Lesson 11: Money or Freedom

There is no doubt that most of us would prefer to have the money and freedom instead of making a choice between them. Unfortunately financial independence requires considerable amount of capital in order to become a self-sufficient situation where no additional labour is required to sustain a high quality life-style with the investment interest payments only.

The situation can be compared to a bond that comprises of the principal and interest payments. If you want to get the dividends you cannot touch the principal. Likewise you cannot get the dividends without committing the capital. Your intellectual and creative capital (your principal) works the same way. You would prefer to use your assets any way you prefer, when you want, and still receive the dividends to support all the activities. This is called self-employment or entrepreneurship. The other option is to temporarily hand over your principal to someone else (i.e. a work contract) and in return you expect to receive monthly dividends (i.e. salary). However, this exchange contract is similar to a bond deal. Your principal is working for someone else and there is barely any capacity or additional resources left to update or even maintain the current capital base unless you consume your dividends for it.

In plain English this means that while you’re working for someone else you seldom have the energy and the commitment to burn midnight oil to do something for yourself that enables in the future to get rid of the current employment and sustain your lifestyle without a need to work for a living.

Of course all the above is just an abstraction and it’s possible to get what you want since you’re only working some 8-10 hours for your employer 5 days a week (hopefully!). But it is easy to forget the psychological factors not even talking about the possible contractual restriction while being employed. A few people truly enjoy what they are doing. They have to work in order to earn their salary but they rather would do something else if not ‘forced’ to do so by their earlier choices and current life situation. This unpleasantness during the workweek consumes your spirit and energies and makes it even harder to have a double-life in the free time where the focus is solely on enjoyable things that also build the financially independent future.

How often people use part of the weekend just to recover from the previous workweek in order to get prepared for the next one? Just think about. Maybe your bond deal is only providing you enough dividends to cope with the inflation but nothing more. And don’t count either that your principal (i.e. your skill set) will be in high demand in the future without major upgrades or even despite of them—there are always bonds that go south. Some jobs are replaced by new technology or outsourcing…

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