5 SACRIFICES We Made In Our 20s To Be FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT In Our 30s
Today's post is conversational as we discuss some of the sacrifices that moved us along the money journey to become Financially Independent.
Let's talk about 5 sacrifices that we made in our 20s to be financially independent in our 30s.
We became financially independent age 34 and it took us around 10 years to do so.
We did this using a combination of strategies around property investing, stock market investing, career maximisation, and starting a bunch of small businesses.
If you're reading this today and thinking that this journey towards financial independence is an impossible one, I would really suggest having a rethink around how to actually start this journey practically.
Gaining clarity to actually start this journey towards financial independence is usually the hardest part of getting started.
5 Sacrifices To Become Financially Independent
Alright, let's jump straight in.
1. Having More Children
The first sacrifice we made is that we decided not to have more children.
This is a very sensitive topic and one that many people can relate to in different ways.
We are completely aware, to be very clear that having children is not for everybody because raising children is very difficult.
Even we know that it's very, very challenging practically.
And it's very expensive.
So wanted to start off by making that point.
In addition, not everybody can have children as well, so we again, understand that sensitivity.
But a big thing for us was actually our decision to have kids. In case you guys don't know, Mary and I have two sons and they are aged 6 and 8.
There has always been a kinda debate and quite a lot of pressure to try for a third child. Can you relate to this? 🤔
We definitely have had pressure from our parents to try for a girl.
Sticking to 2 kids is something that is more Ken than me, because I was happy to have another one.
But Ken is more a numbers guy and thinks very practically and logically, whereas I'm like, if there's a will, there's a way 😆.
Now we're kind of decided on just 2 children, because it just makes more sense for the kind of lifestyle that we live.
It's still a tricky topic, especially because between Mary and I, Mary definitely wanted to go for it.
But like you say, I think in a relationship, you do need to have that balance.
You can't have everything you want in life, you know, there's always a real trade off.
That's how we approach it and we knew that we wanted to achieve financial independence by a certain stage of our lives.
We needed to be very practical around what it means from a numbers perspective to raise an additional child, so for us, it remains a big topic.
We see it as a sacrifice in our own personal situation.
It would be interesting to know what you think about this idea. Are you someone who has decided that:
- you do not want to have any kids at all?
- might stop at one child?
- you might not have a third child?
We'll be very interested to know, let us know in the comments what you personally think.
We recently asked a question, in the form of a poll to our community on Instagram.
Funnily enough, quite a few people told us that they chose not to have children (at all) to help them reach their financial independent goals, which is quite interesting to us.
It was a choice that they made, not that they couldn't have children, but they chose not to have children.
So it would be interesting to know from you guys, if this decision is something that you have taken personally, to help you reach your goals.
Worth mentioning, if you've not seen the post we made about the real cost of raising a child, you definitely want to see that.
It's really, really quite shocking what it costs to raise a child.
2. Jobs That We Were Passionate About
So sacrifice number two is jobs that were passionate about.
This is an interesting one.
What we're really saying here is that on our career journeys, we had things that we could explore as passions or areas of interest.
But what we actually did was very different. So for example, I did an Accounting and Economics degree, and a lot of my career was in senior finance.
I worked as a Chief Financial Officer and I went down that career path.
A big part of it was because I was going to be remunerated very well, being completely honest.
And that's really worked out for us because all through my career, I was able to hit that six figures quite early on in my journey in my late 20s and earn a decent income.
A big part of our journey was then all about how do we use that money that we are making to help us accelerate our goals towards financial independence.
Not forgetting to mention, I wanted to do other types of jobs, I wanted to work in the charity sector, or to use my skills to contribute in different ways.
So the way I compensated for that was to do, charitable work part time such as volunteering here and there, as a way for me to give back.
Mary, how did you experience this on our journey?
So I'd say that I left the luxuries of the corporate world and my multimedia background to do something totally different, to help expand our wider family business, which running a nursery.
This was something that I had no prior knowledge experience in at all.
