Here are some of the downsides you should look out for if you shoot for financial freedom and attain it.
- If you leave your job after attaining financial independence (especially if you are relatively young), you may find a vast, gaping hole of meaning in your life. Work, contributing to society, interacting with people in a professional (rather than just personal) capacity all create meaning and a sense of accomplishment. Many people are so focused on escaping their job that they fail to think through what life will be like once it is gone. This happened to me.
- Relatedly, for certain types of jobs, your colleagues become your tribe. There is nothing like overcoming obstacles and working intensely with people to create a bond. If you abandon your tribe, you may feel a deep sense of loss. I did. It felt like someone had died. Sebastian Junger’s quick book The Tribe does a great job exploring this topic.
- The drive for financial freedom underestimates how important having responsibilities and commitments in life are to the deepest human happiness. This is why MightyInvestor.com does not advocate “escaping work.” We advocate finding meaningful work that matches your personality. For many of us who love investing, saving, and autonomy, this will lead to a more entrepreneurial life. But it is a mistake to make “work” a bad word.
- Financial Freedom alone will not make you happy. In fact, it is a false idol. Happiness has many sources, but the freedom from responsibility and obligations (absent anything else in your life) will lead to a vacuum and sense of meaninglessness. Ever hang out with the idle rich? These people are usually pretty miserable and create problems left and right.
Of course, all of the above does not mean that financial freedom is not a worthy goal. After all, this website is dedicated to achieving massive financial autonomy in your life. My point is just to be careful that this goal doesn’t get out of whack and supersede other goals like developing a great life full of friends, family, productivity, meaning, hard-work, lots of fun, and adventure. This is related to avoiding the Scrooge Mentality…..
There are strategies that help minimize or eliminate all of the above challenges. We’ll be writing about these in the weeks, months, and years ahead.