20 personal finance ideas to kickstart your financial independence journey

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What images does the idea of being financially independent conjure in your mind? 

Travel, time with family, buying a big house, starting a business, quitting your job…

As Morgan Housel (one of my favourite finance writers) said (and I’m paraphrasing here), most of us don’t want $1M dollars, we want what $1M dollars can buy.

The thing is, the more you learn about the financial independence, retire early (FIRE) movement, you realise time is your most precious commodity in this life. Any actions to buy back a bit more of your time are worthwhile endeavours, and one way to do this is by pursuing financial freedom

This looks different for everyone, but for me it means freedom, control and time.

I think the idea of financial independence is so important I spent a good chunk of 2020 putting together a free FIRE course on Rask Education that anyone, including you, can take.

FIRE is all about increasing your savings rate, consuming less, pursuing happiness and having the financial freedom and flexibility to choose if, how and when you work.

20 financial independence ideas

But before we get into that, I’ve pulled together a list of 20 ideas and thoughts to get you thinking about financial freedom and what that could look like for you. These are an assorted collection from both my own experiences and the wider FIRE community, along with some of my favourite quotes.

  1. Are you willing to live your life differently to others in order to design your ideal life?
  2. FIRE is not necessarily about frugality (although some pursue it that way). Nor is it about retiring to do nothing all day for the rest of your life. The retirement part is optional. The key thing to remember is that by being financially independent, you have more opportunities to live life on your own terms and make decisions from a position of strength.
  3. Don’t think of restaurants and Uber Eats as a source of food.
  4. Take the media’s stories about the FIRE movement with a grain of salt, because “40-Year Old Retires After 20 Years of Regular Investing in ETFs” just isn’t as catchy as “26 Year Old Retires in 5 Years – Here’s how you can do it too!
  5. Financial windfalls are for buying freedom, not jet-skis.
  6. For most people, achieving FI is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not something that happens overnight. Getting caught up in chasing an impossible goal can lead you towards taking too many risks along the way. 
  7. You don’t try to gamble your way to wealth.
  8. “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken”but they can be broken. ~Warren Buffett
  9. Building wealth doesn’t take crazy returns, just commitment over a long period of time.
  10. Read about other people’s journeys, but don’t let comparisons or regret stop you from starting down your own path.
  11. Don’t underestimate further education, increasing your income by 5% is often easier than cutting the same amount from your budget.
  12. Don’t listen to every BBQ tip and suggestion you hear, make a plan and focus.
  13. Never sacrifice your mental and physical health to achieve financial independence.
  14. “Past a certain level of income, what you need is just what sits below your ego… Think of it this way, and one of the most powerful ways to increase your savings isn’t to raise your income, but your humility.” ~Morgan Housel
  15. Visualise your perfect Tuesday…
    1. Where are you, how old are you, what are you doing and who are you with?
    2. Tell your partner, family or friends about it.
    3. What do you need to make that happen ($ and knowledge of finances)? 
    4. Start tomorrow by setting aside your emergency fund, picking a good Super fund and opening your brokerage account!
  16. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does make things easier (it all starts with building your emergency fund).
  17. Is debt the modern form of slavery?
  18. Don’t become so obsessed with the numbers that you forget to actually live your life.
  19. Use negative visualisation strategies to better appreciate what you have.
  20. One of the really important ideas to understand if you’re working towards FI/RE (or just investing in general) is building a long-term mindset. Part of this involves setting goals over the short, medium and long-term to ensure progress over a continuous time-frame.

I hope this list has started to get you thinking a little more about the concept of financial independence, and I’d encourage you to take our free Rask Education FIRE course to explore these ideas in more detail.

Kate Campbell @ Rask

Kate Campbell @ Rask

Kate Campbell is the co-host of The Australian Finance Podcast with Owen.

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