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Thoughts on Money and Life

Money can not buy everything. 

But it does make things easier. 

Money can't make you feel good. But an AC on a hot day may make you better better than otherwise.

It is one of the biggest cliches that you must have come across numerous times in life. It is not necessarily true though. There have been a lot of dramas, stories and philosophers' notes on this topic. But at the end of the day ONLY those who have the luxury of meeting their basic needs in life can ponder over these questions anyway. The poor do not have this luxury. For the vast majority of them, money is actually ALWAYS a good thing.

The next higher rung in society is what we know as the Salaried class today.

I am one.

We work the week (and sometimes beyond) and get paid for it. We are the ones that actually run the factories, drive the cars for businesses, teach kids in school and colleges, report stuff to papers, manage projects for businesses and so on. We differ in two very crucial aspects to the group that sits above us (figuratively). The Business.

1. We do not decide how much we make (beyond pitiful negotiations for a raise)

2. We do not have total control over the time we can take off.

These two are critical disadvantages though. Our maximum limit (that we can earn) is actually a fixed ceiling. There are alternatives to this exact model where there are the bonuses that you can get.

However, total freedom comes from earning whatever you want for working however long you want to.

But then there is a catch. With the added freedom comes additional risk.

As a salaried person, you never really have to worry about running the business in general (unless you are in that specific role). The risks of the business operations do not lie on you. That is often a good thing.

So is there ever a way out?

A kind of existence that we used to have when we were kids?

Probably not. But there is a next best thing.

The solution is deceptively simple but very difficult to come to terms with. There are people who have done it - with varying degrees of success, depending on the extremes you wish to go to.

Take the Hindu Naga Sadhus for instance. They have given up all material possessions in the world. They don't have to report to bosses or give justification for their actions to the board. They are actually 'free'.

Of course, that is not practical for the vast majority of people.

What we can do instead, is to learn to live simpler - have fewer expectations, fewer demands from Life. Instead of a Merc, a simpler smaller car would be fine. Instead of a Rolex, a Titan should do well enough. In place of a massive bungalow, a small house or apartment can house use good.

Earning more or even saving more to build up a big portfolio is not the way to financial freedom, as far as I have seen. With increased incomes, you will notice your demands grow proportionately. When I was a kid, I used to be content with the cheapest of ice creams. Now would I go for it? Probably not!

There is of course the societal pressures that exist as well. Even if you don't really need a high paying job, your colleagues, friends and relatives will ensure that you continue.

The problem is that Life is short. It is too short to live someone else's Life. If you are a mid level professional you are probably in your early to mid 30s. You have almost lived half of your life. 

Don't be a slave.

What do you have to lose?

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