My wife said to me the other day “I no longer worry about money.” Which might seem a minor statement, but to me knowing her past this was a major breakthrough. I nearly felt the desire to break out a marching band. 😉
So let me put this into context. Her parents divorced when she was young and her mother raised four kids most as a single mom. My wife grew up worrying about money…all the time. They knew money was tight because if the washing machine broke, her mother didn’t always have the money to replace it. So my wife learned a pattern that there was never enough money and you needed to worry about that fact. So she repeated it all through high school, university and even when we got married.
In fact, shortly after we got married she was upset. She thought she was spending too much, since I never seemed to spend anything. I actually had to show her that I just had a different spending habit. I would save for six months to a year and buy something big, rather than lots of small things. After that she felt a bit better about buying the odd new shirt or a book.
Then I introduced her to the idea of early retirement, and initially she didn’t really care about the idea (but she didn’t hate it either). Until it occurred to her that that while I kept talking about freedom and choice of what do with our time, she could also use that to mean ‘never worry about money again.’ So with that she came on board to the idea of early retirement, but put her own stamp on what that means for her. For example, when she quits working she never wants to do it again: even for fun money. So she will likely work a few more years after I quit full time to build up her own fun money slush fund. Totally her choice. Even in the same household, FI doesn’t look the same to both of us.
In the end, even well before we got to early retirement my wife got her wish. She has enough money now to know that barring catastrophic issues like every insurance company we deal with going bankrupt at the same time or the end of civilization she will be fine for money. We have savings, a paid for home and insurance to cover the obvious big issues.
So what motivates you towards early retirement? Freedom seem to be the most common, but what else?