030: Slow FI and Coast FI | Jessica from The Fioneers

In this episode, Money Mechanic and Chrissy interview Explore FI Canada’s first international guest! Listen in as Jessica from The Fioneers joins us to discuss Slow FI, Coast FI, and more.

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Money Mechanic 0:00
Hello listeners. Welcome to Explore FI Canada, where we sit at the roundtable with Canadians and share their thoughts, ideas and personal journeys to financial independence.

Money Mechanic 0:16
Thanks again for joining us on Explore FI Canada. Money Mechanic with you from the lovely Vancouver Island, locked in again as many of us are, and Chrissy is joining me. Hi Chrissy.

Chrissy Kay 0:27
Hi, I’m here from sunny Vancouver. It’s lovely outside.

Money Mechanic 0:31
Special episode today, Chrissy?

Chrissy Kay 0:34
Yes!

Money Mechanic 0:34
We have our first-ever international guest.

Chrissy Kay 0:39
Yay! Very exciting.

Money Mechanic 0:42
We have Jessica from The Fioneers. Welcome to the show, Jessica.

Jessica 0:46
Thank you so much for having me.

Money Mechanic 0:48
Now this is just it was kind of serendipitous, is that the right word? You happened to be on Twitter at the same time I was and you had originally scheduled a podcast interview for today and that fell through so I quickly jumped in there and said it’d be fantastic to have you on the show…

Money Mechanic 1:03
Talking about your Slow FI series and Coast FI, which is, listeners know, is something that I’m very interested in. So you’ve got a lot of interesting insight on that. So we’re glad to have that discussion with you today.

Money Mechanic 1:13
So for our listeners that may not have read your blog, which I believe won a Plutus Award last year did it not?

Jessica 1:21
Yeah, we won the Best New Personal Finance Blog.

Money Mechanic 1:24
Yeah, so congrats on that. And if our listeners haven’t read The Fioneers, your blog yet, just give us a little brief intro of who you are and what you talk about.

Jessica 1:34
Sure. So I’m Jessica. I am one half of The Fioneers. My husband and I started the blog together in 2018. And the focus of our blog is that the journey to financial independence should be as remarkable as the destination.

Jessica 1:47
So we sort of riffed off the idea of fine here’s our plan, pioneers going on a journey. I would say that message has continued to evolve throughout our time, but I think it’s stayed, in some ways pretty consistent.

Jessica 2:05
Like we believe now more than ever in the power of designing your life along the way to financial independence. And so that’s the message that we are trying to get out there every day.

Chrissy 2:19
That’s fantastic. And we will talk about the article you write about designing your life before reaching FI. And one of the other things that you are very well known for… and I believe it was you and Corey who coined the term Slow FI.

Chrissy 2:33
I’m not sure if that’s true or not. But can you tell us more about Slow FI? What is it and how does it all play into the FI journey?

Jessica 2:42
Yes, absolutely. So we did actually coined the term Slow FI I think the idea behind Slow FI is we sort of originally started an interview series back about a year ago, where we we got really interested in interviewing people who had like made unconventional decisions on their way to FI slowing down to build better lives today.

Jessica 3:09
So there were examples of people who were doing like a nomadic year or deciding to quit a side hustle that was taking up a lot of their time. Or people who are deciding to go part time at their job or work remotely or take a mini retirement, or take a semi retired approach to life, start their own companies, etc.

Jessica 3:31
There’s so many people doing such interesting things. And so once we really got to know a lot of those people and really understand their stories, we found that there was a commonality amongst what they were trying to do and what we are trying to do…

Jessica 3:47
Which is to build a life we love using the financial freedom we gain on the way to reaching financial independence. So it isn’t, you know, I used to believe that financial freedom was really all or nothing like it was either FI or I wasn’t.

Jessica 4:03
And now, after really understanding the stories of so many people, and seeing the way that our own journey has evolved, I really, truly believe that you can grab hold of the financial freedom that you gain all along the way.

Chrissy 4:20
Absolutely. And it, Slow FI really speaks to me and our FI journey. And it was the way we’ve been pursuing it all along and I just didn’t have a name for it. And I’m so I was so happy when you when you coined that term because it really spoke to me and apparently to a lot of people.

Chrissy 4:39
We don’t identify with the getting to FI as fast as possible at any cost, you know, it’s not the most sustainable or healthy way to approach it. Whereas when you think about Slow FI, it’s it’s this mindset where, like you said you are the journey to FI is just as important as reaching it. And I love that I think it’s it’s a much better way to frame the whole journey.