But it was something that was already tried and tested, we already had the model and we knew it worked.
So to expand, and to work in that industry, I knew that it was something that we were definitely going to make a profit out of it regardless of the changes from one career to another.
But there was still discomfort in that transition.
Don't forget to mention you had to do a whole new qualification, pass exams to learn the rules around childcare, safeguarding and stuff like that.
I was pregnant, I retrained, changed careers and everything!
It was a lot going on, but there was definitely value in doing so. It was part of what did help us into our journey towards becoming financially independent.
Yeah, and saved us a lot of childcare I should mention as well, because Mary worked in the childcare industry it meant that we didn't have to spend thousands and thousands on childcare costs during those early years.
Therefore, we saved that money, invested it, and that helped to accelerate our journey towards financial independence as well.
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3. Friendships That Didn’t Serve Us
The third sacrifice we made was on friendships that didn't serve us.
This is more of a sensitive one as well because there's a reason why they have that saying:
“You are the average of the five people that you hang around with the most.”
That saying is most certainly true and the thing we learned on our journey is that not all your friends will have the same mindset as you've got.
This journey towards becoming financially independent can be quite a lonely one in many ways because many people may think you're a bit crazy 😏.
Remember, we were doing this before this became the F.I.R.E movement and all of that.
People didn't really understand what we were trying to achieve.
It was very difficult trying to explain to our friends that we're trying to pay off our mortgage or we're trying to create this option of early retirement in our 30s.
It was just very, very unusual, people kind of looked at you a bit weird.
So what we noticed over time, particularly with me anyway, more me than you Mary.
I noticed my friendship circle started to change.
And it didn't mean that I didn't really have those friends anymore, it just meant that I spent less time with them.
I found that I was directing a lot of my a lot more of my intentional time, with friends that had quite similar mindsets, people who are open to playing the game of life differently.
Not necessarily wanting to work till they were 65 or 67 to retire, but who were actually open to doing it in their 30s almost choosing that alternative path in life.
And so hanging around with those people helped to reinforce this belief that it was possible, even for us, being a young black family in the UK.
Having children makes this journey quite difficult.
But having those people around just helped to improve that mindset that we needed to keep going on this journey even though it can be quite challenging.
Pretty much like you said Ken, I kept my friendships because although alot of them went through the traditional route on the 9 to 5, they were also very entrepreneurial.
They had their money making side hustles on the side of their full time jobs, so we were still able to bounce ideas off each other, support and encourage each other as girls do.
4. Expensive Cars, Clothes, and Home, etc.
The next sacrifice was expensive cars, clothes, and home.
We've rolled quite a lot of big things into this one. Mary can you share some insights.
So we decided to move away from buying expensive cars to driving cars, which truly made sense for us in terms of our goals and our lifestyle.
Let's be specific, we used to drive cars made by Audi and Mercedes and things like that.
And over time, our decision and choice to simplify our lifestyles moved us on.
We moved on to driving used cars and we now drive an electric car Nissan LEAF 2013 model.
And we've been driving that for about five years now as part of our journey.
A big part of this journey has been about just that shift away.
I think this is the thing that a lot of people struggle with.
It's that shift away from doing something the way that everybody else does it to doing it how you want to do it.
That's why I mean that it was a no brainer for us.
Also, there was the move to a full Electric Vehicle (EV) because our lifestyle changed and I stopped working in a city.
So I was not traveling to work by a train and instead I was constantly driving to work and doing the school run using a lot of petrol.
It just made so much sense financially, economically to switch to a full EV.
That definitely helped me change from that mindset of having the nice cars and the the natural progression would have been to get the Audi Q7 or Jeep that we had our eyes on had we still been Audi drivers.
Yeah, the other thing to mention is the place where you live.
Housing costs is one of the biggest costs that people have when it comes to this journey of achieving financial independence.
We chose to live on the outskirts of London even though we could have brought our salaries together and bought a property in excess of maybe £700,000 in London.
