Getting Started, Goals

Writing a Financial Independence Mission Statement

Laying the foundation to build our journey towards FI

Writing a Financial Independence Mission Statement can help to articulate and crystallize the framework for your journey forward

Earlier this week I really enjoyed the latest edition of Paula Pant’s Afford Anything podcast with the New Year’s topic of “One Tweak a Week in 2019”. The action item that particularly resonated with me was the concept of creating your “Why?” in 100 words or less: Why are you so interested in, and committed to pursuing the path towards Financial Independence?

Maybe it could be called a Purpose Statement or a Mission Statement; for the sake of making a decision and moving forward I’ll just go with the latter in this post.

I had never really thought about a Mission Statement outlining my reason and rationale for pursuing FI; ever since becoming familiar with the concept it just felt intuitively aligned with what I wanted to achieve and how I would prefer to live.  

Recently I’ve developed an interest in creating Mission Statements, but I am still trying to follow through on the creation of these. I’m told that Mission Statements can be created for various dimensions of your life: Work, Family etc. Overall, I think it makes a lot of sense because:

When you can clearly articulate what it is that you believe in and are working towards, you have a much higher probability of success.

In a way I guess it shares some similarities to the goal setting I completed for 2019 in my recent post, however I believe this FI Mission Statement should be more of a holistic summary, outlining a long-term and overarching vision. In the true spirit of “just getting started”, let’s take a stab at this:

My Financial Independence Mission Statement:

“We are seeking to increase our savings rate and accelerate our journey towards a life of Financial Independence. Spending less on material goods will simplify our life, be healthier for the environment, and allow us to focus on what matters most. Financial Independence offers the ultimate freedom: The ability to spend your time and efforts focused on the people and endeavors that deliver you the most enjoyment and meaning. This journey should be enjoyed, and will be the result of an accumulation of many positive choices and practices that compound over time, along with our net worth.”

Well, what do you think? Once I got started it became a challenge to squeeze in all these thoughts and concepts into 100 words or less. I feel pretty good that it captures the key elements that are important to me, and I do think this could be something that is pretty durable for the long-term.

You’ll notice there is no mention of escaping from the corporate world or W-2 jobs, and that’s the way I want it. I see FI as something where I’m being pulled towards a life that is more desirable, rather than being pushed away from the grind of regular employment.

There are also no specific goals: savings rates, net worth, date for achieving FI etc. That makes sense for me: the reality is that life will throw us curve balls and these targets will fluctuate over time depending on the circumstances we are facing in that moment. I’m thinking of my Mission statement being the foundation and structure of my journey, much like the constitution is the foundation that sets up the government. My annual goals for the year can serve to capture the more near-term and tactical objectives that I want to achieve.

What about you?

Have you created such a statement for your journey? I’d enjoy seeing and hearing about statements that others have created, and the opportunity to compare and contrast the elements of each.

I think Paula also put out the concept that you could use this Financial Independence Mission Statement as a screensaver on your phone, as a regular reminder of what you’re working towards; She’s full of great ideas!

Save, Savor, and Soar!