People pursue financial independence for many reasons, but the number one reason you hear when asking people about it is “Independence”. Sure, that’s a word in the title of the pursuit, but “independence” and “financial independence” are not the same thing. Financial independence is the state of an individual when their personal assets pay for their life without the need for a career or other active income. Independence is something different. Though the definition can be somewhat ephemeral, independence usually relates to being able to do what you want with your time.
Think of all the different things that have to fall in line for this to be the case. Very few people have the resources to do whatever they want. Others have family, public service, or career obligations which keep them from exercising freedom of independence they might otherwise have.
Regardless of the details of your personal situation, it is difficult to approach true independence in a short lifetime. To do that, you’ll need to make a habit and a hobby of the various behaviors that increase your access to independence, early and often. Here are some examples.
- Improve Your Instincts in Your Free Time. People who become great investors do so because they love investing. They get excited when they uncover new information in a balance sheet. They like to trade stocks in their free time, even if it’s just with mad money. They hone their skill at statistics and opportunity with online games of poker. If you don’t enjoy this stuff and constantly look for new ways to make money, save money, gain insights before anyone else, and generally make your personal financial decisions highly efficient, you won’t achieve your goals.
- Learn to Like Work. Financial independence is not for the lazy. Some people may have it handed to them through parents or grandparents or a legal case, but you are probably not one of them. It’s easy to sit in squalor and complain about Capitalism and the lack of opportunities afforded to Millennials. It’s much harder to find something you can do for money, and work hard at it. It’s still harder to find something that’s meaningful to you. But it’s worth. It’s hard to achieve difficult goals if you do not find the process worthwhile. Even if you have to put your goals on hold for a moment, find work that you enjoy doing and let that be the financial engine by which you drive yourself to financial independence.
There are loads of ways to get rich, but unless you find one that you enjoy or are passionate about, financial independence is probably a lost cause for you. Sometimes, learning to love something is all about gaining knowledge about that thing. It’s hard to know if you’ll love investment without learning the skills. So try some stuff. FInd new abilities, and make a hobby of increasing your net worth. If you keep up these habits for months and years, you’ll find that you’re ever closer to financial independence.