Are you a Financial Independence Unicorn?
In the financial independence community sometimes I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb or you know a unicorn. If you read other blogs who detail their journey and their numbers our shared hobbies, purchases, and occupations differ greatly. For example, if you have read Mr. Money Mustache and his annual budget you will not see an expensive line item in the budget. Transportation, non-existent gym membership, and a very inexpensive eat out expenditure of $541 for the year are a few items that simply blow me away. I know many get irked by the comparison of the ultra-frugal MMM so I will move on.
If you take a look at occupation, the number of engineers and IT related blogs and individuals simply casts me aside into a leper colony. I get a variety of reactions about banking, but usually that I drive a Lamborghini since bank charge so much in fees or that all bankers are the same, greedy SOB’s. Personally I don’t fall into either category. As far as IT and engineering, while I run a website with WordPress you certainly won’t find me claiming technology professional as my profession. Does this mean that I don’t belong in this FI community? Am I some red headed stepchild or bastard son of Ned Stark (Game of Thrones reference)?
One common theme in my readings of other FI blogs over the past 2 plus years has been the lack of personal debt associated with these big goals and dreams of financial independence, in many ways it was really hard to relate. While people were talking about Roth IRA’s and the 4% rule, I was making cool charts on how to destroy my debt as quickly as possible, 4% to me didn’t really enter my equation because every dollar was being Paying Sallie Mae Back.
I truly enjoy reading other people’s journey’s both financially and what life events occurs along the way. Throughout my readings I have learned that while many of us are in search of living on the moon, we are all looking for the perfect destination, not necessarily the moon. Sometimes I think Financial Independence is like living on the moon, sure people want to do it, some have even signed up, but nobody really knows someone who is living FI. In case you think this about living on the moon, I bring you more unicorn.
In my recent trip to Omaha I asked Mr. 1500 days for suggestions on interesting places to stop on the way to Omaha and he provided an airplane museum and farming equipment, first one not bad, second one is not my idea of a good time. We have different interests despite our common bond of Chicago pizza and all things Berkshire Hathaway. I see others taking hikes in national parks, dreams to reality of frugal homesteads, and driving around in an airstream. It’s not that I don’t look at these things and enjoy each one, just sometimes when I look at my dreams and my plans I feel like I’m wearing a speedo in the winter and other people are wearing parkas.
In my dreams and goals, I can see reaching financial independence then taking time to travel the world for a year or two, probably the reason I find Go Curry Cracker so fascinating, that and his vast knowledge of tax savings and he also has a Frank Sinatra “I did it my way” or maybe Honey Badger attitude when asked about financial questions.
I can see buying season tickets to a sporting team and spending my winter watching the Miami Hurricanes college basketball team. I just see these events as exciting and a passion and interest of mine. I love watching a game, both as a fan and as a former coach, seeing game plans and strategy based time outs and well-designed plays. When I look around the FI community, I feel like that 7 foot guy that didn’t play basketball you see in the office, so let me get this straight “You didn’t play basketball?” Yeah I’m a FI Unicorn.
I really enjoy golfing, I’m not very good nor do I claim to be. I do however love being outside, walking the course, enjoying the terrain and landscape, the friendly competition against the course itself or a $5 Nassau with friends. The thing is it can really be an expensive game. Greens fees range from $5 to $500 just for the privilege of hitting the ball around in an attempt to knock it in a little hole a couple hundred yards away. Take a look around and I certainly challenge you to find some in their FI story who can’t wait to play 36 holes on a Monday morning. While I don’t think I’m crazy enough to buy a country club membership, I can see playing golf a couple times a week. I would love for my morning to include waking up just before the sunrise to play 18 holes with my dad. I can see myself drinking a cup of coffee along the way while we finish up 18 holes before most people have rolled out of bed.
I think many people relate retirement to golfing as a bad thing, but you know what I enjoy golfing and while I’m 4 years away from “early retirement” I think I’m going to LOVE that too. I don’t think golfing has to cost thousands and thousands of dollars. The individuals that I see and read about in the FI community, the fact is we just aren’t country club people. I would be hard pressed to see Mr. and Mrs. POP signing up for a membership, despite owning a golf cart, for $30,000 each to golf year round.
No, I see the FI community as public and municipal golf course people. It’s funny I bet each and every one of the FI community if they had an interest in golf would be crunching the numbers and looking for the best value, reporting to each other the best hack or website to book tee times. If in fact we do make the move to the South Florida area and finally make that FI announcement, I will look to golf at the nicest municipal course in Miami-Dade, but I won’t be paying $200 green fees, but rather making sure to get the resident status and a member patron card*.
As you can see by my talk about golfing every day, occupation as a banker, and plan to own season tickets to a local sporting team** sometimes I feel like a FI Unicorn in the financial independence space of the internet. I realize that over time individuals have opened my mind to biking more, hitting up a hiking trail, and a little more DIY around the house. I’m happy to try new things and experience new things, but in the end I can see it, I just might be a financial independence unicorn, but I think we can all agree, unicorns are amazing.
*I have already done some of this research as I think it will be inevitable that we move to South Florida. The course I am discussing is Crandon Dunes, interestingly enough the price ranges from as little as $30 all the way up to $200.
**I didn’t even mention the fact that I want a new Trek bike and if I live in the right area I want a Vespa.