Jessica 5:01
You know what Chrissy, what’s interesting is that the more I meet people like out in the world who aren’t bloggers, this message resonates with them even more. Right?

Jessica 5:12
I think that sometimes we think that you know, we see the famous bloggers and you know, we see the people who are pursuing FIRE and making all these sacrifices and they’re gonna reach by by 30 or 35, which is great for them.

Jessica 5:30
But those kind of stories don’t actually resonate with like the vast majority of the population who doesn’t necessarily want to do that. Right? I think most people want to have a better balance along their along their path.

Chrissy 5:45
Absolutely.

Money Mechanic 5:46
Yeah, I really agree with that. Because you know, for a lot of us when we found the financial independence sort of movement or when we started reading Mister Money Mustache, it was that is that little bit of a switch that epiphany or like, Wow, this is awesome.

Money Mechanic 6:00
Something that I really want to work towards. So we really focused all of our time and energy into just that sort of race to the end line. And I agree with what you’re saying there. And it’s interesting in your, in your Slow FI series, I read quite a few of them and you’d listen to, you know, whether it’s Mad Fientist, he kind of talks about how quickly he got there and would have liked to slow down or stop burning shirts, same sort of thing.

Money Mechanic 6:22
And I feel that, that’s nice to hear that now. Because many of us that were on that sort of fast run can go, Hey, we got some experience out there now. And, you know, I’m older, I’m in my 40s. So there’s still a little bit of a rush for me, but that’s why I’m looking at more Coast FI.

Money Mechanic 6:40
But yeah, the whole Slow FI mentality for some people that are in their 30s you get there when in you know, say it’s you’re 35 all of a sudden, like, Wow, I’ve got a whole lot of time left. And now I better figure out how to live my best life.

Money Mechanic 6:53
Where’s people keeping this kind of slow mindset. Slow FI mindset at the beginning, might just help that, stretch it out. But make it like you said happier along the way. So you kind of sounded like from what I was reading, you kind of started out with a little bit of a high-paced approach to FI at the beginning, too. How did that? How did your journey change over time?

Jessica 7:13
Yeah, that’s a great question. So when I first learned about financial independence, we were sort of on that faster track to FI so we were both working pretty high-paying full-time jobs, and saving a good percentage of our income.

Jessica 7:32
And then really, like, for me, I realized that like, I was just miserable. And like this, you know, 10 more years of this was just not gonna work for me. And so, you know, really had a shift in mindset, really in the like, the summer of 2018.

Jessica 7:51
You know, and we were listening to a lot of the people who’ve reached financial independence as you said, who were urging people to slow down. Right? They were saying, I went fast. I wouldn’t recommend doing it the same way. Right?

Jessica 8:06
And so when I read that, and then when I was like, well, I’m miserable right now, I need to change something that was really a turning point for us. And for me in particular, and figuring out, what would I do anyways?

Jessica 8:22
If I, like if I didn’t actually need to work for an income, what would I really, really want to do with my time? And I found that I couldn’t actually answer that question. And so I needed to do a lot of exploration and a lot of reflection to figure out it and and experimentation to figure out what it is that I really wanted to do.

Jessica 8:47
And one thing that struck me as well as I was going through that process was that many people who retire early end up doing work in some way, shape or form after they’re retired, right.

Jessica 8:59
Whether that’s actually going back to a job part time or starting their own business or doing freelancing or consulting work, right? And there are even some people who end up making more money than what they did in their day job.

Jessica 9:12
I don’t I certainly don’t have aspirations like that necessarily. I, you know, it could happen though. But I was thinking like, why would I wait to reach FI? If the thing that I figure out that I want to do might actually make me some money, right?

Jessica 9:31
And so over time, I figured that out. And I figured out that I, I love writing, I love teaching. I love coaching people, and those are all things that I’m pursuing, and seeing if they will generate some income along the way. And then if they do, great, at least I didn’t wait until I was Full FI, to actually start pursuing those things. Absolutely.

Money Mechanic 9:56
Now one of the things that I’ve been thinking about in relation to the mindset of Slow FI is, I kind of feel like when, when people find FI, and they sort of make that leap from their life before learning about financial independence to now their life of, you know, kind of going through those major changes that we all go through looking at how we can, you know, improve our housing, transportation, food budgets, and, you know, optimize our lifestyles…

Money Mechanic 10:25
I kind of feel like there is a period of time, where you need to really aggressively make some changes and make and set some aggressive saving targets. And perhaps you’re already in a career that, you know, pays you well, or you can get promotions.

