Mrs YFG: our ideal life

I was listening to a ChooseFI podcast this week and it set off my idea for this post about our ideal life.

The podcast asked me to think about my ideal life post-FI. If money was no object, how would my life look? I’d never really thought about it in that way and so I got home and immediately directed Mr YFG to get thinking too.

Mr YFG’s ideal life

I think he kinda has it. He gets to pretty much do what he wants (within reason…)

Mind you I think what would make him happier is me being FI too and having me at home. Me at home means that I’m not stressed or miserable from work. Plus he’d have less housework to do as I’ll do my fair share. Mr YFG isn’t really the adventurous type. He can find as much enjoyment in a book or a lazy afternoon as he would from a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip. He likes things relaxed and to do things in his own time. I think what he enjoys most about his current lifestyle is that he gets to dictate his pace of life, and not having it dictated to him.

My ideal life

I get to wake up naturally (sans alarm), make and enjoy a cappuccino and go feed the guinea pigs. Yes, we have pets and our guinea pigs will feature heavily.

I enjoy crafts and making things. Over the years I have made cards, clothing, calendars, candles, jewellery, do cross-stitching, knitting, furniture up-cycling. You name it I’ve probably tried it. With varying degrees of success… My current obsession is making a patchwork quilt. I get frustrated because I don’t have the time I need to dedicate to doing these things right. So, I often rush them or just don’t get round to them. With only a few hours over a weekend to dedicate to what I want to do (and not what I have to do), I can’t get much crafting done.

So I can see my days involving crafts and possibly making my own clothes (again another wild fantasy). I like gardening and sorting out the garden and so I suppose that would feature in summer too.

The next thing I enjoy is cleaning, de-cluttering and organising. I am seriously considering a career post-FI as a professional organiser (yes…you can get a qualification for this…from APDO). Nothing makes me happier than upending a room to put it back together and to donate or chuck things we don’t need. I’ve done this since I was a child (on a Thursday as it was bin day on Friday). I would enjoy an evening session of organising and de-cluttering my room.

I could do babysitting, dog walking and general help for my friends and family. I have an idea of being a kind of fairy godmother who has the time and wherewithal to help those who are still working and are time poor.

Would we move house?

Not unless something horrible happened, no. We love our home and it’s a perfect location for London. Even no longer working in London wouldn’t mean we moved. We are in the suburbs and with great transport links. Moving away from London would mean less convenience and more reason to need a car (shudder).

We would continue doing up the house as bits fell apart, repainting and tiling etc. There is still a good amount of work to do on our neglected gem of a house (two decades of no repairs). We are firm believers in Do It Ourselves.

With Mr YFG being at home most of the time, our house is well looked after. When we go on vacation we often find the places we stay in a less clean and tidy condition than our own home.

If we did move, we would probably keep the house to rent out as it would do well rent-wise. And if we moved I can only imagine it would be to East Anglia (the round hump on the east side of the UK for those foreigners). That’s where Mr YFG hails from and it’s a beautiful, relaxing part of the country.

Would we travel?

Mr YFG and I like a holiday as much as the next person. Our version of travel is going to a nice hotel to relax and eat good food and sit on a beach and have a few walks, for a week max. We don’t hike and we don’t do extreme trekking or camping (no electricity? What is this, the dark ages!).

We find the idea of being away from our home for more than two weeks uncomfortable. We like to have a base and our home comforts.

Would we get a car?

We don’t think that post-FI life would need a car, at least not to begin with. We’ve talked in the past, quite strongly, about why we don’t own a car. We have taxi services and Uber and good train links. I can’t think what we need a car for other than visiting family and friends outside London. I suppose that will be more frequent. The thought of having to own a car is tiring and unappealing – parking it on our street alone is a joke – there’s been a number of fights down the years over parking spaces… Thankfully, being car-less, we can stay clear of all those shenanigans. Then there’s the cost of having a car. For now, I can’t see any way that it makes economic sense. But, We will see.

But let’s be honest….

I have these grand ideas for how I will relax once I hit FI. In reality, I’m very scared of leaving my profession. A lot of my self-worth is tied up in being a lawyer and tied to my status and salary. I enjoy the validation I get from my clients and from the size of my paycheck. Often, I even actually enjoy my job(!).

However, I am tired most of the time and don’t want to work anymore. I desperately want to have more free time and I dread Sunday nights. I don’t want to have to get up early, commute and wear work clothes and do things I don’t want to do. I don’t want to work late nights for no more pay or appreciation.

That said, the thought of open-ended free time disturbs me. This is why I have to think carefully about my ideal life and put things into play before I hit FI. I will need hobbies, a job that can offer me flexibility, less or no commute and the right level of brain activation.

What does your ideal life look like?

I’d be really interested to hear what your ideal life looks like. Does it look a lot different from how you live now? Would it change significantly after Financial Independence or retirement?

Comments

  1. Great post, Mrs YFG. Now I’m FI myself (but like you still working) I too have been wondering the same as you. I’m currently reading Designing your life as part of the quest to find out.

    So far it bears out what I’ve stumbled upon previously. An ideal life is one that offers opportunities for growth, play, love and meaningful work. I am also rediscovering my ability to say yes to things that seem a little scary and maybe even a bit daft.

    Lastly, another of my filters is: Will I care about this on my death bed? That made it easy to transfer into a job with possibly lower status, lower pay – but that involves a lot more fun, fewer hours, higher risk of failure and learning – and a lot nicer people to work alongside. Maybe going part-time would help in your case?

