This Is the Dream

this is the dream

I’m writing this from Cape Cod. I’m here with my wife and kids, visiting my parents, brothers and friends. It’s our first time back here since we moved to Florida in April, and we’re about a week through our 2-week stay.

We’ve spent time on the beach, at the pool, getting ice cream, and binge-watching True Detective (what a cool and creepy show!). We’ve all had plenty of time to catch up with each other and reconnect without feeling rushed by a quick departure. It’s been really nice.

And through it all, I’ve been able to keep my business going just like I was home. I’m not working as many hours as I usually do, but I’ve had time to tackle all the normal responsibilities of my job like holding client meetings, doing research, writing blog posts and answering emails. Honestly, it’s just as easy to do all of that here, 1,500 miles away, as it is in the comfort of my home.

A little while back I wrote that to me, the idea of financial freedom really comes down to a single word:


Financial freedom is the ability to do what I want with my time. Simple as that.

I was thinking about that as I sat down to write while the sound of my kids playing with my mom filled the background.

I’m not all the way there. But I’m a heck of a lot closer than I’ve ever been.

The very fact that we could take a two-week trip without answering to anyone, and that I could still accomplish all the things I needed to accomplish to run my business while we’re away, shows just how far we’ve come.

I couldn’t have done this at my old job. Well, maybe I could have (my boss was pretty flexible), but it would have been a lot more complicated and there would have been more people to answer to. It wouldn’t have been the same.

Nice months ago, when I decided to stop looking for a job and start my own business instead, I was scared. I was scared about whether we would run out of money. I was scared about whether I had what it takes. I was scared simply because it was so unknown. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know, and that made me afraid.

And I’m still very far from having it all figured out. I’m not making enough money yet to support our family so our savings is still holding us over. I still worry about whether I’m good enough to make it work.

And I still don’t even have all the logistics figured out. I should have done more to work ahead before this trip, and I should be doing a better job of setting aside dedicated time for work and dedicated time for vacation. Certain moments on this trip have been stressful for me simply because I haven’t been as organized as I’d like to be.

I’m still learning.

But that’s kind of the point. I don’t have it all figured out, and yet it’s still possible. I don’t feel totally comfortable with it, and yet it’s still happening.

Not having all the questions answered is not an obstacle to making it happen.

Too often we push back our dream because we’re scared of the unknown. We know how our life works now. We don’t know how it will work if we make the jump to chase our dream. That uncertainty is scary and it stops us in our tracks.

If we stop ourselves often enough it becomes a habit, and pretty soon we’ve lived our whole lives without reaching for any of the things that truly excite us.

This has taken me a long time to learn. Too many times I’ve played it safe, sticking with what was comfortable instead of what I really wanted. I imagined obstacles and made up reasons why I was playing it safe.

I held myself back.

But in the last nine months I’ve learned that there’s really only one thing that holds us back from our dreams: fear.

And I’ve learned something else too.

When you find something that both excites you and scares you at the same time, you should start running towards that thing as fast as you possibly can.

Like I said, I still have a long way to go to make this dream a reality, but it’s exciting to see how it’s starting to take shape.

And all it took was a little leap towards the unknown.

Start building a better financial future with the resource I wish I had when I was starting my family. It’s free!

20 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Andrew August 4, 2014

    Glad you were able to enjoy a vacation with the family back up in the Northeast…we’ve had great weather thus for this summer (knock on wood). Also glad to hear that you’re living the dream…as I’ve mentioned before, I really admire you going for it and pursuing your dream even though there are risks, fear and stress involved. Good luck with everything!

    • Matt Becker August 5, 2014

      Thanks a lot Andrew! It’s been fun being back up here and escaping the Florida heat for a little bit. Other than a couple of rainy days it’s been really beautiful. Glad to hear it’s been nice in New York as well!

