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Seven Short Money Lessons That Can Unlock (Realistic) Financial Freedom

by | Jun 20, 2022 | Financial Freedom, Money

This short story is sure to punch you in the face…then inspire you.

A young man in 2012 sat down at a Portland cafe. An elderly gentleman walked past him and sat at the table next to him.

He was working on his Macbook like the cool digital nomad he thought he was. The old man says “Do you like Apple?”

The young man instantly becomes dismissive of him. Ohh great, why’d I have to sit next to this old geezer, he thinks to himself.

“I don’t like Apple because of what their iPad did to society. People just use them to consume, whereas a real computer can help you create,” the old man proclaimed.

He went on … “Too many people never try to do things that have never been done before. It’s sad. But if they give a few things a crack, they soon learn they too can do things that have never been done.”

The old man quietly does a half-smile.

“I’ve done things that have never been done before.”

The young man laughs inside.

“Like what?” He half expects the response to be mediocre.

“Well I invented the first computer,” the old man proudly announced.

“Are you serious?”


The young man googles him and sure enough he’s talking with Russell Kirsch. Russell also created the first digital image.

The young man was blogger Joel Runyon. After he shared this story he became one of the most well-known bloggers on the internet.

He learned that day that chance encounters lead to hidden financial opportunities.

The short-term outlook is a giant distraction

Right now we’re staring down the kaleidoscope of a trippy reality seen roughly every 8–10 years called a recession.

People are scared out of their minds.

They’re running around thinking the sky is falling in and the clickbait “America is dying” headlines written for money and clicks are true.

One of the most famous investors of all time, Stan Drucken Miller, shares some wisdom that can lead to financial freedom if you listen carefully.

The short-term doesn’t determine the long-term prices of investments. Innovation and sound businesses determine that. In a year or two the world will look completely different.

In that world your investments will have recovered and the good ones will have raged ahead.

The short-term trends are for impatient fools who’ll go broke. The long-term trends are for the patient optimist who believes in human ingenuity … and gets wealthy as a result. Choose wisely.

The problem is never expenses. It’s income.

This one bugs people when I say it.

Your $4 latte addiction and your other expenses aren’t what’s stopping you from reaching financial freedom. Nope. It’s income.

The income you have makes or breaks your future. The good news is it’s easy to manipulate your income in your favor.

  1. Add a second income stream
  2. Increase your current income by changing jobs
  3. Get a free Youtube education and acquire more high-income skills

Your skills are in your control. Stack skills to increase your income. Keep going until you’ve reached your version of financial freedom.

Thinking about money all the time is a tax on your mental clarity

The times I’ve been painfully poor in my life aren’t that bad looking back.

The one thing I hated though was always having to think about money. It dominated my brain.

If I went for coffee with a friend, I had to panic about who would pay. And if I had to pay, for the love of god, I prayed my friend didn’t order a cupcake. That’d throw out the week’s budget.

If I went to the football I had to hope my car didn’t get a parking ticket. If I got one, I’d have to think about it for the next month.

At work I had to obsess over going above and beyond to get pay rises and qualify for bonuses. I was always calculating some monetary goal that would hopefully get me out of poverty.

Then I had a budget tracking app. Looking at the dashboard made me fearful. If the numbers went down then my motivation hit rock bottom.

Trying to be creative with these money thoughts playing a game of ping pong in my head was impossible.

If you’re in your head, your dead.

A lack of money is a distraction that leads to a lifeless existence. The reason to reach financial freedom isn’t to buy a Lambo. It’s to reclaim your mental clarity so you think about the big philosophical lessons in life, not dumb sh*t.

Act your wage

My mother used to say “Act your age, Timothy.”

There’s a new take on this popular cliche: “Act your wage.” Too many people live unrealistic lives by going into debt to look richer than they are.

They use, say, a $70,000 wage to rent their way to looking like they have a $250,000 wage. You don’t need to look rich. Behave in line with your current paycheck.

Even better, behave as if you’re poorer than your current income — that’s how you reach financial freedom real fast.

For example, with a 7-figure net worth (not trying to brag) I still drive a piece of crap 7 year old Honda Civic and live in high-density, low-quality housing next to a train line and government housing in the middle of a ghetto.

Live humbly to live wealthy.

Ownership is the dumbest idea known to humankind

We spend our days trying to get rich so we can own stuff.

The paradox here is we can never truly own anything because we’re mortal humans with an unknown expiry date.

When you die what you own is no longer yours. Does anyone else not see how absurd this is?

Own less to live a better life while you’re alive.

“You won’t get wealthy day trading. You won’t get wealthy trading days.”

(Zach Pogrob)

Trading time for money is highly unlikely to ever get you to financial freedom. That’s the harsh truth no one wants to hear (even me).

It’s impossible to be wealthy and have an abundance of time, though, without rethinking how many of us earn a living.

My friend Kenny says Wealth is created by using money to buy time.

I agree. You have to find a way to use time to create more leverage. In other words, input the same amount of time and effort, but get out an exponential increase in output, and therefore, financial rewards. There’s no other way.

Learn about leverage. Become obsessed with it.

Disregard one of the greatest lies ever told

Reaching financial freedom and retiring early, so you can transition from work done for money, to work done for enjoyment, is what some critics call “privilege.”

Privilege is a cop out.

It’s a way to pretend like personal responsibility doesn’t exist. Until you grab your life by the curly ones and quit blaming others, you’ll never find the ideas and opportunities that will unlock financial freedom.

Being realistic with this last lesson is a disaster. Be unrealistic. Dare to dream. Own your future — don’t outsource it to look cool.

This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

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