Make Your Declaration of Financial Independence

In 1776, our nation’s founders made a bold choice. They made a statement with the Declaration of Independence, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Why did John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, and company declare the original Brexit?

  • They had grown weary of increasing taxes.
  • They wanted to create their own rules.
  • They didn’t feel their master had their best interests in mind.
  • They were prepared for freedom.

 

I’m paraphrasing, but these gentlemen felt that Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness were unalienable rights, and they were prepared to fight for them.

What are you Prepared to fight for?

 

Make Your Declaration of Financial Independence

 

This 241-year American experiment has had its ups and downs, but for the most part, I would say it’s been a resounding success. I haven’t taken a formal poll, but I would guess most of us are happy to no longer be under British rule.

When we broke free from the tyranny in the 18th century, we denounced a King. Is there a King ruling over you in the 21st century?

Cash is King, right? I’ve heard that somewhere. We spend the better part of our days working to earn cash, and much of our free time away from that job finding ways to spend our cash.

It’s time to break the mold. Or at least eat around it.

It’s time to declare you’re ready to pursue financial independence.

Why?

 

kids american flags

 

You’ve grown weary of paying taxes.

 

Like our predecessors with the funny hats, you’ve been paying more than your share of taxes over the years. If you’re a high-income professional, you may have grown accustomed to six-figure annual tax bills, or at least a solid five-figure number.

When you can declare financial independence, you’re able to enjoy your freedom without earned income. When earned income ceases, tax bills can, too. An early retiree that has seen the taxman cometh with every paycheck can smile as she watches the taxman leaveth.

Financial independence doesn’t have to be associated with an early retirement, but it’s there for the taking if you like. Pull that trigger, and you can escape the burden of heavy taxation. And you don’t have to throw a single bag of tea into the harbor.

 

You want to create your own rules.

 

The founding fathers were not happy with the King’s rules. From the Declaration of Independence:

“He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

 

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.”

 

The signers of this document wanted to make the rules and not be subject to untenable laws created by an unfit governing body across the sea.


When you declare financial independence, you have the power to make the rules that govern your life. Not interested in attending those committee meetings? Don’t.

Want to work less (like me)? Find a way to make that transition.

Care to cut out the least desirable aspects of your job? Engineer the job that suits you.

Want to sleep in, have a seared sirloin for breakfast, and wear pajamas all day? Have at it.

Travel the world? Why not? The world is your oyster.

You make the rules now.

 

Your master doesn’t have your best interests in mind.

 

Did Great Britain want what was best for the new world? Of course not. Great Britain wanted what was best for Great Britain.

It’s no different with our modern day masters, and if you’re working for a living, you’ve probably got masters. Your employer is a master. CMS, JCAHO, and various governmental entities serve as masters. Your mortgage and student loans are masters. These things dictate how we live our lives.

Declare a desire for financial independence, and you can start to free yourself of those masters, one by one. The fewer masters you have, the freer you become.

 

You are prepared for freedom.

 

The fellas in Philly had their ducks in a row before declaring independence. They were prepared to fight and prepared to govern under a new and improved set of laws. They knew the consequences of their declaration and willingly forged a new path.

Like them, you are preparing your defenses. You’re working on your offense (income) and defense (spending). You’ll amass 25 or 30 years worth of retirement expenses, perhaps by living on half of your takehome pay.

When you’ve crossed the finish line, you can have the freedom you’ve been working for. You’ve developed interests outside of work. You have something to retire to. You’ve got more time for family, friends, your dog or goldfish, and all those things that matter most in life.

 


You’re still not using Personal Capital? Track all your accounts in one place like I do.


 

This Independence Day, make a declaration of your own.

 

If you haven’t put yourself on a path to Financial Independence, today is a great today to realize the many benefits of FI and declare your pursuit of FI.

It won’t happen overnight, and you don’t have to change your life around all at once. But you’ve got to start somewhere if you want to be financially free. For example, you could:

It all starts with a simple declaration. Make yours today.

 

Can you declare financial independence? Or make a declaration of your desire to achieve it? What one thing can you do today to make it a reality?

 

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32 comments

  • I’m FIREd and I live in downtown Philly! Maybe that’s just poetic justice. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m amazed at how low are taxable income is now. It’s so low that I actually make money on Obamacare because the tax subsidy is bigger than the insurance premium.

