Mrs YFG’s FI philosophy

Mrs YFG here. It’s been a mixed bag for me working towards FI. I have a few years left.

I was brought up with the idea that you always saved one-third of your money. The rest you could spend as you pleased. I did this until about the age of 16.

After working nearly a decade to pursue a career I thought I would follow for the rest of my life, I became mentally and physically tired of it. I thought that being able to say I was a solicitor would miraculously make me happy and all the things I ever wanted would fall from the sky. It didn’t. Bugger.

Mr YFG was on his path to FI and I saw what he expected of life and I wanted that too. I wanted to find a job which was less than 60-70 hours a week and just absorbed all my energy. In fact, how about getting to a point where I don’t have a job?

Hmmmm.

Work doesn’t give you the skills for life

But then I sat down and thought of what I could change in my life – what else could I do with my time? I am qualified to be a solicitor. I can’t build stuff or do DIY, I’m no artist. There was no backup plan. I had no idea what else I could do, or wanted to do, with my life. I had never considered the possibility of choosing to live life without work, or without the trappings of what society expects from me.

Trapped by the guilt and shame of feeling that I was being ungrateful for the privileges I enjoyed, I struggled for years to just get on with it. I had been dealt a good hand in life, I would say to myself “stop being so precious“. I read articles online desperately trying to find other people who felt the same: to know my concerns were valid.

Finding my way

Mr YFG has always gone his own way and often I need to learn or realise something for myself before I agree with him. I was convinced FI wasn’t for me. I ridiculed his spreadsheets at first and resented handing over my credit card and debit card bills so he could assess our expenses. I later realised how I was essentially spending my freedom.

That was before my first nervous breakdown from stress at work. After losing my mind and skipping through months of drugged reality, I reassessed. I left Firm #1 at that point and took some time off to see what I wanted out of life and to consider what other jobs I wanted.

Over four months in 2014, I struggled to be away from work – a job, a routine – and couldn’t find fulfilment without some kind of paid work. I struggled with the prospect of relying on Mr YFG for income (he was working at that time). I knew I didn’t want to not work (if that makes sense). So I went back to work, to Firm #2 where I am now.

Coming back to work with a new view on life still didn’t stop my mental health deteriorating. In late 2016/early 2017, I suffered another relapse caused by work, and I thought “f**k this sh*t” and sat down with Mr YFG to figure out my own FI path.

Discovering my FI Philosophy

While I was online, I discovered people who rejected the idea of a traditional working career altogether. They wanted to enjoy life without the trappings of consumerism, and save money to be able to decide what they do, when they do it. Mrs Frugalwoods, Mr Money Mustache, Retirement Investing Today and the ilk hooked me in.

Skip forward a few years and, inspired by the FIRE community, me and my husband are on the path to financial independence. This blog serves as both a motivation for me and, hopefully, maybe as a method of opening the mind of some poor lawyer trainee sat under a pile of documents at 3 am wondering what the hell they are doing with their life.

The beach where I decided to write this blog. I don’t want to retire and lie on a beach, that would be ridiculous. I just want to use my life for more than it is used for now. Preferably with more beaches involved.

Comments

  1. Hi Ms YFG. sadly, corporate culture has seeped into every pore of our lives today, culminating in a lifestyle toxic for our health and therefore happiness. It has been a long, slow process over 1 – 2 generations, so that the mass of the populace still haven’t noticed; if you want to institute radical change in society, there are 2 most effective ways. Very fast like a revolution, so if people wake up to a fait accomplit, they feel there is now nothing they can do and accept their fate; or very slow, frog-in-heating-water style, slow-cooking 🙂 , you adjust constantly so that the increasing discomfort becomes the new normal, but then one day it’s all over.

    So what happened to you is I believe common, just not acknowledged as such because it’s still a taboo in our compassionless society to show or admit vulnerability, for fear of being indirectly punished for it. People will at best timidly talk about it in this context, that is anonymously with a largely intelligent, sensitive, sympathetic audience who often have experienced it themselves. So don’t feel you’re different or failed, it just means you’ve empathy. (pass the humanity test)

    When I was in a former corporate life, I admired a colleague who was about 10 years younger, very cool under pressure, so competent and somehow a nice person to boot. I used to think ”Why can’t I be like that?” and the voice in your head would wonder if I was mentally weak and make me feel bad. His career continued to rise while mine hit the buffers, he ended up working for one of the biggest, brand corporations in the world, on a global stage with a stellar career. Then he burnt out, suddenly at 30, back living with his parents watching daytime TV and wondering what the hell happened. Happily for us, we both clawed our way back but only after deep, painful introspection as to what life was for and changing almost everything in how we live, to walk the best line away from stress while making everything as meaningful as possible.

    1. Thanks FI Warrior. I’ve noticed a shift even in my short career so far: kids burning out quickly before they’ve even qualified in their profession- the pressure starts earlier. I wouldn’t want to go back to school or university now, and neither would I want to be having to dance the dance for a corporate job. I am seeing a new generation who are becoming aware of the toll these jobs take on your health so hopefully this is a positive shift. Unfortunately we work for, and are promoted by, people who believe in long hours and hard graft and forsaking all else to get a large pay check and retire at 60…

      1. I remember looking out on a beautiful day like right now while trying not to sweat too hard in my poky office and thinking ”Why can’t our employers accept even a little flexibility from a daily schedule dated from the first day of industrialisation, designed for efficient factories; nothing to do with our business?” Even the smallest token steps towards flexible working practices and times were seriously frowned upon, like we were children who if not carefully watched would just succumb to icecream and daytime TV in seconds. (Obviously, this didn’t apply to the top brass though, they hypocritically justified it as totally different)

        So it makes you wonder, why don’t smart, strong-willed people in those industries leave and form their own company with their own working styles; they would know how to make it work. (Like you start up an accounting firm, your wife a law one for example?) Why do you see almost no mavericks in all industries doing it their way, it begs the question ”Is it gate-keeping stopping it happening or another reason I can’t think of?” So is it that it’s impossible to actually do, as opposed to nobody trying? I know that as a consumer for essentials, such as maintenance services, I really don’t care what the person sorting out my problem looks like, wears or when the work is done as long as none of these factors harms me. We can quickly come to a mutually beneficial agreement so someone for instance doesn’t have to don a suit and choker just to come around on a sweltering Saturday, sweating bullets, just to quote me for a few minutes while I’m comfortable in shorts and flipflops anyway.

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