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!