To me, money means freedom.
In my opinion, the key to happiness is doing what you WANT to do. Money is key to the financial freedom that allows you to spend your days doing what you enjoy, rather than what you have to do. While it doesn’t solve problems and it doesn’t directly bring happiness, it may allow you the freedom to focus on and dedicate time to the things that do make you happy.
The way I see it, you either own money, or money owns you. If you don’t have enough of it, you’re dependent of it. If you don’t have savings and you live month to month, you have to factor money into every decision that you make. But if you have enough of it… you don’t “need” it, and you can make decisions without weighing money as the most important deciding factor.
Here’s why I think this way…
My parents are divorced, and growing up I experienced two very different ways of handling and looking at money. My mother had much less money than my father. My mother was constantly worrying about being able to pay her bills and mortgage, while my father had enough money to not have to worry about money. That’s not the full story, though. My mother had time to spend with her children, to paint, and to be creative. My father, on the other hand, was constantly consumed by his business, leaving him with a lot of stress and no time to spend with his family or do what he loves most - surf.
These two different views allowed me to understand that money is important, but it’s not the whole story. I came to the conclusion that you need a balance - you need to have more money than you need, but you also need to have freedom from the source of your money, to be able to enjoy the results of your hard work.
I reflected a lot on money while I grew up. I never wanted to endure the stress my mother did about not being able to pay bills, but I also wanted to be able to use my money to do the things I enjoy… so I started saving. Ever since my first allowance in fifth grade, I have been trying to save more than half of what I earn. I never knew what I was saving for, but I figured that if I saved my money, I would have the freedom to buy and do the things I wanted… and I would never have to stress about now being able to afford the next cool thing (I know, big things for a 10 year old to worry about). It also meant that I wouldn’t be dependent on my parents giving me my allowance, as I had savings to use in case something happened.
Fast forward to college - I started working as soon as I had the opportunity to. I chose to work as much as I could so that I could save money and ensure my own financial freedom. I was never saving for anything specific, just to be prepared for the unexpected. I did work a lot, but I always chose jobs I enjoyed… and due to my savings, I never had to take a job I didn’t like because I needed money.
My savings allowed me to go on spontaneous trips with my friends, and also allowed me to solve problems without needing help from others, or feeling the stress and pressure of not having options. For example, when I got into an accident and totaled my car, I had enough savings to buy a new one. If I hadn’t been saving money for the past two years and had the financial ability to purchase a new car, I would have ended up car-less, and without any transportation enabling me to go to work - making me completely dependent on money,
Now that I have begun my career and started working full-time, my goal continues to be to save more than half of what I earn. Am I saving for something particular? Not really. I know that in the future I will probably want to buy a house, to be able to provide my family with a healthy home and a good education… or maybe I’ll change my mind. Either way, having savings means I have the luxury to make my own decisions, and to change my mind if I want to. It also means I can quit my job tomorrow if I really wanted to - because I have enough saved to not be completely dependent of the source of my income.
Life can take unexpected turns, we can change our minds… but at the end of the day, I think the ultimate goal is to be able to use your most limited asset (time) to do the things that bring the highest non-monetary returns (joy and fulfillment). Financial independence means we don’t depend on money, and we can give ourselves the luxury of spending our days doing what we love.
Anmerkung von Fabio:
Der Beitrag heute ist sehr speziell für mich. Wie ihr seht, ist er auf Englisch und das aus gutem Grund. Sol ist nicht nur einer der herzlichsten Menschen, den ich kenne, sie ist auch eine faszinierende Persönlichkeit.
Als digitale Nomadin reist sie um die Welt und arbeitet in den gemütlichsten Kaffes, mit der besten Sicht auf das Meer von ihrem Laptop aus. Ganz nach dem Motto: work hard, travel harder. Sie hat FinanzFabio erst möglich gemacht. Ohne ihre Designs und Programmierkünste würde ich heute noch an der Webseite rumbasteln. Auch die ganzen tollen Bilder hier, stammen von ihrer Kamera 🙂
Schau bei Sol vorbei
In ihrem Blog schreibt sie über das Leben als digitaler Nomade und wie sie es schafft, mit einem Budget von $ 1000 im Monat um die Welt zu reisen. Falls ihr Hilfe braucht beim Marketing eurer Firma, schaut bei Dawning Digital, Sols Marketing Agentur, vorbei.