“Own less stuff. Enjoy more freedom. It really is that simple.”
– Joshua Becker
You may have noticed that friends and family who have way more money than you do seem to believe certain things – things you don’t have – are true necessities. You might think these people are a bit ridiculous. After all, you’re living just fine without that stuff.
The funny thing is, if you talk to people who have less than you, you’re likely to find that they think a lot of what you consider “needs” are really just “wants.”
The inescapable fact is people tend to become accustomed to what they have. Things that once seemed like luxuries begin to feel like necessities. Worse, as-yet unaffordable items and experiences often feel like needs, too.
“Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Most of us think having a lot of money would make us happy. Well, maybe it wouldn’t buy us freedom from worrying about our kids, love or immortality, but surely it would at least free us from worries about money.
Several years ago, a survey of very wealthy people disclosed that most of them did not consider themselves financially secure. That might not sound too odd, until you learn that the survey respondents’ average net worth was $78 million.
Let me repeat that: Becoming a multimillionaire is unlikely to be enough for you to feel financially secure.
One of the researchers said it seems that the “only people in this country who worry more about money than the poor are very wealthy. They worry about losing it, they worry about how it is invested, they worry about the effect it is going to have. And as the zeroes increase, the dilemmas get bigger.”
“The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.”
– Chuck Palahniuk, via Tyler Durden in Fight Club
This Tyler Durden quote is reminiscent of the famous line in Janis Joplin’s song, Me and Bobby McGee: “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.”
Few of us want that much freedom, but it’s true that the more stuff we have, the more we worry about it.
We worry about losing it or having it stolen. We worry about dents and scratches. We worry about upkeep and downtime.
Plus, possessions can keep us from doing activities we enjoy. After all, stuff costs time, as well as money.
“Living with less provides tremendous freedom.”
– Courtney Carver
It may seem counter-intuitive, but when you talk to minimalists (or read what they’ve written), you hear over and over that minimalism leads to freedom.
By learning to focus more on experiences and relationships and to focus less on your possessions, you free yourself up to live with less money.
Maybe you can work part-time or retire earlier. Maybe you can start your own business or take the job you’ve always wanted but didn’t feel you could afford because of the required pay cut.
Living in a smaller home with less stuff and decluttering our calendars gives us more free time to do what we love. Hang out with friends and family. Hike. Knit. Ski. Cook. Read. Draw. Kayak. Write. Whatever your passions are.
Minimalism leads to less stress and more inner peace.
Less rushing and more relaxing.
Fewer obligations and more freedom.