What is Freedom?

According to Webster’s dictionary, freedom is:

Freedom: noun free·dom \ˈfrē-dəm\ the quality or state of being free: such as

a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence: the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous freedom from care: ease, facility spoke the language with freedom: the quality of being frank, open, or outspoken answered with freedom: improper familiarity : boldness of conception or execution : unrestricted use gave him the freedom of their home

As we can see, freedom has many meanings. Independence is probably the most accurate definition of freedom from my point of view. To be free from all cares and from everything is to be independent.

Thesaurus.com ranked the following as the highest rated synonyms to freedom:

  • independence
  • ability
  • exemption
  • flexibility
  • immunity
  • opportunity
  • power
  • privilege
  • right

So what is freedom really?

Here at Atypical Life, we strive for freedom. We strive for personal freedom, to decide where we want to be and do what we want to do when we want to do it. We are pursuing financial freedom, where we will be able to live out our days without having to worry about working anymore.

Merriam-Webster got it right saying, liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another. As a society, we have become slaves to our money. Because of this, we are also slaves to jobs we do not like and do not want. Thesaurus.com concurs with its highest ranking synonym, independence. That is what we are truly seeking.

Freedom Defined by the US Constitution

In society today, we are told that we are free. The US education system does a good job of educating us about the freedoms that we have in the United States. We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, right to own guns, right to be represented in court, right to own property, among others. All of these freedoms make it seem like the US is the pinnacle of freedom and that we all should feel free our whole lives.

The US has many rights and freedoms. However, these rights and freedoms seem only to free the fringe of society. Why are the rest of us left to be slaves to work?

Why do we not feel free? Society strangles freedom.

The freedoms afforded by the US Constitution and its amendments are a good start, but corporate and societal culture need to transform to produce a culture more centered around personal freedom.

Too many people spend their lives with their head to the grindstone to earn a living just to get by. They buy things day in and day out that society says you mush have to be happy. They get married to a spouse that they love, but after months and years of continuing to push through work, their marriage falls apart. Oh well, that is what happens in such a cutthroat society. One day they wake up and they are 70 years old and wonder where their life went. What happened to all those years I was going to have to enjoy retirement and the American dream?

I watched a good Youtube video last night about a couple that was chiropractors in the US and they were miserable. They both worked 12 hour days non-stop and when they returned home from work, they were too tired to enjoy each other anymore. They had become slaves to work and to money. They sold everything they had in the US and moved to Costa Rica where they reignited their love for each other and began to love life again. She wrote a book Happier than a Billionaire detailing their journey to a happier life. The best quote from the video was this:

We are all miserable. It’s okay to be fat and hate your wife. Join the club. In society today, it’s what it takes to get by.

They decided that was not true and pursued an alternative.

Today, the typical middle-class American is brought up in society knowing their path in life consists of:

  • 1-2 years of preschool
  • K-12 = 13 years of primary schooling
  • 4+ years of college (5 or more is okay because you are figuring out your life, right?)
  • Now at age 22-23 start work for 40-50 years
  • Buy a house
  • Get married ($$$$$)
  • Have children (done right costs >$250,000 per child)
  • At 62 if you’re lucky probably closer to 70 RETIRE!
  • Live out the rest of your days tired because you worked your life away during your most vibrant years

For the first 15 years of schooling, we are probably going to school for free. Our parent’s taxes pay for public schooling. School teaches us the fundamentals of all kinds of academic pursuits and gives us a good basis to figure out what we enjoy. During these years, the government has decided for us what we need to know and what we do not need to know. Is that freedom? During our formative years, we probably do not have enough knowledge base to decide what we do and do not need to know. Still, it is not freedom for others to choose for us.

During our years in middle and high school, we are told that college is the way of the future. If you do not have a degree, then you will just be an unemployed bozo on the side of the street begging for money. They neglect to show us the other ways to make money to achieve freedom, so the majority of us from the middle class and above head on into college to pursue higher learning.

I was lucky enough to have chosen a highly employable bachelor’s degree in engineering, so I was able to get out of college after “only” 5 years. 1 year consisted of co-oping work, so I only really attended school for 4 years.

After graduation, we are now expected to get a job. But wait. Most people got a degree in an unemployable field, so what is the answer to that? Let’s go to grad school and get further in debt. We should not worry about student loan debt since it is in pursuit of education which will gain us a salary for life. Many people pursue grad school because the employment opportunities were not there when they graduated, or they didn’t play the employment game correctly to land the big job. So now they are stuck in school gaining more debt and lengthening their time to freedom.

