10 Ideas for “Financial Freedom”

Financial freedom can be akin to a dog chasing a car.

After it reaches the car, what does it do? Oh, it just stands around, maybe pee on it and wait…until the car goes again so it can continue chasing it. And this is what the pursuit of financial freedom amounts to, a dog chasing something simply because it feels it has to chase it.

Simply chat with a Unit Trust adviser or financial planner or what-not. Chances are there’s one and only one outcome from such a conversation: You still don’t have enough.

It’s like one of those David Copperfield performances where no matter how many swords the fella plunges into the box, the lady inside will come out alive.

Same thing here.

You could be earning $20 million a month it won’t make a diff. The financial consultant will still prove beyond a half-shadow of a doubt that a) you need to earn and save more and b) if you don’t, you’re probably screwed [see note 1].

Nobody wants financial freedom — we only want financial infinity.

What can we do?

I’m no financial expert, but here are 10 recommendations I believe have a good to great chance of transforming your worldview cum experience of money. The following may give us financial “freedom” (albeit of a different kind):

  1. Give generously to people in need
  2. Avoid soul-crushing debt or it’s sinister cousin: unnecessary lock-in expenses
  3. Donate graciously to worthy causes and follow-up and find out how things are turning out (better yet, get involved)
  4. Decide what the 2 or 3 (or maximum 4) MOST IMPORTANT AREAS in your life are which require financial attention — ignore everything else
  5. Ask what other people desperately need, and try your best to fulfil them
  6. Invest only in companies or stock counters or people you care about or have some knowledge of
  7. Increase the proportion of your wealth which you give away, ESPECIALLY if you find yourself spending on frivolously things
  8. Minimize the use of your credit card. Cash and debit cards are much more helpful in constraining spending
  9. Spend more time listening to people less fortunate than you, with a view towards become a blessing (which, of course, usually involve more than the monetary aspect)
  10. Try as best you can to enjoy your work; always ask if your job reflects ‘who you are’ and how you wish to contribute to society, God, etc.

(Did you see what I did with the odd numbers?)

Note 1: By all means, if you’ve been struggling to pay off your debts and get your finances right, sure, go and talk to a financial planner or learn up some financial ‘basics’. I’m not in favour of taking a cavalier devil-may-care attitude towards money.

Edu-trainer, Žižek studies, amateur theologian, columnist.