Financial Independence And Co-Dependence

As I get close to the end of “Your Money or Your Life”, I alternate between feelings of inspiration and depression, for lack of a better adjective.  Chapter 8 of YMOYL focuses on the cross-over point, when you reach financial independence and reap the rewards.  There are many success stories which are inspiring. Some people quit their jobs to volunteer, spend time with family and friends, and/or travel.  Those are the kinds of stories that I expected to read.  However, many people take a sabbatical and then go back to work.  The point is that choosing to work is very different than having to work. 

At the same time, I get somewhat depressed, or deflated, when I think of taking that next step and the consequences.  The big “What ifs” pop in my head.  I’m ready to move on to the next phase of my life but I can’t imagine feeling so free mentally in regards to finances.  I am used to a steady paycheck with paid vacations;  I imagine that financial worries would seep into my muddled head.  We’ll see how this plays out….

Financial independence is harder to achieve when your spouse is not onboard.  My husband is just not interested in reading or discussing finances.  I have told him about my readings but I doubt he’ll ever read the book himself. 

Like it or not, our financial lives are intertwined.  I don’t believe in separate finances, other than some fun spend money, because it all comes out of the same pot in the end.  When we don’t jointly focus on our household spending now, we both end up spending more.  Luckily he has adjusted to my frugal tendencies over the years even though he thinks I’m a bit obsessed.  Our backgrounds are so different that it’s hard for him to imagine a life where you can’t fall back on your parents as a last resort.  Even when he worries about money, I feel that he believes things will work out.  I don’t think like that.  I imagine worse-case scenarios.

I guess I really need to pay attention to Chapter 9, which talks about managing your finances.  I also lined up another finance/lifestyle book for reinforcement and ideas. Next up: All The Money In The World.. I really hope that I can reach a place where I view money as a tool and not be so paranoid.

Have you crossed over to true financial independence? If so, what’s your story?

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5 responses to “Financial Independence And Co-Dependence

  1. I just bought the book, and am looking forward to working my way through it. And hopefully Mr. Sandwich and I can make this work together. I told him about it, and he said, “We need to do that.” We’re about to enter some cashflow weirdness, as his pay periods move from monthly to bi-weekly, and that’s going to require us to give this more thought than we have been.

  2. No, not true financial independence. But we’ve been enjoying partial independence. There’s nothing like being able to take a year unpaid someplace fun just because you can. Or knowing that a spouse can take all the time in the world to figure out what he wants to do (maybe something high risk/high reward, even) and you’ll still be ok.

    My husband wasn’t interested in discussing finances, but YMoYL came at a good time for us–DH was not happy with his job, so I recommended he read YMoYL precisely for that. It really is true that when you don’t *have* to work at a specific job, sticking with a less than perfect job while you plan your exit strategy feels a lot less like a trap. (“And hey, if we had 1 million in the bank we could totally replace your salary with dividends,” I noted. “We could do that within 10 years at the rate we’re going.” We’re not there yet… but we’re going to take the plunge in a year or two anyway, and it will be a nice cushioned plunge.) Because of that and because of the book, my husband became interested in finances. It’s nice.

    • I should try to get my husband to read it…but I’m 99% sure he won’t. The funny thing is I have told him about it. The problem is when I ask him, “Do you want to work X-number of hours just to afford cable and DVR?” His answer is Yes, while mine is NO!

      • He must like his job!

      • Or he really likes a show on cable! (We actually pay what seems to be an ungodly amount for satellite and DVR, plus an extra $15/month for one particular channel just so that we can get rugby. And it is worth every penny, because rugby is an essential part of my husband’s connection with his homeland.)

        But to your original question: we are not financially independent, and I’m not sure that would be a very realistic goal for us, since we like living in our expensive coastal city and neither of us actually wants to stop working. My goal is just to have more financial freedom, so that one of us could quit a job if we hated it. Actually, we started working on that as insurance against lay offs, and have been pleasantly surprised by the side effect that the big pot of money makes us feel freer.

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