When we finally do graduate, we are expected to get that big time “real world” job. Our wonderful government in the US decides for us what retirement age is. This age is not actually the age that you are allowed to retire, but it is the age that we can start collecting on social security. Since many people are still a slave to their money at 60 they cannot retire until they can collect on full social security which now comes around 67 or higher for my generation. Myself, I do not factor social security into retirement savings projections because of the uncertainty in it. We will provide for ourselves. If social security is around for us, all the better.

By the time we have reached retirement age, we are finally free. We are no longer beholden to the man and can pursue what we want when we want. However, since we spent 40-50 years grinding our most vibrant years away we are too tired to really enjoy what the world has to offer.

Yes, we can now enjoy the company of our family and our loved ones more often. We can even enjoy the freedom to travel around and see the world. But just ponder the days, when you were 25-40. The fittest and strongest days of your life. This is the time that Atypical Life aims to be free for.

This is why we feel strangled by society. We feel that the expectations set by society have to be followed. To go against the flow of society is to be a social outcast and to not be accepted. We are taught that acceptance in society is important, so we need to follow the flow and fit it with everyone. Because too many people just accept the status quo, our personal freedom is strangled.

Personal Freedom

We have the freedom to live the life that we want to. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise!

In order to live the life you want, you have to cast away society’s feelings and decide for yourself what you want most in life. We still have to live within the laws of the world, however, it is not difficult to design a life for yourself that fulfills and surpasses your wildest dreams. If your dream is to live where you are now and do what you are doing, congrats you are already free. But if you are tired and worn out from work, do not hesitate to change. We have to make personal freedom a priority because no one else will do it on our behalf.

Here at Atypical Life, personal freedom is being location independent. We want to be able to pick up and move around whenever we want. This does not mean we will not have a house/apartment wherever it is we are located at the moment. We want to be free from the obligation to be located in a certain place because of work. We want to travel and see the world. To do that, we need the freedom of location.

Financial Freedom

In the US we often hear:

Freedom comes at a price.

I cannot agree more with this statement. It usually means a human sacrifice in war, but for financial freedom, it has a more direct meaning. The price for financial freedom is your expenses for the rest of your life. There are too many investment decisions to talk about here, but the point when your investments are able to grow and become self-sustaining is when we have financial freedom.

Financial freedom seems like a dream to most of the societal drones that go along with their heads to the grindstone. However, if we save our money and invest it wisely, we can free ourselves. The more we pursue financial freedom and actually put real effort towards it, the quicker it comes.

In the pursuit of freedom, less is more.

Financial freedom does not mean buying everything you can possibly dream of and never running out of money. It refers to being able to cover your reasonable living costs forever. At this point, we have the freedom to tell people, we don’t need your money, you don’t own me. This is the truly liberating feeling that comes with financial freedom.

Freedom

Whether we know it or not, freedom is what we all want. Innately, we all want the ability to choose for ourselves what we want, when we want, where we want. Society has thrust itself upon us trying to tell us this is not possible. We need to take it upon ourselves to make freedom a priority because no one else will. Freedom means different things to different people, but we should all strive to achieve our own version of freedom.

Here at Atypical Life, freedom is paramount.

I would love to hear your thoughts on freedom.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on Pinterest!

freedom, what is freedom,

freedom, what is freedom,

The Expat Freedom Rocket

Becoming an expat engineer for an international company has been a boon for my retirement savings. I got aboard the expat freedom rocket and have not looked back. It has certainly poured the jet fuel on my path towards personal and financial freedom. I have been able to pay off $50,000 in student loans in very short order and raise my net worth to nearly $300,000 in the 2 years I have been an expat.

This post is about the financial aspect of being an expat. If you want to read about my experience as an expat, there will be much more in the coming weeks.

Disclaimer: I use expat to mean those that work for an international or multinational company, in which the company moved the employee to a new location outside of their home country. There are many more definitions out there for expat, but for the sake of this article, it is this.

The Financial Benefits

In order for companies to attract the best and brightest to the far corners of the globe, large multi-national companies offer an “expat package”. This package is to incentivize employees to leave what they know and journey to the unknown that is expat life. My company has put together a very good expat package that is based upon the US State Department’s expat package. I have had discussions with many other expats where I am based in China, and have found my package to be better, but not much better, than most of the other expats.

