Nowadays, we are living in an exceptional period for those who want to work toward financial independence and financial success.
I know, today everybody in the personal finance environment talks about things like financial independence, early retirement, and passive income, some by providing useful and interesting tips, and others by telling fairy tales about the awesome world of financial independence and how happy you will become after reaching it.
I prefer to highlight how, thanks to the financial world we are living in, everyone that is willing to put a little effort into it, can change his/her view and approach toward work and life in general.
My point is that I see that while our society has changed a lot in recent years, thanks to technological advancements we have changed, and adapted our habits to smartphones and social media, making them fully integrated into our daily life, we have not yet done so with our approach to personal finance.
Since the First Agricultural Revolution, started around 10,000 BC in the Levant, our Neolithic ancestors adopted a new set of food-producing techniques, which transformed the small and nomadic groups of hunter-gatherers into sedentary (non-nomadic) societies based in built-up villages and towns.
Since then, humans started to work in exchange for sustenance, they started paying taxes and, even when after thousands of years they saw the appearance of the first coins, they kept working in exchange for sustenance, protection or money.
Fast forward to the industrial revolution, started in England around 1760, many people stopped working in the fields and started moving from the countryside to the industrial cities that started to become bigger and bigger. At that time the vast majority of workers were spending most of their day working in awful conditions and for very poor wages.
Then, in the Twentieth Century, their conditions began to improve, and they were able to put aside small amounts of money to buy not only basic goods, but also a home, a car, and home appliances.
Since that period, in western countries, we have seen continuous improvements in living conditions for the majority of people, thanks to higher income and other technological improvements.
Today, we are living in an era where technological improvements heavily transformed our lives and continue to do so, by changing not only our habits but also our approach to the work environment and the job market.
New technologies are expected to be able to replace not only the most repetitive works but also more complex professions, therefore people will need to adapt to these new changes by learning new skills and creating new professions that machines will not be able to do.
As I said before, while we have adapted our habits to recent technological advancements, we have not done so with our approach to personal finance, in fact, most people, including youngsters, keep looking for jobs that can provide them an income of which they plan to live off.
It is not uncommon to see people that find themselves in difficult situations caused by this heavy reliance on one single source of income, and that often find themselves in situations where they have to spend most of their day doing a job that they don’t like, only to pay the bills.
I think that, on the contrary, we should change our approach to personal finance and start making our money work for us, this will enable us to create more income streams that can help us to reach a greater level of independence.
In the past, this was very hard to do even some decades ago, but nowadays we have all the information we need to be able to make informed decisions, analyze financial assets and invest in them from our home.
In my opinion, we should start thinking about work as something we do because we want to do it, not because we have to. This is impossible for someone who lives paycheck to paycheck or that relies heavily on income generated by their job. Therefore, as said before you need to think to create a plan, and start saving and investing based on your personal goals, it is something that everybody can do at any age.
Creating a plan and saving more doesn’t mean that you need to stop buying things that you like and that make you happy, after all, we live once. However, it is important to understand what are the things that make us happy and continue spending on those things (with moderation), while we should stop wasting money on things we don’t need and that doesn’t make us happy.
The most beautiful thing about going through this path is that you can create your own program based upon your needs and wants. The main goal is to not “have to work” anymore, but to work because we want to.
I don’t think that this is the recipe to live a beautiful life, in my opinion, that has almost nothing to do with material things, but it can certainly help us to live a life where we can choose to do what we want, instead of being slaves to a model that was created with the first agricultural revolution.
Now we have the power to decide not to follow it but to opt for a different path that values the freedom to choose.