What’s up Fiery Millennials! For those of you don’t know me, I’m Cody — a 22-year old entrepreneur sprinting down the path to financial independence. I currently run the personal finance blog Fly to FI and co-founded the disc golf company, Arsenal Discs. I am constantly trying my hand at new ventures and hopefully, someday, I can comfortably live off of my entrepreneurial income. That’s the plan anyway!
My Current Situation
After graduating from college one semester early, I traveled abroad in Australia with my girlfriend Lauren for five months. During our travels, our biggest daily concerns were what to eat for lunch and how the weather was looking. When we arrived home on June 26th… BOOM! — I received a punch in the face from reality.
I arrived back in the States exactly 13 days before the start of my nine-to-five banking job. No wonder why they say 13 is an unlucky number. Don’t get me wrong, the job looks great on paper. The pay is generous, my boss is awesome, my team is fun, and the company respects work-life balance. However, despite any of the aforementioned benefits… I still have to sit behind a desk for 8 hours per day, 5 days per week!
Now, this kind of thinking might sound crazy to a “normal” person, but I know that I’m safe here with you fellow FI-Seekers 🙂
There is so much more to life than slogging away behind a computer screen every day at an unfulfilling nine-to-five.
A Typical Day: Then and Now
In Australia, a typical day would look like this:
- Wake up (whenever I felt like it)
- Make breakfast with Lauren (my girlfriend)
- Go to the gym
- Work on Fly to FI and Arsenal Discs
- Make lunch with Lauren
- Do a fun activity (hiking, biking, sightseeing, exploring, you name it!)
- Make dinner with Lauren
- Laptop work / Chill & watch a movie / Go out clubbing (depending on the night)
- Hit the hay!
Now, after coming back to reality, a typical day is far less glamorous. See for yourself.
- Wake up at 5:45 AM
- Shower and wolf down breakfast
- Drive 15 minutes to the train station
- Sit on the train for 1 hour 20 minutes
- Walk 15 minutes to work
- Arrive at work around 8:45 AM
- Sit behind a computer screen for 8 hours
- Leave work around 5:30 PM
- Walk 15 minutes back to the station
- Sit on the train home for 1 hour 10 minutes
- Drive 10 minutes to the gym
- Lift for 1 hour
- Get home at 8:45 PM
- Eat dinner
- Catch up on some housekeeping items (depending on my energy)
- Go to bed
The Pitfalls of the Nine-to-Five
There are so many negative consequences associated with the nine-to-five lifestyle, especially one that involves sitting behind a desk all day. I’ll share with you all of the things that I’ve noticed so far.
It is so incredibly difficult for me to book appointments, complete household chores, or offer my time to help family and friends now that I have this nine-to-five job. I feel like I either have to squeeze all of my “administrative” items into the weekend or the late hours of the night.
Even if the tasks mentioned above seem marginally unimportant, what happens when someone REALLY needs me? I can’t constantly be there if one of my family members becomes ill or disabled. It’s devastating to think about, but it’s the harsh reality of the nine-to-five grind.
An Entrepreneur’s Schedule
As an entrepreneur, I get to choose when I want to work! I can make appointments, complete chores whenever I want, and generously lend my time to friends and family. I’m not constrained to the rigid nine-to-five schedule.
In no way am I saying that entrepreneurship is easy and absent of “real” work. I’ve stayed up until 5 AM working on a passion project before. Why? Because I wanted to! That’s the beauty of entrepreneurship. You are the master of time and commander of your schedule.
Lack of Exercise
Whether you like it or not, exercise is a crucial part of a healthy life. Who cares how much money you have if you aren’t healthy enough to enjoy it?! That’s my philosophy anyway.
Since starting my nine-to-five, my activity level has decreased dramatically. Like I mentioned above in my daily schedule, I still make it to the gym almost every day of the work week … but my sessions feel rushed. This is vastly worse than the multiple hours of exercise I was getting every day in Australia.
No matter how many 15-minute walks I take throughout my workday, it just doesn’t compare. I need to be active! I can’t stand sitting still for long periods of time. This sedentary lifestyle is certainly a detriment to my overall health and I plan to change this as soon as possible.
Ideally, I want to recapture the time to focus on my fitness. As an entrepreneur, I can enjoy a jog, hike, or bike ride on a nice day and get my work done at night. Staying in shape is so important to me and sitting behind a desk isn’t quite cutting it.
Minimal Fulfillment or Autonomy
I don’t know about you, but in my nine-to-five, I often have to work on projects and assignments that I’m not seriously passionate about. As I work on these tasks and projects, I can feel my life hours slowly draining away. It’s miserable!
If you’ve ever thought “Why am I even doing this?” during an assignment, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s impossible to give 100% when your task does not make sense or align with your core values.
The few assignments where I am actually granted autonomy are so overshadowed by these meaningless tasks that I can barely enjoy them. Why should I be forced to spend time working on something I am not passionate about?!
Motivation Through Passion
When I am passionate about something, I’m all in. I could seriously work for 24 hours straight. But that’s only if I LOVE doing it. Financial independence and entrepreneurship will grant me the autonomy to pour my efforts into passion projects.
I truly want to change the world and improve global financial literacy. Performing tedious, meaningless tasks at my current nine-to-five job will never get me there.
Unfortunately, my side hustles don’t generate enough income for me to live of off, but hopefully not for long! Between my disc golf company, the blog, my soon-to-be-acquired real estate assets, and some other entrepreneurial ventures in the pipeline, I hope to gain cash flow independence in one year.
I define cash flow independence as the point where my entrepreneurial ventures and side hustles can support my monthly expenses. At that point, I won’t starve, I won’t be homeless, and I can have a little bit of fun. The basics will be covered. Still gotta figure out this healthcare thing though…
As long as I don’t screw up big time, my multiple income streams will increase and I can slowly upgrade from the bare-bones lifestyle. Don’t worry, I’ll still be living extremely frugally. I’m not about that lifestyle creep.
So, yeah, that’s where I’m at now. Let’s see how long this whole nine-to-five thing lasts. Maybe I’ll go rogue and quit before my one-year goal is up. Am I insane or ambitious? I’d love to hear your feedback!
Cooper The Millennial says
Cody you’re killing it man. You are in such a great position financially, but more importantly a great position holistically. You are doing what you love, creating the life you want to live, and just being a “doer”. All of those things are going to keep you moving forward towards more and more success.
Keep up the good work brother!
Cody | Fly to FI says
Hey Cooper, thanks for reading! I’ve really started to value the “internal locus of control” concept. I believe that if I give something my all, I can achieve it. Failure is my fault and my fault only. Hopefully I can achieve my goals sooner than later and focus solely on the things I have passion for. Thanks again for the encouraging words!
Expat AJ says
Never settle! I wish I could give uo the 9 to 5 in a year, but still got a shit ton of student loans to pay off first. Hopefully in 6.5 years or less 😉
Cody | Fly to FI says
Hey AJ! I was so fortunate to receive many scholarships and come out of college with no student debt. Keep grinding and you’ll get there for sure.