But attaining freedom requires conquering fear… an inherently scary task. In fact, people are often afraid of freedom, because freedom brings risk.
This is where money comes in. Money gives you choices, which in turn gives you the freedom to afford making mistakes without impacting your life in a major way.
Wealth isn't about how much stuff you have, although rich people often have a lot of stuff. To the people that have truly learned to harness wealth, the richest people, money is all about how much opportunity and freedom it gives them.
Money buys us the flexibility to say “adieu!” to a job we hate. To walk away from awful living situations. To venture into new projects, new business, and new hobbies without fear.
We all know wealthy people have more options. Go by helicopter or private jet? Vacation in Bora Bora or San Tropez? But money doesn't just buy freedom for the rich, it gives everyone else choices too… if perhaps to a lesser degree. That’s the best thing about money, that it starts buying us more freedom from the first “extra” dollar that you earn.
Yes, money can trap us also.
We're often told that money traps us. “More money, bigger problems,” the saying goes…and I have experienced that myself. But it doesn’t have to be true, not if we make the right choices. When we make wise choices in regards to money it sets us free!
When we make more money we suddenly want to buy designer furniture. Eat at nice restaurants. Go to high-end salons for the best haircuts. Buy more stuff. Sure, it's a treat for a few months, but eventually the glow wears off, and becomes the “new normal”… and we go searching for the next new thing to give us that “high”.
If our friends drive luxury cars, we need them too. If our friends buy a five-bedroom mansion, maybe it's time we upgrade? We see people entering lives where they trap themselves in an endless search for more, more, more. I have been there myself… It’s not a pretty thing to watch, and it certainly didn’t make me any happier.
The result of getting trapped in “lifestyle inflation” is fewer choices, less freedom and big monthly bills.
People who spend money on “flash” often don’t understand the connection between freedom and money. They think money is all about getting more stuff, and they end up with just as little freedom as when they were poor, but with a need for a bigger income to support the new lifestyle.
There is a better way
The solution isn't to conclude that money is evil, and start living like a monk, (well not for me anyway). It doesn't make any sense to work hard to achieve success and wealth and at the same time pretend that money isn't important.
The most significant role of money in our lives is definitely not purchasing flashy cars. The key role of money should be to give us independence and freedom. To let us travel, change jobs (or quit working for other people entirely), and visit people across the country or across the world when we want.
These choices do not require thousands of work hours and all nighters spent in front of the computer. They require figuring out ways to make every hour's work produce more money.
If you look at money as a way to live on your own terms, the rest falls into place almost automatically. It’s ok to want a Porsche or a Ferrari. I have one myself. But don’t let the chase for “bigger and better” trap you.
Focus on the things that you really want from life.
Freedom to live life on your own terms is key.
At the same time you have to be able to handle the freedom when you get it, and trust me when I say that part is really hard!
The hardship and struggle of working your way towards creating wealth prepares you better for living it than just getting it all from a fluke lottery win I think, but it’s still hard, especially if success comes “easy”.
Money can't buy happiness or love. But once you have money, worrying about the basics is no longer an issue, and you can focus on your bigger dreams and wants in life.
Once food, shelter and safety are no longer an issue you can start focusing on the higher parts of what famous psychologist Abraham Maslow called the “hierarchy of needs” — things like your confidence, self-esteem, and achievement.
When you are trapped in the rat race and fighting every day to make ends meet you can’t pursue these “loftier” goals in life. You simply don’t have enough freedom to do it.
Focus on creating enough wealth that you can exist comfortably in your current lifestyle, without any financial pressures or worries. Once you have reached that level don’t be too quick to jump to the next. It’s usually not that difficult to take things to the next level, but by allowing yourself to take time to truly enjoy your hard-earned new level of freedom you will be much more ready to meet take the next step on the wealth ladder when that time comes, as I am sure it will if you follow my advice.
Here is a nice infographic with the 7 Traits Information Marketing Millionaires Have in Common (you can also download it, there is a link under the photo)