All of us want to be financially free…or is it? Does a 23 year old in the first day of office want to be financially free? What about the 32 year old?

I do not think that there are any clear answers. There has to be some incident in YOUR life or in the life of somebody very close to you for triggering the ‘financial freedom’ bug. It never comes to some people – I never ever heard my Dad crib about his work – he worked 42 years in one place before he hung his boots. He choose leisure @ 65 years of age.

So what can be the trigger? I have seen the following:

  1. Too much debt burden: suddenly you have the urge to break free
  2. Too much student debt making the whole deal unfair and almost not worth it.
  3. Combining finances with a more disciplined / less disciplined spouse
  4. Making a balance sheet in order to make some big ticket purchase – generally the house.
  5. A parent (usually) going through a MAJOR crisis like death, ill health, or a financial meltdown

These are all events which are asking you to commit more – financially and physically – and this phase you actually want to get to be more responsible.

Suddenly your phase I is over and you are thrust to phase II.

Phase II is when you realize that many bad habits of the past have to be given up if you want financial freedom. We have a huge ‘social trap bias’ – and that is a killer. You realize that you should live within your means. I see young kids earning Rs. 5L being pushed by peer, parental and social pressure to buy a phone for Rs. 50k and a car worth Rs. 10L. Parents who had ambitions of buying a car suddenly ask their kids to buy a ‘nice big spacious car so that all of them can attend a FAMILY function’. Exactly what you do not want to do. As long as you are in the second phase, you realize that to be financially free, you should not buy any product that will involve borrowing. You learn to live within your means – immaterial of how big/ small it is.

Living in an ‘own’ house, I phone, I-shit, foreign travel, car – especially done to show off is now RANKLING YOU.

This is a very difficult time to go through this and you are also wondering where to invest your money. Well, if you do have a surplus and you have no clue for how long you will NOT need the money, and he amount is small, invest it in a Sensex fund (or Nifty) with the lowest asset management costs. Investing in the market for the long term IS simple and getting started has never been easier. The rules of the game have been relatively unchanged for decades, and technology has made it possible to manager a portfolio from a handheld device!

However in this phase you learn that ‘Personal Finance is more Personal than Finance’. It is also the phase when you get hassled by knowing that there is so, so much to learn!

This leads us to keep improving and learning about personal finance, reading www.subramoney.com , refusing to watch tv, moving towards minimalisation (lesser the expense, earlier the freedom). Now friends start asking you ‘what did you do’ ‘how difficult was it to give up the car?’, ‘how did your children react to selling Santacruz house and moving to Andheri?’ ¬†– it is time YOU start accepting that you have put in your 10,000 hours into learning personal finance. Great job, you have almost arrived.¬†It has been my experience that it is best to focus on making ourselves strong before we make others strong. Like what they say in an aircraft.

See your track record of improvements. Involve people around you – but if your mother cannot fathom why you need to live in a ‘frugal almost student days of living style’ let her be. If friends do not know why you sold an asset and rented a flat – show them the mathematical suicide…

any way…you are on your Nirvana path..many others may need the ‘chivda’ packet now and then, but you can see it, and pass it on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Dear sir,
    Thank u for the valuable post when ever i get tempt for buying which is not required (Eg.mobile car upgrade)u r post save me from that.hope lot of ppl get benefit from u r posts once again thank u.

  2. Most people never know there is something like financial freedom, instead they are padded up for a long working stint. I only realised it only after reading articles from your site and others.
    Being financially free, makes your career better, can make choices, have options, become a better investor?, a relaxed life etc. Having started the journey, I will hopefully get there sometime.

  3. Most common reason of young people looking for financial freedom is to escape the stress they face in jobs and realise need to stop it at some stage. Other is the rapidly changing technology which never allows one to get comfortable in job.

  4. i think for me it was watching my sister & family enjoy life of luxury at borrowed funds (including from me & dad) & then run like fugitives (literally) when the gig was up & it all came crashing down.

  5. I was behind this financial freedom, mostly because of my father’s experience, who left his job because of too much politics from PSU bank,due to job he had to stay in some very difficult places alone,he finally took VRS(fortunately with Pension option),
    I did not want this to happen to me and was working on this approach for last 7-8 years supported by wife,but now over last 1-2 years my outlook has changed, rather than financial freedom i am now looking at enjoying life during this period of 35-40 which is your most productive & safe period for screwing up.i now feel financial freedom is overrated because once you achieve fin freedom you somehow loose a very big driver for performance. I in fact took a break of 3 months from the job & was the most difficult period of life because i had pretty much nothing to do. to me the best way is to find a job which does not consume too much of your time & energy & stick with it while enjoying some luxuries of life rather than going for financial freedom in period of 35-40.

  6. Siddhant – you’re spot on . Financial freedom is overhyped – it is not early retirement but to live a comfortable life without worrying about money – if you do not work or a daily shcedule 99% of us will have nothing to do and lose motivation in life .

  7. Which is why Subra sir kept saying in his earlier posts, *get a hobby*.

    Personally, i have a list of :
    1000 books to read (noted on goodreads.com, and already bought 200 of them)
    1000 places to visit (which will be done frugally after quitting my job.)

    Am itching to break out of corporate drudgery, and into something that will broaden my experiences and thoughts.

  8. 35-45 is also the best period from wealth accumulation point of view. Energy is fine, money is good with good position. Looking at the political scenarios in organizations, I seriously think we would have to struggle to keep our jobs post 45 at least in some industries (IT for sure).

    Its not so easy getting position post 45 at higher level at similar or higher salary. For my peace of mind, I would rather work now then get forced to work at 65.

    To each there own I guess :).

    Shobha

  9. For me wake call was trying to go for higher education after getting admission in good college. After 3 years in job with just 15k in savings. Tried student loan from many banks, but faced issues as dad had retired. Friends submitted my 1st semester fee(thank god for such friends). Did get bank loan in 2nd year, but 1st year is and will be always fresh in memory. Hopefully do not have the face the same again.

  10. @EV , hope you are successful, i tried that approach & took a break from my job but it is not possible to read books or visit places unless you have some responsibilities to go back t,o in that case even if you read 100 books it will not help, because it will start becoming boring to you,
    also frugally visiting places sucks i have done it you should look at farming or kitchen gardening rather than that which will have lower carbon footprint at least and you will be doing something which refreshes mind.

    I tried reading, travel, share trading,kitchen gardening but except in kitchen garden part got fed up & was itching to go back to job it was a big revelation I was happy doing these things only when i have a day job and these things provide relief from normal jobs trust me they become bigger problem when that is your job………

    Long live the MNC who will hire people for doing nothing,
    try to get a job in MNC with no responsibilities to me that is the best retirement plan , I call it MNC active retirement plan.thogh i have not yet received the perfect job……

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