Have you ever encountered people who tell you that all they really want is to live a simple life? Or people who tell you that money is evil and that we shouldn't be greedy and we should simply accept whatever simple things life throws at us?
I have. I've encountered many people, usually people close to me, who tell me that I should simply live a simple life. That God wanted us to be content with whatever he has given us. That happiness need not be hinged on having lots and lots of money because money cannot buy happiness.
For many years I believed this to be true. But I was severely mistaken!
The Truth About Money
God, as it turned out, did not want me to live in poverty or to be always in want. God has repeatedly said in His Word, the Bible, that he wanted me to prosper and that he has laid out many riches for me. And these riches are not just riches I will get in heaven, but riches I can enjoy here on Earth!
Never did God even say that money is evil. He merely said that THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT of all evil. GREED is the evil one, not money.
You see, MONEY is merely a tool - and a neutral one at that. It is like a knife - neutral and bearing no hint of good or evil. If we use the knife to cut our meat and vegetables it is a useful tool, often good, since it is used to feed us and other starving people. If we use the knife to kill someone, then it becomes a tool for evil since we already commit murder. But the knife itself is not good or evil - it is how it was used that made it good or evil.
The same is true for money. Money, used in the right means is good. Money, used for evil purposes becomes evil.
That being said, it was liberating to know that God wanted us to prosper and become rich. To enjoy the wonders of his creation and all the resources he has made available for us in this earth.
GOD WANTED ME TO BE RICH! It is in his will that I will be rich.
And so I heed his call. Just like what is told in the Parable of the Talents, God wants me to use everything that he has given me so that I can multiply it many times over and become rich.
What about a living a simple life?
A simple life is not a life lived in a shanty with only sardines and rice for dinner. A simple life is the ability to have a choice. I can choose to eat sardines for dinner or a well-cooked steak. I can choose to retire in a bahay kubo for the night or a five-star hotel. A life wherein I can only choose one end of the spectrum is a depressing life. It is not a simple life.
Even a simple life would require us to use money. When people tell me they want a simple life, I asked them to describe that simple life.
They say, "I just want to be able to eat 3x a day, have a house to shelter me by, have enough money to buy clothes and watch movies every now and then."
I ask them, "What kind of foods do you want? Canned foods all the time? Would you want to taste fine dining meals every now and then? What house do you want? A small one your family can barely fit in or something spacious enough so you and your kids can play inside? What about vacation and entertainment? What about your kid's education?"
You see, so many people do not understand what a SIMPLE life really means and how much it really costs. At the end of the day, there really is no simple life. There is just a rich life and a poor life. You make your choice.
What does financial freedom mean?
To be financially free simply means to be able to buy anything you want without worry that your money would run out. It doesn't really mean you are filthy rich or you have such a high paying job. You can be both but not financially free if you have so many liabilities to attend to such as debts and mortgages. Or if you spend all your time working and working just so you can maintain that high steady stream of income.
Financial freedom is the ability to have money work for you instead of you working for money. It means that you no longer become a slave to money, working day and night just to generate income so you can fund your life's needs. When you are financially free, you can buy whatever you need or want and you know that you have the funds to pay for it. Likewise, you are not scared that anytime, your funds will run out and you will default on your due payments.
For me, financial freedom simply means I do not have to report to work for 8-9 hours a day. It means I do not have to wake up early on Mondays to go to an office, work and make someone else rich. For me, financial freedom is me working to make myself rich. It means I can afford whatever I want because I have the funds to do so.
How do I get there?
Right now, I am in a situation wherein I live with my parents, I earn slightly above the minimum wage and I have close to nothing in savings although I have a few long-term investments here and there. It is an ugly sight. It is very far from my goal of living in my own apartment or condo unit (note: owned, not rented), having hundreds of thousands in savings, having millions in investments and working for myself in a business I am passionate about.
But even if my outward physical situation is dire, my inner self is more than ready. In the past years I have invested in financial knowledge (the first step to becoming financially free). Armed with the correct knowledge, I can make better decisions and avoid common pitfalls. Knowledge will make me rich. Because with knowledge, as cliche goes, comes power. The power to make better judgments and calculated moves so that I emerge victorious in the end.
Aside from the financial knowledge I now possess, I have also taken a great shift in mindset. From someone who is sometimes positive, sometimes negative, now I make a conscious effort to always be positive. A positive mindset and disposition helps a lot! I know that as long as I commit to my goals and believe that it will all come into fruition, I can achieve it.
Changing my mindset about money was the first step in achieving financial freedom. I needed to learn that MONEY IS NOT EVIL. It is how we use money that makes it good or evil.
A SIMPLE LIFE IS NOT A LIFE OF POVERTY. In fact, there is no simple life. There is just a rich or a poor life. It is when we are rich that we can choose to live a life of simplicity or a life of lavishness.
A POSITIVE MINDSET will get the job done. When the going gets tough, it is only with a positive attitude that we can weather the storms and achieve our goals.
Lastly, INVEST FIRST IN YOUR MIND. With sufficient knowledge, I now know how to act properly and achieve my financial goals. All those years of wasting money was not really wasted because with every penny spent, I learned something and with every peso I felt was wasted the drive in me to spend time learning and learning increased until it came to the point I knew I was ready.
"For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1Timothy 6:10
On my next post I will share more about how my financial journey has been up until the point I am in today. I hope to see you again!
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