It is a familiar saying to everyone: “Money does not bring happiness”. But how is it that freedom brings happiness? In the news and financial debates about financial independence, the happiness potential of freedom is often questioned. This post examines the various background motives for the pursuit of freedom and financial independence as a means of increasing freedom.
A growing number of people are striving for greater freedom and financial independence. The topic evokes all sorts of opinions and feelings. Patronizing accents and quarrels around the subject also seem to be increasing.
Critics describe free life as boring and meaningless. Independence goals are also easily labeled as selfish and questionable. Some see it as elitist. What does this say? Well, at least quite a black and white attitude to the subject.
There is certainly no single explanatory model behind the motives for freedom, but the reasons vary from individual to individual. In this post, I highlight the motivators that made my thirst for freedom awaken and life-changing moving. I also seek to dismantle the simplistic interpretations that revolve around the subject.
The goal of freedom, the means of financial independence
So many dreams of greater freedom and not being so dependent on their day job. However, only some of the dreamers will take action to change the situation. Often this requires strong motivation and reason, the surplus economy alone may not yet bring about the necessary action.
Becoming financially independent requires long-term work for most, as well as careful financial management and a strategic plan. The aim, of course, is to eventually reach a situation where the cost of living is adequately covered without active (paid) work.
The real goal, however, is that once a livelihood is secured, you can decide more freely about your time and invest in the things you feel are important.
The financial independence required by freedom is built by raising capital for investment and/or developing other forms of property (eg products and copyrights) that provide some or all of the necessary livelihood at some point.
How much capital is needed for financial independence then? I think it is so individual that it may be pointless to define very universal sums. Some seek large, € 1 million worth of capital before thinking they are financially independent or dare to leave their day jobs. For others, much less capital or even partial independence may be enough to bring appropriate freedom and space to life.
I also like to look at myself outside of mathematical formulas and away from simplistic dependent / independent thinking. Charts and metrics, of course, create frames to make it easier to formulate a goal, but many also get caught up in them and no longer dare to think for themselves.
Everyone sets their goals, of course, entirely from their starting points and desired lifestyle. It is possible for someone to get the income level and lifestyle they need with € 200,000 in the capital, for another not enough for a million at all. The equation is influenced by many things, but in general, a more independent lifestyle is more accessible than one can even think of.
Much depends on how and where the capital is harnessed to make a return and what the monthly expenses will be. What is also important is the economic starting point (income, expenditure, net worth) from which the goal is to be pursued, as well as the timetable, ie how quickly there is a need to enjoy freedom.
However, it can be fun to do personal calculations to get to the point of how and with what amounts independence would begin to build in its place. I estimated that in that kind of EUR 300 000 would be sufficient quite well I need freedom.
I ended up at this stage, such a lifestyle solution, in which I try to live, at least in part, as if I were financially independent. This way, I can already enjoy the things that are sought in an independent lifestyle, such as longer trips, freer day rhythms, and my chores. So even if I was really independent and still in the light of the figures.
When the need for freedom arises, it is not difficult today to find recipes and calculation formulas online and in books to implement them. Indeed, one of the reasons for the popularity of the pursuit of financial independence would be this increased economic awareness and the opportunity to build a freer life, regardless of background and source of wealth.
Why do we long for freedom?
What does freedom mean then, and why do some of us want it so fervently that we are ready for even great changes and abandonments? It is difficult to squeeze the essence and meanings of freedom into a few sentences, but what is certain is that freedom is one of our very core values and needs.
Paradoxically, for one, freedom frees and for another it is fulfillment. For some, a regular job and a career path of the traditional formula is a dream, for another a horror. And how these are perceived individually can, of course, vary throughout a lifetime.
For this post, I mean in particular:
- freedom to use time
- freedom from the chronic rush and harmful stress
- freedom to regulate the quantity and quality of work
- freedom to live independently
- freedom to live according to one’s tendencies, resources, and values
- The aim is that these freedoms could be better regulated by their economic solutions.
