Financial Independence Doesn't Have to Mean Quitting Your Job or Budgeting Your Expenses Down to Zero....
Last Updated: August 25, 2022
...but it can. I have written about this before, and I can guarantee you I will write more about this in the future as well, because this is what the crux of Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises is all about: "success" has many faces, and "success" for one person may or may not look the same as "success" for another person. Being financially independent doesn't mean you have to quit your job and start your own business! Likewise, being financially independent doesn't mean you have to budget your spending down to near-zero either. Let me be perfectly clear: these two above approaches may be a perfect fit for some people to gain financial independence in the perfect way that fits their own lifestyles, wants, and needs; but I am a firm believer in the idea that financial independence, like most things in life, doesn't follow a "one size fits all" model.
If you really hate your job, and any job you have ever had, then you could very easily be the kind of person who needs to quit your job and go out and create your own job doing your own thing in order for your life to make sense and your finances to stabilize and soar.
Likewise, if you are the kind of person who really, truly enjoys being frugal, and especially if your frugality verges on "cheap" (or maybe your frugality is overtly and unabashedly shamelessly "cheap"), or if the saying "A penny saved is a penny earned" permeates deep into the core of all aspects of your life, then there is a good chance you are the kind of person who actually enjoys and finds "sport" in budgeting your spending down to almost zero. If that is the case, by all means I am not going to be the one who tries to convince you otherwise!
There are too many websites with articles, e-books, and videos - and even offline information sources - that talk about financial independence in such a "fireworks display" type of fashion that a lot of "ordinary" people can be put off by the whole idea, leaving them to think that the whole concept of financial independence is either A) fake or some kind of scam, or B) unattainable for them (something only the people who are already rich in this world are allowed to experience and enjoy).
My take on all of this: financial independence is not achieved by just doing "one thing and calling it good," if you will. Just "saving all your money," or "not buying that US$ 5 latte every morning on your way to work," or even just "investing in high-yield dividend bonds," as some examples of single, stand-alone activities you could do in your life, won't make you financially independent in an of themselves. Sure, "not buying that daily US$ 5 peppermint latte" is going to save you US$ 5 x 365 = US$ 1,825 a year, but just because you saved US$ 1,825 in a year because you forewent your favorite morning pick-me-up doesn't in and of itself mean that now you are financial independent! Financial independence is a much more holistic concept than any one or two single financial acts or decisions in your life. Financial independence is all about your personal relationship with money; and, like all relationships in life, your relationship with money needs time to develop itself and grow in order to fully mature and prosper. You can read more about money and the relationships people have with it here.
Rather than going on and on with my philosophies, let me cut to the chase about what this blog post is really all about: tunnel-vision and extremes. Let's look at quitting your job and starting your own business. Some sources will tell you that this is what financial independence is all about - that quitting your job and starting your own business is the only way you will ever truly become "free" from the paycheck-bound rat race.
Let me ask you this: if you quit your job today, what would you do (I mean, in terms of starting your own business)? The idea of someone starting their own business and working for themselves is a highly prized and sought after ideal humanity pays a lot of lip-service to in the 21st Century. "Oh, Zhimeng started his own restaurant, huh? Boy, he's really doing something with his life! I should start my own business, too, if I really want to be rich, and, well, be somebody in life." This is a train of thought I have heard all too frequently from people I have met - from different places around the world, mind you - my whole life. "If I could just start my own business I would be rich and happy," people tell themselves. "To really be a somebody in this world, this is what the world expects of me."
The truth is, not everyone is cut out to start their own business; and, even for those people who do have many or all of the elements of what it takes to start and operate a business, not everyone wants to, and that is 110% ok! The world we live in needs employees, too! Having skills and ideas that you are really good at using and harnessing is absolutely wonderful; however, breaking out on your own and running your own business is a whole different scenario that requires a whole different set of skills. Granted, you could outsources management and operations for the areas you are not skilled in and/or don't want to be involved with, but that's not the point.
The point is, is your goal to make more and more money, or is your goal to have your own business? If you goal is just to make more and more money but you actually don't want to own your own business, then stop right there with the "I'm going to go into business for myself" ideas! There are other avenues out there for making money - owning a business is just one of them. If your actual goal is to start and operate a business, then go for it! The point is to be clear with yourself on your needs, wants, and intentions first.
As a little aside and reminder: while some businesses are easier and less time consuming to run than others, there is no such thing as a completely "hands off" business. Brace yourself. Fasten your seat belt. You will get wet! Wash thoroughly. Do not over inflate. And all that stuff. Even the most passive business ideas require some work on your part. For fun, let's pretend you own properties and rent them out - and have a rental agency deal with everything because you want this money-making venture to be as passive as possible. Although the work is minimal when dealing with an agency (compared to not), realize that you will still have to do some kind of work in order for your properties to make you money. At some periodic points in time you will have to communicate with the rental agency, and, at all times, remember, the properties are still owned by you (hence the reason you are able to profit from this venture), so in the event of any major emergency situation they are still your properties on the line and it is still you who will somehow have to deal with the aftermath of any catastrophe.
International K-12 Educator,
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