Financial freedom is something you won’t understand until you have achieved it.
Financial freedom is a funny thing. Those who know about it, keep procrastinating to get on board and those who do not, continue to remain ignorant and live from paycheck to paycheck.
I meet people. I discuss finances with them. All they have to say is –
“I wish I could save”
“How will I live my life if I saved 20% of my earnings?”
YOU HAVE GOT TO STOP WISHING.AND START DOING IT.
Irrespective of the size of your income.
And irrespective of your current lavish or minimalist lifestyle.
It does not matter if you love your job or hate your job. I would say seek financial independence even if you love your job.
Do you know if you will continue to love your job after 5 years? Do you what will the be your circumstances few years down the line?
No one has an answer. Because you cannot foresee what is going to happen tomorrow.
Seek to achieve financial freedom.
Through minimalism or otherwise.
Minimalism is the key to achieving financial freedom in your late 20’s or early 30’s. All you have to do is start now.
If you are reading this, start now.
If you have just got out of college and started on a new job, this is the time to start.
In your mid 30’s and haven’t figured anything about your independence? Start now.
The key is in your hand.
But how do I start? You must be wondering.
What is minimalism?
Minimalism is finding answers to the question “how much is enough?”
I am going to try and answer the above questions in the following few paragraphs.
Firstly, understand minimalism and financial independence.
Sit back, relax and take a look at your current lifestyle. Take a peak in your wardrobe, garage, living room, shoe rack, kitchen and anywhere else you store your purchases and try to understand if your belongings are more than what you need or are they just enough to make a comfortable living.
If you are able to identify surpluses and are able to discard, donate or sell them, congratulations! you have understood minimalism.
Now, take a peek into your finances. Try and answer these two questions:
Do you see your net-worth increasing every month? If yes, you are on your way towards financial freedom.
Do you think you’ll be able to live your entire life on your current savings? If no, you still need to figure how much is enough and work towards it.
A. Create rules for yourself. You could call them habits if you prefer.
I will avoid debt. I will not let someone else tell me what to do with my money.
I will make it a habit to invest at-least 10% of my income as soon as I have earned it. A part of what i make is mine to keep.
Success is the product of daily habits — not once-in-a-lifetime transformations. — James Clear
I will make efforts to invest more than 10% of my income if possible.
I will work to create multiple sources of income.
I will not be a victim of instant gratification.
I will be a long-term player. No matter what game I am playing.
It is the hallmark of any compounding process: the most powerful outcomes are delayed.
Now, do you not think you are practicing minimalism by following the rules you just made?
Do you not think that by avoiding debt you have avoided plenty of things you never needed in the first place? And the cost of maintaining those things.
Or by not falling prey to instant gratification, you just bought a piece of your freedom?
Or by doing the things above, you have saved time for yourself which could be put to better use?
Understand, habits shape your identity.
B. Use these hacks
Practical wisdom which could be used. You will have to keep your ego in the corner while you read this.
- Do you need to live in a rented apartment with swimming pool, club house, gym and other facilities which you hardly use? Or do you think you can save on the maintenance expenses and move to a smaller place?
- Does your family really need more than 1 car? And could you do with a hatchback instead of a sedan? How about public transport if you’re living in a well constructed city?
- Do you really need the next iPhone? Or could you continue to use the existing one?
- Do you really need more than one or two vacations a year? Only to prove a point on Instagram?
- Do you really need to go to the pub every week? Or eat at the five star restaurant every week? Or could you do it once in a month?
- Do you really need the expensive bottle of wine or whiskey? Or that $20 bottle is just good enough?
- Do you really need those designer clothes? Or the cheap discounted ones are good enough?
- Do you really need to spend on that lavish wedding of yours? Or could you just do it with your closed ones?
These were just examples. There could be many more. If you are able to put either of the above hack to practice, you’ve practiced minimalism.
Start questioning your financial decisions. Start winning.
C. Practice patience and perseverance
Both, achieving financial freedom and practicing minimalism will need bucket loads of patience from you.
There will be times when you your investments won’t perform as per your expectations.
There will be times where you will have emergencies and will not be able to make those investments.
And, there will also be times when you’ll just fall prey to gratification.
You will have to ignore these short term gyrations and focus on your long-term habits. One-offs are always ok!
You have got to trust yourself.
The biggest impediments to a comfortable retirement (financial freedom in this context) are impatience, pessimism, gullibility, self-interest of middlemen, ignorance of the exponential function, and overconfidence. — Morgan Housel