“Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery.” – Wayne Dyer
Recently I attended a course on business strategy. One of the most valuable tips the course coordinator gave me was to read anything by an author called Jim Collins. I have been reading a lot of books about personal finance and I would have to say his book titled The Simple Path to Wealth is the best. Jim wrote down his knowledge of money as a series of letters to his daughter. She had no interest in money, but he knew that managing money was a skill she would need to learn regardless. That was when it occurred to Jim that there are many people who could benefit from a personal finance resource that would efficiently educate them about money management, allowing them to go about doing the things that actually matter to them. Not only is Jim an excellent writer, his philosophy fits perfectly with my own. His motivation for mastering the game of money is not so that he can feed his ego with fancy cars, although he has treated himself later in life. It’s not even about having enough money not to work. He loves working, as do I. However, his financial nous has bought him something more valuable than gold and diamonds.
It bought him freedom.
He calls it his “f you money”. By avoiding debt, investing and savvy saving, Jim is no longer tied to a job because of necessity. He can afford to leave at any time – he is there by choice. There is a huge difference between getting up in the morning and going to a job because we want to, or because we have to. The first option makes us creators of our own destiny, the second makes us slaves.
In our society, when we commit a crime, we pay the ultimate penalty for our mistakes – we pay with the loss of our freedom and choice. Yet, we often create this life for ourselves through failing to handle our finances with care. We sell our soul and our freedom for a flatscreen. We end up in jobs that feel more like captivity than a source of inspiration and excitement. To avoid this, Jim says we need to change how we think – we must focus on the ways each dollar can earn more for us, rather than purely how we can spend it. One example being compound interest – until recently this was something I knew absolutely nothing about (see the link for a clear explanation). Then once we are financially secure, we can start to buy our toys, debt free.
“Youth should be spent exploring -building and expanding one’s horizons – not grinding away in chains.” -Jim Collins
Jim has been able to take months off at a time and live in other countries, leave jobs where he was working for someone who he didn’t respect and his wife could afford to stay home with the kids. He enjoyed some downtime when she went back to night school, staying home each evening watching Lion King with his daughter and building a bond that is still strong to this day. His wife, who was successful in her own right in the corporate world, now chooses to work in a local school near their home. She can afford to do what she loves.
They say that if we do what we are passionate about, the money will come. I believe that this is a true statement, but this doesn’t mean we can’t educate ourselves about how to manage our money to buy ourselves the most precious gem of all – time, choice and freedom. It sounds daunting and too complicated to bother, but as I read more books by talented businessmen such as Jim Collins, I am seeing that it is not complicated at all. It’s not always easy, but it isn’t complicated. Controlling spending habits, saving, investing and staying clear of debt – none of these things are complex, but they definitely aren’t easy. It takes a little education, a lot of willpower and the guts to take a few leaps of faith. But I am beginning to see that taking responsibility for our finances could change our lives in ways we never even imagined possible.
This weekend I spent my days frolicking on the beach in the Coromandel and my nights looking up at the stars. I loved every second and decided that I would like to have a beach house there. A place I can go to decompress, write, drink wine on the deck, lounge on the couch and listen to the ocean. This gave me even more incentive to change my habits around my finances. Money can’t buy true happiness, but this weekend it bought me freedom, serenity and fresh sea air. I can’t think of a more sound investment in this world than a full heart and a quiet mind.
“What light is to the eyes – what air is to the lungs – what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man.” – Robert Green Ingersoll
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Much love xx
Photos: My own