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22 Aug 2012

LIVING ON OWN TERMS

living on own terms
My past two blog posts scream boredom. Whats with mourning about one's boring life and lack of exciting shopping. I worry about me sometimes and so does my hubby. But today is a better and sunny day. I look at how I am living on my own terms and how a silly game defined my goals and drives me to what seems to be my financial destiny.
It all started with a fear. I know hey!!! Its amazing how fear defines ones goals. The fear of drowning may lead one to a swim school, we escape poverty by getting education, we exercise to flee ill health and so on. Most of these are just reflex actions. We never think of why we want to learn swimming, we just know that we wish to be able to swim. Fear is the most efficient push for us to achieve our goals.

I remember it vividly when, in my 20s, a friend forwarded me one of those irritating emails with questionnaires. An email I would never read to the end with my hectic schedule today, I completed with accuracy like I was sworn to telling the truth and nothing but. The two questions that are lingering in my memory include the one about how many times I did a driver’s test. Why do they even ask that question? Then came the question that set a crystal clear and ultimate personal finance goal for me: What is your greatest fear? I didn’t take time to think about it, I typed immediately without any hesitation. “Working for someone until the age of 60”.

Odd as it may sound, this was my fear then and still what defines my personal finance goals today. I have nothing against people’s choices to hold jobs until age 65 or later. It’s just not for me. I am fortunate in that, I have always loved my jobs and enjoyed every benefit that came with them. Two paid maternity leave periods, a pension contribution by an employer, medical scheme subsidy, a pay-cheque and again a pay-cheque. I am so grateful for having had job opportunities and will attribute chasing my goals to them. However, even when I was referred to as a permanent staff member, my understanding of a job has always been a temporary one. I subscribe to the new location independent school of though. I don’t take well to being told what to do, when and where. I would be happy to do my job in the middle of the animal park and do my eight hours from 11 am to 7 pm. Thats how this new generation of independent and self employed felas think. You will notice a few other similarities that are found in this fascinating group of thinkers. 

A new independent generation:
  • Works from anywhere and in their own terms, taking advantage of the digital era. If not they are working towards that. 
  • Has the power to decide whether they retire early or go to work for the love of the nature of the job they do. They live on a fraction of their income and stash the rest in a diversified portfolio, to ensure that they buy that power. 
  • Works harder on building and growing a side/ passive income than a promotion because they know that that’s what will sustain them eventually. 
  • Is in control of their lifestyles and not the other way round. They are not trying to fit in with any group, but are happy in their own skin. They will drive the car they can afford comfortably irrespective of what their peers think. They are in the class of their own.  

There is off course an alternative, which is following the crowds and the conventional way of thinking. The current generation crowd will not retire at 55, not at 65 or 70. They will not have the luxury to retire period. Pension funds are soon becoming a thing of the past. Which group are you subscribing to? The choice is entirely yours.

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