Set yourself up for freedom regardless of how you feel right now
When I was 30, I was so in love with my job. I liked going to work every day and was proud of my growing income. I would tell anyone that would listen that I was never going to quit my 9-5. If I did it would be to go and get another one.
Then I turned 40. I was tired. My organization was changing and I felt that it no longer aligned with my values. Suddenly I loathed working. I had zero passion for what I was doing.
More confusing was that I did not want another job. I no longer wanted a 9-5. I have always had a dream of owning my own business. Every time I would make time to work on my resume I felt the same daunting feeling that I had when I was getting ready to go to work. The Sunday night blues and anxiety were no joke.
I have not reached FI.
FI stands for Financial Independence. When you have enough investments that the money you earn will pay for your expenses.
What is helpful for my situation is that my husband earns enough to pay for our essential needs. I am pursuing a new career that will earn me income in about a year. In the meantime, I am fortunate enough to have a fully-funded emergency fund that will supplement our expenses until I start earning a regular income. I also have the experience and good health to work part-time if I choose that option.
If I had reached FI by age 40, I wouldn’t have to consider going back to work or feeling the pressure to jumpstart my new career.
You never know how you are going to feel at different stages of your life. I would encourage everyone to assume that by age 40 you are either going to want to take a break from the 9-5 hustle or just quit and start something new. You want to feel financially secure to follow the direction that your life is taking you in regardless of whether you have children and/or a mortgage.
Most people are literally trapped in their lives. They are living paycheck to paycheck because they have a lot of debt or too many liabilities. They feel like they have no choice but to stay at your job in order to pay your bills. This mindset creates the worst case scenario.
If you are young, start saving. It is shocking how fast your money compounds. Start saving in your workplace 401k up to the match. Then open a Roth IRA and fully fund it every year. Do this regardless of how you are feeling about your job, your career, etc… Remember to fund accounts with the money that you are investing into your 401k and Roth IRA. THat is not done automatically. While doing that, avoid getting into bad debt (credit cards) and begin saving your emergency fund.
Come up with your FI number. How much do you need to stop working and do what you love? If you plan on making money as long as you can in whatever you choose or just want to take mini-retirements along the way then you will need to save less money.