Money and Freedom

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4 mins read

Editor’s Note: Originally penned in 2004, the content of this post is timeless. 

“Man is by nature a social animal. He who cannot live in society, or who, having no need, is sufficient unto himself, must be either a beast or a god.” – Aristotle

The ol’ greek is really talking about freedom here. He’s talking about how we depend on others. It’s our way.
I guess the best place to start this discussion is by defining freedom. I could list some silly dictionary definition, but that doesn’t really do it for me. Freedom is getting up in the morning and having no obligations but your own.
Now you might say, “I’m free! I choose to go to work!” Do you? What happens if you choose not to go to work?
There are two ways to be free, and ol’ Ari hit ’em both. You can be ultra poor (a beast) or independently wealthy (a god).
The homeless man is free. He goes where he wants, when he wants. His lifestyle leaves quite a few things to be desired, but he is, without question, free.
So to is Bill Gates. If you think someone tells ol’ Bill what to do, you have another thing comin’.
Lets look at the middle though. The best thing anyone can do to improve the level of freedom they enjoy is to remove themselves from the chains of debt. And yes, debt limits your freedom, even if you chose to borrow the money. You may have chosen to handcuff yourself, but you’re handcuffed just the same.
When you have these bills to pay, you cannot afford to miss any work. That means, when your boss walks in, cusses you – or smacks you on the ass and tells you how pretty your mouth is.- you can’t quit. You can’t tell him to go f**k himself either. You depend on him.
Congratulations. You’re a slave with a nice house.
Ahh.. but what if you were debt free? And what if you had $15,000 sitting in the bank? Then when your boss comes in and acts like an ass…. well, you now have considerably more options, don’t you?
Mind you, this isn’t about not working. It’s about options. Take a friend of mine for example. He took up an in-demand trade when he got laid off, and started making good money at it. When the folks at his old job called to re-hire him, he went. But he kept his trade work going too. Why?
Because the money from the trade made it a choice. He can quit that job any time he wants. He doesn’t need it. Consequently, the job is far more enjoyable. All jobs are, when you take no crap.
You want freedom? Here’s how ya get it.
step 1) Save up an emergency fund of 3 months expenses
step 2) Spend as little as possible, and send all the extra money to the bill with the lowest balance.
step 3) Once that bill is paid off, which won’t take long, take the money you were spending on it, and move it to the remaining bill with the lowest balance.
step 4) Repeat step 3 until you are debt free.
step 5) Pay cash for cars and everything under.
Step 6) Horde for the future.

Lead Scheduler at MOTW. Husband, Father, but most importantly, a man of God. Possesses more degrees that most people find useful.

6 Comments

  1. On Brother, is that ever accurate about freedom of debt. It sure is a timeless post.
    You can’t find another guy that agrees with you more than my wife and I – LOL’s!
    We had not an inkling of how profound and empowering having no debt is.
    In the process of my wife and I determining not only the things we should accomplish to not only be prepared for any future loss of civility, but to begin now to live as freely as possible, all debt we had must be erased from our lives, and that we structured our life around living a cash on the barrel head way of life. It was a leap of true faith. Our Christian virtues demanded we take this course. Our conscious demanded we get out from under being slaves making everyone else wealthier at our expense of our hard won and earned income.
    We have never looked back, It was simply the single most defining moment in our lives. The freedom from debt changes every facet in our lives in positive ways.
    The day it became so, we just looked at each other speechless. It was hard to believe for the first day or so. Everything changed.
    We dove head first into debt freedom. It was the only way, all or nothing, stay focused, keep the eyes on the goal we set. We worked 2 and three jobs, all the OT we could manage, paid down our debt with every extra penny we could spare, car, house and credit cards. Only spent on bare necessities, looked at our belongings and sold everything non essential. We even cashed in our retirement funds to pay off debt. At the end when we calculated the selling of our two houses would net us a humble nest egg after all expenses, of $55,000, we sold both properties. It took us two and a half years. What we had after it all was our prized personal possessions, a small metal fabrication shop of tools and equipment, a pickup truck, and a feeling of freedom we had no idea existed. We jumped in the old pickup truck for WV, with a special bank check of $46,500, and drove all over WV looking at property. We wanted 5 acres and any house that could be fixed up but livable now. We told all we met, if you have a clear title, we will buy this house right now today, for $46,500. No offense, we just do not want a mortgage.
    It worked out better than we could have hoped for.
    10 years debt free. A home business. Land we work that provides us around 70% of our food.
    Nobody can take our property. We set aside enough funds to cover 5 years taxes.
    You have to do whatever it requires, you must, there is nothing that compares to being free of all debt. It is how you become free. It is joining the honorable revolution. The more of us Americans who achieve debt freedom, the stronger we are as people.

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