Money Mechanic 10:40
I feel like there’s a little bit of a period you need to like give a little bit of burst. And then once you kind of got everything going, that’s when you can make an adjustment to that slower FI you know, kind of mindset or the longer term trajectory. How do you feel about that?

Money Mechanic 10:57
I know that a lot of people suffer stress burnout at work. And that’s definitely a good reason to take a look at where you’re going and what you’re doing. But for me, I kind of felt there was a period where I needed to keep sort of crushing it a little bit. And now I can take a little bit of break, build up that little buffer at the beginning. What are your thoughts on that, Jessica?

Jessica 11:16
I would say yes, and no, I think it, right? I think it’s both, right? So for example, like, I think some people think that if they are going to build a life of freedom, they need to go to school for something where they can be in a really lucrative career that they need to like earn top dollar for five years…

Jessica 11:40
And live on $20,000 a year and so that they can like you know, reach a really high net worth by the time that they’re like 25 or something like that. That’s great. If people can do that. That’s awesome. That would give them so much freedom.

Jessica 11:57
Later, for me that that honestly wasn’t my priority upfront. So I went to school I graduated with a degree in anthropology, I was planning to do international development work. I ended up working in nonprofit organizations.

Jessica 12:14
I actually chose to do a, a sort of less-lucrative career path because I knew that I would enjoy it more. And know that I would feel good working for permission. And my first, you know, in my first couple of years and nonprofit did not make a lot of money.

Jessica 12:33
In fact, I did a year of AmeriCorps, which is like the domestic version of the Peace Corps in the United States. And I made $11,000 for the whole year. Oh, which I guess in some ways, I think those experiences set me up for the like frugality side of financial independence because I needed to be frugal.

Jessica 12:58
I lived in a high cost of living area. Right, my husband worked at a university at the time I made $11,000 in AmeriCorps, and like we didn’t eat out for an entire year. Right. And we kept those. We kept those sort of frugality, like those, the frugality that we that we put into place, like in into our lives.

Jessica 13:21
And so when we did increase our income, we made sure to earmark a good portion of that to go towards savings. So yes and no. Yes, because we definitely needed first to sort of jumpstart our journey with the frugality and then we increased our income.

Jessica 13:39
And then by the time that we were, you know, reached the age of 30, I was able to like scale back in the work that I was doing. So I so there is, it is necessary to like get to a strong financial place before you can take a step back, whether that means you get to a point where you’re debt free, or you have the significant emergency fund.

Jessica 14:01
The reason why I say yes and no, yeah, is that I don’t think you need to right out of the gate go into the most lucrative career that you can. I think there’s a way to balance that with something that you know, you’ll also enjoy.

Money Mechanic 14:18
Yeah, I see where you’re going with that. And I definitely agree for people that are sort of perhaps in college or choosing where to what direction to go for first careers and things like that. My perspective was different because I was later in life I’d been in a career already.

Money Mechanic 14:35
And for me, from that point of view, was continuing at a full-speed pace made more sense for the first couple years of my FI journey to get that and and we’ll pivot the discussion here a little bit into the continuum of FI in a second here.

Money Mechanic 14:53
But I felt that just sort of keeping going at full speed was going to sort of give me that little kickstart that I needed. to then be able to design the life that I wanted. You know, and I talked about this on our other podcast where it’s like you become a lot of us become distracted by FI.

Money Mechanic 15:10
Like, once you find it, you can’t unsee everything that you’re learning, and you’re really eager to embrace all the things but you’re kind of like, okay, I just gotta stay buckled down for a little longer so then then I can make these changes and I know it’s going to be individual for everybody.

Money Mechanic 15:23
It’s just one of those things that there’s no right or wrong answer in this movement. It’s it’s what fits your life. So speaking of that, you your great post here was why you should design your life before reaching financial independence.

Money Mechanic 15:36
And you made a bit of a continuum chart that our listeners will be able to look at on the show notes here. And we really liked, Chrissy and I talked about this quite a bit when you brought it out is like these little these options or opportunities that each part of this continue to FI gives you want to speak a little bit about what you designed there for the listeners.

Jessica 15:55
Sure. So the first thing that I would say is as I was thinking about, like financial freedom, like, right, as I said, I used to think that financial freedom was really all or nothing like I was either fine or I wasn’t.

