I’t was April Fools Day when the coffers ran dry. To ad insult to injury I had $19.99.00 in my bank account but couldn’t use it because the minimum withdraw was 20 bucks.
I had nothing in the world but what I was carrying on my back. The small contents of my pack however did have a bunch of food, shelter, and all my worldly possessions. I may not of had money but I was rich with freedom, debt free, and resourceful enough to come up with a plan. When the Cruise ships arrived the next day I had a borrowed shopping cart filled with a pile of coconuts. I painted Hawaii and the date on each one and in less than an hour I had $500.00 in my pocket. Any of those tourists could have found a fresh coconut laying on the ground for free yet once I had one buyer everyone wanted a piece of my island treasure.
“When I’ve lost my way or when I am confused about a path to take, I remember that most answers I need I already possess – deep inside. I am naturally creative, resourceful and whole. If I consult my invisible compass, I’ll know what to do.”
Not much has changed in the years since. I still value my freedom more than anything and while money certainly does represent freedom it also represents imprisonment, if only it grew on tree’s like my coconuts. These days my boat takes the place of my backpack but still represents food in my tummy, a warm dry place to sleep and acts as a my personal freedom vault. I don’t store money in this vault I store food and tools and all the things that can earn a buck here, there, and everywhere.
There are a million ways to make it in this world without sacrificing our youths, freedom, and the best years of our lives. I’m doing my taxes right now, in 2013 I made $11,956.25. Once again I have the wonderful distinction of living below the national poverty level for a single man in America. Living in “poverty” I still had money to buy my dog the best food on the market, do many necessary upgrades to the boat. Make a bunch of donations to my favorite charities and have a hell of a good year.
“Every time you borrow money, you’re robbing your future self.”
~Nathan W. Morris
Barely a day in my life passes that I don’t witness friends or acquaintances earning ten times what I do struggling to make ends meet. Its not that they aren’t making more than enough money to live good lives, its simply that they choose to live so far beyond their means that they will never catch up. Let me be the first to tell you that if I had the wherewithal I would sail a 100′ maxi with the Swedish bikini team as crew. Guess what, I chose to settle with my little boat and while I might sacrifice a bit of extravagance here and there, the only thing I have really given up is mountains of debt and stress.
“Credit is a system whereby a person who can’t pay, gets another person who can’t pay, to guarantee that he can pay.”
My first step to financial freedom was selling my car and moving onto my boat full time. That car cost more than my boat did and its annual expenses were more than my current annual budget. If I want to get somewhere I get on my bike and ride. There has not been a single day in the 4 years since making the transition that I have regretted it.
Gaining your freedom is a process and its one I am always looking deeper into. Through trial and error I will share my tips, tricks and techniques as I go. Becoming debt free is always the best way but why is it that so many of us fall into debt? As a child my first true freedom came at the age of 6 with my bike. National advertisers will have you believe that to Americans a car represents the greatest freedom. To me it has always been a financial burden, not just a trap but a death trap. Take a few minutes and try and remember how free you were as a child with nothing more than an old bike and the open road. Every time I saddle up I get a smile on my face and feel the freedom I did when I was 6. The annual cost of my bike including her purchase price is well under $300.00.
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”
Debt isn’t just a trap, its a monkey on your back it represents a lifetime of indentured servitude. There is not a single thing on this planet that can’t be purchased without going into debt. I cant hear them saying it right now. Sure Alan but your broke.
I’m not broke, I’m even.