How to achieve economic independence

We moved from the big city to a mountain top surrounded by a deep forest. The noises of low flying airplanes, rush hour traffic and gun shots got replaced with the sound of…well nothing really. It is really quiet up here. The dream is to achieve economic independence and this is how we plan doing it.

 

This is the second article in a series about how I went from an overworked and overstressed big city woman to a relaxed hill country ditto. 

 

In the previous article I left you at Christmastime. I had forgotten to buy a gift for my husband and that led to an epiphany:

 

My life needed to change; I felt like drowning. However it wasn’t until I almost collided with a train –  that I finally called the office and asked for a time out.

 

Like a Zombie

During the time out it took me a while time to get back into some kind of normal routine. Imagine a zombie trying to calm down…  At first I just slept like never before. When I slowly began returning to the surface of days without the constant ringing cell phone or emails shooting in like bullets – an idea began to take shape: I needed to be free.

 

Economic independence means you cut the life-support of a monthly paycheck and reducing your relationship to the bank

And why not go big; find a way to become economic independent.

Making this decision also meant losing my identity for a while. I used to be fast moving, well dressed business woman. Who was I now?

Economic independence means you cut the life-support of a monthly paycheck.

To be able to do that you must reduce your relationship to the bank.

 

Cut down on car loans, mortgages and what other expenses you might have that gobble up your salary before you even see a glimpse of it.

 

The goal is to live on what money you have saved, passive income and perhaps a job with a smaller paycheck.

 

Losing my Identity (and my car)

This is easier said than done. Doing this meant a TOTAL life changing maneuver. Like selling our house and moving to where homes are cheaper (for a reason…). Living in a part of the country we have no previous connection to – any family or friends to rely on. Becoming economic independent also meant I had to quit my job.

There is only right now. You get one life. This is it. And it’s not going to begin again.

Quitting my job was a hard one. Even though my work had worn me down I still had a strong addiction to it. Or at least the perks that came with it; a nice title, good salary; traveling and eating great food at fancy restaurants; a nice company car. All of this I had to let go. I realized how big a part of my identity was made up of my job. I was Nordic Sales Manager and liked it.

 

I realized how big a part of my identity was made up of my job. I used to be fast moving, well dressed business woman. Who was I now?

However the toughest one was returning my company car. I loved my sky blue, brand new and 190HK Volkswagen Passat (I actually still have a picture of it on my cell phone).

 

Economic Independence

Economic independence means not relying on a monthly paycheck to pay your bills. Instead you make a living on the bucks you already have plus whatever you earn from a passive income.

 

A passive income is money you get even if you stay in bed all day doing nothing. It could be rent if you have a flat you lent out; music or a book you once wrote and it keeps paying you royalties. Basically passive income is money that comes from an action you did once – and then money keeps on coming. The opposite of this is working; you only get a paycheck by showing up every day at the office.

 

Economic independence means not relying on a monthly paycheck to pay your bills

 

This meant finding a way of living where I did not need a big salary to pay my bills. In the end it’s all about math; if you do not need to pay for a car loan, mortgages and so on – then you do not need the same level of income.

 

We looked at how much money we spent every month on regular expenses like food, insurances and things you need no matter where you live. Adding to that a sum covering clothes, unexpected expenses, a dentist bill once in a while, vacations.

 

 

We then ended up with a number which represent the minimum income we need every moth to cover our costs.

 

Not recognizing a moment

It was about this time I realized that I did not walk anymore. I raced. When I was out with the dogs I almost ran in my attempt of getting rid of both the constant guilt and get back in time to work or clean the house or do laundry. Whatever I did it always felt like it just had to be over with, so I could start on the next assignment and the next and so on.

 

It was never about being in the moment. I don’t know if I would have recognized a moment if I was in one. I had to find a way to slow down. The idea of becoming economic independent and live a life without all the racing seemed like the solution.

I was in.

 

Avoid the mortgages

Knowing what amount of money we needed to cover our costs and still live a good life gave us a starting point; next step was to set out and create a new life.

 

There are a lot of ways to improve your economy if you invest time into it

The first step was selling our house with the intention of using the money we made on the sale (after the bank got its share) to buy a new one. By doing this we avoided taking a loan and consequently avoiding mortgages. If you don’t need to pay mortgages every month you can reduce your salary with that amount of money.

 

Minimizing the costs

The freedom of not being chained to an office chair 9-5. A life where everything not was about my job but there actually would be room for friends, having a hobby, or just simply relaxing, slowing down.

I know that to be true economical free you can stop working for someone else. I am not quite there yet. It took us most of a year to find a house within our budget and we have spent several hours on finding ways to minimize our costs.

 

We have made better insurance deals; we have skipped the daily grocery shopping to one every 3rd week, we have installed a cheaper heating in the house. There are a lot of ways to improve your economy if you invest time into it.

 

3 Steps to take to financial freedom

 

1) Know your expenses. How much money do you spend monthly on necessary and unnecessary things?

 

2) Look at your electricity bill, insurance package, cable tv etc. Have you made the best deal or are there other companies that give you the same to a better price?

 

3) Are you willing to lose prestige? Moving to a smaller house, earning less money driving an old car – it saves you money but might cost you in prestige. Ask yourself if you care; and be honest.

 

Previous article in this series

 

Stay tuned. In the next article in this series I will reveal how I was stuck in learned helplessness

 

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