Jessica 16:11
And I think through the my own experiences that I’ve had, and through conversations with others, I’ve realized that there’s actually sort of different levels of financial freedom along the way. And each different level like provides you with different options.

Jessica 16:29
And so, you know, if I think about it, I think of, you know, sort of the stage. The sort of first stage along the path to FI, in this sense is, I would say Debt Freedom. And you can define that however you want, it could be including a mortgage or not including a mortgage.

Jessica 16:49
I think for us, we still have a mortgage but consider ourselves that for you, besides that, and the idea of why that is a sort of stepping stone is that once you become debt free, then your cost of living decreases. which then means you might not have to make as much money to be able to cover your costs of living and still save.

Jessica 17:12
So that’s the that’s the Debt Freedom piece. I think the next piece is what I would call FU Money. And basically, that means that you have enough cash cash on hand in your liquid investments that would allow you to do one of two things.

Jessica 17:29
One, walk away from a toxic situation that isn’t serving you or to give you confidence to ask for or demand what you deserve. And FU money, the interesting thing about FU money is that it’s not a specific number. Right? Like it’s a feeling. It’s how much you know, it’s how much money you need to have that confidence.

Money Mechanic 17:53
Yeah, I thought it was interesting. I read that it’s one of the articles there, you said it’s a feeling it’s not a number, and I don’t think it wasn’t till, you know, for me, it wasn’t really until this whole pandemic came about that I actually got the feeling that I did have some FU money.

Money Mechanic 18:09
Because I chose I said, I think I’d prefer to stay home then go away. Because I have a remote job, I would rather stay at home with my family and help prevent the spread. And having that extra money gave me that power to say that so it’s totally a feeling I agree with that.

Jessica 18:26
Yeah, and for me, I think I realized that the very first time in about two years ago in the summer of 2018 when I was experiencing a health issue, and I was experiencing a lot of stress at work. And, you know, I was sort of faced with the choice of like, do I quit my job? Do I stick it out?

Jessica 18:46
Or do I like or, you know, or can I look at taking a leave of absence and going on disability and all of that. And it wasn’t until I actually looked at the numbers and figured out what they meant. Right? It was it before then it sort of felt like, Oh, we just have like Monopoly money in our account.

Jessica 19:03
Like, I don’t really know what it means, right? I look at it, I know what the number is. But until I got to the moment where I was like, Oh, this is the equivalent of nine months of expenses, if we both lost our jobs, right, and then realizing, oh, but we save about 50% of our income now.

Jessica 19:23
So really, we could just live off my husband’s salary for the time being. So then we wouldn’t even be pulling anything out of the emergency funds. Right. And so for me, it was that thought process that made me realize like, Oh, yeah, I totally could just completely quit my job right now and not need to keep, you know, pushing myself through this miserable situation.

Jessica 19:47
You know, I ultimately decided to collect disability insurance from my former company, but I could I realized that I could have quit, right?

Chrissy 19:56
And I think that is part of the value of FI, even when you’re not at the end goal, you already start to see benefits just from the mindset and also the financial stability it builds right from the beginning.

Jessica 20:09
Mm hmm. Definitely. So first you have Debt Freedom. Second, you have FU Money. Third, is what I would call Coast FI. So basically Coast FI is when you have enough money invested in your investment in in sort of retirement accounts, that if you didn’t touch it until retirement age if you didn’t take any out in but if you didn’t add any either, you would still have a comfortable retirement.

Money Mechanic 20:36
Right. And we’re wondering about how we should sort of make sure we define this well for our listeners, because I agree with exactly what you just said there. But it’s going to be a little bit different for everyone because it’s just one of those ones where instead of just saying you need 25 times your expenses, you’ve got to look forward into the future and say 65 year old me what’s that 25x look like?

Jessica 21:00
Mm, yep.

Money Mechanic 21:00
So yeah, tell us a bit more about how, you know whether you’ve worked out your Coast FI. I mean, I’ve been working on mine. And there’s a lot of assumptions. That’s kind of the hard thing, I think to wrap your head around this one is the assumptions that come with how you define your own Coast FIRE. So how do you define yours?

Jessica 21:17
Yeah, great question. So I think that right, there’s a few things that go into the formula, right? It’s like the age that you are right now the age that you would like to retire, as well. Right. And so that sort of is what defines the time horizon that you have to see gains in the market.

Jessica 21:37
And then you have like, what is the amount of money that you have right now that could grow to that amount if it, you know, continues to increase at say, an average of 5% per year with the ups and downs? So you could say, Okay, I’m 30 right now, I actually would want to traditionally retire or early retire at 50.

