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Today’s guest post is written by Ricard Torres, the creator of Escaping to Freedom. He helps people stuck in 9-5 jobs to become financially independent by starting their own online business, investing what they save, and focus on happiness.
Crafting The Key That Unlocks Life
Remember when you were a kid and had big dreams of becoming an astronaut, doctor or professional pizza eater? Things were simple back then; you had plenty of time to play and see your friends. As long as you did your homework and behaved well you had nothing to worry about. Life was easy, and you were convinced that it would be even better when you grew up.
Then real life happened. You grew up and were struck by the full force of adult life. A whole barrage of responsibilities had been thrust upon you: feeding yourself, paying taxes, changing the oil in your car and, of course, going to work.
You now realise that working takes up too much time from the rest of your life. The things that you had dreamed of doing now seem very far away. The life that you always wanted has been locked away inside a cage, held shut by tight chains.
But there’s also good news!
You see, I like to think of life like a Disney film. Everything seems perfect at first, then the big fallout happens, and a happy ending doesn’t seem likely. At least that’s what our protagonists think – we, the audience, know everything will work out in the end.
In the case of your life, the big, picturesque villain is money. But it’s a villain that comes to his senses at the end of the movie and ends up becoming the unlikely hero!
Let me explain. You need money in order to live, so you have to spend 40+ hours of every week working. Maybe more. You could reach the conclusion that money – or the need for it – is keeping you from your dream life…
But you’d only be half-right. Money can both make you a slave and free you, as contradictory as that sounds.
If you’re reading Finance Superhero I’m sure you already know that you can do more with your money than spend it. Saving money can make you free, as was eloquently explained in this article. Save enough and you’ll never have to work for money again. Once you know this, you’re ahead of the majority of your peers, and well on your way to becoming truly free.
Crafting your money key
If you want to free your dream life from that dark cage you’re going to need to craft a key. I also really hope that you like metaphors because there’s one coming!
Firstly, you’re going to need to know the lock inside and out. What is preventing you from living the life of your dreams? How much money do you need to live the life you desire – one with all the time to pursue only the things that make it better. Make sure you know that number.
Use the vision of your perfect life to carve a cast for your key. Make sure it’s the exact same shape as the lock, and that it’s nicely polished. In other words, learn as much as you need and get better at making money and saving it. This will be a long journey, so you’ll need to learn and improve lots of skills: frugality, investing, self-marketing, resilience and – forgive me for using a buzzword – hustling.
Next, you’ll need to gather the metal that will eventually become your key. You’ll need to make sure that you have enough to fill the entire cast and produce a solid key that won’t break on the first turn. In other words, you’ll have to accumulate money. Quite a lot of it. You’ll have to put your money-making skills to the test.
Finally, once you have all the components of your key, you can get to work. Melt all the metal you’ve collected, pour it carefully into the cast and wait for it to cool. This will take a while, so you’re going to have to be patient – very patient. You may feel tempted to use the key before it has fully hardened because a lot of time has already passed, but it’s always better to be extra safe. Put another way, it’s important to make sure you have accumulated enough money before you take the plunge and quit your job.
Money gives you choice
Luckily, on this journey to wealth and freedom, nothing is just black or white. You don’t have to wait until you have a full nest egg to start experiencing freedom – the more money you have, the more options and choices you get.
As soon as you save enough to cover around 6 months of expenses, you have a significant safety net that will bring more peace into your life. The fear of losing your job will be greatly diminished, as you won’t be in as much need of the income that it provides
When you get to a couple of year’s worth of expenses, you get some serious options. You could take a sabbatical year to explore your favourite part of the world, or to try a new career. Maybe you’d like to take 3 months off work to go and do some volunteering work. You won’t need money urgently, so even if you compromise your job, it won’t be the end of the world.
Money gives you options in life. Options give you the confidence to make bolder choices without fear. I’m sure you know someone who managed to get an amazing promotion because they had the courage to ask for it. Here is the best guide I’ve read about asking for a promotion, written by Ramit Sethi – you may be ready to ask for one now!