- Everyone certainly knows what all the greater
- freedom would mean in their place, what need it responds to, or
- whether it is experiencing a need for one.
Freedom of choice, the ability to build life more and more in your way, tailoring yourself to fit is often the “thing” that feels so extraordinarily good. And fortunately, this customization can be done on many scales, which is why I do not see increasing freedom and financial independence as an elite privilege for any elite.
However, in media talks and some debates, those seeking financial independence are wanted to be squeezed into simplistic molds. The longing for freedom is approached as a selfish desire for laziness and comfort. Desire to retire as young as possible, Only to get to lie down as a living counselor on the couch with a Netflix or under a palm tree in a hammock. Next, be warned that such things do not bring happiness and be reminded that someone should do the right work and pay the taxes.
Of course, these interpretations could only sneer, but I have now taken it upon myself to this post to reflect on the subject, anyway, and I strive to enrich these too narrow perspectives.
The need to be in a hurry and to relax, as well as gaining experiences that are important to you, are guaranteed to be part of the truth. However, it is hard to see that just the rest of your life spent on the couch or in a hammock would be so inspiring that it would make you work for years or decades in working life while pursuing tight financial discipline and investing a surplus. There is probably more to the background of the dream.
It is also clear that the freedom traveler cannot escape work and taxes. Capital does not cling to itself without working for it and saving on consumption. Capital income, on the other hand, is taxed with a heavier hand than average wage income.
For myself, the opportunity to see the world on a longer formula, traveling without a return ticket, was one important motive as a wing of the pursuit of freedom. That was one answer to the question of what freedom I wanted. However, those bigger reasons sprang from even deeper.
Some reason large enough and important to bring about action is likely to be found in the background of every freedom seeker. It’s good to look at what factors make up your own “why”. Where does your own need for change come from, “where” do you want to get away from? And on the other hand, what kind of life you want to move towards. What are you going to do with freedom, what is your own “where”? Often underlying is a human and life-tasting story.
Indeed, the motives for life change and goal setting are always largely selfish, I don’t think I can get anywhere right from that. We want to take one’s own life, emotional state, and the world of experience towards a better one. Maybe you have had to compromise or settle for too little of your good in the past. Whether your own “good” and well-being is then out of someone else’s well-being, it is, of course, your complex question.
I would like to look for an equally fundamental reason behind the aspirations for independence in the growing contradiction between the performance society and the well-being of the individual. The surrounding reality, which emphasizes efficiency, performance, and success in every sector, feeds us an inner performer who could never really rest or stop.
Over time, performance and efficiency pressures can begin to squeeze like shackles. No wonder some of us start to clot into this all-encompassing outing and long for an escape to the mountains, forests, or jungles… At the same time, increasingly feverishly calculating what economic arrangements and timetable would make this possible.
Another common reason behind the pursuit of freedom is the awakening to some kind of crisis of values. As a result of the turmoil of values, what is valuable in life and how you want to live this life in the future is starting to shine.
I shall now consider these two background factors in the pursuit of freedom and financial independence; exhaustion and change in the world of values. I would almost dare to argue that these affect independence aspirations more often than the mere desire for comfort and laziness. These reasons were also greater motivators for my solutions.
Exhaustion evokes a desire for freedom
The diverse workloads of work and the rest of life can lead to a depletion of resources over time if we are unable to adequately recover, regulate workloads and create a balance in life. The longer you persevere with the decreasing forces and tolerate the imbalance, the more the load begins to affect your health and ability to function.
Pinning on the frontiers of coping, while life seems to be fluttering day by day faster and faster, understandably raises the longing for freedom to the surface. Thoughts of freedom and independence can begin to spin on the mind without being left alone. That’s what happened to me. At the same time, interest arose in liberal economic arrangements and investment.
Thus, the strengthening of the dream of freedom may be one natural signal that the relationship between exertion and recovery, on the one hand, and goals and performance, on the other, may not have been in order at the time.