In order for a company to incentivize their employees to pull up anchor and move across the world requires a great deal of incentives. We did not need the incentives because we wanted to explore the world from outside the US, but most need some financial incentive to get them on their way.

Our Expat Package Before Moving

To start with my company provided an all expense paid trip to China, so we could fully understand what we were getting ourselves into. On this one week trip, I was brought around China by my future boss, but did not ever go to work. We looked around at apartments and tried to get the feel of the city we were moving to, so we could decide for ourselves whether this new location would be a good fit for us for the next 4 years.

After this initial trip, we were sent over again, all expenses paid, on a house hunting and work trip. I had to work this time, training employees at the new facility, but had lots of time during the 3 weeks to explore the local areas and check out housing. In the end, the housing we found on this trip didn’t work out, but we could not have known this at the time. The downside of working for a large multinational company is definitely the team of lawyers that write up ridiculously long contracts that the prospective landlords have to sign. These contracts were a huge headache for us while we searched for apartments. When we finally got to contract negotiation, most landlords backed out.

After our 2 trips to China in 2014, it was time to move in 2015 and it was again an all expense paid move. The company paid for all of our stuff to be boxed up and moved around the world, as well as giving us an extra month’s pay for the hassle and extra expenses that occur whenever you move. This was a boon for savings, since we didn’t spend much of the extra money. The travel over to China was already covered along with $100 per diem for food and covered hotel stay until we were able to move into an apartment. It took us nearly 2.5 weeks to find an apartment when we arrived, so we received $1,700 for food when we actually spent less than $400. Obviously, this amount would have differed had we moved to a different part of the world, but with the location we moved to, food cost at restaurants is cheap.

There were several other side benefits of moving abroad. First, we were able to sell our cars and get reimbursed for loss on sale up to Kelly Blue Book value. This made selling the cars very easy and hassle free. It just does not make sense to keep cars in the US for 4 years while you go away. They would just sit there idle and rot away, so they wouldn’t work upon return.

Second, we were given a one day cross-cultural training to help with our transition to living abroad. Living abroad is definitely an eye-opening experience, and this training beforehand helped us to know what we were getting ready to be plunged into.

Third, they took care of all of the incidental costs associated with moving to another country. We had to go the doctor many times for various vaccinations that were all covered. They also paid and supported the acquisition of visas and passports as we got married and passports changed.

The last part the company did for us prior to departure was to give us a tax consultation with the tax preparation company that would be servicing us while we were gone on assignment. At the time, I was naive and very happy with the black box explanation they gave me for taxes. They told me, all I had to do was just fill in the forms they sent me throughout the year and they would take care of the rest.

The Expat Package On Location

There are many facets to our package while on location in China. The company’s intent is to make the cost similar to what it was while we were living in the US, while also incentivizing us to live here. In order to accomplish this goal it all starts with the hazard pay.

Hazard Pay

The location premium, hazard pay in expat vernacular, is an incentive paid by the company to get you to move abroad. The amount is a percentage of my salary and the percentage was defined by an expat consulting firm that does market research. They rate different areas around the globe and give a hazard assessment of living there.

This hazard assessment translates into a percentage of income that is added on to our salary tax free! I get a raise of 20% for living in China, which is ~$15,000 per year. When you take into account that it is tax free, at 25% it is equivalent to a $20,000 raise.

How many other ways do you know of to get a $20,000 raise?

Goods and Services Differential

The G&S differential is a small amount each month, also tax free that is to offset for food and normal services costing more in your destination country than in your home country. I thought it was pretty nice that they were giving us $200 per month when we started over here for the G&S, but over the past 2 years it has been lowered every 6 months down to its new value of $0. It really costs a lot less for us to live and eat here than it does in the US, but having the extra income is never going to be questioned by us.

Tax Equalization

The tax equalization policy provided by the company is very complex and is why we have a professional tax preparation company do our taxes for us. The basis behind tax equalization is for us to pay no more and no less taxes than we would have while based in the US making our base salary plus bonuses. The hazard pay and G&S differential are exempt from taxes from our point of view.

During my initial tax consultation while we were still in the US, I was happy with the black box approach, but since then my perspective has changed. I do not believe that taxes are nearly as complicated as everyone makes them out to be. I did a detailed analysis of my hypothetical 1040 for 2016 and 2017, so that I could get my monthly salary tax deductions reduced. My ability to do this shows that it is not as complicated as the professionals want you to believe.

