We’ve been told that if we work hard, follow the life and work rules given to us by society, and look forward to the retirement age of 65, we can finally enjoy life to its fullest.
I don’t know about you. But the idea of waiting until the ‘ripe’ age of 65 to FINALLY enjoying the fruits of my labour sounds…depressing.
Not to mention I may be a very grumpy person by 65, and likely would rather rest after working so hard than travelling and exploring!
This week’s video blog has been inspired by this big question:
How do we get to live healthier and happier lives sooner than later?
Today, I’m sharing how adopting the practices of minimalism helped me to gain lifestyle freedom a lot sooner than I imagined.
And no, you don’t have to live like a hippie to do it. Watch the video below to hear how it can help you simplify and consciously choose alternative ways to live to have more freedom today.
What’s a Minimalist Life?
When we’re busy ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, it can feel like in order to feel fulfilled, happy, and successful, we need to follow the trajectory of other people who work long hours to have more things in their lives.
We get into more debt to have more ‘stuff’.
Which causes us to work harder and have less time.
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Time is the biggest currency and asset we should really be valuing.
I had my own misconceptions about waiting on retirement to finally live my life, except when my burnout forced me to rethink the 50 hour weeks I was putting into my career that wasn’t sustainable for my wellbeing.
I’ve realized since quitting a 6-figure job in a city, I value more important things beyond a mortgage, expensive clothes, or household goods I barely used.
I was shocked to know how LITTLE I needed for my lifestyle choices (when I finally got clear on what I really valued to experience in my life), yet I was burning the candles on both ends to maintain the corporate city life I had years ago.
I’ve gained such personal freedom from using minimalism as a practice to declutter and simplify my life.
You don’t have to be a hippie or a become a forest elf to live a more enriching life using minimalism principles.
Josh + Ryan from The Minimalists describes this practice in a great way below.
Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
Simplifying Your Life
54% of Americans spend more money than they make.
This reality is what perpetuates the reason why so many of us are trapped in debt and not having the security to make changes in our lives when we want to.
Most of us haven’t built ourselves the financial security to not have a full on panic attack if we were ever laid off, or when we need to take a break for our health and mental wellness.
We unconsciously spend and accumulate ‘stuff’ almost like badges of honour to tell ourselves that owning more things = happy person.
However, reserving your hard earned cash towards goals that can actually change your life is something to think about today, rather than later.
I listened to Grant Sabatier on the Unmistakable Creative podcast (who wrote the Financial Freedom book), and this was a big mindset shift that resonated with me:
The more money you save today, the more time you buy in the future.
Living Within Your Means
When I had a 6-figure salary in corporate, I would still wonder where the hell the money went.
My avoidant strategy of not facing my spending habits had created such unhealthy debt and negative money mindset.
The first step to ensure your hard earned cash is available to do bigger things in your life, is to live within your means.
You’ll need to face the numbers. That means seeing what you’re currently spending and categorizing what are non-negotiables (rent, groceries), and negotiables (Netflix, more shoes, expensive dinners).
Geoarbitrage: Rethinking Where You Live
With having less STUFF, you are more MOBILE.
This allows you to have a lot more freedom than a traditional life that ties you down to location and high-cost expenses.
Cities are expensive – a large percentage of our income goes to rent or mortgage, so it’s hard to save and get ahead.
In the new future of work where things are going digital, alternative options are much more available to support the location-independent lifestyle choice.
If you want to learn how to kickstart your lifestyle and career change to create a more freedom-based life, get my free training below to get started.
Places and cities where digital nomads and remote workers flock to have the resources and infrastructure to offer a ‘soft landing’ like coworking spaces and coliving programs.
Think about relocating (abroad or within your country in a more affordable town).
Check out Nomad List to take a look at cities with living costs that may spark some inspiration for you.
I outline some of my initial costs during my first 2 months living in Bali (about 5 years ago), in my blog post – How I live in a tropical paradise for under $1,000/month.
Taking the chance to experiment with living abroad has bought me more time and space to create projects, and most importantly, to live a rich life with less.
When I’m less attached to things and locations in the minimalistic way of life (and have LESS stuff to carry around), I have the freedom to explore places that don’t cost me an arm and a leg to have a great lifestyle.
As promised from my video post, here are my top 5 favourite places to live and work from so far:
1. Bali, Indonesia
2. Penang, Malaysia
3. Cascais, Portugal
4. Koh Phangan, Thailand
5. San Pancho, Mexico (actually this is a place I haven’t been to yet, but will be this year in 2019 – stay tuned!)
Minimalistic Lifestyle = Freedom to Do Things You Value
Adopting the minimalist approach to life is going to help you gain financial and lifestyle freedom sooner than you think.
Living with the principles of minimalism, you can have a more meaningful life, with less attachments, and more freedom to explore what works for your lifestyle choices beyond the traditional.