Is Atlas about to shrug?

The following is not to be classed as financial advice. Taking financial advice from me is akin to listening to the mad loner in the pub who sees a gap in the market for Larks tongues and Otters heels.

This is for entertainment purposes only.

So anyway, I was talking to a friend of mine a few months ago, and the topic got onto personal finances. Being a top class barrister, he earns a few bob, but unlike many people in his social circles, he doesn’t feel the need to spend it. Oh he lives in a nice house and drives a reasonably priced car, but he has always been sensible with his money. He is now in the position to walk away and live a comfortable life without having to work again.

He is 40 years old

I want you to think about that for a moment. For those this relates to, I want you to think about all the fancy TV’s, cars, watches and fancy kitchens you have bought since you left school and ask yourself was it worth it. Were the days you spent working worth the trinkets you purchased? Was that new car worth an extra 3-12 months at the coal face?

Think about it. Think about when you bought that new car. Think about how it felt on the day you drove off in it, with that new car smell that comes from a can. Now think about how you felt about that car 3 months later. Did you still have the same joy, or was it just a means of getting from A-B? Were you already browsing the car magazines? I merely ask the question, because everyone will have a different answer. Is it possible you could have bought a cheaper car with the same end result?

But the most important question is: Are you any happier because of these trinkets? For most of you, I already know the answer.

My Barrister friend has invested wisely. And being a barrister, he realises the risk imposed by litigation and has protected his assets accordingly. Plus, with his ability to represent himself, one would have to question the sanity of any lawyer that went against him, especially with his skill in the court room. He happens to be damned good at what he does…… and it does cross my mind how useful such a friend can be in today’s world.

And do you know WHY he chose to be frugal? Because of where he saw this country heading. He woke up one morning and saw the future path we would all be wandering down, and it scared the crap out of him. He is now in a position to pack his bags and get on a plane never to return if he so wished. His wife fortunately shares the same vision.  He would be one of the few people to have a chance when should whatever random post apocalyptic world descend upon us because of the choices his present position gives him.

What an amazing sense of power that must give someone. To know that you never HAVE to work again a day in your life. Now imagine you were in that position, right now. What would you do? Would you carry on working? Would you walk away from your practice and go and sit on the beach and partake in drinks with little umbrellas in them?

What would you do?

I want you to write it down. Write down, what you would do if you never had to work again. Done that? Good. Now look at your answer. What does that tell you about how much you love the job? If you said you would carry on working, then you have truly found your life’s passion. Congratulations. Very few people actually achieve this in life.

If you said you would walk away, then what are you doing, right now to be in that position? And what are you doing that is stopping you from getting there? Do you even care 😉

And I know, there are countless reasons why you are not financially independent right now, society is after all almost designed to stop you achieving that. It is however, my belief that many of us can be financially free by the age of 50, if we choose the right investments, and follow a sound and frugal financial plan. And of course, part of that is of course not wasting money on things that you THINK will bring you happiness. We buy things you don’t need, with money you don’t have to impress people you don’t even know.

“But I don’t have a job”….do you want me to count how many US millionaires started off as immigrants with no money and no prospects?

Utter madness. And we keep doing the same thing over and over, trying to find happiness in the external world, where for most people they just have to look inside and decide to be happy. You can be happy any time you want. And you don’t need to fork over 6 months pay to the Porsche garage to achieve it.

But Sean, what’s all this got to do with Atlas Shrugged?

For those who don’t know this was a book written in the last century by Ayn Rand. It shows a possible future where, finally overwhelmed by corruption and red tape, the productive members of society remove themselves from the equation and disappear. The Bureaucrats, the law makers, the corrupt and work shy wake up one morning to a country that no longer works. It collapses around their ears as the productive and the inventive cease their activities.  I wonder if Ms Rand knew she had written an apocalyptic future?

It is the corrupt world of meaningless red tape described in Atlas Shrugged that I see on our countries future path. Some of it is already here. We already live in a country where people are sacked for displaying basic humanity (time and again we hear of people losing their jobs because they did the right thing which contravened official policy). Look back at where we were 10 years ago, and now look ahead 10 years from now. Extrapolate how much regulation and red tape their will be and ask yourself can you accept that and work in that environment and keep your sanity? Are you getting ready NOW for what is presently a small snow ball on top of a very large hill? Because you aint seen nothing yet.

But what can I do?

You have 3 choices, as I have said countless times.

– You can fight against what is most likely an unstopable Hydra
– You can stick you head in the sand and ignore it
– Or you can accept it, plan accordingly and get on with your life

I would argue that, without mass action, fighting against what is coming will most likely only give you an ulcer and put a large bulls eye on your forehead. Don’t get me wrong, the fight will come, and so will change. But only you can decide if you want to be a part of that.

Pretending it isn’t going to happen will keep you sane, for a while, until you are found wanting at one of countless inspections.

That’s the way it looks from here



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