One difficult realisation I had in my first year of becoming financially free was that it isn’t for everyone. Now I can feel you scoffing at the idea that someone wouldn’t want to have an insane amount of free time, or at the idea that someone wouldn’t want to have enough financial security to be able to choose the jobs you want.
You’d be 100 per cent correct to assume that everyone wants those things, in the same way everyone would agree that they want to be a billionaire. However, think about what you’d be giving up if you had £1,000,000,000. You would develop deep trust issues, you would lose perspective of what it’s like to struggle, you’d be wracked with the moral guilt of having all the freedom to help the world… and not.
Today, I’m going to share with you all the things you’re giving up when you become financially free, and reveal why it may not be for you.
You become 100 per cent responsible for you
No one has ever become financially free working for someone else. The only way that you can become financially free is to keep your own house in order. You need to find your own sources of income and create streams of wealth yourself.
If an employee is someone that is granted time to take some water from the well each month, someone that is financially free has dug their own well. They then need to maintain that well in order to ensure that it always has water to drink from, and then dug other wells to ensure that they have water even if their initial well runs dry.
Naturally, this is a massive ball ache.
It’s so much easier to just go to work for eight hours a day and let a corporation pay you. You don’t need to worry as much about the business, and you’ve got several layers of protection before someone figures out that you’re being a bit lazy on the job.
If you’re trying to achieve financial freedom and you’re feeling a bit lazy, so you don’t look at all the documentation about a property, or don’t do your due diligence on some stocks, you lose your money.
I was chatting to this couple who had been teaching in China for the past five years and had saved up a fair lump of cash. Attracted by the promise of financial freedom, they invested in three properties. They consider this their life’s greatest mistake. Not only do they now own three properties that consistently lose money each year, but the relationship with the brother that brokered the deal is in tatters.
Similarly, think about all the protection having a job gives you. If you make a large blunder the company, most likely, has lawyers in place to protect the businesses assets. By the same stroke, if the economy takes a nose dive or technology makes your job redundant, the business has to give you a financial cushion to aid your recovery. You don’t get that luxury if you’re working for yourself.
You need a lot of imagination
I was having a chat with my sister recently, and she was telling me all about how since reaching her cash flow goal she’s been struggling to find reasons to get out of bed.
Obviously, I was like “boo hoo mate, you’ve done what most people dream of” but then I started thinking about the actual consequences of having a huge amount of free time. She’s got not the level of cash flow where she can do anything she wants, but she can afford her rent, food, and phone and not need a 9 to 5.
In the same way, that children find themselves bored and restless during an extended holiday period and need to do activities in order to keep them occupied, you’re going to need to have a good long think about how you’re going to fill your time.
For example, are you going to turn your hobbies into a business? Are you realistically going to sit around doing nothing all day? What are you going to fill your day-to-day life with, when you’ve effectively found an extra 33 per cent of day?
The majority of people that are successful in reaching financial freedom aren’t interested in sitting around doing nothing all day. The very reason they wanted to become financially free in the first place was so they could do something else.
Financial freedom is just a stepping stone to another goal. Personally, I’d like to use the time to focus on producing podcasts, writing books, and helping people. Ironically, those who do reach financial freedom, actually work a lot more than when they weren’t financially free.
You gain a lot of responsibility
One of the most famous quotes from comic book history are the immortal words of Uncle Ben (Spider-man’s uncle) “With great power, comes great responsibility”. This is true both in the physical world and philosophically.
If you take the property route, you become responsible for your tenant’s living spaces. It’s a hugely personal task, and all experienced landlords have stories about tenants whose lives have been greatly affected by the landlord’s decisions.
Similarly, it’s unlikely that you’ll reach financial freedom without a team. In the same way that you rely on and trust your team to do what’s expected, they put the same responsibility on you. This can be basic things like paying people on time, to more complex tasks like sourcing deals for other members of your team.
Philosophically, you now have the responsibility of helping people. This moral streak may just come from my love of comic books, but once you’ve sorted yourself out I strongly believe that it’s your duty to help others.
Once you free yourself from the financial shackles that most of us are chained to, you possess so much power. You have the power to greatly enhance your skills, you have the power to travel the world indefinitely, you have the knowledge necessary to make dreams come true.
Ask anyone why they don’t do more charity work and the majority of responses will boil down to “I don’t have the time,” once you reach financial freedom you do. You’ve achieved the ability to choose what you spend your time on.
It’s your responsibility to make the world a better place with that ability.
You’ll lose friends
One of the saddest aspects of becoming wealthy is that you’ll lose friends. You’ll gain a lot of new friends along the way too, but some people that you start your journey with won’t be standing next to you at the end.
Recently, I’ve been editing a lot of videos and writing up Ben’s adventures and chats with wealthy people. The ultra-wealthy JT Foxx often talks about the trust issues he has with people. Similarly, serial property entrepreneur Alex Williams also has some warnings about friends and business.
The problems are two-fold. The first is that people are drawn to success, be that because they want to know how they can do it, or they feel they can get something from you. The second is that some people won’t want to be friends with the person that you’ll become.
The first issue rears its head once people start hearing about your successes and start offering you deals, or joint ventures. They figure that because you’re friends it’ll be easy to get you to go into business with them. Unless you’re willing to treat them in the same way you’d treat a colleague, you should avoid the opportunity. Similarly, some people may get offended that you don’t want to do business with them, and accuse you of being “selfish” or “arrogant”.
The second issue is more prevalent in the earlier stages of your journey. In order to become financially free, you need to change your lifestyle, your mindset, and your habits. This means changing your social group, how you spend your time, and the conversations that you have with people.
In my conversations with John Mark Wilderspin, he tells us about the friends that he doesn’t really hang out with anymore because of their habits and mindset. He gave up regularly drinking so that he could stay as productive as possible, and once he did that, the friends that normally called him up to go drinking with them left his life.
Recently, I let go of a friendship with a particularly toxic person that never had anything positive to say about his life. Whenever we would hang out, he would incessantly talk about all the things that were going wrong in his life. It was so emotionally draining trying to get him to see all the opportunities in the world, and arguing with him about solutions to his problems.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that I’m not civil or nice to him when I see him. However, we’ve gone from hanging out three times a week, to accidentally being in the same bar once a month.
The process that you need to go through in order to reach financial freedom is so transformative that those that don’t help you propel yourself forward become a weight that you drag behind you. Similarly, I’ve found that there are “friends” who actively discourage other people’s successes due to their own insecurities and fears. You don’t need these people in your life.
Everything Will Be Alright
If you’re reading this and thinking “All of these points sound horrible” then maybe financial freedom isn’t for you, and that’s OK. We all have different passions, different desires, and a different raison d’etre. Some of my friends are in corporate jobs, buying houses, going on expensive holidays, and enjoying themselves, and I couldn’t be happier for them.
The journey to financial freedom is a simple one, the routes have already been mapped by countless individuals from the beginnings of capitalism. With that said, it’s not an easy one. It’s about acceleration, and evolution, it’s about challenging who you think you are and what you think you know. It’s about charging into things you know little about armed with just your gut and wits. It’s about learning to be comfortable when you’re in unfamiliar situations.
And that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
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