Elements of Freedom: An ebook

 

Since starting this blog nearly three years ago, I’ve published over 600 posts on how to use money to buy freedom in life. The overarching theme of all of these posts is simple:

  • The field of psychology has identified three big things that make people fulfilled and happy: (1) freedom over their time, (2) mastery in a field of work they find meaningful, and (3) strong relationships & connections with others.
  • If you can buy (1) your freedom, you can gain the ability to (2) pursue work you find meaningful and (3) spend time building meaningful relationships.
  • The best way to buy your freedom is to gain control over your finances. The more financial flexibility you have, the more you have the ability to control your time and say “no” to a work situation that you find meaningless and time-consuming.
  • To gain financial flexibility, you need to understand how to keep your expenses at a reasonable level, how to grow your income through building a unique and rare skill set, and how to invest your savings in a way that allows you to grow wealth.

While blog posts are a convenient way to share these ideas in easy-to-digest ways, it helps to have a place where all of these ideas are synthesized into one cohesive resource. That’s why I wrote an ebook: Elements of Freedom.

This ebook is organized into four pillars, which form the inspiration for the name Four Pillar Freedom:

Pillar 1: Philosophy – Identify your “why”

Pillar 2: Psychology – Reduce spending

Pillar 3: Work Ethic – Increase income

Pillar 4: Finance – grow wealth

In the first pillar, I discuss what it means to live a good life along with the role that money plays in doing so. This pillar lays the foundation for why money matters and why it’s something you should seek to understand.

In the last three pillars, I discuss how to gain control over your finances through managing your spending, growing your income, and investing effectively.

Specifically, I discuss the following topics in each pillar:

Pillar 1: Philosophy – Identify your “why”

  • Psychologists have found that there are three main things that contribute to a person’s happiness and well-being. They are autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
  • If you can gain autonomy, you give yourself far more freedom to pursue competence and relatedness.
  • Unfortunately, far too many people don’t have autonomy over their time because so much of it is spent getting ready for, commuting to, sitting at, commuting from, and unwinding from a job they likely don’t love.
  • Most people have a day job because they rely on it for all of their income.
  • The way to gain autonomy over your time is to gain control over your income streams. You can do this by developing a blend of passive and active income. 
  • Depending on a variety of factors, it may make more sense for you to build up a portfolio that can produce passive income or it may make more sense to pursue active income in such a way that you can utilize a unique skill set to earn income for your labor.

Pillar 2: Psychology – Reduce spending

  • The less you spend, the less you need to be financially flexible.
  • The easiest way to reduce spending is to realize that most of the stuff that brings you joy is free – family, friends, creating things, and spending time in nature.
  • The “big three” expenses of housing, transportation, and food account for 62% of total expenses for the typical U.S. family. If you can get a grip on these three, you can give yourself permission to “overspend” in many other areas.
  • Recognizing your own unimportance is freeing. Nobody cares about your house, car, clothing, or job title as much as you think, so there’s no reason to overspend on status symbols to impress others.

Pillar 3: Work Ethic – Increase income

  • Your ego is your enemy. Your ego is what makes you scared to fail. It makes you scared to apply for jobs, ask for promotions, and start your own side hustles because of the fear of failure. Kill your ego by recognizing that you’re not as important as you think and that you’re the only person tracking your own failures.
  • Always negotiate salary.
  • Sometimes the best way to boost your salary without leaving your company is to switch to a team with more growth potential within the same company.
  • Things you consider to be “common knowledge” can often be used to earn extra income in the gig economy.
  • The harder a skill is to learn, the more you can earn because the economy rewards the rare.
  • Most skills can be learned online through a combination of curiosity, Google, and YouTube.
  • If you can combine two or more unique skills, you can set yourself apart even more in the market.

Pillar 4: Finance – Grow wealth

  • You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Simply having a goal to become wealthy does not work. You need a system in place that makes wealth creation inevitable.
  • Individual stock returns follow a power law distribution. A handful of stocks experience astronomically high returns over time. Your odds of picking these stocks are slim. Luckily, you don’t have to pick them. You can invest in low-cost index funds that capture the returns of a huge variety of stocks, including the massive winners.
  • The biggest mistake people make in investing is touching their investments too often. By nature, humans buy and sell at exactly the wrong times. A hands-off, automated investment approach leads to better returns.

My hope is that this ebook will cause you to think of money as a tool you can use to buy your freedom, which will ultimately give you the means to live a rich and meaningful life on your own terms.

Get the Book

Click below to buy the ebook for $14.99:



Zach

Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.

Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.

Although the bulk of his net worth is invested in index funds, his favorite place to invest in individual stocks is M1 Finance, a site that allows you to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free.

His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.

His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.

His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.

Zach

Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.