Monday, March 01, 2010

More On Financial Freedom

This is a continuation of a previous post on financial freedom.

So it seems that financial freedom helps to achieve the 3 important things that we want in life: Time, Money and Happiness. This is achieved by trading away 10 to 30 years of doing some job. Someone capable can do it in 10, for most of us, it's 30 years, my dear. Or to put it in percentage terms, if we lived to an average of 80 years old, the solution then is to trade 10-40% of your life to achieve financial freedom. And if considering that we start thinking about this at age 20, then the denominator is not 80 but 60, and the solution becomes to trade 20-50% of your life to achieve financial freedom.


I would think that a better solution would actually be looking at this issue more holistically. Specifically, changing the way we look at the Job part of the matrix. To most people, a Job is solely income generation, Job – brings home the Money, takes away the Time, and that’s that. People talk about work-life balance. Work is work, Life is life. Outside work is our true Life. Work and Life cannot mix.

Actually, Work is 10 hours out of 16 hours that we are awake. Work is Life!

In Maslov’s famous hierarchy, the top echelon is some big word which is also very much coveted. I will try to spell it: Self Actuallyrealizingmoneyisnonotion or something. Let’s just put it down as Purpose.

If you think about it then, the true intention of financial freedom is to actually have the Time to do our Purposes in life, without having to worry about Money.

This Purpose can be as simple as witnessing your kids growing up, or creating art, or doing charity etc. So the ultimate motive of financial freedom should then be trying to replace Job with Purpose.


Then you have a beautiful matrix where you have a Purpose in life, you have Time, Money and also Happiness.

Of course, this is ideal talk. I can hear readers yelling Get Real! Wake Up! Most Purposes need Money, not bring in Money. That is true.

Nevertheless, as a start, I think we should try to find our own Purposes in our Jobs. If you totally hate your job, cannot find a good reason to go to work everyday you wake up. Please. Change your job. Life is short. Eat dessert first.

Well it’s quite difficult to pull your Job to your Purpose in life if your job is to clean toilets or to entertain some HNWI’s dog. (HNWI: High Net Worth Idiots) I cannot imagine anybody who thinks his Purpose in life is to make toilet bowls in Singapore’s Kopitiams sparkle like a 24 carat diamond or become an idiot's dog's best friend.

Let’s put it this way. Most of us don’t know our Purpose in life. Some lucky fellow might. He woke up on his 15th birthday and decided he should be a doctor and save lives. For the rest of us, we go to school and get psycho-ed to study Engineering and ended up being a HR manager. Some find that helping people adjust to their jobs might not be too bad, and grew to embrace their jobs as HR managers. Their Jobs became their Purposes.

Well, for others, not so lucky. What they really wanted: is to be a rock star. And here they are stuck as a HR manager. Ok, for such cases, being financially free also cannot help. Pai-seh. Please go and join Singapore Idol.

I guess what I want to say is: Think about how you can embrace your Job as your Purpose, if that cannot be done no matter what, change your job and work towards what you really want. Saving enough or through shrewd investing to get passive income enough to support your lifestyle? It is a gimmick. The truth is, it usually takes more than a quarter to half a lifetime to achieve that.

All things come in packages in life. There are some things you like about your wife, and some things you don’t, but you married her anyways. So similarly, there are some things you don’t like about your job. And surely there must be some things you like about your job. From there, we can try to work to find our Purposes.

Financial freedom means you need not worry about money. But when you can have all the money, all the time in the world then what? If you don’t know your Purpose, how do you find Happiness with your abundant Time and Money?

Financial freedom is then, not about the money. It is a term cooked up to make us think we need more money but in fact, what we need is to find a Purpose that can help us balance the Time, Money and Happiness.
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