The problem with expats are that we now owe taxes to multiple countries, especially being US citizens. The US has a terrible policy of universal taxation. No matter where you are in the world, or where your money came from, if you are a US citizen, you owe US taxes.

Because of this, the company pays all of our Chinese tax and all of our US tax. In return, we pay a hypothetical US tax and state tax to the company. At the end of the year, when tax preparation is completed, the tax preparation company fills out all the right forms to make this work. There will be a future post on tax equalization and how it is applied to me.

Housing

While abroad the company would like you to continue paying for your housing. They accomplish this with a housing normalization policy. What that really means, is if I continue to own or rent a house in the US, then the company will pay for my house/apartment in my destination country. However, if we decide to sell or cancel our rental agreement in the US, then we will have to pay the company a housing norm to compensate it for housing expenses incurred on our part. Either way, the company pays for housing in the destination country.

I was not happy about this policy, since we did not have a house and they originally said that the housing norm cost was $1,500 per month! $1,500 comes from a nationwide average monthly housing cost while I came from a rural poor location where housing cost was very cheap. I talked with the HR expat manager about this and showed that I had spent $325 on rent per month the entire time I had been out of college working for the company. He agreed that the $1,500 per month was not applicable to my situation, so it was written in my contract the agreed upon $325 per month. I was ecstatic with this result, and it has motivated me to always ask for more when it comes to the company.

We live in a $2,500 per month apartment for $325 per month. If we had to pay ourselves, we would be living somewhere around the $500 per month range in our city. At that price range you get a big apartment, but not the fancy name that goes along with where we are located.

China apartments

Another part of housing that the company provides is utilities. They pay all of our normal utility costs besides phone and internet, which are purely discretionary expenses. Many would argue nowadays phone and internet are normal and necessary, but it is not worth arguing about when we have so much covered for us. They provide our gas, electric, water, trash, and complex fees. I was surprised during my $325 per month negotiation, he did not ask for my normal utility cost, since those would be covered while in China. In that way, I saved another $150+ per month on utility cost over living in the US.

One last hidden perk we got out of our contract was a total of 5 appliances or $5,000 worth of appliances for living in China, whichever comes first. We managed to convince our moving company that a 55″ 4K UHD TV was an appliance, since our old TV could not be brought to China without power converters. This TV was a huge upgrade, but a pure splurge and would not have been purchased except for this lenient policy.

Driving

In the contract it states that they will provide a means for transportation in the destination country. I brought my own transportation in the form of bikes, however, that is not the intent of their contract. They were either to provide a personal driver and car, or they would provide a car for us to drive and assistance with insurance and licensing in the destination country.

In the end, we have our own personal driver. He is always on call and takes us wherever we want to go within reason. He has driven us as far as 4 hours away for bike races, but mostly his driving consists of taking me back and forth to work 2-3 times per week, while the other 2-3 days I ride my bike 44 km each way.

It took a long time to adjust to having a personal driver. It seems like a glamorous lifestyle, and for the most part it is. However, we have to schedule our driver to come pick us up whenever we need him, so we cannot be quite as spontaneous. The bikes have certainly given us our freedom while we are here in China.

This particular benefit seems to be the main difference between the good and just okay expat packages around this area. We have a dedicated driver while others have pooled drivers, so they only have priority on certain days of the week and their drivers are limited to specific locations. We have certainly grown to like our driver and definitely enjoy the novelty of not driving for ourselves.

Home Leave

Another benefit of life over seas is one free trip home each year. The company will pay for flights and travel from our current country of residence home to see family every year while we are away on assignment. This is very nice and makes going home to see family easier. However, we took this assignment because we wanted to see the world. We have already seen the US and there will be all the time in the world to see it later when we move back and settle down one day.

Our first home leave trip was to Greece during our first year abroad. Originally the contract said we could take our home leave wherever as long as the cost was the same or less than going home, but they changed the contract on us without ever letting us know. I appealed to the company board and eventually got approval for travelling to Greece. Plans for this year’s home leave are to head to Italy to visit family, so I see no conflict with the new policy. We are going to a family reunion in Italy!

Language Assistance

The company also affords us the opportunity to learn the local language. This is a monumental task when it comes to learning Mandarin.

