Tong (Toni) Liu MD is a Cartoonist, Life Coach, and Family Physician focused on women’s preventative care. View profile
One of the top stressors for couples is money.
Just a century ago, there were very clear rules for who served as the “Breadwinner” for the household.
In modern society, however, women have rightfully gained the opportunities to work and support themselves!
However, old traditions can still run deep on a subconscious level.
Many women still end up the primary caregiver for their families, either by choice or pressure.
What if there was a way to create your own Breadwinner, completely separate from you AND your partner?
Now there IS such an option.
It’s called “Financial Independence (+/- Retire Early)” – the “FIRE” movement.
It sounds hokey, but it has worked for so many people, and it can be reproduced by ANYONE.
Most of us have never been taught anything about finances, including myself. This is probably why the average savings rate for Americans is an appalling 5%.
Wealthy people understand the power of compound interest. Money can actually make more money; money can work FOR you, rather than you working FOR money.
Isn’t the Stock Market just Gambling?
I used to be completely against investing in the stock market. I saw it as gambling and too risky, especially for someone as risk-averse as I was.
Individual stocks for individual companies may be too risky, since you could lose everything you put into it if the company went bankrupt.
However, a well-kept secret is a type of stock called an “Index Fund,” such as the S&P500, which is the average of the 500 top-performing companies.
They can never all go bankrupt at the same time. If one company does poorly and drops out of the top 500, you will automatically get the new one who takes its spot.
This is like betting on the casino – the casino may win and lose money to players, but OVERALL the casino ALWAYS wins (that’s how they stay in business).
Learning about Index Funds and how ANYONE can make an Investment Portfolio and reach Financial Independence, was life-changing.
And the math is surprisingly simple.
Calculate the amount you need to save up with this FIREcalculator (https://www.firecalc.com/)! It tells you, with your current living expenses, income, and savings rate, how many years you’d need to work to achieve Financial Independence.
Even with fluctuations, overall your money grows by 6-8% interest each year once invested (and there are even some stocks who pay you money regularly called “dividends” even if the company did poorly and lost money).
The Ultimate Freedom
If you save up enough so that 4% of that interest can fully cover your living expenses, then you have achieved “Financial Independence.” Meaning, you NEVER need to work for money again. You know you will be ok if you NEVER made another cent in your life.
You will have more freedom, control, and power over your life. You can say yes only to the jobs that excite you, go part-time, or do volunteer work that lights you up, rather than feeling you ever “have to” take a job ever again because you need the money.
This is SO powerful. It means that your Portfolio will be the Breadwinner for you, your partner, and your family. Your Porfolio will make money for you while you sleep, and will always be there for you to rely on.
Questions and Concerns
I know there are still so many fears and uncertainties, such as what if the stock market does really poorly or the laws change?
The Index Funds have recovered from all the stock market crashes and depressions in history, and ended up even better off than before.
The stock market even recovered after Covid-19 hit. It dropped in March but now, just 6 months later, is back to where it was, and doing even better!
Can FIRE work for me?
YES!! FIRE is not a myth, or accessible for only the high income earners.
ANYONE can do it, with some planning, discipline, and taking a long hard look at what truly brings you joy and what are just excessive expenses that you’re spending just because society tells you you “should.”
The point is not to deprive yourself. Everyone’s living expenses and “FIRE number” will be different.
The FIRE movement empowers and brings more mindfulness to our financial choices, which in turn will improve all other areas of our lives.
There are some details which I felt may be too overwhelming to share in this article. I’m more than happy to send you resources and/or sit down with you to discuss more! Reach out to me anytime or comment below.
We live in a fast-paced, ever-changing society. The role of Breadwinner doesn’t need to belong to men or women. We are not boxed in. Let’s break boundaries together!
Short Article Review
- Money is a huge stressor for couples and a root cause of arguments.
- Men have been the traditional “Breadwinner,” but now women are leveling the playing field. But what if there was a 3rd option?
- Financial Independence (+/- Retire Early) “FIRE” movement states that you can set up money to make more money for you by using broad stock market Index Funds.
- These are less risky than individual stocks and there is zero chance of you losing all the money you put in.
- Once 4% of your investment profits cover your living expenses, you never have to work for money again. Your investment Portfolio will be your Breadwinner, and you and your partner will have more freedom, ease, and power over your precious time and energy!
The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, tax, investment, financial or other advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed professional regarding any financial questions you may have.
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