Anxiety, the Last Hurdle Before Financial Freedom – Part 1
In my last post, “No Power, No Water, No Heat, No Severance” we were in the middle of a cold front that left us without electricity, water, and internet. This delayed all of my corporate work communications and the following week when the essential services came back online I received word on my severance request and…
It was accepted. I am now twice retired, and can focus on HIT, family and friends.
It has now been 3 months since retiring and financial independence has been everything I dreamed it to be. But before I share more on the benefits I want to talk about my unexpected rush of anxiety as Sarah and I approached our magic number (where investment earnings cover expenses).
Research, Save, Research, Compound
If you know my wife Sarah she’d tell you I am the spontaneous one, but when it comes to saving, spending and planning for our fiscal future I am overly cautious and planned out. Since graduating from college in 2007, I have been a savings tyrant, sometimes putting away as much as 80% of my take home pay. My mindset has been set to resist material wants and some of the more costly experiential wants, in pursuit of increasing future happiness and reaching (now enjoying) financial independence.
In combination with saving I have extensively researched how to compound money. My father taught me at a young age how to put money to work (story on raising cattle here) and that has materialized into this blog, learning how to code, and ultimately becoming a professional money manager.
The Struggle with Anxiety
So you’d think after 13 years of researching, building and growing wealth I would be well prepared for financial independence but at the end of the journey, rather than feeling a calmness, my anxiety increased exponentially.
The general feelings I experienced were similar to when I retired from baseball in 2008. At the time I was living out my lifelong dream and it culminated in a Continental League Championship but when the season ended I mentally and emotionally spiraled downward. I was coming to the realization that there was more to life than baseball and that epiphany, as silly as it may seem now, was mentally and emotionally devastating.
The difference between now and then wasn’t the mental and emotional effect, it was the cause. Financial independence was well planned for and understood while baseball retirement was a sudden realization. Since I was at a loss, experiencing this anxiety rather than the expected joy, I shared my issues with friends, family, and mentors. With their insights, book recommendations, and guidance the root cause of anxiety started to show itself. I learned it was one of those sneaky behavioral biases.