I always find it inspiring to read the stories and feel the relentless drive by some very young people towards financial independence.
One of them is Dave and Kate, the authors behind the “Minimalist In the City” who blog delicately with a good command of the English language about “random thoughts and journey towards a minimalist lifestyle”. They aim to be financially independent in 1000 days time, before they are 40 years old. You can read more about it in their blog.
The other one is Miss Niao, who blogs about “her financial journey (and other random stuff)” in such a casual, commonsensical yet positive way that simply attracts you to return. She is very young too, 27 years to be exact (as claimed in her blog) but already harbours an ambition to gain financial freedom, probably in an “ASAP manner”.
I would encourage you to visit their blog sites. If you are like me, i.e. (cough cough) in middle-age, i am sure you will find their stories inspiring. Even though they may blog about seemingly simple things in life, I have no doubt you will find something you like over there. Try it for yourself.
While the concept is not new, the author, Joshua Sheats, put in a simple way to help us recognise our current earning power and expenditure to appreciate at which stage of financial independence we are in.
Interestingly, we may think that financial independence is THE goal but according to the article, it is only the 5th Stage and there are 2 more stages we can work towards after that.
In a nutshell, the 7 stages are:
- Stage 0: Financial Dependence
- Stage 1: Financial Solvency
- Stage 2: Financial Stability
- Stage 3: Debt Freedom
- Stage 4: Financial Security
- Stage 5: Financial Independence
- Stage 6: Financial Freedom
- Stage 7: Financial Abundance
In my opinion, you will feel an exponential increase in life’s pleasure and satisfaction by moving up from one stage to another. The pleasure is derived from the fact that you will feel that you are now in greater control of your life, feel fewer constraints to box you in when making your personal choices and feel that you can contribute more to the society by returning your time and resources to help others.
One of the key learning that I gleamed from this and I will share with people around me is that financial independence/freedom doesn’t come out of thin air, we have to work towards it and climb each step conscientiously. It’s hard work but there is a roadmap to guide us towards it 🙂 and it’s not rocket science.
We are all at different stages of this ladder of “financial freedom” and we have different ambitions too. Not all of us wants to reach Stage 7. I will be happy with 6.
As I try to close this article, I can’t help reflect that there are many people who are languishing in Stage 0 or 1 their whole lives.
Having joined a Co-Operative recently, I started to know of several people who have good jobs and supposedly a comfortable lifestyle but in realty they are struggling to make interest payments to their loans. Some even took on big credit card loans (like $80k at 24% interest rate per year!!!) to make ends meet. If they had not applied for loans at the Co-Operative, I would have never imagined that they are saddled with so much debts. I can’t help feeling sad for them. They look so alright on the external but internally, I think they must have this constant anxiety of trying to make interest payment to avoid their loans from ballooning further. At least I would.
I think for some of them, they probably had a major life crisis that struck when they were not prepared for and they had to carry the financial burden after that. I remembered an incident ten years ago. One of my friends had to take a $30k credit line from his credit cards to pay for his mother’s surgery in a private hospital. He tried to manage it on his own initially but it was so tough that it eventually broke him. Out of desperation, he sought help from us. Thankfully a few of us came together to help him through it. As I was relatively young then, this experience of his has a significant impact on me and dawned on me the importance of having medical insurance.
However, for many others, I think they just lack the knowledge and discipline to manage their finances. I think they need help and that’s where we can come in.
I have made a promise to myself a while ago to use my time, resources and knowledge to help them regain their financial stability. For the loan applicants at the Co Op, I will insist that the money goes directly to the credit card companies first.
If you have friends at this similar stage, do give them your help and advice. They will need it. Like the old saying goes, “Rather than give the man a fish, teach him how to fish and he will never go hungry again”
Back to the ladder of financial freedom, I hope you are building up a strong base to help you reach your next step and eventual meet you goal. I wish you all the best.
Take care and good luck in the coming “financial” week.
And for me, it’s back to calculating dividends 😊