When a person begins to see the impact of overwork or their work-related patterns of coping on well-being and well-being, it tends to ignite the motivation to start working for a new, freer future. To achieve a lifestyle in which one does not have to sacrifice one’s endurance and well-being for work.
Today, I realize that for those who are strong and in good workflow, it can be tricky to comprehend what it’s like when performance starts to decline and the recovery no longer wants to succeed. When the head or body does not function as before, and the direction of development cannot be reversed. In principle, anyone can drop into the sticky fog, but often they are enthusiastic about their work and do well in it.
I believe that criticism of the dreams of independence can be rebutted from this very point of view. When it’s not fully understood what it’s like to drill down with years of lack of strength, it’s easy to label the needs for freedom and life change as “hedonistic”. After all, I have been amazed at how someone can long to get out of work in the past, feeling my strength.
I remember when my father sometime years ago pointed out that with successful investments, I could “retire” at the age of 50. I was wondering why in the world would I want one? After all, I was in my power and thought to enjoy working for a long time.
So I did not understand exhaustion or longing for freedom until after a long period of accumulation of load and stress. On the day off, I was surprised at how strongly I experienced the positive effects of slowing down and the rhythm of a freer life. Unhurriedness, relaxation, and freedom felt sweeter than anything else. It was eye-opening and I knew I had to continue my journey in this direction. Assigns of exhaustion emerge, the possibility of financial independence (even theoretical) may appear to be a truly attractive lifeline and an opportunity for a much-needed gentler lifestyle. Of course, it’s not a quick fix, but it’s a straw that creates hope for the future and a teasing opportunity. So before we start pointing fingers at those who have embarked on a freedom hunt, it is good to remember that there can be a variety of human causes behind it. For example, just different levels of exhaustion and overload situations. After all, not everyone is just talking about them. The dreams of freedom and independence should therefore not be thought of merely as maximizing pleasures and easy life. It would be good to see that it can be a necessary awakening to strive for a more suitable and gracious way of life, to nurture one’s own ability to function and the joy of life. For positive selfishness. In the sequel to the post, I will discuss how a person with an exhaustion background can move towards a freer life and financial independence.
The crisis of values is bringing about change
Another important background to the pursuit of freedom that I address in this post is the sudden or gradual clarification of an individual’s world of values. This awakening to the important things in their own lives triggers the pursuit of freedom and financial independence for many.
Before waking up, man has been able to adapt to life against his inner desires and values, even for a long time. Increased internal contradictions, a deteriorating feeling, or some kind of crisis will finally wake a person out of this Rose’s sleep or autopilot control. At the same time, a more in-depth study of one’s values and way of life begins.
Questions begin to rotate in my mind: Do I live as I truly want to? Do I live by my true values? If not, why not? Am I fine and am I happy? Do the realities of the workplace and close relationships match my values? Where are my days and energy going? And what should be done about things?
It is a good idea to ask yourself these questions, rather sooner rather than later. Drifting into the squirrel wheels of everyday life and having the tolerance of performing a certain lifestyle with the same repetitive formula is human and easily absorbs for years to come. As everyday survival takes strength and attention, living from worthy hands can secretly be left in second place.
Work that seems distant, empty, or contradictory may begin at some point to cause feelings of dissatisfaction, aversion, and cynicism. And these feelings begin to be reflected in other quality of life and your state of being. Even a good salary is indefinitely not enough to make up for the gap between just being tolerated vs. optimal.
Other hurries, responsibilities, and pastimes or the wrong kind of interpersonal relationships may also have taken life in the wrong direction or in the wrong way. Life may look full, but it may feel empty inside. A wide range of ways and requirements for external competence may have taken the place of what one’s own internal well-being would require.
Unfortunately, we often stop to see the contradictions between our values and our actions only with some crisis. Our own or a loved one’s illness, accident, resignation, or some other hard experience may be needed before we wake up or take action.
When the value scale is brought to the nose with the crisis, we can see that the ideal and reality of the order of priority have perhaps drifted far apart. It is noted that there has not been enough time or resources for genuinely important things or people. Bigger dreams and goals may also have faded somewhere in the background.
