Oil, copper, iron ore, sugar, rice, coal, natural gas, gold, and silver are all examples of commodities. Some are more coveted than others.
I think there is a commodity that is more precious than all of these put together.
Time is the main reason I am working towards financial freedom. I am currently exchanging my time for money (i.e., labor). I plan to use this money to achieve financial freedom in the future so that I can do whatever I want with my time. That is the beauty of financial freedom. You can choose how to spend your days however you want:
– You can sit around and watch Netflix all day
– You can exercise three times a day
– You can go globe-trotting
– You can work for fun with no pressure
– You can start a business
– You can work for a non-profit.
You can do this because you control your time. You do not have to answer to an employer or a customer.
Time is so precious because we are only given a finite amount. Once we are born, our “time” clock starts ticking. Unless we can figure out a way to extend our lives using the power of science (which I would not put past human ingenuity), we are stuck with a finite amount of time.
Knowing my time in this world is limited, my plan is to work as hard as possible so I can enjoy more things later in life. Delayed gratification. Do not get me wrong, I still live a pretty balanced life right now but I do not have command over all of my time because of work. I am able to vacation a few times a year but I cannot take months off at a time to go whereever I want.
My goal is to eventually do whatever I want with my time. I do not want to obtain financial freedom when I am in my 60’s. Rather, I would like to achieve it in my 40’s – hence – financial freedom 45. Assuming a normal life length, this can provide me with plenty of time to do as I please.
But why not spend our days when we are young however we please? Well, this might seem like a good idea when we are young but we are shooting ourselves in the foot for when we hit our 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. We lose out on all of those years of compounding. There are many people out there who have not saved enough and are well into their 50’s, 60’s, and even 70’s. They have to continue to exchange their time for money just to get by. But at this point, they cannot perform as well as they could have in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. The mind and body slows down later in life. Someone young and hungrier can come around and do the job for half the cost.
I believe you can work hard when young and still do the things you like in life. You just have to find a balance.
So how does one eventually get control of all of the time in their life?
– Work as hard as possible when you are young in life. Nothing can overcome work ethic. Hard work can crush talent. This will allow you to slow down later in life, unless of course you still want to keep it in 5th gear in your 50’s and 60’s which is your choice.
– Be frugal when you are young so you can accumulate as much wealth as possible. Invest this wealth and let compounding do its magic. Our savings rate has been between 78-80% over the last two years. That is 78-80% of net income (after tax). We have used the excess cash flow to invest, and to save in the event better investing opportunities present themselves. Saving excessively now buys you time later.
– Find a career you enjoy. This is often an issue for people so I suggest finding a new career, or just dig in, and keep your eyes on the prize and know that soon you will be financially free.
– Take charge of your finances and look hard for investment opportunities. If you look hard enough, you will come across some investing gems. Investing is part analytical but more psychological. Patience is important – be willing to wait while others pour their money into bad investments. Have the courage to go against the grain when everyone else is selling – be a contrarian – but know why you are being a contrarian. Finding great investments will get you closer to financial freedom which will buy you time.
– Take control of your health. Working hard is good but you should not do it at the expense of your health. Eat well and exercise. Both of these things can increase your longevity, reduce stress, and improve performance in your other aspects of life such as work and relationships.
– Take control of your relationships. Build and maintain strong relationships so you have something to look forward to when you are financially free. No one will remember how much money you had. People only remember you based on the impact you had on their lives. Take time to work on your relationships.
All of these things when done together can buy us time later in life. They can also make life more enjoyable now. Once we control all of our time, we should do something useful with it. Do not let your mind wither away. Use it for good – read, travel, work for fun, and help those less fortunate than you.