Those who are financially independent justify their desire to be free from their daily grind. This grind supposedly allows us to earn enough to retire on and enjoy our decades of hard work. In a way, it does seem ironic that we spend the majority of our lives working towards sustaining our existence for the last few decades of our life.
I started to reflect on why I go to work every day (other than that I like practicing medicine), and the ways that a full-time job negatively impacts my life.
Just as how conferences are bad for your health, working through the daily grind can also be bad for your health. My consumption of junk food increases while my exercise frequency decreases during a busy work week. I am unfortunately in a field where I still have to deal with patient and administrative care outside of the normal working hours. Even though my working hours are relatively sane, the work does carry over into my personal time. I certainly experience the typical aches and pains after a long day/week of work. The most common ailments that I hear about include musculoskeletal pain (upper and lower back pain) from over working. The likely result of over working, lack of exercise, and poor dietary habits is increased heart disease, obesity, and poor health. Is that what you want to have after 30 years of hard work?
Stress from work
Along with physical health ailments from the daily grind, there is a level of stress involved. My dentist tells me that he notices that I have evidence of teeth grinding (bruxism) on my molars? Grinding? Me? No way! The truth is that there are issues that probably linger subconsciously and cause stress in ways that I don’t visibly perceive. If I didn’t subject myself to this daily torture, would I grind my teeth less? Probably.
Stress from bills
Bills suck. Utilities, internet, cable, phone bills, car payments, mortgages, credit card bills, and various cash bills all dig into our bank accounts. Most of us keep our day jobs in order to afford these luxuries. Whether we are aware, these expenses contribute to our anxiety. I curse my internet provider every time they increase the rates. Sure, you can threaten to cancel your service, but how much of your time can you waste waiting on the phone dealing with customer service trying to talk you into upgrading your service? My blood surely boils when that happens.
Decreased time with other activities
If you’re working, that means that you aren’t at your kids’ baseball games. For that matter, any time that you are at work or dealing with work-related issues, you probably aren’t doing anything that you would other be doing, whether it’s reading a book, shopping, research, or exercising.
I consider the luxury of time to be a good motivator to strive for financial independence. The more time I want outside of my normal job, more I should aim to become financially independent. Am I there yet? Not even close. Will I get there? Absolutely.
Financial independence affords you the time to do what makes you happy. If happiness involves working at your normal job, then consider yourself lucky. For everyone else, stick with your financial plan.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr)