Father on FIRE: Why Financial Independence Is Even More Important When You Are A Father

fatherhood

Happy Father’s Day Everyone!

Congratulations to all the fathers out there.  For those of you who aren’t yet fathers (or parents), know this:  having children is one of the most rewarding experiences you will have in your life.

It is hard to believe this when you haven’t yet got children of your own.  I certainly didn’t.  When it does happen, you finally realize the pure joy and happiness kids bring into your life.

As I woke up my daughter in the morning, the first thing she asked me was “Is it Father’s Day?”.  She then leapt out of her bed and ran to get the presents she made for me in her arts class.  I got a very nice painted stone and a postcard with her footprint and a message: “Following in your footsteps”.

Suffice it to say I had a great start to my Sunday!  My daughter then ran to the kitchen to help my wife make some pancakes for breakfast.  I, unfortunately, had to jump in an Uber and head for the office, as I had a client call at 9am. 

That’s right.  A 9am client call on a Sunday.  On Father’s Day.  And a ton of other work to complete, which meant I stayed in the office until about 4pm.  Not even a half day by investment banking standards, and I sure have seen much worse, but this one stung a lot as I kissed my daughter and wife goodbye and left.

Life Is All About Framing

Happiness is all about perspectives and as I sat in the car on the way to central London, I recounted all the things I am grateful for in my life:

  1. I am young and healthy. Most importantly, my wife and daughter are healthy and well. 
  2. I have a wonderful family where everyone is very close to each other and can always count on each other’s support.
  3. We live in a rich, safe country that isn’t affected by war and famine. The problems we do have are truly 1% problems.  We don’t have to worry about putting food on the table, surviving a life-threatening disease or being thrown in prison by an autocratic government.
  4. The summer is here and while it has been cooler than I wish, we have a nice beach holiday coming up that we are all very excited for.
  5. Despite having to be in the office for a big chunk of the day, I will be home in the afternoon, and we will celebrate Father’s Day with a nice dinner in a neighbourhood restaurant. I may have missed the pancakes but I’ll make up for it with some tasty carbs later on! 

The list goes on but taking even a few minutes to focus on all that’s good in your life can have a transformational impact on your mood and happiness.  Please do yourself a favour and try it – you will be astounded by the positive effect of gratitude on your mindset. 

Of course, the reflections like the ones above also have a side effect.  The natural question to ask yourself is: “If life is so great as it is and you are happy with it, why keep pushing yourself?”  Why keep working as hard when you can just mail it in and worry about the future later?  

Life Is Also About Progress

Sure, there is lots to be happy and content about, but if humans were content by nature we would still be living in caves and eating raw meat for dinner. 

The same applies to our daily lives and financial independence.  We may be happy (or not unhappy) about our lives, but that does not mean we should not be striving to build an even better lifestyle for ourselves and our families. 

This is precisely where financial independence comes in.  Yes, I have a lot to be thankful for.  Yes, life is great as it is. And yes, there is more to accomplish and I do have reasons to keep working hard to create an even better life for myself and my family

Top Reasons Why Happy Fathers Should Pursue Financial Independence

1. More Time With Family

Sure, I am bummed about not spending as much time as possible with my family now.  As a rational person, I do need to acknowledge that my family will need me even more going forward. 

Our daughter will go to school and will need help with her homework.  We may also have another child (or even two!) which will need our love and attention. 

Working harder now means I will be able to give my family all the attention it will need later.

2. Better Quality Time With Family

There is a big difference between quantity of time and quality of time.  Like many highly paid professionals, I am rarely able to disconnect on weekends and holidays.  Today was a case in point – even if I had stayed home, I would not be 100% (or even 50%) present with my wife and daughter due to the calls and emails occupying my attention. 

Having the ability to be truly present with your family is the true prize financial independence has to offer. 

3. A Longer, Healthier Life

Working is stressful.  Being financially insecure is even more stressful.  And stress is one of the key reasons for a long list of serious health problems that includes heart problems, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. 

Becoming financially independent means you no longer must work for a living, which instantly reduces your stress levels.  More importantly, it will free up time to focus on activities that give you true purpose in life. 

It may be your hobbies.  Or volunteering.  Or mentoring.  It might even be working – but on your terms.  Regardless of what you choose to do, it is a fact that your stress levels will go down and your quality of life will go up.    

Unless you get very unlucky and develop a terminal disease, removing the stress from your life and introducing an improved sense of purpose WILL extent your life span.  You will watch your children grow up, enjoy the time with your grandchildren and thrive well into old age.  The choice is yours. 

4. Crossing Off Those Bucket List Items

I am a big fan of bucket lists.  Creating a bucket list shines a light on your definition of a good life, crystallizes your priorities and focuses your mind on the things that truly matter over the long run.

One of my bucket list items is spending an entire summer with my family on the Amalfi coast in Italy. 

Another one is spending a month on a cottage up north, where I can teach my daughter fishing, canoeing and camping.

I am not sure about you but waiting until I’m retired at 67 (or 55 for that matter!) to cross these items off my list is not an option.  Neither is taking a client call on a canoe up in Lake District.  And I will happily spend a Sunday in the office if it means the ability to cross these items off my list much sooner. 

praiano

So happy Father’s Day everyone!  Wherever you are on the financial independence journey, I hope you had a wonderful day, found the right balance and were grateful and happy with the life you have. 

Most importantly, I hope you continue getting closer to the financial and life goals you have set for yourself and that all the Father’s Days yet to come just keep getting better! 

 

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