I recently wrote about how I believe freedom is the ultimate status symbol. Forget a fancy car or a big house, folks. You want to show everyone you’ve truly made it? Break out the “I don’t really have to work anymore” card. That will do it.
But just because you don’t have to work anymore doesn’t mean you necessarily quit your job that instant. And chasing after financial independence isn’t only for those that have some kind of deep hatred for what they do for a living.
Chasing after financial independence is about bringing value to your life. It’s about prioritizing your time and focusing on your passions. You could very well be one of the very few out there that genuinely loves what you do for a living. Maybe you change the world for the better as a member of American Red Cross, or maybe you’re a doctor and you couldn’t imagine your life without fixing people. If you are one of these people then that’s fantastic. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still seek freedom.
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Freedom is about choice. It’s about being able to do whatever you want. You may really enjoy what you do for a living, but what if all of the sudden you want to take some time off to travel? What if some kind of health concern befalls you that requires you to take extended time off from work? What if you just need a lengthy sabbatical to refresh yourself?
And before you claim how much you love your job, imagine for a second that you are completely financially independent. Do you still go in for 40 or more hours per week? Do you still deal with the office politics? The backstabbing? The commute? The grind?
There’s the possibility that maybe you don’t love your job as much as you think you do.
List your passions in life. What drives you? How do you identify yourself? Who are you? What makes you truly happy?
What does this list look like? Does it contain your full-time job?
I work full-time at a car dealership. Actually, I work more than full-time as I average more than 50 hours per week there. I’m good at my job, as I’ve been doing it for almost ten years now. I’m comfortable in my role, and the pay is generally pretty good considering my education level and the skills I bring to the table. I’m not miserable every single minute I’m there. But it’s not about hating your job.
It’s about maximizing every minute you’re alive on this planet, because whether you want to admit it or not you’re slowly dying one minute at a time.
While I’m good at my job and I receive pretty good pay for what I do, it’s a huge drain on my time. I’m there for most of my waking hours. I get up at 6:30 a.m. and I don’t get home until 6:30 p.m. If I want to get a decent night’s sleep I’m in bed by 10 p.m. That means I have about three hours to myself per day for the entire week to pursue whatever I actually want in life.
And I know what I want in life. I made my list, and I know who I am.
I’m a passionate writer. A detail-oriented, value-based dividend growth investor. A loving family member as a son, brother, partner, and soon-to-be uncle. I’m a loyal friend. A fitness enthusiast. A free-thinker, and a philosopher. A daydreamer. I love reading, especially about personal finance. A would-be world traveler (one day!). And hopefully I’ll build enough wealth in my lifetime to be a philanthropist.
That’s a lot of passions. And having three hours per day during the week to indulge them all is simply not enough. So while I don’t necessarily hate my job, it’s a barrier between what I really want out of my life and what I’m actually getting.
You may really love what you do for a living, but I do encourage you to really think about whether what you do for most of your waking hours is a primary passion for you. Life is way too short to spend most of your time creating value and happiness for others.
And I’m not encouraging people to quit their jobs when I write about chasing after financial freedom. Having financial independence does not necessarily mean you have to cash it in the second you attain it and tell your boss off. You can keep working for as long as you want. But it’s really about freedom to do whatever you want. Work or not work, the choice is yours.
What if you spend 20 years at a job that you’re completely passionate about but one day the company decides to downsize and you’re one of the unfortunate? Without financial independence you might be in a tough spot. Of course, many people found this out the hard way when the Great Recession hit and they were left jobless with skills limited to what they had been doing for decades on end.
Financial freedom is about choice. It’s about flexibility. It gives you power and control over your life. And most of all it allows you to own your own time. And how could you not want to own the one commodity you were born with, but yet find yourself without for most of your life?
How about you? Do you hate your job? Do you believe chasing after financial freedom is simply about whether you love your job or not?
Thanks for reading.
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