Most people are familiar with the concept of work-life balance, which actual existence says a lot about modern working life.
The concept grew out of disenchantment with the extended working week and from pressure arising from a sharp rise in the number of dual-income couples, both of which increase demands on time. This can generate stress.
Work-life balance theory suggests that work needs to be offset with an equal emphasis on lifestyle. In the majority of cases, this means that people should try to reduce the time and effort they spend at work. Few people complain that they need less time on the golf course!
Am I Lazy If I Want To Stop Working?
If this is true, then why do people still work so much? A minority will say they enjoy what they are doing; they are ambitious and find their professional career rewarding. Sadly, most people acknowledge that they are doing it for the money. Work generates an income and people need income to support their lifestyle.
However, few people pause to consider what they actually want in life and reflect on how they might achieve this. Rather than looking at the glossy concept of work-life balance, I think we need to strip it back to look at income-life balance. This refocuses us on the core objective: Figuring out where income can be generated and putting it to good use.
While income can of course come from salaried work, it can also come from other sources of revenue e.g. savings account, rental properties, stock dividends, bond coupons, etc… Considering all of these sources puts you in a better position to meet your lifestyle objectives.
If you understand the underlying principles of Monkeyism and want to actively work towards early retirement, you can’t afford to be lazy! It takes a great amount of effort and self-discipline to accumulate the required knowledge, put it into practice and be able to retire early. You will have to work hard and save hard before you have accumulated enough wealth to live off for the rest of your life.
If you are lazy by nature, it will be very difficult for you to achieve this goal because you will seek the easy way out. That means going with the flow and remaining part of the system, rather than moving outside of it by altering your consumerist behaviour.
Most people aiming for early retirement have a core objective, generally seeking to exchange time spent earning a salary against time focusing on interests. Many will dedicate more time to their family, focus on raising their children, spend time engaging in their hobbies, pursuing knowledge and skills, or doing charity work.
All of those activities involve hard work, but they are not remunerated with money, but rather rewarded with love, happiness, health, gratitude, and self-fulfilment. If you plan to retire early so that you can watch TV or play video games all day long, you probably don’t have the internal drive to achieve early retirement. You already have a salaried job keeping you busy; you probably don’t want to complete additional planning tasks towards financial independence.
Time Is Money
A couple of years ago the science-fiction movie “In Time” came out. The premise of the story is that people stop aging at 25 but then only have one year left to live. However, they can offset their internal clocks if they obtain more time, for instance by working. In that society, work-life balance had a different meaning and time became the currency.
But our own reality is not too far removed; our lives are also finite. We must make the most of the time we have. Thus, a first move towards Monkeyism is the realisation that time passes quickly. If we assume that the average person lives for 80 years, and I am 33-years old, that means I have already lived over 40% of my expected lifetime. And yet, it all went by in a blink: Going to school, graduating, starting a job, starting a family. I look back at these events and it feels like they happened yesterday!
If you were told you had only 1 month left to live, what would you do? Would you still work every day? Probably not. You would spend as much time as you could with your loved ones and do everything on your “bucket list”. But is that really so different from being told you only have 20, 30 or 40 years left?
No, you still want to maximise your quality of life. The only difference is that you need more money to pass a few years than you do to pass a few weeks. But what if you thought about it differently? Every superfluous item that you buy, every dollar that you waste, comes at a price. It costs you time. Time you could spend with your family or friends, but that you will now spend working to pay for these decisions.
So, without knowing, many people are wasting the time they have to live. Because, in fact, money is time! I thus encourage you to start thinking about money as time needed to earn it. That provides a different perspective on life and encourages a different lifestyle. Imagine that everything you buy is paid for, not with money but with your remaining lifetime.
Would you sacrifice 6 months of your life for a new car? Or would you rather offer 3 months of your lifetime and drive an older model? Is that brand-name handbag worth 1 month of your life? Do you need to spend 3 months of your life on a luxury watch? Think about what you are sacrificing for the trappings of modern life. Unnecessary commodity. It is all about perspective! If you alter your perspective, you will see that your freedom is within your reach.
Moving from a work-life balance concept to an income-life balance concept is exciting. It removes the constraint to work for salary and unlocks your time reserve. It does not mean that you will stop having an active life. It only means you get to choose what you do and that money is no longer the main driving force behind that decision.
For instance, my wife and I both used to volunteer with homeless charities on weekends, but had to stop due to family and work commitments. Quitting our jobs will allow us to invest time in non-profit organisations like we used to. That is more rewarding than working with banks! It also means that I could spend every single day with my wife and children. Not just sharing breakfast and dinner, but spending the whole day together.
Most people want more family time. Yet, what most people don’t realise is that they need more time than money. But people simply don’t know how much – or rather how little – money they need to live off. This blog aims to provide you with all the information you need to figure that out.
In order to achieve true income-life balance, you need to generate sufficient passive income to be able to stop working. This is the goal we are setting to ourselves so that we can be financially independent within a few years. You can do the same. You just need to rethink and replan with a different mindset.