When I was a kid I was always hustling together some little scheme to make money - some of them skirted the edges of legality. One of my most profitable operations was running a loan sharking operation where I used my Christmas money to make loans to the tenants at my grandmothers boarding house and charged 25% interest.
My grandmother played a large role in my financial outlook. She was frugal, and it definitely rubbed off on me. She gave a mutual fund to all her grandchildren while she was alive as their inheritance. I remember being very interested watching it grow while I had to do nothing, those dollars just magically produced more dollars with no effort whatsoever.
When I finally landed my first decent paying job, I came to the realization that my childhood fascination with money wasn't about money - it was about freedom. When you work a job you're exchanging a large portion of your life for money. That money affords you the ability to live - it's cyclical. Your options for breaking the cycle are twofold, spend less money and save it or make more and save it (hint: the answer is both).
This fight club quote resonates with me
Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.
Ain't that the fuckin truth. I feel like being grown up is the same circle jerk as being a teenager, except we play the game with houses and cars instead of shoes and shirts. Same shit, we've just upped the ante. Our scorecard is on social media, and we're playing against a larger pool of opponents then our "keeping up with the Joneses" parents.
Unless you're free financially to allocate your time and resources as you see fit you are in bondage. You're bound to your rent or mortgage, your car payment, your dining habits, your vices, your hobbies, your television. YOU are not working for yourself, YOU are spending your labor (time) to support an economic system which indulges itself on your excesses.
This system is evil, as it prays upon human nature to perpetuate it's own existence. You are bombarded with advertising every time you turn on your TV or go on the internet. Your inbox is filled with offers for exciting new ways to separate you from your money. Your old school mailbox is filled with credit card offers. Your facebook and instragram newsfeed is filled with your wonderfully happy friends and family purchasing houses and cars, and sharing their perfectly presented restaurant meals. When you are constantly inundated with advertisements your subconscious is altered, and you feel as if that is the lifestyle you should be living. Newsflash, you're not missing out on anything.
So what's the solution?
The solution is to scale back just a bit from what you can afford, and live in a financial setting where you thrive instead of just survive.
Financial independence is about freedom. Once your economic shackles have been ripped off, you're free to do what you want to do instead of what you have to do. You can still work and earn money, but it's on your terms.