Jessica 21:58
Right, someone could say that, and then they could figure out what is the number that they need to be at right now then, based on their their future, expected expenses to be able to have a comfortable retirement at that point, right?

Jessica 22:15
There’s just numbers that you put into an equation. And we actually have a tool on our website, a downloadable spreadsheet where people are able to actually put those different numbers in, and you know, different ideas and different options and play with scenarios about…

Jessica 22:33
Okay, if I wanted to, you know, traditionally retire by 55. And I have this much, and I’m this age, and this will be my expected spending, you know, it’ll tell you like, this is the amount of money that you would actually need to be at that level. And it is, in some respects, it’s, it’s surprisingly, actually quite a bit lower than you might expect.

Money Mechanic 22:57
I’m letting you jump in Chrissy, I’ve been saying a lot.

Chrissy 23:02
I love that I haven’t had a chance to play around with your calculator, but it’s something I think would be fun for people to just tinker around with this, I think a lot of us would actually find that where we’re at Coast FI or very close to it. So it doesn’t necessarily take all that much if all you have to do is cover your own expenses and let your portfolio grow in the background.

Jessica 23:24
Mm hmm. Right. And especially in right, it definitely depends mostly on your age. And like, what is the time horizon that you have? I think because once you get to the point where you are close by it’s the market that’s really doing the work for you. Rather than you know, you’re, you’re doing the work to pull all the money together?

Chrissy 23:45
Absolutely, yeah. And time as well, which is pretty precious. That’s the one magical part of the formula. If you can just leave it, it’ll grow a lot. So how about we move on to the next stage in the FI journey that you’ve laid out here: Semi-retirement.

Jessica 24:02
Yeah. So. So I would say the distinction between Coast FI and Semi-retirement, I would say so is that Coast FI, you still need to cover your full costs of living so that you’re able to leave your retirement savings untouched.

Jessica 24:19
For Semi-retirement, that’s someone who is a little bit closer to FI so say, you know, they have a portfolio that they could sustainably draw down $30 or $40,000 a year without depleting the value. So you know, that that that’s a 3.5 or 4% withdrawal rate.

Jessica 24:39
But then say their expenses are $45,000 a year, right? So say they can take they could draw down $40,000 then presumably, they would only need to generate five to $10,000 of active income each year without depleting their portfolio.

Jessica 24:55
So this means they could sort of scale back work on lot, they could just do like fun side hustles or fun part-time jobs, or just, you know, work very part time on their own business to cover the gap. For me, I love the idea of semi-retirement.

Jessica 25:15
And I love the idea of saying, I’m just going to make money doing things I only want to do and if I can figure out how to do that in a way that covers my full expenses, great. And if not, then I want to get to a point where I can start drawing down and then generating active income to cover the difference.

Chrissy 25:36
So would you say that Coast FI and Semi-retirement are along the same continuum? They, the math is basically the same, you’re just a little bit closer and needing a little bit less in semi-retirement because you’re that much closer to your end goal.

Jessica 25:52
Oh, great question. So I would say in Coast FI, you’re not drawing down yet. Okay. So you’re, right, so you’re coasting, you’re keeping your retirement accounts the same and you’re covering your full cost of living. Whereas Semi-retirement, you might actually start to draw down some of those assets. And then you’re covering a portion though of your living expenses with active income.

Chrissy 26:18
Got it? Does your calculator have this?

Jessica 26:21
Yeah! The awesome thing about the calculator that I love. My husband created it for me. I actually was like, I envisioned this. And he made it except for me, because I you know, he’s better in Excel than I am. And the great thing about it is that it’ll tell you different milestones that you’re at.

Jessica 26:43
So it’ll tell you, right, this is your Coast FI number. And then after the Coast FI number, it’ll tell you how many how much active income you still need to generate each year.

Chrissy 26:54
Wow.

Jessica 26:54
So then it’ll say your next you know, your next milestone is it’ll just $30,000 a year or $20,000 a year or $10,000 a year, are you know that that’s what you still need to generate?

Jessica 27:08
And actually, I have somebody who, a friend of mine in my, my local ChooseFI group, who when I met her, she was like super gung ho ready to, you know, push out, push things out for another year and a half, two years to reach Full FI.

Jessica 27:25
And then when I introduced her to this idea of Semi-retirement, she put her numbers in the calculator and was like, wow, I so I could quit now, and just need to generate $5,000 a year and I could do that like walking dogs.

