Free time to me is the time I get to spend doing what is important to me. Fortunately, buying your future free time is possible in most economies.
Society and governments tell me that there is only one way to be productive in society and that I must spend the majority of my time working. And that those who have exited mainstream economies are living on the fringes; that they are bums or hobos.
Free Time – Unstructured Time
It’s certainly possible to have all of the free time you desire while working full-time. Many are able to manage that. I’m not one of those people.
I like to wake up when I want, spend a couple of hours over breakfast and coffee. I like to read and write and walk in the middle of the day. And I enjoy ending my day with a good exercise session at the rock climbing gym.
The reason we can buy our future free time is because our economy is so damn inefficient. The inefficiency is intentionally built into the economy for the purposes of creating unnecessary jobs and for overlapping redundancies.
Anxiety of Free Time
It’s important that I address the elephant in the room – most people I have spoken to have said that they have no idea what they would do with that much free time.
Most are worried that they would just eat or watch TV and waste their lives away.
Others fear boredom and worry about being unproductive.
What makes an animal and a plant so unique and worthy of deep respect is that they are being exactly what they are supposed to be. I don’t think that me being human, however that might displays itself, makes me less human.
If sleeping, eating, sex, exercise, reading, or hitchhiking is what makes me feel human, I’m not ready to have a government tell me otherwise.
Buying Future Free Time
The classic scenario might be that I work 40 hours hours a week in an Urgent Care or in a clinic and earn $250,000 a year. $125/hour. After taxes, I’ll have maybe $70 left.
To live a full-time working life you need a lot of systems to all work harmoniously. You need malpractice insurance, disability insurance, a reliable car for commuting, a comfortable home to commute from, and you’ll have to spend more on food and travel in order to make them all work around your work schedule.
It’s expensive having a job – that’s the first premise.
When you no longer have your job to worry about, your free time spent reading books suddenly becomes your vacation – instead of the $5,000 trip to the Bahamas.
Your vacation no longer is flying rushed to Madrid for 1.5 weeks, but it’s moving to Spain for 2.5 months and seeing all the little cities off the tourist maps.
So, you can buy this future free time because your future time is far less expensive than your current free time. The working life forces you to spend, which seems counterintuitive – but do the math for yourself and comment below.
And, guess what, don’t fear the free time, if you suddenly get sick and tired of your extra free time, you can always return back to work. The opportunity to make money doesn’t disappear.
Morality of Free Time
The moral police will grill you about your role in society if you choose to live this unconventional lifestyle. They are a branch of the retirement police and the offspring police who will call you selfish if you choose to not populate the world further.
Whether you decide to retire early or not have kids – you’ll have to justify something to someone. It’s not always a mean spirited comment by others; we are just conditioned to think that way.
Productivity isn’t working a 10-hour Urgent Care shift seeing 60 patients, of whom only 15 required actual clinical care.
You can be productive by being active in your community, teaching others, helping others, volunteering, or even, dog forbid, doing some income-generating work on the side (hail the retirement police).
Go scoop up shit in a fancy neighborhood in New York and do it all day, every day. After a while wear a T-shirt that says, “tip me a $1 if I’m making your life easier!”. I guarantee you that you’ll make a $60k/year doing that.
Productivity and Free Time
We are brainwashed to believe that if we have too much free time we’ll spend it drinking alcohol and watching porn. Within days, society will collapse from disseminated gonorrhea and hepatocellular carcinoma.
In the beginning it might be hard for you to set your own schedule when it’s not externally enforced. After a few weeks, a few months, you’ll create a wonderful routine for yourself.
You’ll connect with others and start developing interests outside of your immediate environment. You’ll engage in worthwhile projects and support others on their mission.
You might grow your own vegetables in your garden. You might take in foster kids or foster cats. You’ll help raise your nieces and nephews or take care of elderly parents.
Spending Now or Saving Now
The difference between having to work the next few decades of your life and being able to break free is a very small sliver of savings. That’s what’s tough about this financial hack. It’s so easy to ignore the few dollars which slip through our fingers.
If you don’t assign a job to every single dollar that comes into your account, it’s normal for it to disappear. A buck here, a 5-spot there, and you just spent an extra $500 that month.
The good news is that if you regret saving money, if you regret having a large investment account, you can always go back and spend the money. The opposite won’t hold true.
We are taught to not “waste away our lives” but we are comfortable wasting money. Somehow money is evil and the life we live is valuable.
Then again, a life of a doctor is more valuable than the life of a bricklayer, isn’t it? Hence the different disability and life insurance payouts.
Your Future Free Time
I, Dr. Mo, am enjoying my future free time. I paid off the debt, I saved, and I invested. It happened to have worked out for me, maybe because I got lucky or maybe because the math just makes sense regardless of circumstances.
You don’t have to be as drastic about it as myself. You can slowly cut back on your hours. You can slowly build more free time into your daily routine and see where the sweet spot is for you.
Or you can be even crazier than me, move to cheap city in Thailand, and just work 30 days a year in the US and have all of the money you need to live quite comfortably in Thailand.
Ignore the Status Quo
Carve your own path through life. You can live any way you like. And there are so many ways to earn money.
Most of the generic advice we are given is dished out by those who don’t know any better or who are projecting their own fears on you.
Some people live very good lives on $10,000 a year. Others are barely getting on $300,000. Some are living happily with adult siblings, others are desperately lonely living with a significant other and kids.
I am fairly sure that life is meant for experimentation. How else are you going to find what you like?
I won’t turn this post into a personal finance one, but it’s important to understand that 90% of the wealthy are earning a significant portion of their income from passive means or side hustles.
$1,000,000 invested in a CD can earn you $25,000/year. And you wouldn’t have to flex a single muscle.
$500,000 invested in real estate might earn you $20,000/year. Some flexing required.
$1,000 invested in your own online business might earn you $24,000/year. Lots of flexing required – but it’s the enjoyable kind of flexing as I enjoy with my online businesses.