Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Walking The Path
Knowing how to build wealth is relatively common knowledge. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that spending less than you earn and investing the difference will lead to substantial assets over time. However, there is a significant difference between having this knowledge and knowing the path before you, and actually walking that path.
I'll give you a quick rundown on what an average weekday looks like for yours truly.
The alarm buzzes louder than I'd like it to at 6:15 a.m. I promptly smash it to pieces before begrudgingly, and slowly, rising from bed. I get myself ready in about 20 minutes. I do the normal bathroom stuff and get dressed and use a generous amount of water to the face to wake myself.
I eat a small bowl of cereal, as I find this one of the cheapest and healthiest forms of breakfast. I then quickly pack my lunch for work. It usually consists of a can of beverage du jour- usually Pepsi or Coke and a small frozen meal. I used to pack ramen noodles everyday, but I have since moved on.
After my backpack is loaded with lunch, an umbrella and a flashlight I walk down to the bus stop. The stop is located just a short walk from my apartment, as I specifically moved here to be close to public transportation. It's 6:55 a.m. and the bus is swinging by to pick me up, unless it's late in which case I'll hop on my super frugaltastic scooter. It's a 25 minute ride to work. The bus drops me off right in front of my employer's building. I unpack my frozen lunch and pop it in the freezer and clock in. My day starts at 7:30 a.m.
I work until 6:00 p.m. It's a long and grueling day, but my job in the auto industry provides me the income I need to continue propelling my Freedom Fund along with fresh capital. In addition to this 5-day Mon-Fri schedule, I also work every third Saturday for 5 hours, which provides a little boost to the paycheck. My job involves working with very wealthy clientele on a daily basis, which provides a little humor in the contrast of their lifestyles compared to mine. They can be difficult to please, which makes the 50-hour workweeks more difficult than they have to be.
I walk across the street and arrive at 6:04, just in time for the bus to scoop me up and take me home. It's another 25-minute ride home. I arrive at 6:30, just in time to make a couple sandwiches for dinner. I scarf these down while researching stocks and investment opportunities, taking time to catch up on market moves, company news and commentary. I take the time to update my blog, respond to comments and also read other blogs.
I then change into some snazzy workout gear and hustle down to the gym, which is located right next door to my apartment complex. The gym is located across the street from a grocery store and shopping complex. Hmm, so most of the things I need are located within walking distance, and I live right behind a bus stop? I guess it's good I don't own a car! After working out for an hour I jog back home.
It's now about 8:30 p.m. Where has the time gone? I typically try to shower at about 9:30, so I only have an hour to relax or otherwise do as I want. It's a busy day, but I suppose the lack of free time allows me to save over 50% of my net income every single month. My weekends are, for the most part, less structured and more fun. I look forward to Friday night with gusto.
So, what's the point of all of this? The point is that it's easy to read a few books and claim Eureka! It's truly not difficult to achieve financial independence at a relatively young age in modern America. Wealth is extremely abundant here in the 21st century, and expenses are easy to control if you have a little willpower. I'm not properly educated to try and comment on other people's willpower, but I will tell you that the above day-to-day schedule is difficult to maintain.
It's not easy to pull 10-hour days in a facility that pits me against angry wealthy people with broken down luxury cars. It's not easy to come home, eat very unluxurious food while scanning investment opportunities and running a blog. It's not easy to then throw on a change of clothes and hit the gym for an hour, only to come back and have very limited time to cool off and contemplate the next day. But, nothing worth having ever is easy.
I put a plan together at the beginning of my journey a little over two years ago, when I first started walking the path towards financial independence. After realizing this path wasn't all that difficult to navigate, but which just required patience, willpower and determination, I was compelled to walk all the way to the end. Nothing but the finish line will now satisfy me. I have stuck to my plan almost exclusively.
What's financial independence worth to you? What is your time worth? How much of your time are you willing to trade away before putting a plan together to have complete control over your time and destiny?
Are you walking the path?
Thanks for reading.
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