Jessica 27:42
Yeah, so that so now her and her partner are thinking about taking the leap a lot earlier. And saying like, you know, they feel comfortable being able to say let’s start building our post FI life earlier, which is exciting.

Money Mechanic 27:58
So something interesting that I’ve kind of just been noticing from this whole conversation that we’ve having and I should have occurred to me before but it’s it’s all about the financial independence. We haven’t really talked about the retire early part, you know, as an essential part of this journey.

Money Mechanic 28:14
It’s just it’s, it’s an end, but it’s not the it’s not what it’s all about for many of us. So I just occurred to me that’s really interesting. And the more we focus on the positive life changes that every stage of FI bring to us, the happier you’ll be on the path no matter where you’re at.

Jessica 28:30
Mm hmm. Yeah, absolutely. And it’s interesting it’s, I actually say the like, the one thing you can’t do until you reach Full FI is to retire and never work again.

Money Mechanic 28:44
Exactly. Yeah.

Jessica 28:45
Like that is the that is the only thing that you have to wait until full financial independence to do before then you can scale back to work that do work that you enjoy, you can work part time you can decide to become a nomadic, like a digital nomad…

Jessica 29:02
Or start your own company or take a year off, or, you know, find a job you enjoy more like you can do all of those things at various different stages. Although I still hear many people saying like, Oh, yeah, I have the all these passion projects and companies I want to start, but I’m gonna wait until I reach FI to do it. And I’m like, but why?

Chrissy 29:22
Yeah, yeah, I love that you focus on that, because I think especially those of us who are new to the FI community, we really focus on getting there as soon as possible. It’s just it just seems like that is the way most of us dive into it.

Chrissy 29:36
We just go straight in and just want to get there quickly. But as you get into it, and you realize how long it actually takes, you realize it’s not healthy to just keep go, go go going that way it. It’s just not the best for us mentally, emotionally, even physically. We need to slow it down and we need to really look at what will bring us happiness right now. Not when we’re retired.

Jessica 30:00
So let me ask you guys a question. So Money Mechanic, you talked a little bit about how you really like the Coast FI, approach and Chrissy, it sounds like this approach also resonates with you. How have you incorporated financial freedom into your life before reaching FI?

Money Mechanic 30:18
So for me, what it was, was that on my path, I’ve been maintaining a full work schedule. And I’m very lucky that my partner, my wife also has a full time job. So we also don’t have kids, but we’re both busy, we’re both away a lot.

Money Mechanic 30:36
We’ve always been sort of very career-focused. And I’m not going to say that I don’t enjoy my career because I do but it does come with a lot of stress involved in the job and it comes with a lot of travel. And, and those actually have, you know, sort of positives and negatives.

Money Mechanic 30:51
But the opportunity once they started doing the numbers and as we moved along our journey to FI, I definitely started seeing the the amount of work we were putting into savings and that the market was starting to do its job.

Money Mechanic 31:05
And it’s definitely very motivating when you see compounding actually having a bit of an effect on your portfolio. And it was just that kind of moment of going and doing a lot of reading obviously about every every these different blogs and content creators.

Money Mechanic 31:19
And I think that’s an important part about being content creators, you read and listen to a lot. But anyway, it was, it was that the numbers were starting to speak for themselves and going, Hey, you know what, I’m in my early 40s.

Money Mechanic 31:29
But even if we don’t touch this money, by the time we’re 65, it’ll be a very good-looking portfolio by any standards in Canada. So I thought, well, maybe I can start stepping back from my full time role, continue my existing job, but have a little bit more say of when I go or for how long I go away for or how many shifts or schedules I do a year, and that will give me the time to start developing what it is that I want to do in my free time.

Money Mechanic 31:57
So it was it was a point for me that we’d gotten, we hadn’t realized we were close by until I sort of run the numbers back. And they do come from a lot of assumptions of what the future is going to be. But also realizing that I liked what I did.

Money Mechanic 32:12
I just didn’t want to do it all the time. And then, you know, being a little bit further ahead than a few money sort of gave me that the choice it was the options of how I want to spend my time.

Jessica 32:21
Great.

Chrissy 32:22
And for me, we started a Slow FI lifestyle before we even found out about the FI journey, or the community. The way we’ve done it is we’ve chosen for me to stay at home full time to raise our kids and it has put us behind financially quite a bit because we lose an entire income.