    1. Hi greencat66 you read my mind! Going part-time is definitely something I want, as I like my job just not Monday to Friday (well and Saturday sometimes) all year. I think a four day week would do wonders for my health and happiness. Unfortunately negotiating part time without children is difficult in my firm and so I have to have other options (ie go elsewhere if I don’t get part time here). I’m building myself up to ask and plan to do so later this year – the worst they can do is say no! And on your other points yes I’m trying to work out how to get more of my ideal life in my life today- doing the little things that change my life now and make me happier. It’s very much a learning process.

      Mrs YFG

  2. None of your ideal life sounds very expensive at all Mrs YFG – sounds like you could basically leave now if you like?

    1. Hi FitFunemployed – see I would if I had hit FI- if I left now I would have to rely on Mr YFG (which I ain’t gonna do!). Plus my discretionary spending is quite high I’m not as frugal as Mr YFG. I’m working on getting my expenses down to a level where I can reach FI within the next few years and then hopefully start my ideal life! I’m quite stubborn and want to make FI “on my own” so to speak. I’m very much jealous of those who get to live their ideal life already!

  3. Where do you live in London? We have only been here a few years and are thinking about buying sooner or later, so would love to know where an FI couple likes to live. We would stay in London (or Sydney where we are from) post FI too.

    I really enjoyed the “ideal life” conversation as well with my partner, interesting that we hadn’t thought about it sooner. I like to paint but I am not sure I would want to do it all the time.

    1. We live in zone 6. There are a few reasons for this, the main one being that our season tickets cover all travel on oyster zone 1 to 6 which is where all our friends live and anywhere we possibly want to go is in our season ticket! Had we moved out further we would have to pay for rail plus oyster which doubles the cost. We have located ourselves right by a national rail station as well as two tube stops so that helps. The area around us is being slowly gentrified and the house prices are comfortably increasing annually so we see ourselves staying here to take advantage of that. We got a three bed with a garden and that’s a rare beast when you’re 30 mins from the City!

  4. Sounds very nice! From Sydney the city expands only one way, so you travel very far or pay ££££. London we are overwhelmed by choice.

    1. Yes definitely I think the key with London is to work backwards from where you need to commute into, find a plan A train/tube line and know your plan B train/tube line. Me and Mr YFG worked out which tube stop we needed then looked at lines which took you there and worked outwards

  5. Hi Mrs YFG, I recently had 3mths of gardening leave between jobs and whilst I loved not working, going back to work 1mth ago really made me appreciate the structure that work provides. I’d highly recommend a book called “What should I do with my life” by Po Bronson that The Escape Artist practically forced me to read (with good reason). It really got me thinking about the opportunities in life.

    Whilst I don’t think I’m going to quit my new role, the book really helped me justify to myself the move to a less high status job because the hours were much better, the people were friendlier and my stress levels plummeted.

    I’m sure there are lots of amazing roles that you can move in to and getting closer to a 9-5 job is almost like working 4 days a week when you’re used to doing 9-7+.

    Keep up the great blog and look forward to catching up at the next FI meet-up

    1. Thanks CS01 and lovely to see you here commenting on the blog! What I wouldn’t give for three months of gardening leave….yeah I think sometimes when you’re stuck in a rut it’s so easy to lose sight of what’s going well and you are so fearful of change in case you make things worse! I will direct Mr YFG to acquire that book and have a read !! And yes see you at the next meet up 🙂

    1. Hi ohit1 yes we have no desire to actually “own” our own car. We are perfectly happy just leasing one or getting a taxi for now. We may try ZipCar as that’s the one that parks on the street I think.

  6. Interesting, thanks for sharing, Mrs YFG.

    I don’t find this question an easy one to answer. I could say my ideal life looks much like the life I have now, except with more time to spend with the family, more time to do my hobbies, read books, travel, play video games, sleep, watch tv, but there are so many other things I haven’t done or tried yet, which could lead to another or a new and different ‘ideal’. Not being single perhaps? I’m quite happy being a singleton right now but do recall I was also happy in long term relationships, so there’s a new ‘ideal’ already to consider, haha!

    The first couple of months of my redundancy, I had no structure to my days and really enjoyed it. However, I then started getting up to an alarm, getting some routine back in etc but that was because I knew I would have to go back to work at some point. When I retire, those early months might drag on a little longer – I have a lot of interests to fill my time!

    I quite like my current job – I’ll be quite content doing what I’m doing for several more years and then, depending on how my finances look, drop down to 4 days a week, although like with your business, part-time hours only tend to be offered to people with young children and they’re already always in a bit of a tizz when I take my annual leave (it’s a small team) so the 4-day week might not be on the cards.

    1. Hi weenie yes it definitely isn’t an easy task to come up with what you want, I’m still working it out and this is what I’ve come up with so far. I worry that by leaving the structure of work I will cause more problems and maybe regret leaving- that’s my biggest fear. The one thing that might help is a career break to work it out although again that is at my dear employer’s discretion….

  7. Hi – I enjoyed reading this and I see a lot of similarities with my position. I’m all for the simple life and like Mr FiGuy I get just as much enjoyment from an afternoon with a good book as anything else. I loved your comment about being a Fairy Godmother – really got me thinking about how I can help out friends and family more. Doing what I do is so unfulfilling I want to find a way to change that.

    1. Thanks firethe9to5 for the comment! I think I enjoy my job because I do technically get to help people (my clients) and that is what keeps me going. I just see think that if I am FI I can truly dedicate my time to my friends and family and volunteer my time whereas now I have so little free time I can’t spare it. I get joy out of indulging in my own hobbies provided they are balanced equally with others’ needs. Mr YFG is able to entertain himself without needing others’ attention or needing to get involved in others’ lives!!

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