One Of The Keys To Happiness & Fulfillment

Paying your dues and getting more time.

One of my favorite Twitter follows is @guruanaerobic and the other day he had a Tweet about the negative connotation of wishing someone a good weekend which is the idea that they, or anyone, might be wishing away the week to get to the weekend (wishing away is terminology I have been using for ages). If you wish away too many weeks you end up wishing away years and eventually your life. I first discovered @guruanaerobic through Nassim Taleb as a resource for intermittent fasting but he has interesting things to say about being self-employed, he refers to himself as "unemployable" but the big picture is about independence and owning your time.

I am not against paying your dues (not owning your time) at a young age to learn and build a financial base (optionality) but I've owned my time since my mid-30's and while I am probably lucky (I attribute much of how things have turned out for me to having been laid off from Schwab in 2001) I am incredibly grateful for owning my time.

While I believe there is a process to getting to the point of being "unemployable" other people find it by just walking away with no plan and figuring out from there, it is all fair game. I write a fair bit about this as many people find independence appealing but may not be sure how best to get there. My way is one of many.

Naval Ravikant had a Tweet that I think ties in. He talked about the negative influences of outside yet useless or incorrect ideas that work against what are presumably priorities for him which he cites as fasting, meditating and exercising. What are your priorities and are there things in your life that distract you from those priorities.

Investing is a great example. Financially, I just hope to have enough money when I need it. I realize that going year by year, I will at times see my portfolio outperform and at other times lag nothing positive will change that but doing something truly stupid might. The other day the Bloomberg channel froze so I went to CNBC for I bit (I essentially gave up on CNBC a couple of years ago) and without fail I heard Cramer squealing about him needing you to own more of some stock if such and such happens with an earnings report. I have to say I can't believe he still talks this way, it is lousy advice even if he is right about whatever stock he was talking about. This form of speculation is a distraction from the priority of having enough when you need it.

Again, what are your priorities? You probably know what they are but now what things serve as distractions or detours to success with those priorities. When you figure that out, life becomes much easier.

Marketwatch says that money worries is our biggest stressor, leading to depression, anxiety, migraines, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart attacks and sleep disruptions. If anything is a distraction to our priorities it would be ulcers keeping us all night worrying about money.

I write all the time about how living below your means makes every aspect of your life easier but never thought of as a distraction but it is. Worrying about money is certainly a distraction from happiness, the ability to take the kinds of risks to be unemployable or whatever priorities you have.

Taking bits of process from others to create your own process, this is where FIRE, financial independence/retire early, can help. I think leaving the workforce at 35 or 40 with $500,000-$1 million saved seems like a catastrophe waiting to happen but the frugality is inspiring and having that kind of money at that age is likely more than adequate to pursue independence as @guruanaerobic describes it...if that is a priority for you as it was me (I had nowhere near that kind of money at 35). Regardless of whether being unemployable appeals to you, living below your means and building something of a financial base will give you optionality and even if you don't draw on that optionality, having it will make your life easier and less stressful.