Chrissy 32:43
But for us, it’s been such a great choice because it’s given us the lifestyle that we wanted, where we don’t have to rush around and you know, tag team on the weekends and evenings with their kids. I can take care of most things during the day and in the afternoon before my husband comes home from work.

Chrissy 33:00
We can get a lot done activities, homework, things like that and have the evenings and weekends generally free to do what we want to do. So, even though that definitely hinders us in our FI journey, it’s it’s absolutely been worth it.

Chrissy 33:13
It’s given us a happier, fuller life and we wouldn’t change it for the world. And we’ve also made other lifestyle choices that are based on consciously choosing a slower path to allow us to have a happier life. Now, some of the things we’ve chosen is a lot more travel.

Chrissy 33:30
We like to travel internationally with our kids, and that’s expensive, but we choose to do that because we’ll never get these years back with them. And my husband he has an eye issue where he might lose complete vision and when I we don’t know when it may never happen.

Chrissy 33:46
But he has lost at least half of this vision if not more in one eye. So it pushed him to decide to get his new toy car. Last year he got a convertible classic Mustang and that was, again, another bump in the road to FI.

Chrissy 34:03
But it was something that was important to him, he wanted to be able to do that and drive that car before he lost too much vision and maybe felt unsafe to drive. So those are just some of the ways that we’ve consciously chosen to spend more, or take a cut in income so that we could live a better life now and not have to wait till we’re Full FI.

Jessica 34:23
That’s great. One thing that I also see is that, you know, I think for people who are on this more Slow FI journey, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to wait until they’re 65 to retire anyways, sort of at a rich traditional retirement age.

Jessica 34:43
So for example, like I feel like we are definitely on the Slow FI path because we’re focused on the intentionality right, I think the most important part of Slow FI is the intentional decisions to either make less or spend more to improve your life today.

Jessica 35:04
But at the same time, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t necessarily mean you will retire any later than anyone else, if that makes sense. So we’ve actually found that because we’re designing lives that we love.

Jessica 35:19
We don’t need to do that convenience, spending or that escape spending and we don’t, you know, we no longer have the mindset where we’re like, oh, I deserve this fancy trip, vacation, dinner, toy, etc. Right? Because I work so hard. And my work life is miserable. Right? Right.

Jessica 35:44
I had those, right? And so for us, we’ve actually found that because we are focused on our priorities. And because we have more time, we’ve actually they’re spending so much less money than we did. Before we actually started down this path of designing our lives, to the tune of like $17,000, less in the first year of just, you know, it would be it was things I would categorize as convenience and escape.

Jessica 36:11
It would be takeout meals, right? Sort of convenient, more expensive groceries that we’re going to take less time to cook because we were too tired. It was vacations, it was fancy dinners, you know, and we’re not the kind of people that just spend mindlessly like we’ve never have been…

Jessica 36:35
You know, and looking around and comparing ourselves to the people who we are around we were like, Oh, yeah, we’re doing pretty good. And then realizing with minimal effort that we could spend $17,000 less just because we weren’t miserable felt like we deserved it, you know…

Jessica 36:53
Needed to treat ourselves and you know, and needed to make life more livable. It was just it was pretty incredible to see that. And so surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, I don’t know, our timeline has actually stayed about the same as it was before we actually got on the Slow FI path. And so now we’re, you know, sort of looking ahead and saying, great, we could actually make drastic changes more quickly than we thought.

Chrissy 37:21
That’s incredible. I love that you got that insight. And it’s so true. Yeah. Who would think that choosing to slow down and not earn as much money and not work as hard would actually save you money and get you to the end goal faster?

Jessica 37:35
Right? Yeah, it’s crazy. And other people have seen that as well. So for example, I know Angela, who writes and Tread Lightly Retire Early, she actually a couple years ago, took a step back to work part time as well and actually saw her savings rate dramatically increase even though she lost 20% of your income.

Chrissy 37:56
Mm hmm.

Money Mechanic 37:56
Because it was saved in other parts of her life.

Jessica 37:59
Mm hmm. Yeah, because of that intentionality. Yeah. Right. And that that because she felt like she was sort of like just hanging on, right? When she was like going through with the full dizziness of life. And I, you know, I can identify with that feeling as well.

Money Mechanic 38:14
Yeah, a lot of people can identify with that. Yeah.

Chrissy 38:16
Yeah. And for sure, I know when I wrote a guest post for Bob at Tawcan.com about the cost of being a stay at home parent, and we realized that, yes, it does cost some in the end. In the end, it’s still a net loss.

