Last Updated: July 28, 2022
Considering the statements I made in my last blog post about putting in the hard work to start a business, I figured I had better write a separate post strictly on the topic of what I consider to be "financial independence" and how that can be lived out in someone's life. For starters, as the title of this post clearly lays out, being financially independent in my book doesn't mean you have to hate your "regular day job," quit it, and start running your own business. That's just one possible avenue that could lead to financial independence and success. In fact, for every person in this world who claims financial independence because they own their own business, I would venture to guess there are plenty of other people out there who claim financial independence through other means as well, chiefly:
1) inherited wealth (don't we all wish this was us),
Of course, there are other ways as well, but these are the "big legal three" we will talk about today :)!
When considering the population of the entire world, inherited wealth makes up a very real, yet very, very small overall percentage of people on this globe. Think of the children of the uber-wealthy - Prince Harry, Ivanka Trump (regardless of whether you love the Trumps or don't favor them so much - hey, they are financially wealthy, there is no denying that!).
Another big avenue for building wealth outside of running your own business is investing. While the words "investing" or "investment" might conjure up images of buying and selling stocks or bonds for many people when they hear those words, an investment is, essentially, buying something with the hopes of selling that "something" later at a higher price to make money on it or otherwise have that "something" generate money for you. In fact, even owning your own business is an investment - you are making an investment of time, money, and other resources into your business entity, hoping that it will grow and generate more and more money than you put into it, and maybe even sell it one day for a profit. Beyond that, you can invest in (essentially "buy into and hope the price goes up by the time you want to sell it") pretty much anything you want to: commodities, precious metals, real estate, postage stamps, wine, cigars, old coins, antique furniture, art, the list is pretty much endless.
Everyone will have different tastes and fancies for what they enjoy speculating on, and, to be fair, nothing, per say, is "right". I know some people who swear by real estate, others who swear by stocks, others who swear by bonds, and still others who swear by precious metals - but one thing is for certain, they almost all disagree with each other on which type of investment is "right," thinking the other person's investment is a waste of time, money, and energy for one reason or another. Another funny thing is, they all seem to do independently well within their chosen investment niches, results that could not be matched if they switched to a niche they weren't as passionate about.
The last one I included here, saving, is something many of us probably wish we did more of - if nothing else because this is the fundamental rule we had hammered into us as children even if no other financial sense was ever taught to us: "Save your money!" was driven into us either blindly or with reason, and that's what stuck! Just like most other things, there is A LOT that can be said both for and against simply saving money with the intent of becoming rich and financially independent that way.
For our purposes here today let me just say that there are non-savers (people who blow every penny that comes through their wallet), casual savers, wanna-be savers, savers, and then there are SAVERS!
Some people are really, really good at saving money and really enjoy that kind of thing! Haggling over transactions for hours to save every penny they can, buying the cheapest thing always (whether it's an airline ticket across the country to visit their Aunt Zelda with 12 hour layovers in 6 different cities because it was the cheapest, or simply the cheapest brand of butter on the shelf at the store), budgeting their monthly expenses down to near-zero, almost never spending a single penny on personal indulgences and temptations EVER. These are the kinds of people who can account for every last nickel and dime in a month, knowing EXACTLY where every cent went, every month, all the time!
This is not my idea of financial independence - to me it just makes you a "slave to saving," BUT some people are really good at doing this, REALLY enjoy this kind of lifestyle and the "sport of it all" (I've actually known a person who was really into this refer to it as a "sport"), and live happy, abundant lives in their own rights living this kind of lifestyle. That's the reason I have included this here. Maybe this is you (maybe it isn't).
Bottom line: if you're not actively generating money through your own business activities, then you are making money elsewhere - most likely as a traditional employee - and you can use that money to generate more money - or at least guard and grow the wealth you have (through saving) - and become financially independent that way.
"But it isn't always that easy, Andreas! Boy, have I got a rant to rip into you about this!"
You're right! It isn't always easy! In fact, except for that small percentage of people born into extreme wealth (the "Inherited Wealth Crew," let's call them :)), or the people who just seem to have good luck fall into their laps wherever they go, it's seldom easy! Generating wealth is a difficult, tedious process, and don't let the so called "gurus" try to convince you otherwise...believe me - again, except for that very small exceptionally lucky handful - they all worked hard to earn that "guru status" they are now enjoying today! There are no "shortcuts." There are no "magic bullets." There is no easy way out!
With all this said, the point is that not everyone is cut out to run their own business and not everyone necessarily wants to run their own business! Some people actually - yes, believe it or not - LIKE their day jobs! I know that is hard for some people to believe, but there are people in this world who enjoy their day jobs. I am one of them. "By day" I am known as "Mr. Gross" and work at a traditional brick-and-mortar school. I really like my job and I'm not lying. I like doing other things and I DO do other things besides my "day job," too, though (that's the reason you can enjoy this website :D).
The point is that you have a chance to become financially independent, too, even if you can't or don't want to drop everything and go out and run your own full-time business. Financial independence isn't a one-size-fits-all kind of game. As with almost everything, there are multiple avenues to success in this department!
Better life, better business, better you,
Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises
Ideas, Inspiration, Opportunity
Washington State Certified K-8 Educator, K-12 International Education Consultant, Professional Coach, Proofreader/Editor, Affiliate Marketer, Popsicle Stick Crafter, Print-on-Demand Products Designer, and Webmaster
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