Overheard in the subway:
I am super independent, but I secretly want to find someone super rich so I can stop worrying about money, volunteer and do things that interest me.
My first reaction?
Girl, that’s called FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE or RETIREMENT.
Save your own money, and do what you want, or do all this interesting volunteering and hobbies while you work.
Who says you need to be rich to do it?
Volunteer while you work.
Do your hobbies while you work.
What’s stopping you? Are you working 3 jobs a week to pay your expenses? No?
SO YOU HAVE PLENTY OF TIME FOR HOBBIES.
You are not financially independent if you can’t and/or don’t pay your own way
The very meaning of independence is the fact or state of being independent.
If you look at just the similar words, or synonyms: self-government, self-rule, home rule, self-legislation, self-determination, sovereignty, autonomy, nonalignment, freedom, liberty
I particularly like self-rule as the perfect synonym for this. No one rules you when you are independent, you rule yourself.
I even wrote a post on this, about a woman who was slapped by her partner in the car, and ended up going back to him because she had a crew and expenses to pay for: Why women should be able to depend on themselves financially
This is NOT a popular opinion, what I am putting out here — telling people they have to work for their money, work at saving it, and work on truly earning their independence.
Everyone wants their independence and money on a silver platter with no strings attached but there is NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH.
(That lunch above? $30.)
EVERYTHING comes with strings.
EVERYTHING has a price.
1. There is nothing wrong with being dependent on others
People NEED to depend on each other. We depend on our children, parents, community, partners, friends, colleagues, neighbours… all the time.
Dependence is not a bad thing, but if you want to tell me that you are dependent on someone else for money (anyone, your father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife), but you are actually INDEPENDENT, I am going to be skeptical, and if I am feeling particularly snarky, I’ll laugh in your face.
Admit it – you’re dependent.
What’s wrong with that?
Why slap a label of being this “SUPER INDEPENDENT” person when you’re really not?
2. Money comes with strings
No such thing as a free lunch.
Money comes with strings, because they’ll expect other things from you, if they’re bringing so much cash to the table — a clean home, perfect kids, trophy wife status, schmoozing at events they have to attend and being a witty, charming, well-read, attentive person..
Whatever the price is, just be sure you can pay it.
Again, I bring it up, but that woman who was also self-proclaimed to be “super independent”, and had her partner slap her in the car, went crawling back to him to reconcile their union because she had 2 sons to think about (one 3-year old and a university-aged child), her mother & family, and her own expensive tastes to cover.
She went back to someone who hit her because of money, or, the lack of it.
This is an extreme case, but I think it perfectly sums up the core message of what I am trying to get across.
3. Things can change in a union
Even in the best case scenario, let’s pretend you find someone who is filthy rich, good looking, young, adores the heck out of you, and pays for your every whim and desire.
I hate to say it, but as a friend pointed out, even if your life starts out perfect, and you don’t imagine anything could go wrong, THINGS CHANGE.
People change, relationships are hard work, and you may end up realizing you don’t really like the power imbalance of having to rely on someone else for their money.
To have them pay your bills, check on what you’re buying, maybe even start controlling you in other ways like ordering for you in a restaurant without you asking, and saying that you’ll take a salad at a restaurant while he gets the steak (true story, I saw this happen and was horrified).
I know my neighbour who is also “super independent”, but dependent on her husband for all of his money, awkwardly laughs when she recounts how he went through the credit card bills and freaked out at her spending.
I sort of just raised an eyebrow.
I wouldn’t stand for that but then again, I make my own money so I am accountable to no one but myself.
If I want to spend $5000 on clothes every month, that is my problem. I earned that money and I can do with it what I like, after making sure our joint expenses are taken care of.
I don’t want anyone to be eying my bill, horrified at my spending spree, asking me to explain myself.
I don’t want to be questioned about it, and nor should I be — it’s MY money.
See this Chanel clutch? I bought it myself and no one asked me to explain myself.
My neighbour also knocks herself out trying to be this trophy wife, and has even looked into plastic surgery to get her body sculpted back to what it was pre-baby.
I raised my other eyebrow at this because if I were healthy, why the hell should I care what I LOOK like?
Skinny people aren’t necessarily healthy, just as how bigger people aren’t necessarily unhealthy.
All this pressure to be this perfect wife, mother and woman, sounds like a lot of compromising to be doing for money. It’s not my jam, and I personally won’t be labeled for it.
4. Why not fund your own financial independence?
What that girl said on the subway? That’s called FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE or RETIREMENT.
When people retire, after having worked and saved enough to live their own life on their own terms, they are usually RETIRED.
They volunteer, do their interesting hobbies, and so on.
You can retire sooner!
Why not? Lots of people aim for early financial independence, and once they do, they do what they want.
My partner is the perfect example — he is retired now, and going back to school to become a professor.
I’m also the perfect example of this — I am not retired but that’s because I am spendy, younger, and I have a lot more years to pay for (60-ish at this point) that I need to save money up for, but am not willing to compromise my lifestyle to reach it sooner.
Priorities — choose yours, and then accept and deal with it.
5. Stop imagining that someone will come by and save you
You are going to save yourself, period.
People change, situations change, things happen, and you need to be sure that you can rely on YOURSELF to handle your business and do what needs to be done.
This kind of .. I guess, flippant wish of wanting a super rich husband to come along and take care of everything sort of makes me ill.
It means you don’t think YOU can do it for yourself.
It means you don’t think you have the means, the confidence, the talent, ability, whatever you want to call it, to create this life for yourself.
You’re relying on some mythical stranger on a white horse to come by and save you from money troubles.
…and even if that person exists, it may not be who you want.
Why do you think you see so many old, frankly, hideous men with young, pretty women?
BECAUSE THEY CAN. That’s why. They are trading beauty for money.
Nothing wrong with that either, both parties seem satisfied but things are not really all as they seem, I suspect.
Do you really want to suck it up and live a life of consumer-filled goods and stuff, volunteering and having your own interests, at the expense of being with someone who probably doesn’t love you, and only wants you for your age and looks?
Or maybe they’re controlling and tell you what you should look lie, how you should cut and dye your hair, what you should eat, where you should go, who you should see…
What if he then replaces you with a younger woman in 10, 20 years?
What are you going to do then?
Isn’t it easier just to create your own destiny by working, saving, and knowing that you depend on you?
You’re super independent if you are the one in control, and to be in control, you need to be the one making your own money
Otherwise, accept that you ARE dependent on someone else, stop trying to pretend that you are not, and embrace it instead of pretending to be someone you are really not.