It’s been a year since Mrs IS and I jumped off the deep end, into this thing called Flexible Independence. It has been an amusing and wild ride so far. We traveled for several months last year, and had a great time. We couldn’t afford to do so continuously, at least not with a margin of safety in the form of regular and consistent savings. In order for any lifestyle to feel sustainable to us, we need to regularly and consistently be saving for a rainy day. Rainy days come up for sure, and it’s good to have the resources to address them without being forced to sell your assets.
The appeal of the whole thing is flexibility. Last week, flexibility came when I met up with a group of investor friends for a few days. The PoPs family and 1500 Days family were each there, and I had a great time. Last year we went to Omaha, Nebraska, for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting. This year we decided to mix it up a bit, and streamed the meeting live from sunny south Florida instead. It was a lot of fun and featured thought provoking conversations, gourmet coffee (from Grumpy Goat Coffee), plenty of craft beer, and an outstanding 1992 Honda (for Mr PoP and Mr 1500).
The only stock trade activity in the past week was the purchase of 350 shares of Pan American Silver (PAAS) at $15.96. This was one of the potential trades I detailed a couple weeks ago. This company has a typical trading range between here and $20, which gives it a nice level of volatility. The trade is solidly in the green now, and I look to sell up near the top of the range. If the stock price does break the support level in the upper $15 dollar range, I will look to buy a larger tranche of stock down around $14.
Five Changes With Financial Flexibility
Who’d have thought I’d Enjoy the Gym-
I’ve never been much of a gym rat. To be honest, I hated going to the gym when I was growing up. I have always been more of a runner, than a weightlifter. I like to be outside and love the “runners high”. Remarkably, I have really been enjoying the gym. It helps that it is convenient to where we are living, and my schedule allows me to miss most of the crowds. I typically go three or four times per week, and enjoy the variety of activities available. Some days I just want a solitary cardio workout in the pool or on a bike. Some days I hit the weight room. Some days I hit a workout class with Ms. IS. Some days I go to “Kids Zumba” with the Little Man…..which he absolutely loves. So far, so good. The frugal side of me is also thrilled that our family membership is only $39 per month, after reimbursement from our health insurance.
Bonding with The Little Man-
I watch the Little Man about half time, and that has been a great experience. There are trying moments as well, especially now that he is a “three-nager” and is more prone to tantrums, but on the whole it’s pretty great. We go to parks, meet Ms. IS at various times, and soon I’ll teach him to fish. Several of my business associates and friends have kids as well, so we tend to meet up at the parks and talk shop while the kiddos play. As mentioned above, we also hit “Kids Zumba” at the gym. He loves to make noise and jump around. I love to bond with him and see that smile on his face. This summer should see more bike rides, fishing and a couple camping trips.
Parkinson’s Law Holds True-
As I have gained more time, I have found many more tasks to fill it. Some like the gym, are healthy. Some, like volunteering in the community, are fulfilling and energizing. At the same time, I have found that even writing blog posts or researching stocks and real estate deals, takes longer than it used to. As distractions swirl, there is always something else trying to take my attention. Ugh. The good news is that I can scale back my activities in order to be more focused on specific tasks, but the universal truth remains. It takes you exactly as long to complete your tasks, as the time you have available.
Work has been Sporadic-
This part has been a little frustrating. While we don’t need me to bring in income in order to meet our monthly bills, I am someone who very much needs a professional outlet. I get some of that from writing here and ghost writing on other sites, but a lot of it comes from my real estate and engineering consulting. Ideally I would consistently work one or two days a week. Instead, I was slammed with work in September and October…..and then again in January and February. March and April were nearly dead however. I expect things to pick up mid summer again, but I am still working on patience. :/
Flexibility is the key that brings it all together. It is the reason we have structured our lives this way…..and we are so glad we did. When Mrs. IS or I want to go somewhere, we often make it a family outing. When the weather is nice, we decide to go on a last minute bike ride….or walk the beach at sunset. As an added element of Flexibility, site visits are required in less than half of my consulting tasks. That means that I can be out of the area, and still accomplish most of my consulting tasks. Some of my favorite tasks, like writing copy or reviewing advertising campaigns, are completely location independent. I hope to become fully location independent at some time in the distant future, but kids will keep us local for the next several years.
Well there you have it. Five changes I’ve experienced after a year of Flexible Independence. We don’t regret the change at all, and it will get even better once we have housing nailed down. In the mean time, we are having a good time and continually tweaking our preferred lifestyle. Your ideal life is out there, get out and live it!
What would you be doing, if you have more flexibility?