As you become more and more wealthy, you’ll win the freedom to change your lifestyle to look more like your ideal life – much more in line with the life you dreamed of as a child. After all, money causes many of life’s stresses, and is one of the leading reasons for divorce, according to this article in the Huffington Post. If money stops being a cause of worry and problems and becomes a source of freedom and happiness, life becomes a much simpler, happier, smoother ride.
Isn’t that what we all want?
I now want to hear from you. How has money given you freedom? Let me know in the comments below!
For more articles like this, and to follow my journey to financial independence make sure you head over to Escaping to Freedom.
Paul Andrews saysSeptember 19, 2016 at 11:34 AM
Money has given me the freedom to pursue this blog! 🙂 I liked how this article stresses that money is not earned for the sake of the “number”; it’s earned for the sake of options! Love the “Let the key cool” metaphor; awesome way of explaining how patience is vital on the path to financial independence. Great post!
Ricard Torres @ Escaping to Freedom saysSeptember 20, 2016 at 6:33 AM
Thanks Paul! Congrats on starting your blog – blogging’s awesome, isn’t it?
Glad you liked the metaphor, I wasn’t sure how to build in the patience factor into the metaphor, then some of my engineering degree knowledge came back to me and thought about cooling. I’ll admit this is about as useful as my degree has been recently…
FinanciaLibre saysSeptember 19, 2016 at 12:28 PM
This is a great post, Ricard – I really like your metaphor here!
And I like your perspective that money can appear to be a villain and hero. Nice work.
For Team Libre, money’s been an enabler to “escape to freedom,” allowing us to leave behind 70, 80, 100-hour weeks in high-pressure careers before turning 35. But money’s also what got us into those 70, 80, 100-hour weeks in the first place!
Thanks for the great post.
Ricard Torres @ Escaping to Freedom saysSeptember 20, 2016 at 6:38 AM
It’s an interesting duality, isn’t it? Money can really act as both the good guy as the baddie. A lot of people believe that money is “the root of al evil”, while others see it as an enabler to live the life they desire.
I hope Team Libre can soon ditch the long weeks (100 hours!!!) as they surely can’t be too healthy!
Thanks for the kind comments 🙂
Kelsey @ Tealmama saysSeptember 20, 2016 at 11:51 AM
Very interesting post and metaphor. 🙂 My husband and I have worked hard to increase income and reduce expenses, pay down debt in the past 5-6 years. Which has now given me the freedom to stay at home with our two kids + start a blog and an online business. Which will in turn give us more options and freedom down the road.
“As you become more and more wealthy, you’ll win the freedom to change your lifestyle to look more like your ideal life” Absolutely. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
Ricard Torres @ Escaping to Freedom saysSeptember 22, 2016 at 6:30 AM
Wow Kelsey, you’re putting the heart of this article into practice! Amazingly done on being able to gain the freedom to stay at home with your kids and start a blog. This is also one of the big reasons why I’m seeking the blogging lifestyle; so I can spend time with my future kids. Thinking ahead here! 😉
Finance Solver saysSeptember 20, 2016 at 10:33 PM
Money can certainly bring freedom and it can be a tool to get you to happiness. Right now, I’m saving and being frugal with everything that I can be with for the next year so that the next 5 years after that will be spent in security and no stress. I don’t know if it’ll pan out like that, but hoping for the best.
Ricard Torres @ Escaping to Freedom saysSeptember 22, 2016 at 6:34 AM
Hey Finance Solver,
Best of luck on your journey! I’m sure you’ll get to a point where you don’t have to worry about money sooner than you think. Even if things don’t turn out the way you expect them to, just keep pushing and you’ll get to your destination all the same. You know what they say; “Expect the best, prepare for the worst”.
Wealth Well Done saysNovember 28, 2016 at 5:21 PM
This is really great especially for someone like me who loves metaphors. Money is a process and a tool to be used for our good. We just have to learn how to use it to our advantage rather than letting it own us do to lack of knowledge. I realize that I am still in the process of crafting the key. Taking a step everyday towards the end result of unlocking our freedom. Thanks for sharing.