From Your First Year to Your Last, Independence Takes Many Forms

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Posted by The Savvy Retiree on May 3, 2016 in Money Saving Strategies, Personal Finances

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you.”
— Dr. Seuss

On the weekend we threw a party. Guests were invited to sing, dance, and make merry. Which they did…until the guest of honor passed out.

In her defense, this was the first birthday party she’d ever attended…and she did have quite a bit to drink.

More on the festivities below, but first…

Chicken coops… digital currencies… Singaporean healthcare… ancient coin clippings… open classrooms… water purifiers… homesteading channels… off-the-grid communities… internet security… the Federal Reserve…

These are just a few of the topics we cover in the latest issue of Independence Monthly, our subscriber-only newsletter in which we aim to provide actionable advice for anyone interested in “opting out” of the current, corrupted system…and regaining control of their own lives.

[Ed Note: Paid up members will receive the May issue later this week. Not a member yet? Consider joining us today…and get access to three bonus reports that teach you how to ditch the banks…cut up your credit cards…and live rent and mortgage free.]

It’s an edifying undertaking, this monthly project of ours. At least, it is to us. We’re learning about things we had previously paid little attention to. We’re getting out of our comfort zone, in other words…thinking about new and different themes…dipping our toes into very deep ponds.

Along the way, we talk to various experts…we ask questions and furrow our brow…we read up and do our homework…and we find at the end that we often have more questions than we arrived with in the first place!

Perhaps it’s not intuitive, the link between these apparently random topics. But what we’re coming to realize—as we reckon our way down the rabbit hole—is that true independence comes in all sorts of different shapes and sizes.

Financially… geographically… intellectually… physically… there are many versions of an independent life. Or rather, many component parts of the greater whole. You can think of others, too…

Of course, what it is you want out of life will depend largely on where you are along the journey. Are you closer to the beginning…or the end? Nearer the top of the income range…or the bottom? Looking to get into a new relationship…or out of an old one?

There are 7.4 billion people on this planet. No two the same. (Even twins have different tastes.)

Which brings us back to our little soirée

Looking around the living room, we counted two-dozen guests, más o menos (more or less). Each arrived with their own experience and goals and outlook on life.

By the mantle, the Colombian photographer…a colorfully tattooed young man who lives for and through his art.

On the Juliette balcony, the English ex-banker…a fellow who waved “goodbye” to the corporate life so he could spend more time raising his children.

Deep in conversation near the dessert table, a pair of oncologists…a duo who raise the collective IQ of just about any room into which they happen to walk.

And talking with your editor’s wife, a dear couple who will soon decamp to the United States to spend time with their family there.

“We have three children and eight grandchildren,” the gentleman, 90 years young, explained to us. “We bought an apartment in the museum district in Houston so we could be closer to them. It’s really a splendid area. Walking distance to all the best galleries. Plenty of restaurants nearby.”

“And don’t forget,” added his wife, wearing elegantly her own 86 years, “there’s the symphony orchestra, the ballet, the opera and, of course, the Alley Theater. Houston has plenty to keep one from growing bored…or, worse, boring.”

We tried to fathom the depth of wisdom 176 years of collective experience might bestow on a couple…

“Interesting times in the U.S. these days,” her husband continued. “Being an election year and all that, I mean. I watched Obama give his speech in London the other week. Where he said he thought the Brits ought to remain in the E.U. I tend to agree with him…though I’d be interested to hear another opinion.”

“That fellow over there,” we gestured across the room, “the one in the brown leather jacket, he used to work in banking back in England. I suspect you’ll get some thoughtful remarks from him.”

“Ah, by all means, bring him over!”

“As I see it,” began the Englishman, “Europe is a sinking ship. It may well be best for England to disembark, while it still can. I think smaller tends to be better when it comes to political frameworks. Right now, in the EU, you have 28 countries beholden to a bunch of politicians in Brussels. But no one government can effectively administer that vast an array of people… languages… economies… cultures…

“That’s partly why it’s a mess. I mean, you’ve got Greece, which has basically been suffering a grinding, multi-year depression because they can’t maneuver independently of the big powers, those being Germany and France

“Then there’s Italy, Portugal, and Spain. None of them doing too well. If you look at unemployment levels there—particularly among the youth—you could even argue they’re in a depression, too.

“What was supposed to be a common project to bring nations together, may well be, at root, pushing them apart again.”

“Well, I guess things aren’t always as they seem,” replied the older gentleman. “It’s a very interesting perspective…and I’ve a few new things to think about. Thank you. I’d love to continue this conversation sometime. But right now, I’m afraid my wife and I must be going.”

We made to retrieve the coats. “Yes, yes. Of course. Martinez is quite a drive away and it’s getting late…”

“Oh, it’s not that,” our nonagenarian guest smiled. “We’re double-booked today. We’ve got another party to attend.”

“Besides,” added his wife, “we don’t want you to wake your baby. You give her a big happy first-birthday kiss from us.”

Until next time…

T&P Tool Shed

Around the World in Online Jobs

By the staff of Truth and Plenty

True geographical independence, the ability to go where you want when you want, is an exciting and much desired prospect. But how does one go about it? In the old days you pretty much had to be a travel writer or the CEO of a fortune 500. But with the advent of the internet there are a slew of jobs—suited to a variety of skill sets—that you can practice from anywhere in the world.

Take upwork.com for instance. Upwork connects businesses and private individuals to a vast network of freelancers (that’s you) who can be hired on a contract by contract basis. Companies seek out freelancers to tackle anything from accounting to web development, marketing to customer service, and much more. Simply create a profile listing your skills and experience and you’ll receive a star rating after each job. The higher your overall star rating the more likely you’ll be hired again.

Best of all, as long as the work is done, it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in your underwear at home or sipping an espresso on the Champs-Élysée. Once you’ve established yourself as a competent and trustworthy freelancer the world is yours to explore.