普通话不容易。(Mandarin is not easy)

We were allotted $6,000 per person to learn the language. Mrs. Atypical took full advantage of this, and learned Mandarin to a conversational level of HSK4 (Levels are 1-6). I have been at work for 2 years and the first was extremely busy. The 2nd year on assignment, I finally got approval to bring a teacher out to work for 4 hours per week, so I could have language instruction during work hours. This proved great for me, but my coworkers that were also learning from this teacher found it hard to leave work aside for an hour or 2 each time the teacher came to work on language skills. I gained a lot from the 120 hours of instruction and can now understand a good amount, though the speaking lags behind.

Language learning is essential to assimilating into society when abroad and makes the experience much better. I am very appreciative that the company was so committed to allowing us to learn the language.

Miscellaneous Others

There are many other facets to the expat package, but most do not apply to us currently. In the future they will again pay for us to return home to the US. Also, if we had kids, they would pay for education in international schools while abroad. I am not sure if they would hire me for the job if we had kids, so this one is up for debate.

A nice benefit, though hopefully never needed, is emergency trips home in case family passes away. They will allot us time off and travel expenses to go support our family in hard times of family loss.

The final benefit afforded to us, often overlooked by my coworkers, is the family assistance benefit. In it, they afford us $1,500 per year for Mrs. Atypical to maintain working qualifications, take courses to further her knowledge, sign up for gym membership, travel for her work, etc. We have used all of this allowance each year. We were recently able to use it to purchase many blogging and photography courses that hopefully will allow us to monetize our blogs and achieve personal freedom sooner.

At the end of the assignment, the company will again pay us an extra month’s salary plus move all of our goods back to the US for us. The same package that came for moving abroad applies to moving home and should really help in returning to US life.

The Catch

The one catch in the expat package, one that any “good” lawyer would put in is their ability to change it at any time without prior notice. This is what they did to us when they changed the home leave policy without notification. They also have written in that they can change the hazard pay and G&S differential every 6 months. Hopefully going forward, there will be no more changes to our expat policy and we can finish our contract under known terms. Our HR team now seems to want to help us out, but it is a constant struggle to know when to ask for more and when to lay low. You will never get anything if you don’t ask.

In Conclusion

Becoming an expat is rocket fuel to our savings. I would highly encourage other engineers and business majors to seek foreign assignments to achieve financial independence sooner. One word of caution: If you take this assignment for the money, you will be miserable. But, if you want to explore the world while still being paid a huge salary, then the expat assignment could be your answer.

I was looking for an expat assignment since I started working, and it happened to fall in my lap. You just need to make it known you are looking for one and the chance may come around. We are way better off now since we took this assignment than before it. Hopefully by the end, we can be free, because that is what life is all about.

If you found this post useful, please share on Pinterest!

expat package, freedom rocket, extreme savings

Capitalism is Killing Us

He who dies with the most toys, wins. ~Pops

I couldn’t help but love this quote and write about it when I heard my wonderful dad utter the words. To die with the most toys seems to be the pinnacle of capitalism. We should acquire more and more toys all through life until we have so many we do not know what to do with all of them.

As we grow up, our parents by us toys. They see us enjoying ourselves with these toys, but many times they see us enjoying the box more than the toy itself. Oh well. The answer to that is to buy us better toys!

After we have grown to an age where we no longer need kids toys, the products evolve to adult “toys”. I am not talking about sexual risque toys, but the gadgets and gizmos that we all seem so obsessed over these days. In the millennial age, we have grown to expect information to always be available and for us to always be connected to the world. In order for this to be possible we need a huge list of toys:

  • smart phone for me
  • smart phone for wife
  • tablet
  • 2nd tablet
  • laptop computer
  • 2nd laptop computer
  • Desktop computer for hard computer processing tasks
  • camera 1
  • camera 2
  • etc…

electronics

At this point, the best thing to do is to buy a storage unit to keep our older toys in and continue down the path of buying more toys.

Where else are we supposed to keep all of these things?

I suppose we could always buy a larger house to accommodate all of the toys. Now, since we have a larger house, we can buy more toys to fill it up. It is unacceptable to have a space look empty. We definitely need to buy something to fill the space.

As you can see, there is a never ending stream of toys that need buying to be accepted in society today. To be seen as influential and successful, you must have all of these things. These things are what truly define us. It’s how society can know that we are successful. And everyone wants to be successful, right?

Capitalism is Killing Us

Actually, capitalism and the acquisition of toys is slowly killing us. It has a stranglehold on our lives and is slowly taking away any hope of freedom, instead delivering us to the man. In a world of constant connectivity, we are bombarded with more and more capitalism every day. This drives the world to believe we need more possessions.

