They chose financial independence over home ownership.

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Towards a modern day good life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We have our own circumstances which make demands on our finances, time and energy. Often, we hear people saying that they do not have enough money, time or energy to do all the things they have to do or want to do. How do we work towards having the money, time and energy to have a modern day good life?


How much something costs is quantifiable, of course. Although people might find themselves cash strapped at times or, for some, most of the time, I believe that any problem that can be solved with money is not insurmountable, within reason.

We can always think of ways in which to make more money. Get extra income from a second job, for example. We could also seek help in the form of a short term loan if it should be warranted. Of course, to ensure that the situation is rectified permanently, if at all possible, find the root of the problem and resolve it sensibly.

Working towards a secure financial future as early as practicable in life would definitely help. Anyone who does this stands a good chance of having financial woes being a relatively infrequent occurence over time.


Unlike money, we cannot make more time. Time is therefore more precious than money. So, since we cannot make more time, what do we do if we want more time? Buy time. Huh? Buy time?

Do I mean buying some life extending elixir? I might like to entertain myself with Chinese mythology from time to time but I am not delusional. Well, I hope not anyway.

When we say "buy" in our modern day context, it would involve money, would it not? "Buying" time is possible if we have enough passive income to free up time.  It would free us from our reliance on earned income. Then, theoretically, we could quit our jobs and we could have more free time if that is what we desire.

When we have more free time, we would be able to meet head on any situation which demands more time from us. Time becomes less of an issue.

Energy (emotional):

When problems hit, it would be rare not to be emotionally affected. This is probably the most demanding factor and would drain even the strongest of people. This is something not many talk about in financial planning.

Financial planning is not just about dollar and cents or freeing up time. As problems are usually emotionally stressful, financial planning helps to make stress arising from such problems more manageable.

How can we reduce the emotional stress in such instances? If we have our finances well in place and if we have freed up more time, we would probably be able to deal with the emotional upheavals more easily and such situations might then feel less stressful.

I know that some people including our government say that family support is important to deal with stressful situations. This is true but not everyone has supportive families. Even though I feel that I am relatively lucky in this context, I would like to be self-reliant and not be a burden to my family, if possible.

Energy (physical):

We would also need to be physically healthy as a weak body could succumb to illnesses more easily. Regular exercise, taking in the required nutrition and having sufficient sleep are all part and parcel of having a healthy body.

As long as we have control over our lives, we should make sure we live it well. In our modern day context, it is possible only if we are financially prepared, have time for things that matter and are emotionally and physically healthy.

For the majority of us, we probably have to work towards having a good life. Depending on each person's circumstances and decisions in life, it could be harder for some and easier for others. However, it is definitely not an impossibility. A good life waits for anyone who is willing to work towards it. Believe it.

Related posts:
1. A common piece of advice on saving.
2. At what age to start investing in the stock market?
3. A letter from a reader in his early 20s.
4. Tea with AK71: How rich is rich?
5. Passive income: A higher purpose.


Ray said...

Read this post a few days ago, surprised to see no comments so let me start the ball rolling? :)

I firmly agree with your 4 pointers below but I find that Time is really not "buyable". Perhaps you can "lend" it first.

See, if you want to have sufficient passive income in future, it means you got to have quite a pile of capital for investment. But in order to do that, savings alone isn't enough. Take myself for e.g., I save almost 40% of my take home pay a month and I'm earning mid 4-digit income a month. But the rate of this savings is still not enough to build a nest egg anytime soon. If I want to speed things up, a side job seems to be the only logical way. But that means I have to have less time with family to exchange for more time with them in future. In my view, that's borrowing time.

Just my two cents :)

AK71 said...

Hi Ray,

The paucity of comments could be due to the fact that I have disabled anonymous commenting as an option. This is a suggestion made by a fellow blogmaster when he saw how I kept asking people to include their name or initials in the last two years.

Your perspective on borrowing time now in order to have more time in future provides an interesting bend to this blog post. I think it is worth more than 2c. Thank you. :)

David said...

actually Time is 'buyable'. For example when you put your capital into a business and not get involved in its' running but by taking a certain risk, am able to make returns out of it, then you're 'buying' the expertise of the business owners to create a revenue stream for yourself. REITs is similar. The catch 22 is that to do this you need capital, and you need the capital to roll.

Ray said...


I don't disagree with "buying" time in your case or AK's. But I argue that time needs to be borrowed first during the capital build up phase. My argument is doing a normal job without much sacrifice of time (through side jobs or long overtime to earn commissions and bonuses) the average wage worker wont earn too much to build a capital fast enough.

This is assuming we are talking about ordinary folks who need to build capital from scratch and not relying on money given to them by parents.

So once time is borrowed, capital has been built up, then perhaps the capital can be invested in either businesses or in other investments. That's perhaps when time really is "bought" and we are on easy streets , counting money. :)

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