hope it doesn’t, but if it does, here are a few things that have resonated with me.

  • The purpose of life is living
  • Life is risky, no one gets out alive, so don’t be so afraid to take risks
  • If you fail at FIRE, worst case you start working again, which is 99% of the world’s reality anyway
  • Joy comes from helping others, which generally brings you happiness as well
  • If you enjoy doing something and are passionate about it, you can probably make some kind of living at it
  • In pursuit of FIRE, it’s important to not stop living in the moment and only focus on the future

Taking all of that in, I now think that after I stop working in my current career, I know I still want to do something involving people, something where I feel like I’m helping others or bringing them joy.

I’m not yet sure if I want to pull the plug sooner on my career and pursue something in that arena earlier and depend on it to supplement my income, or finish my current FIRE trajectory and then not have to worry about earning income from it. I’m leaning towards the earlier side, but we’ll see. I’ve still got time to figure it out.

Have you figured out your life purpose? If so, how did you go about it?

-Quique

Living on Less 101

There’s a ton of great info out there on how to live on less money, some ideas you may deem as extreme, others are pretty straightforward. Let’s consider this the 101 course and I’ll cover some basics…

Budgets Baby!

Know what you are currently are spending. This is fundamental! Most people don’t know where their money is actually going. There’s lots of ways to do this, here are a few options:

  • www.mint.com
  • YNAB
  • Excel\Google Sheets

Once you’ve got a few months of data, you should be able to get a good idea of where the big chunks of your money are going and what areas you may be able to cut back on.

Debt Destroyer!

If you have debt, especially high interest debt, you need to handle it. I’m not going to go into detail on this as I was fortunate to only have mortgage, student loans and vehicle, all at very low interest rates. Here’s a good post if this topic is a problem you have to deal with: Debt Emergency

Savings Samurai

Calculate your current savings rate. Most folks seem to agree that ideally you should be saving greater than 50% of your income if you’re serious about this early retirement thing. I’ve seen a few different ways to calculate this, but what I go with is: all investment savings (401k, company contribution, HSA, etc) divided by after tax salary plus pre-tax investment contributions.

Ex: 18k 401k + 4k company + 12k after tax divided by 48k after tax + 20k before tax contributions = 34,000/68,000 = 50% savings rate

Budget Bloat

Minimize typically large budget areas. Common areas where most people’s budget goes to are and some ideas to reduce these expenses:

Housing

  • Heating\Cooling – Couple degrees warmer in the summer, cooler in the winter
  • Size and location – Do you need as big of a place as you have? Does your location make sense (close to work, parks, public transportation)

Transportation

  • Vehicle – Do you have more than one car? Can you decrease your costs with a cheaper or more fuel efficient car? Do you need a car at all?

Food

  • Eating Out – If this is a big portion of your budget, is it something you could do less often?
  • Groceries – Are you wasting money constantly throwing things out without using them? Buy less or put more thought into meal planning
  • Starbucks – If you’re a regular customer, consider making your own coffee instead

Misc

  • This is a tricky one, try to classify things where it make sense, to avoid this generic category. If there is one or two trends here, ask yourself how important they are to you.

Whatever you identify above, set a goal of trying to reduce a certain percentage. Make sure to invest that money so it doesn’t just get spent somewhere else.

Always remember to pay yourself first,  in this case it’s best to automate your savings so they come out without you having to think about it.

Until next time.

~Quique