Having more money won’t make a difference, really.
People always think that the more that they save the more they’ll be free financially, which is true to some extent, but it’s also a mental game.
Have you ever really asked yourself what it would take to feel rich and free?
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED TO FEEL RICH?
Truthfully I feel pretty rich right now.
Obviously this is in comparison to people my age, rather than people in the media, or the very few 1%’ers at the top who have loads of cash.
…but I am well aware that to someone who has millions, that I would feel “rich” with $200,000 might seem rather ridiculous and laughable.
Then I think:
Hey, maybe they don’t feel rich with their millions because they’re looking at people who have billions.
Pretty easy, I gotta say.
Stop looking at people who have billions!! 🙂
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED TO ACHIEVE FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE?
Here’s the second question that will help: How much do you need to spend each year to live well?
My financial independence goal is a million saved by the time I’m 50 – 55 (that’s in addition to BF saving a million as well, so it’s 2 million together).
With that amount, I will have enough to leave, move to another peaceful and wonderful country in the warm countryside (Spain, Portugal or the middle-of-nowhere-France look pretty good) and retire.
(This is also why I am not too keen on saving and working like crazy, because I will eventually reach a million sooner or later. No need to race to the end!)
I will live until the ripe old age of 90 with this plan (we live long in my family, and I plan on reaching that age), and I will have enough to eat, travel a little and live simply.
(I’ll be old and shopping will hold no interest in me because fashion trends will annoy me and not be cute on an old woman’s body)
A lot of people I know who want to retire want to golf all day in Florida, and travel every year.
Me? Not so much.
I like to travel, but if I am in Europe it will be a lot easier to take a train to visit the continent.
If I don’t have a million saved by then (unlikely) I’ve already worked out that I could pick up a home (a small shack really) that I could fix up and buy for 30,000 EUR in total in the middle of nowhere, with very little paid in utilities (no electricity wired in the house for instance, means 100% savings on using electricity).
Sure, I’d have to go pump my own water, possibly grow some of my own food, and live without the modern amenities I am used to, but it’s a possibility I explored in case things don’t work out.
With that million however, I could have electricity and running water in the house, and live on a minimum that I am used to.
HOW FAR ARE YOU WILLING TO GO TO BE FREE?
If you truly want to be free, you should already feel free.
Sounds rather chicken versus egg, but it’s as simple as that — it’s a mental game. If you want to feel like a chicken trapped in a coop, working for THE MAN, then you are that caged, unhappy chicken.
If you want to feel like someone who is working to stave off boredom and pass the time in an interesting way, posing as a chicken in a coop, then you are that rather free-thinking, chilled out chicken.
See, in truth, BF and I could probably retire right now if we wanted.
Just one.. small… catch.
It wouldn’t be our ideal retirement.
We just have to leave this country, move to a cheap one (in this case, nothing in Europe fits the bill, we’re looking at southeast Asia for this or India), and live on very little (giving up meat would be priority #1).
I’d be in this goat hut if I wanted to retire now.
Yet I have worked out that it is possible to retire today and live until 90 on what we have saved so far, we just don’t want to do it.
Also, I currently make enough in dividend income from my current investments to live like that (about $6000), without ever having to touch my capital.
See how that frame of mind works?
I can retire now, but not where I want to and how I want to.
But I could do it.
WAIT, WHAT ABOUT US PEOPLE IN DEBT?
Oh yeah debt.
That monstrous monkey on your back, constantly reminding you that you aren’t really free of the shackles of your lender.
That, has to be $0.
This is the only place I will concede slightly that you are not as free or as rich as you want to be.
To put it into perspective, a beggar on the street has a higher net worth than you do (sometimes in the rare case or two, they even have a higher net worth than most people who look down on them).
- Homeless woman amassed $300,000 and donates it
- …yet the average person just before retirement just has $100K saved at the age of 60
But even that, is controlled by you.
You know it is.
You can get out of debt and you are probably working towards it right now.
It just sucks if you think about what you have to do and it might involve doing things you don’t want to do, but it is possible to clear it sooner than what you’re doing with it at the moment.
I once read a blog of a rather controversial writer named “Violet” (a fake name, obviously) a long time ago.
I wish I could remember her blog name!
Once she wrote about how she got out of consumer debt by basically living in the back of her car (sleeping, etc), showering daily at a gym that she paid $100 a month as a membership to, and eating for free at the Chinese buffet she worked at during the night.
She cleared all of her debt (something like $50,000 I want to say?) in a matter of a year or less.
I was getting out of debt myself when I read her blog post, so her story has stuck with me ever since. It’s strange enough to be true. 🙂
It wasn’t an easy life, but she was kind of an extreme writer and an extreme person, and she made the decision to spend $0 on living (self-punishment?) to get out of debt.
Are you willing to go that far? I wouldn’t. I don’t think you would either.
…but that’s what she did to get out of debt so she could feel free again.
I myself was about $60,000 in debt but I did kind of maneuvered the consulting system I was in to achieve more or less the same result of near $0 in expenses, except I lived in hotels and ate restaurant food.
NOTHING IN LIFE IS PERFECT
Ever think that once you get the perfect job, the perfect partner, the perfect outfit, the perfect.. WHATEVER, your life will be complete?
You are just setting yourself up for failure with such expectations.
Perfection doesn’t exist, just as how searching for the answer to happiness and financial independence or stability doesn’t either.
It’s in your mind in terms of how you expect your life to be — how much you plan on spending and where you want to spend it.
If you expect big, grand things, expect to spend in a big, grand way.
If you want simpler, smaller things, then expect your spending to act in the same way.
FINANCIAL SECURITY AND HAPPINESS RESIDES WITHIN YOURSELF
You are already as happy as you want to be.
You are as financially secure and as rich as you want to be.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it is mostly mental.
Someone with absolutely nothing in the slums of Calcutta or the favelas of Brazil, finds happiness and joy in life in what little they have.
The simplest thing makes them happy.
Then I look at someone like my brother who has a McMansion, 3 kids, 2 luxury cars, private schools, lessons every week up the wazoo for each of them, huge walk-in closets, a maid who comes by weekly to clean, a full-time nanny, eating out 3X a day (they don’t cook in that fancy kitchen)…… but he feels like it’s never enough.
He feels poor and he is unhappy (or not as happy as he’d like to be).
He feels like he isn’t rich enough to retire (has close to a million amassed as a net worth, if not a million already), and he feels like it is never enough.
From a quick observation, it’s because of 3 things:
- They spend too much — $15,000 a month is a normal thing for them (no vacations included)
- They want too much — She has an everlasting list and closets full of clothes with tags on
- They aren’t happy — They buy the kids iPads rather than really spending time with them
All of what they’re doing is to fill a void inside of them.
An emotional void that they think needs to be filled with a ton of stuff, but in essence, they just need to cut out the nonsense and the non-essential.
He thinks needs more money, but what he needs is to stop spending excessively, so that the money they earn is more than enough (which it is).