What’s Your Findependence Day?

I just finished reading Findependence Day by Jonathan Chevreau, the personal finance columnist for the Financial Post.  Findependence Day is a fictional personal finance story that follows the lives of a young debt-ridden couple’s long journey to financial independence.

I’m sure many Canadians will identify with this story as it guides you through all of life’s major events – like getting out of credit card debt, buying your first home, having children, changing careers, learning how to invest and knowing who to trust with your money.

Findependence Day

Findependence Day is short for Financial Independence Day, or the day when the income from your investments and all other sources exceed your income from full-time employment.  It’s the day that you no longer need to work for the man.

The premise is to pick some date in the future when you believe you’ll achieve Financial Independence.  There’s great power in drawing a line in the sand and saying this is the day.  If you fall behind, take steps to speed it up.  If you think you’ll overshoot, you can take a few more days of vacation.

The Story

After being humiliated about their credit card debts on a national TV show the hero of the story, 28-year old Jamie Morelli, declares his personal Findependence Day will be the day he turns 50.  Jamie’s wife Sheena is slow to buy into the “guerilla frugality” mindset needed to save and invest.  Jamie ignores her wish to buy real estate and jumps into the stock market just before it crashes.

Shaken, but not undaunted, Jamie looks for multiple streams of income.  He aims for the big score when his hobby blog attracts interest from venture capitalists and a major Internet site.  After he is betrayed by a business partner, Jamie’s world falls apart, threatening his dream of early financial independence.

Rather than simply preaching some personal finance rules to follow, this book gave an honest portrayal of a typical Canadian family struggling to balance their financial priorities.  It showed the importance of not only having a financial plan, but keeping your plan updated as you move through life’s major events.

What’s Your Findependence Day?

This book made me think about my Findependence Day.  I never really latched on to the idea of early retirement.  I’m on track to retire and collect my full pension at 57, which is 25 years away.  But I enjoy my job, so getting paid to do something I like is definitely a bonus.

That’s why the concept of Findependence Day is so intriguing because it doesn’t necessarily mean retirement.  When you reach Financial Independence, you can keep doing the things you’ve always done – but now you’re doing it because you want to, not because you need to.

In order to reach Financial Independence we will need our mortgage paid off, have both of our tax free savings accounts fully funded, and ensure that our kids are financially prepared for post-secondary school.  I think we can reach Findependence Day by the time I turn 50.

What about you – what’s your Findependence Day?

Leave a comment below for the chance to win a free copy of Findependence Day.  I’ll announce the winner of the book on Friday March 2nd.


37 Responses to What’s Your Findependence Day?

  1. Interesting concept of findependence day. I’m not sure my investments will ever replace my current salary, but I’m intrigued. I always require a firm plan and date to make me stick to my commitment. Sounds like a good read.

  2. I dont have a Findependence day figured out – yet. But I have just made a plan for the future and would love to read this book to help me set our goals more firmly!

  3. I love the idea of setting a Findendence day As I am very goal orientated! I would love to read the book.

  4. after my recent career change to self-employed, my husband and I are having to re-examine our financial picture – both current and future. We are still working toward a “findependance day” but our journey is looking quite different than it used to. This sounds very interesting!

  5. After twenty five years of making poor financial decisions, I’m slowly making up for past mistakes. Unfortunately my findepedance day will hopefully be when I’m sixty. I feel lucky to have sites like boomer and echo and others to improve my financial literacy and believe we must do more to educate our children and ourselves. Their are few if any financial advisers that are not trying to sell you something. Once we understand we can succeed.

  6. I think the key is ‘keeping your plan updated as you move through life’s major events.’ Often times I think I couldn’t possibly switch jobs because my plan is totally based on my current salary. Need to remember to stay flexible!

  7. Love this book! I just finished it myself. It makes you feel empathetic, frustrated and relieved (sometimes all at once), but most of all it inspires you to take control of your own financial future.

    Findependence Day – Age 56 (30 years)

  8. I’m still not buying into the idea of there being a breakpoint in my life where I go from working to not working and relying on investments for my income. I have an associate I work with who’s well into his 70’s, still works as many hours as I do.

    Right now I work lots, and take time off when needed/desired. Maybe in the future I will change that balance a bit, but I don’t intend to simply give up work. No way am I going to go fishing everyday, or fill my entire day every day with household chores.

    Investments and savings can get me to the point where I’m OK financially if I’m unable to work. But for me it’s a disability policy for my later years, not a work replacement program.

  9. I like my career (teacher) too. I feel as though I am in semi retirement because it is less stressful than being a CFO. I achieved financial independence a long time ago (27 years) and have been able to do many of the things I just wanted to do. It makes a big difference in your choices.

  10. This is what we at Debt Freedom Financial do every day for our clients. We provide them with the amount of money they will need (future dollars) on day one of retirement based on when they want to retire. We then show them how much they need to save/invest to achieve that target. We restructure their debt and then build appropriate portfolios to help them to Findependence Day.

  11. I read the opening chapter somewhere on line and it was a fun read. I vaguely remember you can buy the book directly from him for a much better price than that offered on Amazon though.

  12. Hey guys, thanks for the comments. I didn’t realize that the book was only available directly from Jon Chevreau’s website. I’ve updated the links in the post to go directly to his site for a much more reasonable price of $16 :)

  13. Sounds like a great concept. Thanks for keeping your readers informed of things like this! Would love to win a copy of the book!

  14. Just came across your site today, I’m not even sure how, but I love it!! I haven’t heard of this book nor this concept. I actually just checked my work pension this morning and should be able to retire in 26 years with my full pension. My husband and I have recently become debt free and are looking for ways to invest, etc. This Findependence Day sounds wonderful!! I would love to win a copy of this book – if not, I will definitly go out and read it! You have a new fan!! Thanks!

  15. I think I’m generally aiming for freedom 55. I know my husband has an exact date he’s planning to retire-as soon as he can collect “early” (but reduced) pension from his job.

  16. I was just looking for a new finance book to read (and to give to my fiancée to read)! Thanks for the review.

    We have good jobs and are getting ready to buy our first home. We’ve been talking a lot lately about learning how to invest (in addition to our TFSAs, pensions and mutual fund rsps), so want to start doing more research.

  17. I also enjoyed this book. In fact, I’m glad that you wrote a review because this book hasn’t received the exposure it deserves. The publisher went bust immediately upon the book’s release, so Jonathan had to buy the entire initial print run and then try to sell them off his site without the power of the publisher’s publicty. I also reviewed his book on my site.

  18. Thanks for the review and kind comments. Indeed, while the book was originally in Chapters upon launch, currently the only way to get it is via my site and PayPal: http://www.findependenceday.com. But since I’ve cut out the middlemen, I’ve passed on the savings: $16 includes postage, roughly half the original retail price. Happy to sign them “Hope your Findependence Day comes early” on request. I also sell cartons of 36 copies at an ultralow price to financial advisors and the industry.

  19. Jonathan, when will you be shipping the books? I ordered one from your website. After reading, I will discuss the 36 to a box.
    Sharon, Debt Freedom Canada

    • Sharon, I usually ship them the same evening I receive the order, or at worst the next day.

      • Thanks Jonathan. I ordered it on Feb 22th paid via paypal. Have not received it yet. I am in Canada, may make a difference, I’ll wait a week.

  20. I did receive your order and am pretty sure I mailed it out because I remember your town but once in a blue moon Canada Post fails to live up to its half of the bargain. Happened once before and I sent a 2nd copy to the aggrieved party. If you don’t get the original package by midway next week, I’ll put another in the mail.