Friday, February 24, 2006

Simplicity Is For Everyone

by Skald

A simpler lifestyle does not only benefit those with a small income. While I choose to live lean... on a very modest income... I by no means believe everyone must do this. In fact, a big income multiplies the benefits of the hobopoet lifestyle.

The key.. the basic principle.. is to live BELOW your means... Preferably well below. Got a big income? Bringing in $200,000 a year? Great! Its even easier for you to attain freedom and autonomy.

We all complain about money. We all think more will solve our problems. Those making 10,000 dollars a year think they'd be free, happy, and satisfied if they could pull in 24,000. But those making 24k think 35k will do it.

Its the capitalist-consumer disease... nothing is ever enough. My father was bringing in 80k. Youd think that would be plenty, but he was convinced he needed more. Even the super-rich... the likes of Bill Gates.. think they need more. They are not driven by financial necessities... yet they believe more money, more power, more influence will do the trick. While Gates may live in mansions and travel via private jet... he is, in many ways, as much a slave as the poor suckers toiling away in his offices. He's a slave to his own greed.

As are most of us.

But there is a cure to this disease... voluntary simplicity. We dont need to start by imitating Thoreau. The first step... the easy step.. is to start by living slightly below our means. Spend less each month than you make. Then, month by month, year by year.. increase the gap between the two. Keep chipping away at superfluous luxuries. Downsize your living space... go smaller, go cheaper. Downsize your transportation expenses.

The big income earners can, in this way, create a HUGE gap between what they earn and what they spend. That gap first funds a six month to one year cache... enough to live off without a job. After that, the extra can be divided among investments and play.

For those of us with modest incomes, the process is essentially the same. And while we may have less income to play with, we often have less psychological addiction to status symbols... and thus can make a quicker transition to simplicity.. and freedom.

In short-- start where you are. Dont compare yourself to me or others. Its not necessary to live in a van.. unless you want to. The important point is the direction your life takes.... Will you remain addicted to MORE. Or will you pursue the far richer path to LESS?

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