However, we chose to actually buy one that cost us around £330,000.
That made a huge difference for us because we took on relatively little debt compared to people buying in London, when it came to borrowing.
We bought a home that really just worked for what goals we were trying to achieve, in a location that we likeed just outside London.
With the current situation with the pandemic (with more of us working from home) and with quitting my corportate job and not needing to travel to London, it was the best decision that we made.
Buying the house also meant that we didn't have to move from a flat into another small flat or small house. But we could actually buy a house, which we are very comfortable in.
A four bed house because we knew we wanted to start a family.
Worth mentioning by the way, there is nothing wrong with living in a flat or a small house.
This journey towards financial independence is a very personal journey.
So you have to do what works for you specifically and for us, for our journey and lifestyle, we were looking for that sort of house, given we were going to have children and had no plans of moving any time soon.
More to read on becoming Financially Independent:
- How To Become Financially Independent In Your 30s
- READER CASE STUDY: How Can I Get My Wife Onboard for Financial Independence
5. Free Time To Rest
The final sacrifice we made was the free time we had to rest.
Wow, our 20s was a graft! I feel like we just hustled so much in our 20s.
Whether it's in a demanding job, running various side hustles, doing an extra degree (I did an MBA) or having children
Haha, there was just so much going on and we were tired a lot in our 20s.
We didn't stop.
So whilst you were studying, you were also working full time.
While I was pregnant, raising children, I was still also working full time.
And we started a side hustle as well, juggling all of this. In addition, I retrained in childcare, so a lot was going on.
I remember my friend saying to me, “Mary, you made it look so easy, like how did you do it?”
When I think about it, it's just all a blur.
I don't really know how I managed because we didn't even sit still to even think about it. We were just non stop!
Early mornings, late nights.
But we knew that it wasn't going to be like that all the time i.e. it was not going to be forever.
It's paid off for us.
Plus, we knew as well that the more you do in your 20s, the more you can see those returns in your 30s due to compounding as a general principle.
We needed to catch up in many ways in our lives.
With me being a first generation immigrant in this country, they were just so many things that we needed to catch up on.
Mary and her parents coming from a similar background too.
So those years in our 20s was just a hard graft.
Can you relate to this?
If you are currently your 20s, do you find that you're grafting a lot more because you're trying to set yourself up really well in your 30s?
Would be great to hear from you guys in the comments below 😀.
What sacrifices are you making now to help you reach financial independence?
Or for those who already have reached financial independence or nearly there…
…what sacrifices did you have to make in your 20s to help you along that journey towards financial independence?
What To Read Next On Becoming Financially Independent>>
- 21 Passive Income Ideas For A Freedom Lifestyle
- To Break Free, You Must First Fight The Resistance
- 7 Steps To Designing Your Financial Life
Watch a video version of this blog post here>>
Dividend Power says
There are always sacrifices in life that is what it is all about. FI is an important goal and it does take sacrifices or trade offs.
The Humble Penny says
Absolutely, 100%! Thank you for stopping by 🙂
Very cool! We can relate to many of those! And as we roll through our early 30’s its great to see the sacrifices pay off. Our 40’s will thank us haha. We’re still working through the 3rd kid or not.. wife wants it, i’m less sure
The Humble Penny says
Haha, Stevo! The 3rd kid is one heck of a negotiation. I’m not sure that I’ve won that one yet.
Scott W says
I made plenty of mistakes along the wat but the biggest sacrifice I made in my twenties and early thirties was to live in a very modest house in a less than great area. I was making good money and all of my coworkers were living in houses 3 to 4 times as expensive as my house but I liked the house and I really liked the low mortgage payment that allowed me to jump start my saving.
I enjoyed your article and especially liked that you included surrounding yourself with the right people. I think that is very important and not talked about enough.
The Humble Penny says
Thank you for reading, Scott. Your sacrifice of living in a very modest house says so much about the mindset that you’ve developed over time. That mindset is gamechanging. Thank you for sharing.