  • Michelle August 4, 2014

    Love this post. Sounds like you are living the dream and are very happy. Ever since switching to what I do now, I feel the same. Life couldn’t be any better! 🙂

    • Matt Becker August 5, 2014

      Glad to hear it Michelle! Your story was definitely one of my inspirations along the way, so thanks for sharing!

  • Claire M August 4, 2014

    I love this, Matt.

    “Not having all the questions answered is not an obstacle to making it happen.” <– this particularly hit home for me. It's scary to acknowledge but also so empowering!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing your perspective! Some very appreciated Monday motivation 🙂

    • Matt Becker August 5, 2014

      Thanks Claire! That lesson has taken me a long time to learn (and I’m still learning it again all the time).

  • Shannon August 4, 2014

    YES! This is so true – such a great post. At some point you just have to get over the fear and make a decision to move forward in the direction of your dreams. It’s never easy but with preparation and perseverance it can be done. So excited to see the great things the future has in store for you!

    • Matt Becker August 5, 2014

      Agreed. I think the key word there is “forward”. You don’t have to get all the way to the end all at once, even though it can feel that way. All you have to do is keep making progress.

  • Dave Grant, CFP August 4, 2014

    This is what I feel every day – the good and the bad 🙂

    I love that we both answer to ourselves – with the time we work and what we accomplish. I’m still having trouble letting go of my 9-5 routine and focusing on being productive and then leaving.

    The best thing I’ve found over the past year is to “enjoy being uncomfortable”. It’s there that you’ll find the greatest growth.

    Speak soon!

    • Matt Becker August 5, 2014

      Ahh, yes, the “leaving”. When does that happen again? That’s been really tough for me, to completely let go of work at the end of the day and focus on family time. Still plenty of work to do there, but I’d still much rather be “too interested” in what I’m doing than stressed at the end of the day because I didn’t enjoy it.

  • John @ Frugal Rules August 4, 2014

    Nice post Matt! I wrote a somewhat similar one that I have running in two weeks. We’re on our way to a three week vacation to San Diego to see my in-laws, that never would’ve happened at my old firm. I’ve always appreciated my time, but it was impossible to do the things we wanted as a family. Now, two years later, there’s no looking back. Having the ability to do what I/we want with our time is priceless. Glad you’re living the dream as well sir!

    • Matt Becker August 5, 2014

      Oh wow. You’ve got me beat with 3 weeks! That sounds like a great trip. Hope you guys have fun!

  • Done by Forty August 5, 2014

    I’m so glad you’re getting a piece of the dream right here and now, Matt. You’ve worked hard for it, so I’m really happy for you.

  • Jon Maroni August 8, 2014

    Securing financial independence is about winning our time back, and getting to be in control of all our time. I think that what my wife and I have been realizing is that we ant to have our time be fully in our hands. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to work, it means that we want to do something that we really enjoy doing. Financial independence allows you to move on from a job that you are no longer enjoying, because you don’t need the money. I love that idea.

    • Matt Becker August 9, 2014

      Sounds like we’re on the same page Jon! I never really understood “not working” as the main goal. I would much rather build a life I love today doing working I love than slave at a job I dislike or don’t care about with the hope of one day being able to leave it. Like you say, it’s all about being in control of our time.

      • Jon Maroni August 9, 2014

        Indeed. In fact one of my dreams when I’m older is to work in a hardware store. You know those old guys that just seem to know everything and are super helpful. When I don’t need to work for pay anymore I certainly plan to do something like that. I want to be one of those awesome old guys!

        • Matt Becker August 10, 2014

          That’s awesome! I’ll be sure to find you the next time I need some nails, haha.

  • Love this one Matt! My hubby is struggling about his decision, he wants to resign from his current company, but their management is holding him and offered him an increase and higher position. But the company that he wants to transfer offered him also a good benefits, but he wants to take the new job in there.

    • Matt Becker August 9, 2014

      Thanks Marie! Those can be tough decisions for sure. My general line of thinking is that if you can make the money work either way, go with the one that makes you happier. Money is only a small part of the equation. Good luck!

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