Monday, January 2, 2017

Freedom Fund: Breaking the Bonds of Servitude

I am the kind of person that loves to feel secure.  I love security.  I am also the kind of person that doesn't like to feel obligated.  I like to feel free.  I think that these two things are at the core of my desires as a person.  Sounds pretty simple, right?

When things make me feel like my freedom and security are threatened, I become out of alignment with the person that I am internally.  This leads to unhappiness.

As I see it, there are two things that are currently threatening my freedom and security:  debt and insufficient income producing assets.

About twelve years ago, I made a decision.  I decided to give up everything that typically made me feel secure in order to pursue a particular dream.  I subletted my apartment, and took leave from my job and flew to the west coast to a place where I had plenty of friends but no job and no apartment.  I won't get into all of the details of what happened, but I will say that it was the happiest that I had ever been in my life.  I spent two years flinting from coast to coast, taking temporary jobs here and there, staying with various friends, and living my life.  I woke up every morning and chose to do exactly what I wanted to do.  My life had purpose: pursuing my dreams, building relationships with people, and being a spiritually and emotionally happy person.  My only financial obligation were my cell phone bill, feeding myself, my credit card, and student loans.

I lived this life for roughly two years before I "settled down" and took a full time job.  While that time of my life was in many ways the happiest in my life so far, it was not sustainable.  I didn't have a huge amount of credit card debt, only a couple thousand, but I sure wasn't paying it down.  I also had my student loans on deferment.  So, they weren't negatively impacting my credit or anything, but I wasn't dealing with them in a sustainable manner.  As we all know, deferment is temporary.  Lucky for me, I succeeded at obtaining full-time employment just before the financial crash of 2008.  I beat the crash by about two months, to my good fortune.  I didn't have a high paying position, but it was very reliable with solid benefits, and it was for a company whose mission I believed in.

I have different employment now, with higher pay, and even better benefits, doing something I enjoy.  "So, what's the problem?" you're thinking.

The problem is that I that I am missing the freedom that is essential to my most peaceful existence.  It makes me think of a history lesson from my childhood.  We were learning about how some people became Indentured Servants in exchange for financial backing and passage to the New World (America).  I seem to recall 7 years of labor was a typical exchange.  (Eventually, this became less and less common, as the European settlers found people they could enslave without ever setting free...I can't let myself go down that rabbit hole or I will lose my original point).  Anyhow, I remember that the idea of Indentured Servitude struck me as being ancient, outdated, even barbaric. I mean, who in their right mind would work as slave labor for someone for SEVEN years just because they incurred some sort of debt?  Uh...wait....  Sound familiar?

Indentured Servants didn't have the ability to choose what they were going to do with their days.  They would go to work for the man day in and day out.  The debt ruled their lives, until paid off.  Now, I imagine that at the end of the seven(ish) year stint, some decided they were happy where they were and wanted to stay on, while others moved on with their lives and did something else.  Don't you want that choice?

I want to wake up every morning and choose exactly what I am going to do with my day.  That might involve staying exactly where I am...  That might involve moving on...  I don't know, but that's not the point.  The choice is the point.  Right now, my debt is pretty minimal.  Once it is gone, so are my obligations.

"Wait!"  you're thinking "you are always going to need a paycheck."

Wrong.  I am always going to need money.  That is where Freedom Fund comes in.  I opened a savings account and literally named it "Freedom Fund."  I have several side gig, and the paychecks from those go directly in.  Once it hits a certain dollar amount, I am buying my second rental property.

The passive income from the two rental properties will be enough to buy me the choice to work or not work as I see fit.  There is no possession that I want to buy for myself more than I want to buy that choice.  With my eye on that prize, it is very easy to stay on track with my financial plan, which is simple: My regular paycheck is for bills, my partner's pays off  our debt, and my side gigs fuel the Freedom Fund.

This was a relatively long path to a relatively simple point, I know...but I want to leave you with this thought.  Please decide what you really want.  How much is having a choice worth to you?  Can you give up some trinkets to get it?  Start your own Freedom Fund and buy yourself a choice.

1 comment:

  1. Hey this article has lot of perspective. Would you mind if I used this article as a guest piece on my blog "Money Talks"? You can visit nd let know what you think first.