Financial Independence (FI) gives you the freedom to do what you want in your life without having to worry about money. Unfortunately, not very many people have discovered this concept. Whoever has discovered it and eventually achieved it, is very happy with their life and would never want to go back. FI is even more important if you are an immigrant and that’s what I am going to talk about in this post.
I am writing this right after I finished talking to a fellow immigrant friend over the phone. It had been more than two years since we last talked, so we had a lot of catch-ups to do. Eventually, he asked me about my plans for the future. I told him that I do not plan to work for very long. He told me that he wishes to do the same but does not know how that is possible. So I shared him the basics of FI 101 and told him a little bit about my lifestyle, savings and investments. He got the idea but probably not enough to make him believe that it is achievable. I did not want to bore him with too many details. In the future, I may follow-up if he is still interested share more about it.
I also had a conversation with another immigrant friend yesterday and found out he was interested in frugal living as well. I did not ask him much but I could tell he is thinking about FI even if he may/may not know the concept yet. The point I am trying to make here is that most first generation immigrants are interested in becoming financially independent more than regular citizens, even if they do not know the concept of FI. I can not speak for everyone but a lot of immigrants that came to America for college/university education like I did. They did not come here with the intention of living here forever. I was 19 years old when I came here in 2005 to get a good education, a high paying job, save some money and go back to Nepal and live/work comfortably there. But no matter why you came, life keeps a lot of us here for one reason or the other.
After living in the United States for more than twelve years, I do like this country very much. I have had my moments/phases of culture shock in the past when I probably did not like one or two things in the US. But I have a huge respect towards America and Americans. I do enjoy living here. Even the politics does not bother me like it does to some immigrants. But I also miss my home. Nepal is where I was born and raised and where my parents and families are. There are so many things I miss from home and I cannot fully let go being a Nepali or living in Nepal. I have sensed that other immigrants feel the same way. So a lot of times first-generation immigrants like me are living or trying to live in two worlds at the same time. We still love our native countries but cannot give up our new country.
The family is a big part of our lives. As an immigrant, you are separated from most of your family members. For me and my wife, both of our parents live in Nepal. Grandparents, most of the siblings, and cousins live either in Nepal or somewhere far from here. Most of our relatives live in Nepal as well. This is something not very easy to give up. Our parents have visited us here and we have considered the prospect of having them immigrate as well. But we came to a conclusion that it will not be easy for them to live here. Having to learn a new language, culture, and lifestyle at an old age, and giving up on the social circle they have accumulated for their whole life will be too much to give up. So this leaves with a choice that either we abandon them (kind of) or we live with/close to them in Nepal.
I do not want talk too much about the things we give up by living as immigrants. It is logical that we trade-off one lifestyle for the other, gaining some and losing some. A fair deal right? This is how most people think. Given two choices, most people evaluate them against each other and pick one or the other. Does this always have to be like this? I thought the same until I read a book”Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. He says that when you are presented with two choices, you do not always have to choose between one or the other. Rather, you should think about how it will be possible to get both the options. How can you enjoy the income and lifestyle of the US and still be able to live in Nepal or stay close to your parents and relatives?
This is where financial independence does wonder and this is why most immigrants would become FI if they had the choice. Truth is, everyone has the choice and it is up to you if you want to make it a reality or not. I will discuss more about how you can become financially independent on the next post and why you do not have to wait until you are 65 years old to retire.
Welcome to the world of FI. Keep reading and stay tuned.