We cannot let our possessions define who we are. We, ourselves, are the only ones capable of truly defining who we are.

If we succumb to the powers of capitalism and buy more and more goods, then we will be overcome by them and they will own us instead of the other way around.

I am unsure as to whether my dad was serious or not when he spoke these words. “He who dies with the most toys, wins.” However, I know from experience that he a frugal man. He also taught me everything I know about the DIY philosophy and working with your hands. If we are able to fix something or make something ourselves, why should we pay someone else for it?

I grew up in a frugal household where we did not buy too many possessions. The ones we did buy had meaning. My parents also gave me an allowance in which to learn my own spending and saving habits. The freedom of having my own money allowed me to succumb to the powers of capitalism and buy a stereo that I didn’t need and other miscellaneous things. I eventually learned to only spend on the things that matter most.

Certainly, we all have to make the decision of what level of possessions is enough for our tastes and attitudes. To do this without the intervention of advertising is extremely difficult. We have to sit back and reflect on ourselves and what we want most in life to truly answer this.

Just ask yourself this question:

Will this (insert purchase here) bring me closer to my desired life?

Wait and ponder about this purchase for a month or 2 and then, after that time, if you still decide that you truly want it, you might just need it. Having time to ponder the wisdom of a purchase allows us to back away from the marketing and advertising hype and answer for ourselves whether we want something or not.

Freeing Yourself from Capitalism

Too many times we fall to the whims of marketers that tell us what we want and need. We are letting someone else decide what is best for us.

Is this freedom?

I think not. Freedom is deciding things for yourself. If you want to have someone else decide for you, then that is also your decision and you are free to do that. However, when marketing is forced upon you, it is hard to avoid and freedom of thought is lost.

Capitalism has been shoved down our throats and is plastered in our faces all of the time now. Anytime we consume TV or the internet, we are thrust face first into the capitalistic tendency to always want more. We have to do ourselves a favor and take a step back to free ourselves. It is okay to view the advertisements, but we cannot let them decide for us what is best for ourselves.

Freeing Yourself from Possessions

The second part of freeing yourself from capitalism is freeing yourself from possessions. Very few of us were born into a family that truly embraces less. Most of us grow up having expectations surrounding ourselves of what we are supposed to do and accomplish in life. We are expected to be successful and to be a contributing member of society. In doing so, we are expected to have a house full of things and have all of our own belongings so that we can be “free.”

Do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with buying things and, as you can see from my 2017 Goals, you know that I have a problem with buying way too many things.

In order to free ourselves from our possessions we must start to let go of sentimental value they hold. Look at them as just things and decide whether you need them or not.

Growing up, I was taught to be frugal and to not buy what we can make. However, the lesson that was missed was about getting rid of things. In our household, growing up we only bought the things we needed for the activities that we were pursuing, however, we never got rid of the things we no longer used. This created quite a collection of things, my favorite of the bunch, a 30 year old 8 foot wing to a RC model airplane. It has sat in storage in my parent’s house my entire life never to be used again, but it certainly was cool…

We have started getting rid of many things in our house trying to pare down on the amount of stuff we have.

In the pursuit of freedom, less is more.

 

The less you have, the more freedom you have to move around and decide for yourself what in life truly matters. We have decided here at Atypical Life that we would like to be location independent, and having less is key to accomplishing this goal. One only has to look to the Buddhist monks for guidance. In their classical rules, they are only allowed these 8 possessions:

  1. an inner robe
  2. an outer robe
  3. an additional robe to protect from the elements when necessary
  4. a bowl
  5. a water-strainer
  6. a razor to shave his head
  7. a needle and thread
  8. any necessary approved medicine

buddhist monk

The Buddhist monks are models of minimalism. I don’t expect myself or many others to follow such strict rules on minimalism, however, we can take as an example all that is required to live on. There are no excesses in the Buddhist approved list.

In Conclusion

Capitalism is slowly killing us. It restricts our freedom of choice, while convincing us that we still have a choice. In order to combat this, we have to make freedom a priority for ourselves. We need to relinquish the stranglehold that our possessions have on us. We cannot let others decide for us what we want. We have to decide for ourselves what is important. By deciding what is important to us, we have taken the first step towards freedom.

We cannot let our freedom come second!

How is your pursuit of freedom coming? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on Pinterest!

capitalism is killing us