‘Financial Independence’ is a wonderful goal, a beautiful aspiration, a worthy pursuit. But it’s impossible. If true financial independence is the point at which we have enough money to be free from needing to serve or be served by other people, then we’ve missed the point entirely.
If we look at a pile of wealth – money, property, possessions – from a distance, we see that enough of it will eventually generate adequate income to allow us to not have to work any longer toward the pursuit of enough; we’ll have enough. But if we zoom in much closer to inspect that pile of money, we see that it’s comprised of ownership in lots of things that employ and serve thousands of people in order to generate the income that allows the freedom of financial independence. Said in another way, money itself doesn’t free us up from having to earn more of it, money just sits there. It’s the investments that we call money that must be actively engaged in productive uses in order to have any real value. A certificate of stock in Ford Motor Company, for example, doesn’t do anything productive, but the company that stock represents as a proxy certainly does do a lot. It employs thousands of people who design, build, and market vehicles that get us to and from home and work.
So by extension, becoming financially independent requires that we allow ourselves to be wildly dependent on the ingenuity and work ethic of others. Otherwise, the investment assets we own which free us up from working ourselves to a literal death have no value. It turns out that it’s the very act of trusting others that builds true wealth. I love the interconnectedness of that and I hope you do too. For if you don’t, it’s going to be tough to achieve any semblance of financial independence at all, and that would be a shame.
All the best,
Adam Cufr, RICP®