A lot of talk about financial independence has to do with the journey, and not the destination. All of that stuff is very important and the journey is probably the most difficult part, but what about once we become financially independent? What do we do then? Is life going to be sunshine and rainbows all of a sudden, and all of our worries will disappear? I don’t think so. Just as it is important for you to have a reason to want financial independence, you need to have a purpose after you achieve it. For some of us, if we keep working after financial independence we will find that fulfillment.
The 7 reasons to keep working after financial independence are:
- You actually like your current job
- You just want to work fewer hours
- You want the benefits
- You want to change careers
- You want to become an entrepreneur
- You want to find purpose in some other way
- You want to “Barista FIRE” or “Coast FIRE”
Some people like their job or like working in general. Sometimes it is just the satisfaction of not being reliant on work income that we want. Whatever the reasons are, if they are important to you then you should follow them in your own life.
You actually like your current job
If you are in this situation then congratulations. No job is going to be perfect, there is always going to be something negative. There are good times and bad times, but if you like your job enough to where you want to stay in it then that is perfectly fine. If you have already achieved financial independence then it can allow you to be so much more in control. Even with the best jobs, job security is pretty much a myth. Anything can happen, but If you were diligent enough to achieve financial independence then you really don’t need to worry about job security.
With newfound financial independence, you also gain a power that probably no one else has. You can be confident, and quite blunt if you really want to. You have an advantage when it comes to any negotiations now. Even though you enjoy your job, you can do things like ask for more time off, flexible hours, remote assignments, etc. You lose any and all fear of being fired or let go because you are financially independent after all. You don’t have to work, you are choosing to do it. An employer is now essentially powerless over you.
You just want to work fewer hours
There are a lot of unseen benefits of work beyond just a paycheck. Having a job adds a good deal of structure for most of our lives. It gives us a schedule. It gives us a routine. For a lot of us, we need these things in our lives or else we begin to feel a sort of depression. Now that you are financially independent you can safely cut back on the hours at work if possible or get a different job that is part time.
Part time work still allows you to have a sort of structure, schedule, and routine in your life except that there is a lot more wiggle room. You can reduce total days worked per week or just total hours worked in each day. Whatever you see fit and is the most beneficial to you. After all, you wouldn’t necessarily need the money. In addition to the structure, the social aspects of work are highly underestimated. A lot of your friends naturally just come from where you work. Working part-time will allow you to maintain social connections with coworkers.
We are highly social animals and we might not realize how much social interactions take place at work. If you have ever been on an extended vacation then you might have noticed how much less you interact with people. A workplace brings a sort of familiarity. For some people that familiarity is an important component of their lives, part-time work allows a good balance.
You want the benefits
Besides direct money from a paycheck there are plenty of other benefits that could be included when you continue working, even when already financially independent. The biggest one that usually comes to mind is health insurance. The cost of private health insurance can be tremendous, but if an employer has a good health insurance plan then those costs can be significantly less for you. The same could be said about other insurance plans like dental and vision. Keep these benefits in mind when you are deciding if it is time for you to leave your job or not. For some workers like government employees, their benefits are a huge portion of their total “earnings”.
Some places also have other types of benefits known as “fringe benefits” which could be really nice like free food, company car, gym access, employee discounts, office parties, etc. Every (good) employer usually offers their own set of unique benefits that you could enjoy enough to make you stay even when you have reached financial independence. Don’t forget to keep benefits in mind when you are calculating your financial independence either, sometimes they are vastly understated until you lose them
You want to change careers
Financial independence gives you the best opportunity to pursue a different job or career. It is essentially risk free because you are able to fully support yourself without income from work. If you have always wanted to see what it is like to work in a particular field or a particular job then you can just go for it. The pay shouldn’t really matter to you anyway since you do not need it. You can try something fun like Scuba instructor, Hollywood stunt person, or Water slide tester, whatever it is, you can do it.
Sometimes we want to try different things in life but our jobs and money are holding us back. That is no more thanks to financial independence. If you want to try something that takes a little bit of training then that too is no big deal since you have the means to support yourself unlike a lot of other people that dream about doing the same thing. Changing careers no longer has to be scary because you have your independence to fall back on.
You want to become an entrepreneur
Becoming an entrepreneur doesn’t have to be risky. If you are financially independent then you have nothing to lose really. There are many different kinds of businesses that you could start up at a low cost. Since you can support yourself financially without the need of the business succeeding you can wait out periods of bad times and get through the roughest first years that all businesses experience. If you weren’t able to support yourself financially and the business experiences continuous losses then usually you would simply go out of business. If you can support yourself then you can keep trying until you succeed.
Thanks to the internet I am an entrepreneur for creating this website. My business has cost me very little in the beginning and very little in recurring expenses. The internet is an awesome tool for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit. It also allows us low cost entry into so many things. If owning your own business sounds great to you then you can do it and not be completely devastated if the business does not succeed. At the same time, you have access to more time to put into the business if you wish to help it succeed.
You want to find purpose in some other way
There are lots of things you could be doing in an attempt to “find your purpose” For some, that means working on a farm. For others, that is full time volunteering abroad for very little pay. Whatever it may be, you now have the opportunity to go for it because money is not the limiting factor. We, humans, need to have a purpose, we must have a “why” or else it is very difficult to get up in the morning. Go find your purpose and rest easy knowing that there isn’t going to be any real financial consequences.
Doing these “odd jobs” could lead you to have some very interesting experiences. Who knows where you could end up. You could try working on a cruise ship and see where life takes you. Or you could be the caretaker of a private island. Who knows, you could run the front desk of a hostel in Xyz country and see who you meet along the way. The possibilities are endless, and if you are FI then the risks are very low.
You want to “Barista FIRE” or “Coast FIRE”
Okay so in this scenario you are after a different type of financial independence. Barista FIRE means that you get an easier job and only need it to supplement your investment income. If you can follow the 4% rule and then supplement it with an easy part-time job then you are considered to be “Barista FIRE”. I discuss this type of financial independence in a lot of depth in this article that I wrote.
If you are after “Coast FIRE” then you technically have not achieved financial independence just yet. However, you still have a large sum in investments that you can leave to grow on its own. Perhaps now you can live off of part-time income or a more enjoyable job. If you are going to “Coast FIRE” then you don’t need to be contributing to your investments forever. Instead, you let compound interest do its thing and multiply your money for you over time. I talk about Coast FIRE in much detail in this post that I wrote.
There are many different reasons why you would want to keep working after achieving financial independence. One of the most common reasons is to try and find a purpose in your life. We as humans need to feel like our lives have meaning, and we often derive that meaning from the work that we do. Whether you want to continue working in your regular job, switch to part-time, keep the benefits, change careers, start a business, find purpose in some other way, or Barista FIRE it is your decision. Becoming financially independent is no easy task, but doing so will open up a world of opportunities for you.