The Forbidden Fruit

Before you start know this, what you are about to read is really about Freedom, saying what you like, doing what you believe and living on your own terms, at least mostly.

It is about financial independence, a description of what it is not, why you should want it and for good measure, I’m throwing in vague tips on how to attain it. Not that you should take me too seriously. I certainly don’t have it. But since I’m being so forthright up front, maybe it’s just as well if you do.

You will never, ever get paid so much as to guarantee financial independence

It is impossible for any employer, however multinational or international or lucrative to pay you so much in salary as to make you financially independent.

Why? See financial independence –at least as I define it – is more a function of the excess (surplus) you have after meeting all your expenses than it is a function of your raw earnings.

In other words, if you earn a million a month, have no significant savings or deliberate worthwhile investments (jewelry and cars don’t count) ,and spend 970 grand monthly, you’re hardly any more financially independent than a dude earning the (Nigerian) minimum wage with N500 left over on the eve of payday. That, is just the way it is.

Wise and controlled spending patterns are a crucial factor for establishing financial freedom. The incredible, abundant tales alone of mega-wealthy people who blew up more money than most of us will ever earn and went broke, should make that clear.

Your path to independence can start now

If you don’t have the necessities covered… (some people ‘need’ items that cost half of or greater than their annual salaries to ‘live’. I am not talking of such people), your first steps will naturally have to be focused on doing so. The rest of this post only applies after getting to that point.

But if you do have basic necessities comfortably covered -I recommend you add broadband internet to the list of core needs, but that’s optional – you can theoretically start laying the foundations for a future in which you are financially free.

What will determine whether you actually do, whether you choose to make the tough choices and walk down the road of sacrifices it inevitably requires, is your personality and how badly you want to be free.

I do not think I can convincingly tell you why you should want your own financial independence but I can at least tell you why I want it in three terse sentences.

I want to pursue most of my dreams. I want to stand for only what I believe. I think I was born to be free.

Think of your own personal reasons. The more meaning they hold for you, the more motivated you will be to try.

 

There are broadly two types of Independence: Temporary and Indefinite.

Even with great discipline, and tenacity, learning and patience, complete or indefinite financial freedom i.e never having to work again; can easily take many years to accomplish.

But way before then, you can probably get a delicious taste of what the freedom is like. Wikipedia defines financial independence as “the state of having sufficient personal wealth to live, without having to work actively for basic necessities”

In the temporary form, you’d have enough wealth to sustain your standard of living without working actively for a fixed period of time. It means not living from paycheck-to-paycheck. It can typically mean having enough savings and investments to last six months, one year or longer after reasonably accounting for inflation or asset value fluctuations.

I suppose you could try out this temporary sort first and see how it makes you feel any different, if the extra freedom is something you absolutely love and want more of, or if it’s relatively unimportant for you.

Before I round off, I will add these random but hopefully pertinent thoughts.

Despite the increased likelihood that they will quit if dissatisfied, employers might benefit overall from financially independent employees. For one, if they choose to work for pleasure, they should be much more highly motivated ,productive and engaged in their roles. Next, they can afford to be candid and objective in their assessments. Too many corporate giants have drowned to death because too few people could afford to stick their necks out and tell Management harsh, pragmatic truth. You simply don’t rock the boat at work when your life depends on retaining the job. Lastly, it should be tougher to harass, corrupt or bribe them.

As for me I have once tasted the Forbidden Fruit and I cannot look back.

In the famous last words of Mel Gibson from Braveheart my heart’s definitive cry is, Freeedom!

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A Letter to God

God I believe that you exist. That you are out there filling galaxies of space and right beside me even now, watching as I type. I also know that I cannot prove that you are. I know that I will never be able to conclusively and irretrievably demonstrate with facts, logic or objective scientific equations that you live and are a rewarder of “them that diligently seek you”.

I am certain that you made creation, that despite the despicable cruelty and devastation that permeates the earth, your love for humanity persists and endures, thousands (or millions – whichever the scientists prefer) of years strong. I am reassured that your Son, who is also you, the God that never dies, died all the same, after coming in flail human flesh to save me.

Although I will not stop looking for the truth, or a theory that explains everything about you yet deep inside I feel that it is not in this life yet perhaps in the one to come that I will make laudable progress in comprehending the infiniteness of your divine personality.

God I only have dots. By combining my experiences, some reasoning, and uncanny prophecies littered through the Bible, I have multiple tiny pointers that link back to you – the one that writes the Future. But there are also vast gaps and a universe of questions that I cannot begin to answer, else I could totally dissect, elaborate on and present you for everyone to see.

I am also not unaware that it is mainly when I confront the scariest and most horrendous or frightening situations that my faith in you grows deepest and my confidence, unassailable. I suspect that skeptical atheists or scornful psychologists will have something to say on this. They might say that you are a figment of my imagination, a coping mechanism, or only a concept I rely on when I am broken; a form of self-hypnosis that I conduct on myself. They will suggest that years of attending church have brainwashed me and infused my subconscious with the delusion of you.

Are you merely a part of my mind, God? They think you are. But you have never failed me. And after I call on you, the specific highly improbable sequences of events that I need if I am to survive tend to spontaneously happen. In other words, miracles happen when I pray. Can my mind do that too? Is it madder to think that my own brain by itself can make miracles purely through self-deception or that a benevolent Entity separately exists, listens and intervenes?

My prayers are not always answered, to the letter but I typically find that I have more strength than before I asked you for help, and eventually things entirely out of my control change inexplicably to give me the chance for escape that I need.

I’m here again God. I need another intervention and I am absolutely terrified of what will happen if you don’t answer me.

But you will help me, won’t you? I have nowhere else to go to, no one else to ask, no other chance for rescue.

God, will you let me mocked by everyone that says I am foolish to trust or believe in you?

I eagerly look forward to your response.

‘Me’

Amen.