I’ve been controlling our spendings quite closely for the past few months. You may say about 6 months ago I went through my financial awakening. At the moment I have a much better understanding of what my assets are and how much wealth I’ve accumulated. The fact my finances are under control makes me feel much better and inspires me to do many things I didn’t think of doing before. I am much more motivated to think creatively more often and take pleasure in finding solutions that avoid spending money at all or at least save me a fair amount.
The reason I looking closely at my finances was because me and my girlfriend were getting more and more into debt and had no plan of paying it all back. A few simple steps helped us pay back around £2000 credit card balance within 4 months. I’m proud of this even more because this happened towards the end of the year and beginning of 2010 so Christmas time when we had to buy gifts and pay for my travel expenses.
When I read financial advice blogs most give the same advice to pay back your debts, save for emergency fund, control your spending and take advantage of compound interest. These come in varying orders but in general they are mostly the same. What very few of them mention is what is the purpose of this tactics and as some of them suggest that you may become wealthy at some point they fail to mention what you do with this accumulated wealth and all the assets.
I guess some of these people are trying to save enough for retirement. Which is probably a very good idea knowing that your health may be failing you by that time and you may no longer be able to work. But is this it?
This guy managed to become financially independent at the age of 30. This is so cool and I can’t help to think it must feel great not to be forced to go to work every day. Which is a quite an achievement.
But I can’t help to think “what if”. I keep asking myself what am I going to do once I’ve accumulated enough assets to be able to quit my job.
– What if my assets lose they’re value suddenly?
– What if I’m unable to enjoy the value of my assets for whatever reason?
– What if aliens invade the earth?
These questions make me feel the whole idea of wealth accumulation is flawed. I mean it’s OK as long as everything is fine. But if something goes wrong globally you’re as fucked as everybody else. You may say this applies equally to those who have accumulated lots of assets and those who haven’t so what’s the problem? Well, the problem for me is I’d rather enjoy living my short life before something bad happens either to myself or to all of us. I know I’m a fatalist :D.
Let’s think about the world’s economy for a while and how it functions. The global village is growing in strength. Despite the credit crunch we still seem to be doing quite well thanks to the global interconnections. If one place is short of corn it can be easily delivered via plane. So places where nothing is produced may be abundant within the next few years. They will be full of people whose only skills are related to administration of goods and funds while the production is taken care of in other less developed locations. If for any reason transportation of goods becomes impossible these people will be in big trouble – you can’t feed on money!
In my opinion the world economy is in a highly deregulated state at the moment. We rely on so many factors to sustain our lives at the moment such as energy and food supplies it is fairly easy to imagine the whole population can be controlled by suppliers of products we rely on to live.
To me financial independence is an illusion. You are only financially free while living in a society that can only survive as long as the economy keeps growing. Once it starts to decline the results will be fatal.
The answer to this for me is self sustainability i.e. a state in which you can rely solely on your own skills to survive. Unfortunately, I’m very far from that at the moment. Being stable financially is still an important goal for me. But let’s not forget money isn’t everything and remember to live our lives while living within our means.