My wife and I used the values, principles, and even practices of XP to become financially independent on 1 April 2008. That means that for the past five years, our finances have not got in the way of doing the work that we love to do. It has taken a few years to appreciate the immense freedom we’ve given ourselves, and we’d like to share freedom that with you.
I’ll tell you the story of how we reached this point. I’ll teach you a few simple activities that you can use to start yourself on the path to more financial freedom. I’ll share how we applied various Lean/Agile principles to achieve these goals for ourselves. We had to do some really hard work! We focused on what we truly valued. We examined our spending for waste. We spent weeks designing our Minimum Viable Lifestyle, hacking away everything that we didn’t absolutely agree that we needed. We looked frankly and honestly at our real capacity for income and our actual spending history, rather than waving our hands over budgets and theoretical earning potential. We built slack into our finances without falling back into mindless consumption. We prepared ourselves to seize opportunities as they came up, rather than busying ourselves so much that we had no more energy to pay attention to what was going on around us. I couldn’t believe how much personal finance advice related to Lean and Agile software development!
I’ll guide you through one or two activities that we used to guide our decisions, so be ready to write a few things down. Don’t worry: I won’t ask you to share any sensitive financial information with the rest of the group. I’ll leave you with at least one key exercise you can try after the session. One of those exercises caused us to decide to leave the metropolis of Toronto for a town of 9000 people, and that was one of the best things we ever did.