For Those FI - What Are Your Favorite Aspects?

We, too, still live with a budget, but it has wiggle room.
We don't have millions, but believe we have enough to get us to the end, barring both of us don't have catastrophic prolonged end of life.
We have secure income which helps.
So far, feeling blessed for the life we have had and continue to have. Enjoy our kids and grandkids, love having them and all of my siblings/neices//nephews within 40 minutes drive. An unusual situation, but a wonderful one.
 
Yes our extensive winter travels to warmer climates, nice cars and fun hobbies are awesome …. But … the best aspect of FI for wife and I is knowing that we earned it all on our own.
@1242Vintage great 👍 assessment! My wife and I often say the same thing now in retirement. We busted our asses for our entire careers (my wife’s a nurse who worked continuously even while raising our 2 daughters) and earned everything we have now. It’s a great feeling and we’re not so humble about this! Thanks for the insight.
I mean no criticism but I look at my situation somewhat differently (hey, we are all very different here!:greetings10:) DW and I w*rked very hard to get where we are, but I also feel very humble because we were so blessed from the moment we were born. I take some credit for taking advantage of my "advantages" but life could have turned out VERY differently for me.

First, we were born in the USA just after WWII when America was THE Super Power and the dominant economic engine for the world.

Both of our sets of parents (who were NOT perfect and grew up poor and WERE poor when we were born) loved us very much and were committed to their kids. DW lived in a cracker box and I lived in a slum. We never missed a meal but we never had steak (or broccoli) until we were teens. Dad was disabled and only way he and mom could make money was to start a tiny business.

I grew up in a time when w*rking hard for grades in HS got me a scholarship of $200 toward my first year of state university. That was more than half my tuition! My books for first semester cost a total of (wait for it) $40. I w*rked for my dad at the family business for $1.50/hr and made all the money I needed to commute daily to school. DW (GF at the time) and I both w*rked full time in summer and on week ends during school to cover expenses of living at home and commuting to university.

When I graduated university, I didn't find a j*b through University Placement. Megacorp had an "outpost" manufacturing facility in town and I walked in off the street and applied for a scientist position. There was a fledgling lab (upstairs over a warehouse) that had just started a year before and a requisition for a new scientist position had opened up (wait for it) the DAY I applied!

Long story, longer: I w*rked at Megacorp for 36 years and was blessed with the saving habit (not so much the investing gene.) The 401(k) and Megacorp stock did the rest.

I never stop being thankful for what I have and how things turned out for me financially. DW and I have been married for over 50 years and though we have plenty of health issues, we are in it for the long haul - however long that haul is.

Because we are so blessed, we rarely think about money - except how to get rid of the extra. We can't seem to loose the frugal gene, but we are happy, so who cares that we don't fly first class (as long as we find adequate comfort in economy-plus?)

I mention all this simply to say how blessed I feel to be able to respond positively to this thread (and be able to say that I AM financially Independent.) Life is very good - even though I whine about stuff here all the time. YMMV
 
I used to consider the cost of everything before buying.

Now I weigh contemplated tangible purchases based on how much room they would take up, and how much work they would cause me, with little consideration of cost. And I weigh contemplated experiences based on how much of a PITA it would be to get there, with little consideration of cost.
 
It truly is more blessed to give than to receive. I don't want to toot my own horn too much, but it's a joy to see a need and be able to help in a meaningful way. Last week I asked the guy in charge of building and grounds at the church if he could get an estimate to replace a couple of windows that are developing condensation between the panes before we have more serious problems. This morning I sent a note to a HS classmate whose husband, also a classmate, died this month. The family requested donations to charity in his name and I just sent a decent-sized donation to the school in his memory. It's a private Roman Catholic HS and school choice and quality education for everyone are both important priorities for my giving.

My own finances are sound and I take pretty darn good care of myself (I don't fly Coach in long hauls anymore :)) and provide some frills for DS and his family (never requested, always appreciated). Life is good.
 
It truly is more blessed to give than to receive. I don't want to toot my own horn too much, but it's a joy to see a need and be able to help in a meaningful way. Last week I asked the guy in charge of building and grounds at the church if he could get an estimate to replace a couple of windows that are developing condensation between the panes before we have more serious problems. This morning I sent a note to a HS classmate whose husband, also a classmate, died this month. The family requested donations to charity in his name and I just sent a decent-sized donation to the school in his memory. It's a private Roman Catholic HS and school choice and quality education for everyone are both important priorities for my giving.

My own finances are sound and I take pretty darn good care of myself (I don't fly Coach in long hauls anymore :)) and provide some frills for DS and his family (never requested, always appreciated). Life is good.
This^^^^^
We believe we have been Blessed and humbled by being given the responsibility of managing our wealth. We don’t deprive ourselves, but we help where we can, whether it be church, family or strangers.
We provide a childcare scholarship, assist many projects for our church, bring meals to a shelter and help support financially. DW has a sibling that way need help in her approaching retirement because of a divorce, and we’ve let her know we’ve got her back including buying her a house for her and her 37yo disabled son. She would never ask for help, nor would any of either of our families.
 
I mean no criticism but I look at my situation somewhat differently (hey, we are all very different here!:greetings10:) DW and I w*rked very hard to get where we are, but I also feel very humble because we were so blessed from the moment we were born. I take some credit for taking advantage of my "advantages" but life could have turned out VERY differently for me.

