A few days ago, our local Twitter-sphere had a lot going on with this topic of financial independence. I ran a poll just as one would, and here we are.
Since then, the discussions have moved on to racism, the stock market, restaurant menus and pricing, none of which are really things I am too keen to comment on, except asking everyone to be kind on the Internet (as we are still in the midst of a pandemic and it’s important to take care of our minds and hearts).
Of course, I’m going to quickly throw in my general disclaimer about not being a financial expert and my blog posts not being financial advice. I’m merely sharing what has worked for me through trial and error and if there is anything you can pick out from it or find helpful, by all means. At the same time, there is something I want to stress again and again:
Talking about money, especially on topics such as financial independence (budgeting, saving and investments) is a sign of privilege. It’s important that we acknowledge this and own this privilege because in case you didn’t know already, economic inequality is a very real thing.
And finally, like most things on the Internet, you don’t have to agree with me. This is only one point of view and if it isn’t your cup of tea, please move on.
But honestly, I beg to differ. I believe that financial independence really starts with (and can even end with) not having to worry about money. If you don’t have to live paycheque to paycheque and you are able to maintain a budget that is on par with the lifestyle you have created for yourself, that’s when financial independence begins.
Of course, I also say this because this is where I am at after having recently left my job to go on a millennial life break.
So, this particular definition of financial independence is not something I identify with and I don’t think it’s something I aspire to be either. From having grown with not much money, working is important to me. But where I differ from my Mother’s generation is that I choose to work on projects and gigs that I genuinely enjoy, and yes, this too is a financial privilege I am able to enjoy.
Will I ever stop working even if I have barrels of money to live on?
I don’t think so because I like to think that my work has an impact on others and on a more personal level, it’s something that really drives me forward in life as well. The fact that I have the freedom to stop working full-time with enough savings, investments and some other freelance income to supplement the next few months, is essentially financial freedom/independence to me. Of course, I won’t be able to afford a fancy vacation anytime soon but then again, that isn’t my priority either.
If you managed to read this far and if there is anything you are able to take away from this post here are two points I would like you to remember:
- Talking about these topics is a privilege. There is nothing wrong with it but remember that your privilege does not equate to someone’s else’s and vice versa. Progress in personal finance or anything else in life can look different to everyone. We all have our backstories and not everyone shares them in a public space so if you don’t know something, please be kind.
- Having said that, the fact that women, millennials/young people, minority ethnic groups and people from developing countries (pick your baskets, these are mine) are talking about personal finance is a big achievement. Like many things this has been an exclusive topic and a lot of us didn’t make noise about it. The fact that we are able to talk about it openly now is a sign of progress and let’s not discourage one another from it (keeping in mind that and allowing for different points of view).
This is slightly different to what I usually post but I just wanted to drop my two cents for what it’s worth (even though I might have missed the bus lol).