Last week I introduced myself. Today I want to introduce you to my better half, Lazy FI Mum.

Lazy FI Mum, who insists I clarify she is not, in any way, lazy. Lazy FI mum is my (amazing) partner in this FI (Financial Independence) journey. Without her, this blog would just be called “Lazy FI Human”, which is way less catchy.

I think Lazy FI Mum brings a really interesting perspective on how non-number-orientated people can approach FI.

So without further ado, I present to you (not a) Lazy FI Mum:

Lazy FI Mum herself

LFD (Lazy FI Dad) is the numbers person in our relationship, I am more about words (or talking!). Whenever we talk about money, LFD is like: “let me quickly open an Excel sheet…” – How exhausting! When I think about money, I usually see the purpose behind it, what it can get me, the overall picture.

It’s really hard for me to go into the details of the numbers. Not because I don’t know how (I can learn!), but because it doesn’t interest me, nor does it excite me. So I try to keep it as simple as possible. This is me trying to share how I think that a not-very ‘finance’ or ‘numbers’ kind of person, can still manage to keep track of their money. I also want to encourage those who hate dealing with numbers to think about what money means to them and how they can incorporate a little bit of FI (Financial independence) to their lives.

Full disclosure: I do not wish to retire anytime soon. I love what I do and I do not intend to stop working. This is LFD’s dream and I am here to support him and help him achieve it!

Lazy FI Mum in Lazy FI dad’s eyes

I mainly follow these two principles:

  1. Strive to save as much money as I can. I try and reach 70%, 80%, 90% savings rate* (not there really). Then invest it (Doesn’t really matter where: Index funds, real estate, peer to peer lending, etc.)
  2. Try and live the life I want TODAY instead of waiting for tomorrow. This helps me enjoy my life today while maintaining the same quality of life when I get that raise or unexpected money. This way, any additional money that comes my way can increase my savings rate. This additional money will, in turn, get invested (see principle #1)

I find these two principles much simpler than trying to figure out numbers, tax, benefits and other schemes available. LFD deals with that. If it weren’t for him, we would probably get 30%/40% of all the benefits we get now. I am ok with this. As my aim isn’t to retire early, I am not overly stressed if I could save a little bit more. I strive to save a big chunk each month. My aim is to live a happy, meaningful and exciting life! So everything that I do or buy should serve that purpose.

Save as much as you can

For me, it started when I was 12, working mainly as a babysitter. Then I became a cashier, private tutor and even a climbing instructor! I’ve been working since the moment I could. Not for the money, but more for the feeling of being an adult. The need for extra cash came later on of course.

I’m not sure how or why, but from the moment I had money, I started putting some of it aside. I even reached a 95% savings rate at some point when I was 17-18 (Thanks mum for providing for me!). At the age of 12, saving for a rainy day meant I could buy my own TV at some point (which I did around the age of 14!). At the age of 16, it was more like: “If I save enough money I could even buy a house!”. Perhaps it was my naiveté that kept me going (because who would think they could buy a house by putting some pocket money aside each month?), but I truly believed it – that I could buy a house of my own if I would only put money aside each month.

This notion is really tricky for adults. We always think “what difference would a 10 NIS / USD / GBP make when I am trying to buy a house that costs so much more than that?“. But actually, it’s not about the amount itself, but rather about the habit of putting money aside, which becomes easier the more you do it.

Today you might only have 10 NIS / USD / GBP, but tomorrow you’ll have a 100!

From a young age, I put money aside. This led me to increase my savings every time I got a new job (more money!). But don’t think it was always like that, I had months where I saved 10% and even 5%. Yes, I had some months I would break even but I never spent more than I had! (But that’s for another post).

In my opinion, the difference between a person who can save money and a person who can’t or won’t is determination, the belief that every amount matters. It might be small today, but it will get you into the habit of putting money aside. Then it’s up to you what to do with it.

In FI context- start small, eventually you’ll have enough to buy yourself 1 month of freedom, then 6 months, then a year.   

Quality life TODAY

Everyone dreams about this perfect life – “when I have enough money I will do X” or “when I retire, I will do Y”. But what if we start living the life we want TODAY?

I will give you a few examples, so you can understand where I am going with this:

  • If I were rich, I would get a personal trainer to come to my home every day”. Well, start with 1 workout each month, it might not be the “full” dream, but you’re getting there.
  • When I’ll retire, I will spend more time with my kids/partner”. Make time today/this week. Make a decision to free 30 minutes when they get your undivided attention. It’s not 24/7, but at least you’re allocating time for it.
  • When I won’t have money issues, I will work at a job I truly like”. Perhaps there is a job out there for you? Perhaps we’re too scared to leave the known for the unknown? Maybe you’ll get less money for a job you truly love. However, the quality of life you’ll have will make a tremendous impact on your wellbeing.
  • I want to buy fancy X”. is there an option to get it 2nd hand? Could I save for it? Could I exchange it for something else? Maybe I could build/make it myself? Or maybe I could get something that is part of it until you can get the whole thing?
  • When I reach FI, I could do nothing”. Well, if nothing is really what you want to do, then why not decrease the amount you spend on things? You can then reduce your working hours and spend more time doing nothing!

Do you see where I’m going with this? I’m not talking about getting your ideal life in an instant. It’s about creating small rituals that can get you closer to where you want to be. It’s about incorporating behaviours that will affect your quality of life for the better, make you happier, relaxed, relieved, less stressed, healthy- You pick!

I think the main issue here, especially for FI people, is the “WHY” (not the “HOW” which I refer to in the savings bit). Why do I even want to achieve FI? What do I want to do/achieve when I reach FI? This is for another post, but I do encourage you to think about it carefully. Once you know the WHY – it’s easier to make sure you do some of it today.

A few things that I did (just to encourage you):

  • When I bake, I buy the best ingredients (which cost a lot!) as that gives me joy. An ideal week for me (today and when I retire) has to include at least 1 recipe that I bake myself. I don’t go and hire a private chef, or order takeaway each day. However, I make sure I bake something that I love each week.
  • I got a paid app for exercise. Especially now, in the COVID-19 world, I miss sports! So I decided to dedicate money to something that calms me and something that I know will always be part of my weekly routine. Yes, it’s not the personal trainer I really want, but it’s something that keeps me active.
  • I pay for a personal masseuse once a month. This is something I gave myself even before I met LFD. It’s the best self-care thing I could ever do for myself. The dream would be to have this 3-4 times a week. For now, once a month gives me great pleasure.
  • I wake up every morning and I am happy to go to work. I put a lot of thought into what I want to do in life, where I want to be in my career and what I am passionate about. It wasn’t always like this. I am constantly refining my vision and I make sure I move if I am not happy with where I am. It’s not easy, I know, but at least this way I don’t need to wait for when I am retired to do what I love, I do it now!

In FI context- start small, eventually you’ll see you’re living your retired life today! It starts with one act you wish/hope/dream to do once you retire, but you’re starting today. Isn’t that what FI is all about?

*Lazy FI Dad comment: A separate post on how to calculate your savings rate is coming soon.