  • Current tax code certainly seems to disincentivize high earned income.

    I wonder what the FIRE community would be like if capital gains and dividends were taxed at a higher rate than earned income. In this alternate universe, folks would be scheming to keep those sweet low-tax jobs as long as possible!

    Dr. C

    • It’s so true, Dr. C.

      When I did the calculations for part-time work, the disincentive to do more work was quite evident and powerful.

      “Compared to the first ten units worked in a month, the final 6.5 units are compensated at nearly $500 less after tax. Thatโ€™s $500 lower after-tax compensation per surgery center shift, or $1,000 less per hospital shift for those shifts that bridge the gap from 0.6 FTE to 1.0 FTE.”

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • I LOVE the way you link the Declaration of Independence with FIRE ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have declared financial independence and set a date for it on my 33-year birthday in August 2023! Blogging is keeping me on track so far – I have found that it is a much bigger motivation when you know that other people will follow and comment on your progress every month.

    Onwards,
    Carl

  • I think it’s important to remember that the colonists were fighting overwhelming odds – they were outnumbered by the king’s forces and had much less firepower. And the fight for independence was very difficult in the early years – a lot of losses and setbacks. But they persevered and overcame eventually! A good lesson for us today.

    • It’s the King! Run!!!!

      I think you could make another fair comparison here. There are many forces working against us in our fight for freedom. Marketing, easy debt, peer pressure, and the fact that early financial independence is not the societal norm.

      Happy 4th of July!
      -PoF

  • Thanks for the inspirational post, PoF! You have me FIREd up. One change I’m going to make is to review my checking account each week and put excess money into checking. Even though I have an emergency fund, which is quite healthy, I keep too much money in checking. I want to do a better job of transferring that money over to my Vanguard taxable account.

  • Awesome post! Couldn’t agree more. It’s a great wake up call for people to recognize all the masters they are serving at the expense of their own freedom.

  • Jon

    An excellent analogy, POF. You’ve truly been “on fire/en fuego” ( you’re big in Spain a la David Hasselhoff ) for some time now. Your outstanding content is appreciated…

  • VagabondMD

    Enjoyed the blog and historical tie in to the struggle for financial independence.

    Happy 4th to you and PoF nation!

  • Very motivating post PoF! Makes me want to load my black powder musket, flight some red coats, and save more than I spend.
    Happy 4th

  • Happy 4th of July to you too PoF! I am ready and willing to break from the rulers…but still need to get my ducks in a row. Great post and very true. We are the slaves to consumerism and cash. Without a plan we will not break that yolk. Thanks for the motivation. Only 7 to 10 years to go!

  • Gervasio Sanchez

    Simply brilliant!

  • Excellent and inspiring post, PoF! I definitely like making my own rules.

    Happy 4th and Financial Independence!

  • hatton1

    Great post. Happy 4th!

  • RocDoc

    Happy 4th of July PoF! Great message. Fight (and save$) for Freedom!

  • Great post and I love how you connected the pursuit of FI and independence day.

    Freedom was the main motivation for me to pursue and reach FI. It seems to be a pretty common human desire. This is why autonomy is a key factor in motivation and happiness. And why the top regret from those on their deathbed (from a famous palliative care survey in Australia) was “not living a life true to themselves”. BTW the #2 regret was working too much.

    It’s a nice reminder that FI gives us an amazing amount of personal freedom. If you’re still debating, I recommend you take the PoF challenge and start pursuing FI in earnest. It’s worth it.

  • I don’t comment often POF, but I always love your posts. I also love how being FI allows me to write my own rules, and oddly I am a lot more disciplined than I ever was working for someone else. It’s just about living on my own terms and setting my own standards. It also gives me the ability to scale up or scale down depending on what’s going on in other areas of my life. Thank you again for always sharing inspiring posts and all you do for the community.

  • Great post. Achieving financial independence is a lengthy war, not a single battle, so it is helpful to have posts like this to keep the motivation alive!

  • I love it. Now I really want to write a full formal declaration and send it to somebody.

    How’s this for a start? ๐Ÿ™‚

    “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one family to dissolve the consumerist bands which have connected them with debt and obligation and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which free will and Nature’s God entitle them, a respect to the welfare of similarly shackled mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

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