First, we were born in the USA just after WWII when America was THE Super Power and the dominant economic engine for the world.

Both of our sets of parents (who were NOT perfect and grew up poor and WERE poor when we were born) loved us very much and were committed to their kids. DW lived in a cracker box and I lived in a slum. We never missed a meal but we never had steak (or broccoli) until we were teens. Dad was disabled and only way he and mom could make money was to start a tiny business.

I grew up in a time when w*rking hard for grades in HS got me a scholarship of $200 toward my first year of state university. That was more than half my tuition! My books for first semester cost a total of (wait for it) $40. I w*rked for my dad at the family business for $1.50/hr and made all the money I needed to commute daily to school. DW (GF at the time) and I both w*rked full time in summer and on week ends during school to cover expenses of living at home and commuting to university.

When I graduated university, I didn't find a j*b through University Placement. Megacorp had an "outpost" manufacturing facility in town and I walked in off the street and applied for a scientist position. There was a fledgling lab (upstairs over a warehouse) that had just started a year before and a requisition for a new scientist position had opened up (wait for it) the DAY I applied!

Long story, longer: I w*rked at Megacorp for 36 years and was blessed with the saving habit (not so much the investing gene.) The 401(k) and Megacorp stock did the rest.

I never stop being thankful for what I have and how things turned out for me financially. DW and I have been married for over 50 years and though we have plenty of health issues, we are in it for the long haul - however long that haul is.

Because we are so blessed, we rarely think about money - except how to get rid of the extra. We can't seem to loose the frugal gene, but we are happy, so who cares that we don't fly first class (as long as we find adequate comfort in economy-plus?)

I mention all this simply to say how blessed I feel to be able to respond positively to this thread (and be able to say that I AM financially Independent.) Life is very good - even though I whine about stuff here all the time. YMMV

Although I grew up a little better off we were a blue collar family and my father had a small contracting business that supported us with everything we needed but we lived very modestly growing up. My career was a little different here in Silicon Valley as I joined the workforce at the end of the cold war and defense contractors were massively downsizing so my engineering degrees appeared not to smart at the time. I was always pretty good writing code and made a decent living joining startups and larger corporations, changing jobs about 10 times in 45+ years, the last two stints were 15 and 8 years including including my current role. Like many colleagues we chased the dot-com dream but I never scored and still hurt from the AMT debacle of that time. One thing that helped was listening to Bob Brinker on KGO-AM every weekend and he hammered home the philosophy later made popular on Bogleheads. I've been in low expense index funds for decades and it paid off handsomely, to the point of oversaving (if that is even possible) today. The fact is it happened so gradually we never even noticed until I started keeping a spreadsheet with out net worth about 10 years ago.

I never had long tenure like you did but I did stay invested and saved consistently and avoided debt (except mortgage) and always saved for that proverbial rainy day (unemployment in my case) and luckily we avoided the rain altogether even though I've taken packages twice I was always able to find good employment very quickly, just blessed from that standpoint.

Recently, we have successfully done some BTD. As I've stated many times our wealth is pretty stealth. A large (1.2M) inheritance a few years ago was DCA'ed into a 500 index fund and it now sits at 1.7M. Kind of feels like I missed out on something because that money may never be spent and we are thinking of giving a good portion of it to a charity that my parents cared deeply for but never were able to contribute much when they were alive because of their saver mentality. We feel that it would be a nice tribute to them in their memory.

Cheers to all who have FI. You all certainly earned it.
 
I think reaching FI relatively early altered my career trajectory in a positive manner. I recall soon after hitting this milestone, how my attitude towards my colleagues, my management chain, and my customers changed, once I realized they needed me more than I needed them. I could focus on the technical aspects of my work and set all of the interpersonal parts aside. My reputation became that of a strong performer in stuff I happened to like doing, and mediocre at best when working on anything else. This may be why I was given extraordinary leeway in choosing my assignments.

Same, FI has been great for my career as I am outspoken and direct with all management. I'd be like that to some extent anyways, but not being dependent on my paycheck gives me a LOT more leeway to call out problems, be the voice of sanity, etc.
 
My better-half summed it up for me this morning:

"You don't decide if projects are worth it to you. You let clients know your rate and let them decide if you're worth it to them."

That's the beauty of being FI.
 
Lot of great replies and I agree with a lot of them.

To me the favorite aspect of FI all kind of comes down to a simple reality: letting my money work for me, rather than me working for my money.

I have worked full time since 15, with part time during school, and worked my way through to an engineering degree. That engineer career served me well. But a lot of it is that I know what it took to make a dollar and the value it had. I was able to see the end goal. I had plenty of lean years when young, many examples of paying a bill and then using the mail and processing delay for the deposit to get to bank before the check. But always paid myself first, LBYM, and lived (mostly) conservatively. I can now enjoy the benefits of those years working hard.
 
It's estimated that financial problems contribute to 20-40% of all divorces.

FI means one less thing to worry about.
 
FI means I examine the FI Dynamic Spending Calculator and look at previous years history, especially the 60s into the 90s. See if I survive past terrible 30 year run. Especially this year, what will the future bring?
 
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