Imposter Syndrome may be a popular topic or this may be a topic that people don’t want to talk about but I feel that it’s important to discuss the good and the bad while on the journey to financial independence. I don’t always wanna write about how great retirement is because I don’t wanna give people the impression that all you have to do is get to retirement and then life is so much easier. Life is a lot easier today and it is very enjoyable however I feel like it’s important to remember that the journey to get here is equally as important.
I want to share with you some background to give context to why I feel I suffer from imposter syndrome. I grew up in a lower middle class family in North Carolina. I always had my needs met but there were also episodes of drug and alcohol abuse in my childhood. Because of this I didn’t have the typical role model of someone who was successful with a corporate job or discussed retirement so as I grew older I had to figure it out on my own.
It wasn’t until I got sober that I discovered the FIRE movement around the age of 28. The movement gave me hope. It gave me a framework to escape the endless paycheck to paycheck living that I had been accustomed to up to this point.
Over the next ten years I would read all the blogs, books and resources on FIRE topics. I got a job at the leading investment firm for the FIRE community learning all I could about investing. I held a series 7 license, which is not an easy task. During this time I also finished my undergrad degree while working full time. I am telling you all this because I want you to understand that I had to put in the work. This wasn’t easy but I believed in the freedom that the FIRE community promoted. Therefore I pursued it with everything I had.
But even knowing I put in the work and had nothing handed to me I still some times feel like a fraud. I feel like I don’t deserve the freedom I have. I sometimes say I am not special and I didn’t do anything special to get here. It’s difficult to explain but coming from a broken childhood to experiencing the retirement freedom that many don’t get to experience is an incredible and humbling feeling. The truth is I am not special but everything I achieved is accessible to a lot of people. Especially when your desire for freedom is stronger than the bonds that hold you to your old life.
So am I an imposter in the FIRE community, no. Every single person on this journey has a right to be a part of this community. No matter what your past was like, your future can be so much more. So much better but you have to work for it.