Don’t let a mortgage limit your life choices
About 20 years ago I had a chance to move and work abroad with a very unexpected last minute opportunity. I didn’t take it, primarily because I had just taken a mortgage on a small place that was going to be my first home whist I started my working career in the U.K.
I don’t regret not taking the opportunity (and on reflection it was probably the better choice as it allowed me to focus on building a stronger career base, but that’s not the point of this article!)
I remember being angry that my life choices were limited by a large and difficult to unpick financial arrangement. Flexibility is something I never even considered as I signed up to the commitment, it was just the ‘adult’ thing to do. The privilege of home ownership has this one massive downside. A lack of flexibility.
Fast forward 20 years or so and I’m mid career with a larger mortgage on a family home. And I can’t help but feel that nagging feeling, itching away at the back of my mind again. I don’t want to be forced to limit choices just because of a mortgage.
So I’m changing the rules. I define my circumstances and choices. I’m buying back my time by not having to work the career with the best pay check.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about two areas related to this goal. FIRE and Minimalism.
FIRE — Financial Independence, Retire Early. A lifestyle movement focussing on frugal living now to allow you to retire much early than a traditional retirement age.
Minimalism — Ensuring you know what’s important to you and cutting out all the other superfluous stuff. Google Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus to learn more.
What’s on my mind is a mixture of elements from both of these topics. I don’t want to retire early, I want flexibility of my time. I want to choose work on my terms, not driven by a minimum required income. And I want to spend my time on the things I know are important to me.
One way to do this is by making loads of money! By having your pick of any job out there to maximise your income. In the book “So good they can’t ignore you” by Cal Newport there is a story about a programmer getting…