What a ride! We’re at the end of nearly 300 pages covering the ins-and-outs of achieving financial independence in Australia. I hope you’ve enjoyed this book and learned a lot, no matter what stage you’re at on your journey. Remember to keep these important factors in mind along the way:
- There's a diverse community of FI enthusiasts out there
- You can "choose your own adventure" towards FI
- Focus on the basics and value progress over perfection
- FI is not all-or-nothing
There’s a diverse community of FI enthusiasts out there
From our 20 co-authors’ bios, you can see that even this small group represents a diverse range of people on the path of financial independence.
We heard from singles and couples; childfree, families and empty nesters; straight and LGBTQI; high, average and lower income earners; various age groups and ethnic backgrounds; city dwellers, suburbanites and regional residents – even nomads too.
Our co-authors come from a range of industries, with jobs in event management, teaching, technology, engineering, medical services, home duties, project management, online freelancing, business, marketing and real estate to name a few.
Beyond this book and the bloggers behind it, you’ll find many different Australians creating their ideal lifestyles and pursuing FI. Whether on Facebook groups, Reddit forums, Instagram, at organised meetups or in your own neighbourhoods, you’re sure to find other FI enthusiasts whose stories and situations resonate with you.
Check out the FI Resources page on Pearler’s site to discover online groups where you can connect with others on financial independence topics. You can also subscribe to the Australian FI Weekly enews for regular local FI content and event listings, or check out the Australian FI Bloggers list to find more new favourites to follow.
You can “choose your own adventure” towards FI
Just as there’s diversity in the people working towards financial independence, there’s plenty of variety in the how, why and what type of FI you can pursue.
There’s no “one size fits all”, so you can try out different approaches and see what works for you. Pursuing FI is a “choose your own adventure” – whether it be the tools and investments you use; the jobs, businesses, side hustles or alternative income you gain; the focus on reducing spending vs increasing earnings; or the type of FI that appeals to you (as described in Chapter 1).
You can also decide on the pace with which to build up your FI stash - whether you prefer to earn and save aggressively to “white-knuckle it” to an early retirement finish line ASAP; or you are happy to take longer by downshifting to part-time work, taking mini-retirement breaks, or letting compounding over time do the heavy-lifting to coast you to that FI goal.
Getting clear on why you want financial independence and what your values are will help you make these decisions and design a FI path to suit you.
Focus on the basics and value progress over perfection
Despite the length and detail in this book, it’s worth a reminder that the path to financial independence can be quite simple:
Spend less. Earn more. Invest the difference.
Don’t get paralysed by indecision or the desire for a perfect, optimised route. As just mentioned, there is no single golden path!
Start to take action now, even if only small or imperfect steps. If you do something 1% better each day, you’ll be 37% ahead at the end of a year. Those incremental gains add up! You can continue to learn and tune along the way.
Focus on what you can control. Direct your efforts to the big easy wins or “low hanging fruit”, as 20% of the work often brings 80% of the results. Keep things uncomplicated and automate your systems where possible, such as setting up direct transfers to savings or make automatic investments to ETFs.
The journey to financial independence can often feel long, and sometimes seem to be a “two steps forward, one step back” dance. However, keep at it! The time will pass anyway. You’ll soon look back and be surprised by how far you’ve come.
FI is not all-or-nothing
As you progress along the FI path, you’ll quickly realise that you don’t need to hit your full financial independence number to experience some of the benefits.
You’ll gain more freedom as your FI stash, confidence and knowledge grows - allowing you to make ongoing modifications towards your ideal lifestyle.
Whether you aspire to early retirement or not, pursuing FI can help you make “little quits” along the way and ditch those things that don’t serve you – such as declining overtime, rejecting full-time work for part-time instead, or leaving a bad job without the next one lined up.
Alternatively, you can use your growing financial buffers to take a sabbatical, make a career switch, take time off for parenting, pursue freelance or small business opportunities, or simply appreciate more peace of mind.
It’s important to enjoy the journey and not delay having a satisfying life until you reach FI. You only have one precious life, so find the balance that works for you to both enjoy the now and secure your future.
Congratulations to Pearler for realising their vision for an “ultimate guide to financial independence for Australians”. Thanks again to all the co-authors for generously sharing their perspectives and covering topics with such care and detail. It’s been a pleasure to be part of bringing the Aussie FIRE community together in this way.
Happy adventures in FI!
Michelle, Frugality and Freedom
About Michelle from Frugality and Freedom | frugalityandfreedom.com
Michelle is a mid-30s semi-retiree, sharing her journey towards financial independence on her blog at FrugalityandFreedom.com. Michelle alternates between seasonal events work, online freelancing and long-term travel – visiting 40 countries so far. She writes with the perspective of pursuing FI as a single person on a modest income, emphasising lifestyle design and enjoying the FI journey as much as the destination.
Michelle writes about frugal hacks, solo travel, housesitting, minimalism, sustainability, and ethical investing. She is passionate about connecting with others in the financial independence community, including highlighting different voices through the Australian FI Weekly series.
At Pearler, we pride ourselves on the quality of the general financial advice we give. Please note though, that this advice has not been tailored for you. You have unique financial goals, circumstances and needs which may make this advice inappropriate, and it is important that you know whether it applies to you. If you are unsure we urge you to speak to someone you trust who is competent with money and understands your individual needs, whether they be a trusted friend or accredited professional