That is, it is often the case that the values that a person experiences inwardly do not in themselves at least radically change or even need change, but the need for change is related to action, to how values are expressed in one’s own life. My actions may have been unknowingly at odds with values for a long time. The operating models have their origins somewhere other than their inner world of values.
The inevitability of the passage of time and the awareness of the limitations of life give a special impetus to seize value considerations and dreams. The good thing about cruises is that they bring genuinely important things to the surface, and they also provide the necessary drive to change operations. As a result of the awakening of values, many begin to realize something of their dreams eventually and get to think about what financial actions it will require.
The importance of money is changing
Many may find that earning and spending money may have captured an overly large role in life, taking time and energy away from other important things. A good salary, a great apartment, shopping, games, and tricks may have seemed to be perhaps very important things, even absolute values before the surface of the real value.
As the outlook on life changes, so does the relationship between money and consumption. At the same time, intangible capital rises to a more important part of the money. Of course, money may still be important, but it will become a more conscious enabler of life of values. The instrumental value of money and its skills is emphasized in the implementation of life changes.
Instead of acquiring or carelessly consuming the material, one wants to start “buying” more free time, the opportunity for a better presence and well-being. Either in the present or the future. At this stage at the latest, there is an interest in the pursuit of financial independence.
Contradictions cannot be completely avoided when investments are needed in these rather different “types of capital”. One should, on the one hand, be able to raise money to invest, and, on the other hand, there is a desire to focus one’s resources on the intangible, intrinsically satisfying classes of capital. There may be some trade-offs to be made.
For myself, I realized that greater freedom and life experiences are more valuable to me than sticking to a good job and a familiar lifestyle. I had come to a situation where I could no longer choose both at the same time. The job had been a little too high in my ranking for a long time and I wanted to change the situation.
As the need for freedom struck my consciousness, I realized that it was time for me to start building my kind of life outside of paid work, on the terms of my endurance, and more freely exploring the world. I wanted to move into this kind of life as soon as possible while I was still in some kind of power. I realized that no time, let alone “youth” really was endless. Everything could not just be transferred to the future.
I knew I would have to compromise and give up a wide variety of “accomplished benefits,” my professional identity, and my familiar patterns to put myself and my own life at the top of the priority list. However, I was fully prepared to pay the price.
Not just for the couch, but also for “your own business”
Readers of my blog also sometimes share their thoughts on the motives and goals of a freer life. Quite a few of them also aim to spend the rest of their lives fully integrated into the couch, or even the constant repeal of drinks under a palm tree from year to year, although for a moment these may well be the case.
The goal of financial independence is important in creating a freer life, but not only because one could just be lazy, but because there would be freedom to pursue one’s vocations and interests if one’s current lifestyle and work do not allow it.
Doing your chores, on your terms and schedules, is what many want from freedom. These own vocations may not bring a living that fully replaces wage income, but their point is more in self-realization and perceived quality of life than in large earnings. It is a well-researched thing that low-income self-employed people are happier than those in paid employment, raising good lychees. Independence and freedom go beyond the feelings of happiness or security that money brings to at least some of us.
The purpose of your chores and projects is to bring other types of added value and content to life. Money is more of a positive side effect. Your chores can be designed to fit the lifestyle you want to live. In this way, one can take into account the values that are important to oneself and build a way of working that would not drive exhaustion so easily.
The very fact that one can increase one’s independence by obtaining passive income, for example, 500-1000 € / month, can make it possible to switch to one’s chores. Of course, some want to be able to guarantee higher monthly income with investments, in which case those possible own things are an option, but not the main purpose.
Many aspirants to independence describe the desired ideal situation precisely in this way, with the opportunity to choose their work and what they do very freely. I also sign this goal myself.
For those who are previously exhausted at work or awakened in value in their lives, their chores can fit perfectly into a plan to build a freer life, either as part of a journey or perhaps as a destination. The fact that you can create your work with your framework, from your values and interests, is a great opportunity to tailor a life that feels right and good to yourself, one in which the different aspects of life are in balance with each other.
