The Perfect FI Day

29 Dec / James Eastham

Whilst I’m still a long way from financial independence I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching recently on my perfect FI day. Without having an endgame in mind, the whole process becomes less meaningful. That really got me thinking about what I want from my life post-FI. What would my perfect FI day look like? Having goals and ambitions even in retirement are a vital part of getting out of bed every morning. So what do them goals look like? And what is the perfect FI day?

Goals & Ambitions

Before getting into my perfect day itself, I’d like to just talk about goals and ambitions. I’m a firm believer that rest is rust. Once you stop, your body stops as well. Keeping up some level of physical and mental exercise is vitally important!

Income

So what does that look like? The ‘retire early’ part of the FIRE movement is always something I have disagreed with. I look at retirement more as re-purposing my time to be able to do things I WANT to do. Rather than working on things simply to earn money. A big part of my ‘retirement’ will be continuing to work in some way. I talked about this a bit more extensively in my post on the problems with financial independence. Still keeping some kind of income, however small, has the added benefit of making your FI number smaller.

Goal 1 – Continue to work on projects I want to, bringing in a minimum of £12,000 per annum

Travel

A huge part of my life is travel, since a 12-month backpacking trip when I was 18 it has been a passion of mine. I was lucky enough to meet my partner on the same trip, and she has an equally large passion for travel. This makes spending time moving around the world an easy decision.

Wanting to travel once retired makes the calculation of on-going yearly expenses a tricky one. Spending 2 months in South East Asia has an entirely different makeup to 2 months in Scandinavia. This is another huge tick for goal number one, keeping some form of regular-ish income outside of portfolio drawdown. Having a portfolio to cover expenses and then my earnings to fund travel sounds absolutely perfect to me.

Goal 2 – Visit at least two new countries every year

Charitable actions

Earning money and travel are something I think most people reading this could get on board with. Charitable actions are something slightly different. Being totally honest, it’s something I’d never really considered either. Recently I listed to a ChooseFI podcast episode with Michael Peterson from the Missionary Fellowship. You can find out more about Michael on his website, but his whole FI life is based around giving. Living a FI lifestyle allows you a lot more margin in your life and that margin can be used for generosity.

This will be different for everybody, but there aren’t many people I know who don’t have something they believe in. Personally, mental health is where my passion lies. In young people, mental health is such a prevalent problem, driven by overuse of social media and constant external pressures. Amongst young men especially it is also such a stigma. People do not talk about mental health, period!. I currently contribute roughly 5% of my income to Mind, the UK based Mental Health charity. The work they do fantastic and as my income grows the charitable donations will grow with it.

With the extra financial margin donating what is probably a relatively small amount of money could have huge ramifications. That’s why from here on out, keeping generosity in my life is key.

Goal 3 – Donate a minimum of 5% of my income to charity

The perfect day

This brings me quite nicely on to my perfect FI day. Keeping a visualization in your head of where you intend to be is amazing for keeping you driven. Having a clear picture in mind keeps the focus and really does help in times of weakness. Weakness being that extra cup of coffee or that extra beer with friends!

So what is my visualization? What is my perfect FI day? In my head, it would go something like this.

6-8am

I’ve not always been an early riser but now I am. Since I have started to wake up earlier and earlier I’ve found my days becoming so much more productive. Barring an extremely late night, 8 am is about as much of a lie in as I take nowadays. My days always start with ‘me’ time, before I look at my phone I always meditate, journal and do some yoga. Spending time on outputs before I overload myself with the external input of the world has been a game changer for me.

This would be followed with a leisurely breakfast and a cup of coffee. Starting in the right way sets you up in the best possible way to make the most of the day ahead. I do normally spend a little bit of time in the morning with my phone. This is mainly catching up on emails, social media, and contact with family and friends.

8-11am

A perfect life from here would have me working/living from somewhere else in the world. So rolling out of my apartment/hostel and dropping down to a local coffee shop laptop in hand. I do like to think I’d spend a couple of hours working most days, so a few hours of freelance work sat in a small local coffee shop (sorry Starbucks!). I guess this is quite anti-FI in terms of spending money on coffee. Stacking that up against renting office space makes the £X a day on coffee seem more reasonable.

The inside of a coffee shop

Mmmmm, coffee!

I don’t quite have an exact plan for what my working life will look like, but I love software development. Doing a job that you love, makes it less of a job and more of a hobby. Writing code gives me that balance. The second benefit of FI, relating back to my third goal of retirement, is using my skills to benefit people. Offering my skills to charities or to start up business’ for free or a nominal fee is something I’d really like to do.

11-4pm

The fun part of the day. This would be where the travel comes in. There would be no reason to spend time in different countries in the world and not actually see them. Taking a few hours out in the morning to get things done leaves me with the rest of the day to see/do things. This might be a hike, some city sightseeing or simply sitting around a reading a book.

These would be my free hours. I expect these hours to develop as I develop, hobbies change and people change so these hours will probably change along with that. Plus, different parts of the world have completely different activities.

4-6pm

Exercise time! Referring back to the saying rest is rust, building in time every day to keep myself fit is a key goal. I’m imagining not ‘letting myself go’ will be quite tricky. This might be a home workout, a run or a hobby (football, golf) but I’ll spend my early evening keeping myself in shape.

6pm – Bedtime

Evenings are my family time! Spending quality time with a partner is key to a healthy relationship. Our days may be spent doing different things or having different hobbies but we will block out time every day to be with each other. This may be a nice evening meal, or simply just sitting and binge-watching some television.

I don’t expect any two days to be exactly the same, and will probably make it part my mission to keep trying new things. However, having this clear vision of what day to day life will be like is part of what keeps you driven.

What is your perfect FI day?

I’d love to hear from anybody else who is willing to share what their perfect #FiDay would look like. If you are interested, let me know using the contact form here or by letting me know on Twitter.

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