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The More Freedom You Have, The Less You’ll Fit In – But That’s A Good Thing

The more freedom you have, the less you’ll fit in. You will become an outcast and an enigma in some circles. You’ll be unemployable but also learn to say yes to more opportunities.

But none of this should come as a surprise. You had to know that when you embarked on this journey of financial independence, you would isolate yourself from the masses. After all, sticking with the herd meant a life of mediocrity and always answering to someone else.

Here’s a glimpse of the financial consequences of following the masses and sticking with the herd.

In other words, this is the price of conforming:

You’ll go to college, get your degree, then work in – a job where your salary will top out, or you’ll get an advanced degree and work in a profession that demands all your time.

You’ll be highly compensated, but you will only be paid as long as you can work. You may make a lot of money, but you’ll also have a lot of expenses and debt to pay for your house, cars, vacations, and toys.

In either case, you will not have financial freedom. You will always be trading time for money.

Conforming with the masses, as you work your life away towards retirement, you’ll take one of three paths for planning for retirement:

  • You won’t do anything because you think social security will be enough.
  • You’ll take investing into your own hands.
  • You’ll entrust your money to someone else, like a financial planner, investment advisor, or mutual fund for retirement.

Obviously, Path #1 is the most foolish option for retirement, given that as of February 2023, $1,830.66 is the average monthly social security check. That translates to $21,967.92 a year. That is not far from $14,580 a year, which is considered the poverty level for one person.

Those taking Path #2 and taking their investments into their own hands to invest in the stock market face long odds of retiring comfortably. “All the evidence supports the disappointing fact that regular investors as a whole underperform the market. As long as they try to ‘beat the market,’ they underperform,” said Todd R. Tresidder, founder of FinancialMentor.com.

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/trading/10/beat-the-market.asp.

Those choosing Path #3 are also in for pain. Professionals like investment advisors and active fund managers, like the ones that manage the mutual funds in your 401(k)’s, could be better at their jobs, and their fees end up eating a lot of any returns you achieve. This is backed up by S&P Dow Jones Indices data, which studies the performance of actively managed funds (i.e., mutual funds). Last year, they found that after ten years, 85% of large-cap funds underperformed the S&P 500, and after 15 years, nearly 92 percent trailed the index. aei.org.

Following the masses not only means being financially unprepared for retirement, but it also means a lifetime of financial stress. It also means hanging on the word of financial talking heads, social media clowns, the news, geopolitical conflict, and everything else that could plunge the markets into disarray and tank your investments. It’s one of the very reasons you sought to break away from the herd and the chains of mediocrity in the first place in search of financial independence.

At some point, you determined that the only way to break away from the crowd was to do exactly the opposite of what the crowd was doing.

Instead of stocks, mutual funds, 401(k) ‘s, IRAs, and 60/40 portfolios, you gravitated towards assets that the ultra-wealthy gravitate towards. Alternative assets like private company investments (i.e., private equity or PE) and commercial real estate (CRE) offered advantages traditional assets like stocks and bonds did not offer. Besides being illiquid and therefore insulated from broader market volatility, PE and CRE provide the ideal combination of benefits suitable for creating, growing, and sustaining wealth, namely: cash flow, appreciation, noncorrelation to Wall Street, being backed by a hard asset, tax benefits and acting as an inflation hedge.

By modeling the ultra-wealthy, you’ll gain more and more freedom to the point where you’ll stand out from everyone else.

You will be unemployable because you will not care whether you work. You won’t need to work once your passive income exceeds your expenses. You’ll become an outcast because you won’t care what the masses are doing. You won’t care about the latest “next big thing” because your actions work.

Assets like PE and CRE have always worked to build wealth, so why mess with that formula? It may be boring, and the masses may look down on it, but what do you care?

Financial independence may mean being shunned in some corners, but who wants the life of the herd? Who wants to work until they can’t work anymore, and when they retire, they cannot do the things they love because their bodies are worn out?

As you gain more financial freedom, your life will change, but it will change for the better. Instead of worrying about missing out on what the masses are doing, the masses will feel like they’re missing out on their life – one free of worry, fixed budgets, and fixed schedules.

MIKE AYALA

MIKE AYALA

Mike Ayala has owned and operated mobile home parks since 2007, and has been active in construction and management since he was 15 years old. He graduated from the Associated Builders and Contractors 4-year project management program at age 22 and then became a licensed instructor. He is also the host of the Investing for Freedom podcast.