Sunday, October 20, 2013

On Jobs and Freedom

For most people the word "job" implies a kind of undesired servitude, for truly how many of us would continue to work in our current capacity for our current employer if we didn't need the money? Someone with more power than us in the hierarchy assigns us tasks or responsibilities and if we carry them out in an acceptable manner then we receive the benefit of a paycheck and the privilege of being assigned more tasks and more responsibility.

We agree to this social norm because we have expenses in our lives that require an income to support. We make 30-year financial commitments, 18-year financial commitments, 4-year financial commitments, 12-month financial commitments. We then attempt to balance those obligations with the hope of living a lifestyle that can allow us to take occasional vacations (to get away from the job and do things we actually enjoy) and to terminate the job phase of our life sometime before we die. Some of us never get the pleasure of experiencing (healthy, vibrant) living beyond the job phase.

We are shocked when we calculate for ourselves how much money we will need to retire. Did you say I need to save millions of dollars?! But how am I supposed to save that much when I only make $X and I have to pay for this, that and the other thing!

Instead of asking how much we need to retire, what if we asked how little we need to retire? What if we could cut back on our expenses significantly without it negatively effecting our happiness. In fact, what if cutting back on expenses could actually make us happier?

And what if there were ways to create enough income to sustain us at this lower expense level without having to work a traditional job?

Financial Freedom
One definition of financial freedom is when passive income is greater than expenses. Passive income is income that we generate that doesn't strictly depend on the number of hours that we work  -- like rental income, royalties from publishing, profits from a business or interest income.

Of course, this concept of passive income also flies in the face of Great American Ideals like work ethic, diligence and perseverance.

But are those traits always most admirable? What about "work smarter, not harder"?

Thanks to the following resources for helping me to understand that a life I always hinted at, but didn't completely understand and wasn't able to articulate, is achievable.

In the rough order in which I encountered them...

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