“What’s your FI number? What’s your FI date?”
People often talk about financial independence like it’s a fixed, static point. When your portfolio reaches $X value, or your monthly passive income is $Y per month, you’re FI.
“When did you reach FI?,” people will ask, as though it’s a one-way door with a distinct date, comparable to graduating from high school or college.
Today’s podcast guest, J.D. Roth, offers a fresh perspective: FI isn’t a fixed point. It’s a continuum, a spectrum.
He says there are seven stages along the road to financial independence, which include:
1: Dependence: This is what we experience when we’re five years old: total reliance on someone else.
This is also what we experience as adults if we depend on our credit cards for basics like groceries and utilities, and we can’t pay the balance in full at the end of the month.
2: Solvency: You can make your minimum payments, and you’re not adding new credit card debt to your monthly balance.