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From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom... A common man's journey
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Happiness Unlimited...How to be happy..always !!
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Dream On...Every setback is a little nudge from HIM to Dream On
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The Autobiography Of A Stock
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Monday, October 24, 2016

Financial Freedom - And its misinterpreted facets !


Retirement is not financial freedom. Neither is moving from being an employee to being an entrepreneur. If money is even one of the motives in your daily pursuit and actions, then you are still far away from understanding what Financial Freedom actually is.

One of my friends, a high profile corporate executive with a big multinational company, recently took voluntary retirnement with a dream of living a relaxed life and spending a lot of time with his loved ones...only to see his dreams shattered by the harsh reality of life presented to him in the form of boredom, frustration and anger. His family accepts the fact that they were a happier lot before the head of the family decided to call it quits.

Another of my close friends is planning to quit his job - that he hates so much - to go full time into a venture that he has recently started. He firmly believes that if he diverts even a fraction of the time and energy that he spends in his job, towards his venture, he can earn much more. He knows he is not financially secure today, and the venture is too new to feed him and his family consistently until the end of his life.

And just yesterday, I met one of my readers - who quit his job a few months back - something that he had been doing for a quarter of a century, but was not enjoying anymore - knowing very well that he is just 80% through with his financial protection. Currently, this corporate executive, with close to 25 years of industry experience is looking to mix his passion with a source of income that he badly needs to ensure he keeps running his monthly household expenses smoothly.

All 3 have had multiple discussions with me, indirectly seeking my approval on their decision. They also do not believe that I resigned from a very well paying job and am leading a happy financially free life.

What they miss out is the most vital aspect. I am neither retired that I will die of boredom, nor am I venturing into a business as a replacement to my job that money will drive my actions, and nor I am trying to leverage my passion with the intent of earning money....

And why should I do these things? Why should I earn money when money can earn more money for me? Why should I spend even a single minute in pursuit of wealth, when I have employed my corpus and assets to take care of it for me.

What none of my three friends realise is that I am financially free and I do not do anything for my living. Whatever I do, I do it for my passion, and my love of doing those things. 

No, no..I have not inherited a single rupee, I do not have any financial degree until now, nor do I intend to get one, no one in my entire family circle has anything to do with finance, my spouse does not work, and I have absolutely no other source of 'active' income.

But what I have done is that, with discipline, commitment and a few sacrifices, I have accumulated enough corpus - large enough to fund our expenses for the rest of our life - taking care of inflation, current standard of living, future expenses etc. This corpus is self funding. It generates enough returns (or passive income) to keep growing even after meeting all our expenses. That is the blissful state of financial freedom - which is so different from the situation of all my 3 friends.

My first friend, who gets bored of a life without any pursuit did not realise that it was never financial freedom that was my end goal. Financial Freedom was just a means to start doing what I always wanted to do - planting trees, teaching children and writing books. I am busier than I ever was. I am more happier than I ever can be. It is vital to be clear in your mind as to why you are seeking financial freedom. What is that you intend to do once you are financially free. Your dream, your goals should drive you towards Financial Freedom. If that is not clear in your mind, chances are that you might land up in the state of frustration and anger as my first friend did.

My second friend says that he wants to be financially free and quit his job. He has seen me do that, and wants to replicate the same. Though he realises that he is short of corpus to achieve financial freedom, he is hiding behind the fact that he can spend a lot more time after quitting his job on a venture that he has so fondly started. He is living his life on assumptions. Not that entrepreneurs do not take risks, and the ones who take, do not become succesful. But then, he should be clear that he is moving from being an employee to being entrepreneur..but he is not going to be financially free just by this move. He must understand that he will still be in a rut to earn money, because his family expenses are to be met and his daughters school fees has to be paid. When you are moving from one kind of 'active' income source to another kind of 'active' income source, you are not moving towards financial freedom. You are still actively required to earn money -  a state which can never be termed as Financial Freedom.

My third friend was in a hurry to quit his job. It can happen. It almost happened with me, but good sense prevailed at the right time and I ensured that I become clearly financially free before quitting my job. Now that he has already quit declaring to the world that he has become financially free, he is looking for options where he can earn while doing something that he probably loves doing. When earning money is even one of the motives, if not the only one, in any pursuit - then you can never put your soul into that pursuit, you cannot continue with the pursuit without getting impacted by the results. And if you cannot put your soul into your act, the feeling of bliss is still far away.

But remember that these 3 are still those strong willed friends, who atleast had the guts to take some decision - and there are 98% of those - who will never be able to take that decision ever.

All I can say is that life is too good and blissful to be missed out just in the pursuit of earning money. There are better, wiser and much more beautiful things to spend your time on - your spouse, your sons and daughters, your friends and relatives, your neighbours, this nature and this world, and YOU yourself! Spend some time with them and you would surely realise what I realised - that Financial Freedom is not about Finance, its about Freedom !

Cheers

Manoj Arora
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