I just finished reading Findependence Day by Jonathan Chevreau, the personal finance columnist for the Financial Post. Findependence Day is a fictional personal finance story that follows the lives of a young debt-ridden couple’s long journey to financial independence.
I’m sure many Canadians will identify with this story as it guides you through all of life’s major events – like getting out of credit card debt, buying your first home, having children, changing careers, learning how to invest and knowing who to trust with your money.
Findependence Day is short for Financial Independence Day, or the day when the income from your investments and all other sources exceed your income from full-time employment. It’s the day that you no longer need to work for the man.
The premise is to pick some date in the future when you believe you’ll achieve Financial Independence. There’s great power in drawing a line in the sand and saying this is the day. If you fall behind, take steps to speed it up. If you think you’ll overshoot, you can take a few more days of vacation.
After being humiliated about their credit card debts on a national TV show the hero of the story, 28-year old Jamie Morelli, declares his personal Findependence Day will be the day he turns 50. Jamie’s wife Sheena is slow to buy into the “guerilla frugality” mindset needed to save and invest. Jamie ignores her wish to buy real estate and jumps into the stock market just before it crashes.
Shaken, but not undaunted, Jamie looks for multiple streams of income. He aims for the big score when his hobby blog attracts interest from venture capitalists and a major Internet site. After he is betrayed by a business partner, Jamie’s world falls apart, threatening his dream of early financial independence.
Rather than simply preaching some personal finance rules to follow, this book gave an honest portrayal of a typical Canadian family struggling to balance their financial priorities. It showed the importance of not only having a financial plan, but keeping your plan updated as you move through life’s major events.
What’s Your Findependence Day?
This book made me think about my Findependence Day. I never really latched on to the idea of early retirement. I’m on track to retire and collect my full pension at 57, which is 25 years away. But I enjoy my job, so getting paid to do something I like is definitely a bonus.
That’s why the concept of Findependence Day is so intriguing because it doesn’t necessarily mean retirement. When you reach Financial Independence, you can keep doing the things you’ve always done – but now you’re doing it because you want to, not because you need to.
In order to reach Financial Independence we will need our mortgage paid off, have both of our tax free savings accounts fully funded, and ensure that our kids are financially prepared for post-secondary school. I think we can reach Findependence Day by the time I turn 50.
What about you – what’s your Findependence Day?
Leave a comment below for the chance to win a free copy of Findependence Day. I’ll announce the winner of the book on Friday March 2nd.