I’ve always had a real problem with authority. Especially the incompetent kind. If someone tells me not to push the red button, they’d better give me a damn good reason. It’s part due to my curiosity, and part the rebel in me. I say, “Why the hell not?”…
Right, well, the problem is that at work, that attitude usually doesn’t fly, unless you hold the upper hand.
Against The Grain
According to psychologists, I’ve got a deep case of “Reactance“.
Reactance is a motivational reaction to rules or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific freedoms, causing the person to adopt or strengthen a view or attitude that is contrary to what was intended.
Yup, it’s basic reverse psychology. It just about exactly describes why I like to do things my own way. For Freedom!
A lot of people in the early retirement community have the same reaction when told not to push the proverbial red button. After all, we value our choices, and we value our freedom. Ain’t no boss-man going to steal that from us, amiright? The red button calls to us like a siren to a sailor.
You can see why this could present problems for a corporate accountant like me. I am supposed to follow strict rules and regulations in my role, often which have seemingly no logical reasons behind them. I even need to create my own archaic rules to enforce on others. It’s all in the name of good governance, but this kinda puts me in a pickle.
Perhaps this is why I’ve always been attracted to the loopholes in accounting: ways to get around all the pesky rules and regulations. Loopholes are ways to preserve my freedom.
The Biggest Loophole of All
The advantages that come with saving a massive percent of your income (rather than spending it) represent probably the biggest loophole of all. If you do it right, you can transition into a comfortable lifestyle, with minimal (required) work. You can get virtually free healthcare, free college for your kids, and all kinds of other bennies. All you need to do is save, and do a bit of planning.
Gaining your financial independence is kind of like pushing the red button. It’s an act of defiance, a declaration of your freedom. But it just happens very slowly, quietly, over years. If you don’t like being told to comply with unhappy rules, and you don’t want to cater to your boss’ silly whims, then do something about it. Get yourself into a financial position to simply walk away.
Early on, we’re told it’s impossible to attain financial independence, or at least highly unlikely. They say it cannot be done! You’re no Bill Gates! Get back to work!
Meanwhile everyone is somehow trying to take away a slice of your financial pie. The whole universe, it seems, conspires to part you from your hard earned money. Even your own emotions want you to spend your money, rather than saving it.
But if you value your freedom, then you should push the red button. Follow the principles of early retirement. Save more, and spend less. In as little as 10 years, you can go from zero to financially independent even with just an average salary.
Is a red button calling your name? Try the Official Red Button Appreciation Page.