Chrissy 38:33
But what we found was that a stay-at-home parent does bring a lot of value to the family in the kinds of savings you can achieve because you’re cooking at home or you don’t have childcare. And in our case, I can look after our finances and DIYd our investments for many years.

Chrissy 38:51
And I still continue to be very hands on with our investments. So that’s possibly tens of thousands a year that I bring to the family that I wouldn’t have I’ve been able to if I worked full time and was super stressed, definitely.

Chrissy 39:04
So Jessica, you asked us what kind of lifestyle decisions we made to pursue a more Slow FI type of journey. What about you and Corey? What have you changed? Or how have you lived your life so that you can pursue things more slowly?

Jessica 39:17
We’ve made a number of different choices. So one, I would say that’s the probably the biggest choices in 2019. I started working part time. So I originally started working three days a week at a new job that I started last January.

Jessica 39:33
And originally, we were thinking at some point, I’d go up to four days a week, we were, you know, thinking about our timeline, and like, oh, four days a week would, you know, help us with that. And then I realized that I enjoyed the three day a week schedule so much that I have not increased hours and I don’t plan to.

Jessica 39:52
And I don’t, I don’t think I’m ever going to voluntarily work full time ever again. And I hope that I that I won’t need to. There are a couple other things that we’ve, we’ve shifted. So one of them is around, you know, given that I have a lot more time now, I actually use a lot of that time to work on the blog.

Jessica 40:14
I’m building out my own business right now. And those are things that I’m doing for fun, on the side sort of have to build, like, what would my post fi life look like? And it’s sort of can I build enough income, doing the things I would do anyways…

Jessica 40:32
To be able to make a transition to what my post fi life would look like, but earlier, and so I’m definitely working on that right now in my free time, as well. And then I think one other thing, you know, and this is sort of a little less tangible, is I think both of us so my husband still is working it working full time. And he wants to he’s enjoying that he could take a step back if he wanted to at this point as well.

Jessica 41:00
But we’ve both been really intentional about putting boundaries into place. So to like not work more than we need to and to say no, when we feel like we can and when we when we feel like someone is asking too much, particularly in in a work setting. And then I know for myself I’m, I’m feeling a lot more empowered to just take more time off.

Chrissy 41:23
I think that’s fantastic. You have really set up a situation where you and Corey can really enjoy your life, you’re so empowered in so many aspects of your life, just simply because of the mindset shift. It’s not so much that you’ve changed anything along your journey. It’s a lot of it is the mindset shift.

Chrissy 41:41
And I think that’s a big part of the interview that we want to stress that Slow FI is a mindset, whereas things like Coast FI and Semi-retirement, they are milestones along the path. But Slow FI encompasses all that. It’s, it’s how you approach the journey, the entire journey from beginning to end.

Money Mechanic 42:00
Yeah, and I think that’s also a great point that you brought up there. And that’s why you’ve written the article and why hopefully, our listeners will jump over there and have a read. It’s why you should design your life before reaching financial independence.

Money Mechanic 42:13
Because it’ll give you that option as you move along the continuum to make different choices than you may have traditionally thought you would make, simply just for rushing for the exit sign. Remember, financial freedom isn’t all or nothing. That’s a good quote. I like that one.

Chrissy 42:31
So, Jessica, we had a great time with you today. We could talk with you forever. But we’ll have to end the interview here. Can you let us know or let our audience know where they can find you and read more of your content?

Jessica 42:44
Absolutely. So you can find us on our blog. It’s TheFioneers.com, and then we’re on social, so on Twitter and Instagram at The Fioneers. And then we also have a private Facebook community called Slow FI Enthusiasts.

Jessica 43:40
And so if you were intrigued by what you heard about Slow FI and want to be part of a community with other folks who are focused on Slow FI, you can search for that in Facebook or you can go to TheFioneers.com/FB.

Chrissy 43:18
I’m part of that group. And there’s lots of other Canadians in there. So if you’re interested, you should join it. It’s a great place to be.

Money Mechanic 43:25
Yeah, I’ll be joining that. I didn’t realize that even existed. So there you go. Well, it was an absolute pleasure chatting with you, Jessica, thank you so much for coming on the show. And hopefully we’ll have you on again, because I agree with Chrissy. There’s lots more that we could chat about on this.

Jessica 43:37
Thanks for having me.

Chrissy 43:39
Thank you.

Money Mechanic 43:40
All right. Till next time, bye for now.

Transcribed by Otter.ai

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