You've Reached the Point of Financial Independence. Now What?


Well, this is awkward. Normally we’re used to guiding members to reach certain financial goals. It’s rare that financial institutions talk about what happens afteronce you’ve finally reached financial independence. Some people spend their whole lives making deposits into a savings account, just waiting for the day that the grand sum is enough. But enough for what? To quit a job? Buy a house? Pay off student loans? The question is, what’s the right move after you’ve saved enough moneyand then some? This matter is highly subjective, considering financial goals vary from person to person, but let’s explore some options.

1. Retire early

This path is becoming increasingly popular among millennials. Could this explain the “lazy” and “unmotivated” reputation of that generation? Regardless, the idea of making the most money in the least time is generally appealing across the age boardthat is, unless, you absolutely love your job and the thought of giving up work makes you nervous, anxious, or insanely bored. The typical early retirement story is defined as 8-10 years of work and saving as much as possible in between then. Financial advisors suggest saving up at least 25 times your annual expenses to accumulate $1.25 million before retirement.

2. Go part-time

A less risky option is to go part-time instead of quitting. Drop overnight shifts, skip out on Fridays, or work from home instead of braving rush-hour traffic each morning. Or consider taking time off. Retirement doesn’t have to be a one-time activity. Why not participate in a bunch of mini-retirements? That would open the window for more travel or family time. Somehow, working in the real world increased from 9-5 to 8-5. When the heck did that happen? Cut down on a 45-hour week if you have the financial means. Just be sure to ask about benefits eligibility beforehand.

Related: Download the Mortgage Paperwork Checklist for a detailed list of  paperwork you'll need to gather when applying for a mortgage loan.

3. Pursue a passion project

Now is the time to chase your dreamsmonetize a blog, or open an Etsy shop. Whatever is it, there are ways to turn a hobby into income. And if money isn’t as important, perhaps you’re on a mission to try the best cold brew or craft beer in town and write about it. Being financially independent creates the opportunity to try something completely new without much risk. There are jobs you take because they pay the bills, and then there are jobs you take because they’re the ultimate dream. Think about it this way: if you don’t have to work for money, all jobs are up for grabs. Choose the one that makes you happiest.

4. Treat others

What’s the point in having money if you can’t do some good with it? One of the greatest rewards in life is helping peopleespecially if they’ve helped you in the past. Perhaps there’s a charity you’re super passionate about, or a movement that requires a small donation to keep going, or a nonprofit organization that’s at risk of going under. Maybe it’s time you pay back your parents, a friend, or a former roommate. Maybe you start tipping better at bars and restaurants because you’ve been in the waitress’s shoes and know how hard customer service can be. Personally, I love Amazon Smile because I get to shop while donating small portions to my charity of choice.

5. Treat yourself

Come on, admit it: we’re all thinking of that one scene from Parks & Recreation. TREAT YO’SELF! No, this does not mean go into debt or blow all your savings, but sometimes it’s nice to reward all your hard work with a little somethin’ somethin’. Perhaps it’s a new Rolex watch, a trip to the Bahamas, or the shiniest piece of technology. Don’t go too crazy on the shopping, though, or you’ll end up needing extra money again. See, this is where the importance of budgeting comes into play. If you’d like to learn more about better budgeting, feel free to come by any of our 15 branches to talk with one of our financial experts.

The motto “work hard, play hard” seems to fit this situation perfectly. You’ve worked hard for years waking up early, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, tolerating overly chatty coworkers for THIS. This is the moment to truly shine. There’s no one right way to handle your financial independence, but hopefully the options above will help you choose a path. Life is short, so whatever is going to make you smile like there’s a hanger in your mouth is probably the right choice. Go for it!


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