Full text of financial educator Lacey Filipich’s talk: Why you should think about financial independence and mini-retirements at TEDxUWA conference.
Best Quote from this talk:
“I had allowed myself to be worked to the point of physical and mental collapse for a company that would have replaced me within a week if I’d gone under a bus.”
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Lacey Filipich – Author of Money School: Become Financially Independent and Reclaim Your Life’
A decade ago, I was the definition of time poor.
I was on the fast track to a VP role in a major mining company, and I thought my work was so important that I could not afford to take even a single day off. So I didn’t.
18 months… I was working my butt off, sadly, only in the metaphorical sense. In the literal sense my butt was expanding. Thanks to my neglect of everything not related to work, that all came to a halt when I fell ill. And not just a little bit ill, I was bedridden for five weeks.
If you’ve ever had an experience of being ill for longer than you thought of, you know, like a common cold you think is going to be one week, drags into two, drags into three. Some of the feelings are experienced with things like helplessness, like I had no control over my body, like I could do nothing to get myself out of bed, like all that motivation and get up and go that had got me so far in my career, was going to be no use to me.
I also felt hopeless like that bed was going to be my future. I was just going to be surrounded by tissues from crying my eyes out for the rest of my life. And it got so bad that in week four I stuffed myself full of every drug they’d given me and got myself on a plane and flew 4,000 kilometers home to my mummy, so she could look after me.
It turns out that it was a virus that sent me to bed. But it was my poor health choices and my lack of energy reserves that kept me there. As a result of that sickness I’ve lost half of the hearing in my right ear and I now have gold crowns which I call my mouth bling on my rear molars because I split my teeth in two grinding them in my sleep from the stress.
Having your health irreversibly damaged when you’re 26 years old, there’s no fun at all. But it was the wake-up call that I needed.
I decided to take leave without pay and went travelling to South America with my partner. And having now seen it, I can say there’s nothing quite like a man-made marvel such as much you pitch you to put the insignificance of your work into perspective.
Three months later, I had seen six countries and my eyes had been opened to a world beyond work and beyond Australia. And I thought about why I had made work such a big part of my life when there seemed so much more to be discovered. Alas! All good things must come to an end, I flew home and back to work.
When I got back to work, it was a bit of a shock but I soon fell into my old routine. Until three months later my little sister Megan committed suicide; she was 24 years old and I thought she had everything to live for.
Megan’s death brought that idle pondering into sharp focus. I became consumed with questions about why we work ourselves to death, why we spend so much of our time at work not enjoying it and sacrificing so much.
My life to that point was an example like a textbook. I had allowed myself to be worked to the point of physical and mental collapse for a company that would have replaced me within a week if I’d gone under a bus. It seemed like a waste of my time and like most people in personal crisis, I went looking for help.
And I started in the self-help section of a book store, back when you used to like actually go into a bookstore and that’s when I came across Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek, and it was a revelation. Particularly on the topic of time.
It’s no surprise that time poor is the catch cry of our era because it’s our most precious non-renewable resource. We lament the lack of hours in the day to do all that we could want to do. Never mind, that you and I have the same 24 hours a day as Beyoncé or Barack Obama. It just never feels like we have enough time and that’s over the micro scale of a single day.
Over the macro scale of our lifetimes we spend 40 plus of our best years, grinding away, sometimes our teeth at work. And then, finally, we reach the official retirement age and we get to stop.