Now, this is not my first blog. I was writing in the past about travel, about studying in South Korea, working in China, and some of my experiences of working in Scotland. But this journey is a different one. This journey is about me finding…. a slice of… freedom.
Depending on who you will ask, freedom can have a very different meaning. To some, it’s about the place they like to live. For others, it’s about the choice of what kind of job or career they like to follow. But for me, it’s about financial independence.
The concept of success
I have worked as long as I can remember. I got my first job was when I was 14 years old, filling up shelves in a grocery store. My parents didn’t have the best start when we moved to Germany and as a teenager, I needed to take care of many things by myself. Basically, anything that would have been something else but food or shelter.
Over the years I mastered the art of finding work. I moved out from my parents when I was 20 and was on my own feet ever since. My studies, my travels. I worked. I took care of myself.
To push things further, I have figured out the way to succeed in corporate life and managed to create a successful career in the hospitality industry for myself. In the last 10 years, I had a strong passion for my job, travelling the world, climbing up the career ladder, and doing my very best to find what I defined as success at that time.
Trading time for money
The way I saw it, I was working so hard to make my dreams come true. There was always the next dream. The next step. The next target. I had a lot of passion, and I was willingly trading my time for the prospect of getting what I wanted, and where I wanted it.
But recently, things started to change. My ideals, my dreams and my view of the world started to shift.
Whatever I did and wherever I worked, I always wanted to do things for the better. I would pull in all my energy, all my time and all my heart and passion into the task at hand. I always wanted to improve my surrounding, to help my company to succeed and to push up my colleagues together with me to the next level. I always asked myself this one thing. If I could do something better, why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t anyone?
This would always lead to more work. The more I wanted, the higher my aspirations would turn up, the more time I sacrificed for work.
Year on year I worked harder and harder. I dedicated myself completely to nothing else but to fulfil my dream of travelling and earning enough money to be able to support myself. Most of my friends, colleagues and even my family considered me a workaholic, but I didn’t see it that way. My point of view was best described by this quote:
“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” – Simon Sinek
I am not 100% sure I like Simon Sinek but I like some of the things he says. If you don’t know him, check out his legendary talk about millennials on YouTube (here). It’s really good. I don’t agree with it on some points but he is a great motivational speaker for sure.
Anyway, so I was living my passion, I was working as hard and as much as I could. And without really thinking about or realizing it, I was trading my time for money.
Another thing that still got often in my way were financial worries. While I always managed to find my way and to not rely on others, I had some really hard times and financial challenges to overcome.
There were times when I would have more than three jobs at the same time, working overnights, working on weekends, just to make ends meet or to get to my next target. For the last few years, I was working often more than 80 hours per week. But I would still get sometimes in financial trouble.
I was turning 35, considered myself an adult and despite a successful career, I would still have money trouble every now and then. So questions started to come up in my head. How could I work on that? Where would I want to see myself when I turn 45? Or 55? How would I prepare myself for retirement? Was there any smarter way to get my finances in shape with the time that I had available?
The concept of FIRE
This is when I started to think about a change. I realized that putting all this effort for jobs which would disappoint me one after another, it would not lead me to anywhere. I realized that while I could earn more money if I put more time into it, the final result would be a tired and exhausted body and mind, loss of friends, limited time for family.
It became like a rat race and I realized that it was not sustainable. Worse, I started to hate the very idea of having to go through my entire life like this. How could people consider it normal to work like this up until they reach retirement age?
This is when I discovered the idea of financial independence and early retirement. The concept of FIRE.
FIRE covers two of the most important parts that I consider necessary to reach my ultimate goal.
- To become financially independent
- To stop trading time for money
So on this blog, you are going to read sometimes about ideas on managing your cost of living, career advise, about investing, about freelancing and the occasional “opinion” on things that I consider important to think about.
Feel free to comment, share and I hope you enjoy the read.