Changing the Narrative - Financial Shenanigans #1

Opting out from a career-centred version of reality.

It has now been a couple of weeks since I left my job, and pretty much my entire career, to explore an alternative vision of life that I had developed over the years. You see, the way we have designed our lives around a job never made much sense to me. Similarly, I understand the concept of retirement, but what is the purpose of spending our most healthy and active years in an office, locked away, with only limited time for pursuing things that truly matter to each one of us?

The reality is that for most people, the world revolves around money. That’s what most of us optimise for, not necessarily because we want to, but because we think that it is the only way. No one ever taught us how to even think about happiness or wellbeing, never mind design for it.

In my experience, pursuing a dream, any dream, requires taking risks. And, in general, a safety net of some sort is necessary for most people to afford that. Being able to live at your parents’ house is a safety net. So is having access to insurance because of your partner’s job. These are social safety nets.

What we have consistently struggled with, across Western societies, is the creation of financial safety nets. Financial insecurity is something I have dealt with for most of my life, most of us have. How can anyone follow an unorthodox vision or an outrageous dream, without financial safety? So, naturally, the concept of the Universal Basic Income (UBI) caught my attention many years ago. Mainly because of the promise of the financial safety net, which I view as a pre-requisite for pursuing anything worthwhile.

In a similar vein, the idea behind the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) movement aligned with some of my views. Specifically, it addresses my misgivings towards the traditional view of retirement in the modern society.

I initially thought about merging these two ideas together, UBI and FIRE, in 2013, when I was 24. Specifically, UBI is meant to provide guaranteed income for necessities. However, the cost of these necessities varies greatly by geography. FIRE, through frugal lifestyle and often extreme savings, is meant to replace regular income with investment income. Replacing the majority of your income takes a while though. Which is why for most, FIRE is a long-term strategy. But it takes much less time to generate investment income at the level of UBI, which is also adjustable based on location. This dovetails perfectly with the growing trend towards location independence.

After developing the concept in 2013, I have finally been able to bring it to life in 2020. Now I’m excited to use my personal UBI as a safety net, to explore new ideas and experiences.