Money is Independence.

flagAs we celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, I wanted to quickly share this excerpt from an article The Millennial Definition of Success by Adam Nash, CEO of Wealthfront:

Increasingly, as I talk to Millennials, some of whom who have found early success in their careers, and others who are just starting out, I hear the same things. This generation overwhelmingly associates success with control over who they work with, and what they work on. [...]

Wealthfront now has over 12,000 clients, and most of them are under 35. What I find striking is that, overwhelmingly, with every success in their financial lives, these young people seem to immediately focus on using their success to gain control over their careers. They don’t seek to optimize for title, or financial reward. Instead, they increasingly use their success to effectively fund the ability to work on a product they believe in, an organization they want to be part of, and a leader they want to follow.

I’m not even a Millenial and these attributes are not restricted to those born after 1980, but I think it is a good observation. Wealthfront is one of many automated portfolio management sites competing with each other, but I think their relative success is mostly due to the fact that they “get” young, smart, tech-savvy workers. (Not by accident they are often the ones with lots of money to invest.)

Perhaps money is better viewed as a tool than can help you now rather than a way to avoid being broke at some point far off in the future. Being wise with money gives you options. Money is freedom. Money is control. Money is independence.

Comments

  1. A good article to read that has some insight relating to this topic can be found here: http://jlcollinsnh.com/2011/06.....you-money/ (written by Jim Collins). As stated in the article, having F-you money is not necessarily enough for complete financial independence, but enough to say no things you don’t want in your life. I personally left a job I no longer found satisfying and took a year off with much much less than financial independence money. Having back-up allows you to take risks and follow paths you might not otherwise without it. Sometimes a little bit goes a long way.

  2. Being good at living on virtually nothing is even more powerful.

    If you read “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse, the greatest salesman is the one who is great at fasting.

    I have no money. I dropped out 20 years ago. Since then I have traveled to 50 countries, done everything imaginable, spent a time getting super healthy, time on internal work getting happy inside, time with people.

    I don’t have to spend any energy protecting myself or managing anything, because I have nothing for anyone to take.

    It is freeing, fun, focused and powerful.

    Rather than spending your healthiest years working to save a nest egg, just live on next to nothing now and do all the things you really want now while you can.

  3. bigmouth says:

    Hmmm, assume I am 28 and the tech company I worked for as my first job after college got bought by Facebook or google and now after only 6_7 years of working I all of sudden have a pile of money – I guess you can call this “early success”. I am sure there are tens of thousands out there can relate to this situation as the last couple of years have seen a record amount of acquisitions due to tax concerns.

    But I have a feeling there are a significant majority of millennial felt completely opposite of this experience. Instead of feeling the control of Destiny from early on many of them feel being robbed of their initial years.

  4. I am inclined to agree with Marie, that obviating dependence on money is even more liberating than having lots of it.

    The problem with depending on money for freedom is that you are still dependent. And you’re not that far removed from the vicious engine of capitalism, which means enslavement for so many, and distorts so much of our perception of the world. I don’t want to spend my life thinking about money, reading about money, calculating how to maximize and extend it. To me, that’s not freedom; it’s just having a different master.

    • “To me, that’s not freedom; it’s just having a different master.”

      True that as it may, not having money means you ll have to either 1) borrow to survive
      2) live a self-sustaining lifestyle in the woods/jungle where you can create your own fire, grow/cook food etc.

      else ordinarily everything in the world costs money and unless you inherited tons of it, there is no complete “freedom”

      • The best I have worked out is:

        - to live incredibly minimally
        - make my decisions truly based on my heart and what I genuinely want to do
        - be clear upfront early on with my partner and people around me about my priorities and philosophies and let them choose what is right for them
        - get creative about how to do great things without a lot of money
        - maintain a personally source of pride and responsibility in paying on time for what I spend, having health insurance, etc. (I have no debt).

        …. then somehow consistently over the past couple of decades, enough money for what I want or need, or a way of doing something without a lot of money, always seems to show up.

        I have walked away from good jobs with no idea where my next income will come from.
        I have huge gaps on my resume of time I didn’t work.
        My family and friends have shaken their heads in fear for me for stepping away at times from the work world.
        I have learned to tune out the fear society feeds us about having dreaded gaps on the resume, etc.

        All this so I could have time to do incredible dreams, like travel around the world, take some time to concentrate on myself, etc.

        I want to spend my healthiest, strongest years doing my dreams, rather than building an acceptable resume.

        When I am on my deathbed, I’ll say “I trekked the Himalayas, the Great Wall of China, the Australian Outback, etc. I spent time to get myself straight and feel good within myself”., etc.

        I don’t think on my deathbed, I’ll say “I had a perfect personnel file or I had a very well organized portfolio”.

        The biggest part of pulling this off has to do with being clear about the minimum I really need and more importantly, managing fear.

        I find “dealing with fear” is a muscle which needs to be continually exercised, toned and strengthened. Our society does an incredible amount to create and feed fears (mainly because it makes them a lot of money).

        So I don’t have lots of stuff or money, but I spend most of my time doing what I truly want.

        - Marie

        • Marie – you get it. Free time – MY time – is the ultimate luxury. I enjoy lots of it now.

          Gary, you don’t get it, and will likely never. Inheriting “tons” of money is not freedom – far from it. It is possible for those with wealth to be free, but if they are it isn’t because of their money, but in spite of it. Freedom is probably even more difficult to achieve living in a gilded cage.

          • “Gary, you don’t get it, and will likely never.”

            feeling a little judgemental, are we ?

            “Inheriting “tons” of money is not freedom – far from it.”

            Funny the one accusing others of ‘not getting it’ is himself not getting it.

            Inheriting money is not the definition of freedom as I see it. I said it will enable you to survive even while not working at all (which seems to be your definition of freedom)
            For me loving what I do everyday is freedom. If it pays money in addition what’s wrong with that ? This whole equation of “not working = freedom” is strange if you try to apply it wholesale generically

          • I haven’t missed your point at all..

            you are unable to comprehend the different angles and approaches to freedom.

            anyways, thanks, I am indeed enjoying every bit of it

        • Marie:

          “When I am on my deathbed, I’ll say “I trekked the Himalayas, the Great Wall of China, the Australian Outback, etc. I spent time to get myself straight and feel good within myself”., etc.”

          I will say that too… and have traveled and seen places in Europe, Asia and the Americas even though I am just 29… and having a full-time job at the same time.

          I think freedom is in the head.. if you love your job, there is no reason to feel caged.
          if you feel caged, means you don’t like what you do…thats a sucky situation

          • I’m just saying you missed my point – repeatedly – and seem to insist on doing so.

            That’s your prerogative.

            Enjoy your job.

          • Hi Gary,

            Congrats on finding a job you enjoy …. many people find this difficult. If you found a path that works for you then go for it, have a fulfilling thrilling ride! Stay centered in your own truth. Who cares what we think? :)

            My main point is that it is tough for many people to be truly honest with themselves and genuinely hear the voice from inside that tells them whether and what would make them happy. I think it is usually because of fear , i.e. to take a creative leap, to lose things in their current environment, etc.

            We get so many messages growing up, from our environment, etc., combined with so many real challenges from a constantly changing world …. I think it can be challenging for most of us to continually find a path that truly works works for us and fulfills us.

            Perhaps this also is a muscle which we continue to strengthen as we go.

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