Perspective is a wonderful thing

By Slow Dad - December 09, 2016

If your basic needs are met and you have a USD$1250/GBP£1000 monthly passive income stream, you are as financially independent as you choose to be.

Is FIRE just escapism?

Much of the FIRE community ethos is based on escapism.

Escape the daily grind. Escaping an unfulfilling job. Escaping the wastage of significant portions of each day commuting. Escaping the feeling of being slowly crushed under the sheer weight of mortgage payments, school fees, credit card bills, car loans, and keeping up with the Jones’.

Some want to free up their time.

Some wish for a simpler life, away from the day to day stresses of being in the rat race.

Some seek satisfaction from hobbies or work that would otherwise not financially support their desired lifestyle.

Some want to travel, or spend more time with their families.

FIRE is really all about control

What they all have in common is the desire for the freedom to control how they spend their time.

It is easy to lose sight of the fact that to be even worrying about these things means life must be pretty good.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs describes a person’s basic needs as being: food, water, warmth, rest, security and safety.

Note there is nothing about commuting times, or mortgage interest rates in that list.

Next the hierarchy lists psychological needs: intimate relationships, friends, prestige, and the feeling of accomplishment.

Still nothing about child care costs or car payments.

The top of the hierarchy is self-fulfilment needs: achieving one’s full potential, including creating activities.

The very concept of financial independence, which can be distilled down to earning sufficient passive income to cover our cost of living, falls within this last category. If you’re thinking about it then congratulations, you are much closer to the top of the heap than the bottom.

Financial independence: earning sufficient passive income to cover cost of living

You are better off than you think

Don’t believe me? Then let me prove it to you.

CNN has a “Global Wage Calculator” that let readers see how they compared to the rest of the world in terms of earnings. Input your income figure now.

Chances are pretty good that readers of this blog would receive a result stating they earned n00% more than the world’s average wage. From a purely selfish perspective that should give you a brief warm fuzzy feeling of smug self-satisfaction.

The Global Rich List, has a tool that readers can input their net worth and see how their pile of wealth compares to the rest of the planet’s population.

Again readers of this blog will likely be told they are in the top 0.nn% richest people in the world. It is good to be you!

All things considered things could be a whole lot worse, and many folks out there would gladly trade places with you.

Global Cost of Living
Business Insider's interactive Global cost of living map.

You may already be Financially Independent

In fact I would go so far as to say that if you have a passive income stream of USD$1250 / GBP£1000 / EUR€1150 per month then in much of the world you would be considered financially independent already… just not necessarily in your chosen location.

Financially independent as you choose to be

So what?

Once you have covered off all but the top section of Maslow’s hierarchy, and you have that passive income stream trickling in, you are as financially independent as you choose to be.
you are as financially independent as you choose to be

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