I want to share with you a life changing discovery that eluded me for decades. You can actually achieve financial independence rather simply with enough knowledge. Most parents don’t realize it or fail to pass along the methods to the next generation. Let’s fix that! I have been unsuccessful thus far explaining to my children the power of FI and hope that parents across the world can share their experiences through a series of letters that your child and others, regardless of age, can read when they are ready.
Kylven Ross presents theFIway Inaugural Letter…
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Seeking Financial Independence
Your grandparents spent the majority of their twenties and thirties raising me and my brothers by working near minimum wage jobs. They made enough money and limited luxury expenses to provide a reasonably comfortable upbringing, but did not have the ability to save significantly or build income producing assets to become financially independent early enough to lead the life they wanted.
It was habitual of their generation to work hard, save small amounts, and eventually retire in their 60s. That is the path my parents took and is not the path I wish for you.
They were unable to discover the power of financial independence and thus incapable of providing me the insights to a way of life that could have greatly impacted how we’re living today. They did convey simple savings encouragement like most parents, but not to the extent of FI. It’s not their fault….that has been the traditional way of thinking passed down for generations.
“One day a young girl watched her mother prepare a ham for baking. At one point the daughter asked, “Mom, why did you cut off both ends of the ham?” “Well, because my mother always did,” said the mother. “But why?” “I don’t know—let’s go ask Grandma.”
So they went to Grandma’s and asked her, “Grandma, when you prepared the ham for baking, you always cut off both ends—why did you do that?” “My mother always did it,” said Grandma. “But why?” “I don’t know—let’s go ask Great-grandma.” So off they went to Great-grandma’s.
“Great-grandma, when you prepared the ham for baking, you always cut off both ends—why did you do that?” “Well,” Great-grandma said, “the pan was too small.”
Just as we can get caught in outmoded habit-patterns passed down through generations, we can also get trapped by our habitual thinking just as much as—and just as erroneously as—people who maintained until recently that the earth was visibly and verifiably flat. We also get stuck in unconscious and invisible boxes that limit our ability to think in new ways.” – Vicki Robin “Your Money or Your Life“
It wasn’t until I was nearly forty that I discovered the concept of Financial Independence. I came home one night after a particularly difficult day at work and thought to myself, “I can’t do this for another twenty five years.” Your mother came home that same night saying, “I can’t deal with customers anymore. I used to be a kind and happy person, but the public has sucked the life out of me.”
No One Is Safe in the Corporate World
The previous few years were eye opening. It all started when a bunch of corporate suits flew in unannounced and just terminated all the senior leaders at my Site. Only the Human Resources Lead and I survived. We had a pretty big screw up, but all those let go were long time vets of the company. I swear…they had been putting in 80 hour weeks for about a year. The effort to recover the derailed the program was admirable, but the Corporation needed “scapegoats”.
It was an “Oh Shit” moment for me.
It was at that point I realized there has to be a better way.
That night I typed “How to Achieve Financial Independence” into Google and found myself on the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) Subreddit. An entire community of hundreds of thousands of people discussing FIRE and the various strategies to build wealth.
I was inspired by how much money some of the users had saved in such a short time and the interesting things they were doing now that they did not have to work for a living. I was hooked. “Why don’t more people know about this?” I asked myself. “I want to be free to choose how I spend my time rather than slaving away in the Corporate America.”
Armed with the knowledge that financial freedom is a legit concept and achievable earlier than I ever anticipated, I absorbed every Financial Independence Resource and used as many FI Tools as I could for years.
I read the subreddit and other discussion forums and communities obsessively, followed financial independence bloggers, listened to FIRE podcasts, watched finance videos and documentaries, read roughly read books on investing, consulted with your Uncle who is a Certified Financial Planner, reviewed the Warrant Buffet shareholder letters, basically anything on the topics of personal finance and investing was consumed in force. I didn’t want to be this guy…
The first thing I did was try to figure out where our money is, how much income your mother and I have, and what our expenses are. It was an eye opening experience.
Using Personal Capital I discovered that nearly 90% of our income was being paid out monthly to our expenses and only 10% was being saved for retirement. That put us square into the traditional way of thinking regarding retirement savings.
We’d be working for another 30 years at this rate and only have a small window to do what we want before our health deteriorates and death comes calling. I was completely discouraged with my past decisions and wasting a decade of savings. I want to ensure you discover the concept and achieve Financial Independence early enough so it makes a difference.The road to achieving financial independence is not extremely difficult and does not have to be living a life of extreme poverty.Click To Tweet
When I think about it…TIME is a finite resource that we need to be most efficient with. Had I been taught about FI from my parents or discovered it in my youth, I would most likely have been home with you during your childhood instead of day care and after school programs. For that I am sorry and I know your mother also struggles from missing much of this cherished “kid time”.
I have since committed to turning the financial ship around and made great progress by spending countless hours fine tuning our FIRE spreadsheet.
How theFIway Letters can help you Achieve Financial Independence
I remember when you were in grade school and your teacher would require you to write Mom and Dad a letter explaining what you learned this week and what you are thankful for. I greatly appreciated those letters and want to return the favor by sharing my experiences and those of other parents with you through theFIway.com.
You may not be quite ready for some of these lessons, but I don’t want to lose sight of them. Other readers can benefit in the meantime. There are many stories to tell and numerous topics to discuss in order to help you and anyone reading this to achieve financial independence. We’ll cover:
We’ll explore various FI strategies specific to a certain age group.
- Teaching kids about money
- Explore teenage money management and making good financial decisions
- Setting the foundation to start saving in your twenties
- Accumulate wealth in your thirties
- Building a high net worth in your forties
- Retire by 50 or earlier
- Living off investments in your sixties
- Preserving wealth as an elder
In addition, we’ll curate the best personal finance tools and stories.
“There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.” – Warren Buffett
Take the advice from parents that have been there before and set yourself up for a life of freedom, happiness, and without financial hardships.
Kylven Ross is the owner and primary contributor of theFIway.com. He has been married for 17 years and is father to a son and daughter living in New England. Professional accomplishments include a bachelor’s degree and industry certifications in the cyber sector. He has spent the last 18 years working in the U.S. Defense Industry and as a Military Police Officer.
He discovered the concept of Financial Independence (FI) during a rather stressful year in the compliance space. After fully absorbing the benefits of FI, he has since committed to turning his household’s finances in the right direction. His experiences are documented as a series of letters that are used to educate his children and others about money. He does not want the next generation to make the same mistakes, but rather achieve financial freedom and find happiness.