This is going to be an ongoing series. “Why,” you ask?
Mostly because there are literally dozens of reasons why a person (please hear this) *chooses* not to pursue a route of financial freedom. And by financial freedom, I mean that their passive income (rental, interest, royalty, or dividend income, for example) exceeds there monthly living expenses.
Because I am unusual, I’m going to start with the unusual.
It is my belief that most people do not (please hear this again) *choose* to pursue financial freedom because of societal and social pressures toward what they consider “normal.” Not working (or at least having the option to not work) is simply not normal. And by not normal I not only mean exceedingly uncommon, but characteristically peculiar.
Consider this. Imagine, for instance, the common question adults are asked after a standard, American-as-apple-pie social introduction. “So, Richard, what do you do?”
“Nothing,” Richard replies.
“Oh, man, you’re unemployed! I’m so sorry. What kind of work are you looking for?”
“I’m not looking for work, actually. I don’t need to work. I retired a couple of years ago.”
After an awkward pause, the other person responds with something akin to, “Must be nice!” or changes the subject entirely.
Here’s what doesn’t happen. The person rarely, if ever, asks, “How?” Or better yet, “Why?” The latter, in my not too humble opinion, is by far the more important question.
One of the reasons this is quite weird is because so much of a person’s identity (dare I say more for men than for women) is coupled with what they do. Men, by and large, garner much of their self-worth, identity, and societal designation from their vocation. “I’m an electrician,” one says. “I’m a banker,” says another. “I’m a surgeon,” says a third.
What adds gasoline to the fire is that men know that many women are attracted to certain levels of status, rank, money and (please hear this) the perception those particular designations afford them. It was quite fashionable after 9-11, for example, for women to be drawn to the allure of the rough and rugged firefighter or paramedic. After some time in the military, I saw a clear distinction between the social status of officers’ wives compared to wives of enlisted soldiers.
Mind you, I’m not at all criticizing this trend in female pair-bonding. Perhaps it is their desire to marry a pilot or a CEO or a doctor. Or perhaps it is their desire for such status and achievements for themselves. Good for them either way! I applaud that drive and hope they achieve such exceptional ambitions.
Regardless, it is quite clear that people have a strong desire to be seen in a certain fashion. Wanting a specific image, lifestyle, or societal front is so plainly obvious that companies such as Instagram or Facebook are worth billions.
It is the rare individual then, who wishes for his or her status to be irrelevant. To not be acknowledged in the pecking order. Who, when asked to find their place in line, chooses to ignore the line entirely.
Exceptions and the exceptional. With all of that in mind, there are, of course, certain people who choose to be financially free while still claiming their social status. A realtor with a large portfolio of rental properties is an example, or perhaps a business owner who only works ten or so hours a week after establishing an automated income source. They can work or not work, but will also proudly share what they do for a living and enjoy that particular vocational status.
One of my many peculiarities as a male is that I never found much of my self-worth contingent upon what I do. Throughout my life it has worked both to my favor and my detriment. Please keep in mind, beloved, if you truly wish to be financially free, it could very well cost you your image. Many will view you as lazy, greedy, or crazy. Most will not understand (or desire to understand) your motivations. Some will be jealous. Others will simply not know what to do with you, as you can’t quite fit into any of their typical vocational paradigms.
And unless you harbor the internal freedom to say, “Ah, fuck ’em!” you may very well not be able to escape the rat race.