Financial independence is very important whether you are a career professional or entrepreneur. Like most finance professionals and wealthy people would say, the road to financial independence never happens overnight.
In this article below Dr Tayo Oyedeji, an Oxford-educated entrepreneur with business interests in technology and advertising. Tayo teaches financial literacy and lives to help people.
The Background Story
One of my good friends makes about a million dollars a year and he lives and looks like a million dollars. He owns a $2 million house in New York and another $1.5 million house in Lagos. He owns about 6 cars (worth about $1 million) and his 3 kids attend a $75 thousand boarding school in Switzerland.
My friend wears $5,000 Ferragamo suits, $1,000 pairs of shoes (mostly Hermes) and takes $30,000 vacations twice a year with his family.
Dude, if you’re reading this, I’ve got nothing but mad love for you. I am just using you as a teaching moment.
Dude works 70 – 80 hours a week and is always pushing one speculative deal or the other to make more money – Crypto-currencies, Forex trading, Angel investing etc. He is your classic rich guy who is always looking to make more money.
A Teachable Moment
On Jan 7th this year, my friend asked me for a loan to pay the balance of his kid’s tuition fees. He has already paid me back after receiving his January salary but his request reminded me that he saves very little of his huge salary and it reiterated a major truism for me.
Financial Freedom is not about what you make, it’s about what you keep.
Please say it with me: FI:RE (Financial Independence: Retire Early) IS NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU MAKE, IT’S ABOUT WHAT YOU KEEP.
This guy makes so much money but keeps very little of it. He lives large and will have to keep working and making money for the rest of his life to maintain his lifestyle. He may never become truly financially free.
Frugality ensures Financial Independence
The most important element on the road to FI:RE (Financial Independence: Retire Early) is FRUGALITY. You must live way below your means while making a lot of money in order to become financially free.
Making a lot of money is not enough. You must save and invest a huge percentage of what you make to become financially free. I was saving 40% of my salary while working full-time and living way below my means. That way, I was able to push a lot of money towards my investments.
My friend works hard to finance his lifestyle. I worked hard to finance a financially free future that I am living right now. He obviously has a richer lifestyle than me but I have a richer life. It boils down to a choice between your lifestyle and your life.
Your income either finances your lifestyle or your life. The way to FIRE is to consciously live so simply that you can walk away from the rat race while you’re still young enough to really enjoy your life.
My view is that people will buy fewer things when they realize that money can be used to either buy things or to purchase time. When you buy things, it impresses people and makes you look good. When you buy time, you live life on your own terms.
Your life or your lifestyle – choose one.