However, the pitfall is to get involved in doing too much and eventually drift into a situation where you find yourself in a new accelerating squirrel wheel again, even though you didn’t like it.
What matters is how this new “squirrel wheel” feels. Is it in line with your values, will it bring joy and good buzz to the days or will the shackles soon start to squeeze again?
I freedom in my head was captivated between too many things, my talents, and stress susceptibility about this and begun to burden myself noticing too much. Self-knowledge and self-examination are needed here.
You may not want to live the rest of your life without putting a stick across. But you want the freedom to decide for yourself.
Does freedom bring happiness?
Is freedom or a freer life than a source of happiness? This certainly depends a lot on how happiness is defined and perceived individually, and who and in what life situation is asked. As well as what kind of feelings, thoughts, and meanings have been attached to freedom or, on the other hand, to working life.
Freedom in itself is probably not yet a guarantee of happiness, as are other circumstances in themselves. We just tend to tie happiness to different conditions and can be known to be disappointed if happiness doesn’t come with change alone. “I am happy when I have a lot of money, free days, a dream house, the right kind of spouse, the opportunity to change to Thailand …” etc. This is how we the way we think. Pleasure, however, can sometimes be related more to the expectation and thought of the state of desire than to its realization.
Favorable conditions can, of course, make a significant contribution to opportunities for well-being and experiencing feelings of happiness. However, the ability to be happy should exist even without the realization of the circumstance. So that you can experience joy and satisfaction, even if you still have a way to go. It is also important how the opportunities provided by freedom can then be used in the best and most relevant way.
As for the motives for freedom in this article; exhaustion and change of value, it is, of course, difficult to see how greater freedom would not increase well-being and happiness in these cases. If you can regulate your daily rhythm and things more freely and reduce stress, it will create a pretty comfortable starting point for the exhausted person to build a gentler and happier daily life. So is it if you can live more according to your values and spend your time on things that you feel are important.
Does the liberated person experience boredom and meaninglessness? This is certainly up to how your freedom is then exercised. It feels special if a person who has worked purposefully for his freedom for years then does Osaka or does not intend to do anything with his freedom other than hang out bored on the couch. There may be a momentary vacuum, of course, but most aspirants may have plans for their freedom to come to fruition.
For some, freedom can mean an active lifestyle, for others a much-needed opportunity to slow down. For some of us, an already sluggish, unprogrammed day rhythm can be great bliss. And it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with boredom.
Someone, on the other hand, has in mind the creepy plans and projects that their fingers are screaming about. It is certainly very individual what kind of use of time and lifestyle is suitable for everyone, and what that own happiness at each stage of life consists of. It would be quite impossible to define for the other what brings into his life experiences of meaning and happiness. Perhaps that is the most essential insight. Let each enjoy the things in life that are important to them.
Testing can be one way to make sure you’re pursuing the right things for your happiness, whether expectation value and reality are in line with each other. For example, holding a half-year sabbatical or living in the country, which would like to change. Such test cycles can indicate whether the goal is right for itself and whether the change will feel good when implemented.
If you get bored on the Sabbath day, don’t come up with things to do or enjoy yourself, then maybe it’s better to stay on the sidelines of work or develop those own projects. Likewise, living in a fascinating country or destination is, of course, quite a different matter than going on a couple of weeks of holiday travel. Experimenting with things in a testing spirit can help you avoid disappointment and learn from yourself.
Setting goals and starting to work actively to increase your freedom and independence, no matter how small, can be a great source of pleasure and happiness in itself. Taking full responsibility for your happiness and going towards the goal you want is something that everyone never takes. Passive waiting for circumstances to change or complaining about them is the surest way to torpedo your happiness.
For myself, at least already the courage to go to change life in a freer direction, without shy away from the risks, has brought a lot of joy and satisfaction. Even though not everything has gone as I imagined, and no backpacks and bends along the way have been avoided. No matter, I treat them as part of my journey. And the journey continues!