Family of Four Taking Flight to Financial Independence

What’s Important For Your Quality Of Life?

Once you reach FI (financial independence), you are no longer tied to a job / location.  You will automatically gain more flexibility in life.  

With that said, if you could go anywhere ... would would you live?  What is stopping you now?  What’s important for your quality of life?  What would make it more positive?  Or even ...where you are now, what is important to you?  What makes your quality of life a positive experience?

For many people being near loved ones (family and friends) is very important to their quality of life (and depending on a person’s situation, sometimes necessary!), but let’s put that aside for now / for this post.  Spending time with family and friends IS important to us, but for our situation / time in our lives we are weighing other factors too.  And like we’ve said before, FI will give us the flexibility to travel and spend time with family and friends too (okay, not counting COVID-19 in this right now).

So what improves your quality of life?  City?  Suburban?  Rural?  Warm?  Cold?  Near a beach?  Near mountains?  Those are just a few factors to consider ... what else improves your personal quality of life?  For many families that live in our area (Greater Houston area) ... it often comes down to their own space (lots of space!), a nice big yard, safe and family-friendly neighborhoods, big trucks (hey, it is Texas!), access to everything you need, good schools, and more.  (Not everyone ... but many!).  And often that is what families are looking for in general in America.  But what if we thought about quality of life differently?  What if we had more flexibility because of FIRE (financial independence retire early)?  And that is where we are in our journey right now...

We just moved to Houston’s Museum District so that we can City School this coming school year (and delay Spain / other adventures due to COVID-19).  To say our quality of life improved immediately is an understatement (and bonus the Grandparents are only 30+ minutes or so away, so not too bad).

Fish tacos definitely improve quality of life, no?  I was able to walk and pick these up to go at Bodega’s (Houston’s Museum District).

So what improved immediately?  The apartment is definitely an upgrade, but we are thinking about “homes” differently.  Our home is where our immediate family is ... a “home” can be place (maybe temporary) and your life can be the journey and adventure you are on!  But as far as quality of life ... the walkability of a city / town / neighborhood is high on our list, and that improved immediately.  We’ve taken daily walks in Hermann Park (and bike rides for the kids) and around the neighborhood.  I’ve walked to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and to get a take out.  There are other people out and about (keeping their distance) walking, running, riding bikes, exercising, playing, and more which is not what we are use to in the suburbs.  Houston isn’t known for being a walking city (you definitely need a car), but this particular neighborhood is very walkable.

Soul of a Nation at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Bike ride in Hermann Park.

We are able to enjoy a better selection of restaurants in Houston such as one of favorites - Star Pizza.

Besides walkability, what else is high on our quality of life list?

1) Weather (It would be nice to live or visit somewhere with seasons ... and a place with a much more mild summer than Houston).
2) Nature (Is there nature that we can enjoy?  If in a city ... is there easy access to great parks or nature?)
3) Walkability (Can we walk / bike to everything we need?  Is there public transportation?  Do we need a car?  If we need a car, how often would we need to use it?)
4) Cultural / Activities for Us and the Kids (Family Friendly) (I’m an art educator, I definitely need access to culture!  What types of things are available for the kids?  Are there golf courses since our son / kids golf?  Some of this may of course be dependent on length of time... if we are only somewhere a month (month in Costa Rica?), we may not need easy access to culture... it is important also to experience new things!).
5) Cost of Living (This one is adaptable... meaning we believe we can make our FI number work anywhere in the world.  But if we are in a higher cost of living area, we would make some adjustments such as a side hustle.)

So what else?  I feel like safety, health care, and education are just common sense factors.  Although the education one is adaptable for me since we are considering World Schooling.

So what have we accomplished so far with our move into Houston?  We definitely achieved or at least improved 3) Walkability and 4) Cultural Activities for Us and the Kids ... I would say also Houston in general has a reasonable 5) Cost of Living compared to many parts of the US (although moving from the burbs to Houston - there are some things that are more expensive).

So what about you?  What is positive for your quality of life now?  What would you like to improve?  Can you improve those aspects with FI?

Read Erik’s latest financial post here, and check out our new page Start Here (work in progress!).  Need some assistance reaching FI / FIRE?  Contact us!  We look forward to hearing from you.


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