Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Money is the Modern Equivalent of Monkhood

There is a spiritual dimension of Financial Independence Retire Early or FIRE that mirrors Eastern Religions that is hinted in Naval Ravikant's Almanack which I would like to explore in this article.

First I'd like to explore two concepts :

a) The Lesser Wheel of FIRE

The Lesser Wheel of FIRE is what we would typically associate with the FIRE movement - you have a history of basic expenses that you hope to care of with your investment income. When your investment income begins to cover your basic expenses, you gain Nirvana-like freedom from the capitalist world and it opens up whole new possibilities in lifestyle design. 

For REDs, you can start a business for world domination. For the rest, it can range from a cessation of corporate ambitions, farming entire salary to stock portfolios, or leaving the workforce entirely for personal hobbies if you are Green.

In many cases, investment income continues to rise after financial independence. Adherents to the Lesser wheel of FIRE may improve their quality of life and spend based on what was lacking during their FIRE pursuit, normalizing expenses to that of a normal Singaporean.

It is difficult to go beyond The Lesser Wheel if you conduct retirement courses because the bulk of the aspirations of Singaporeans probably stop here.

a) The Greater Wheel of FIRE

I tried hinting at the existence of the Greater Wheel of FIRE in many speeches I made in the past. The pursuit of the Greater Wheel is to strive for total independence from material wants. It is theoretically possible that a person not goes beyond quitting a day job, future increases in investment income come without an increase in expenses. 

You have transcended materialism. 

I'm not at this level, I may not even be at the Lesser Wheel because my life-energy exchange is so high, it would be irresponsible to my future generations if I stop my training work. My children may not be able to have a career that is a more optimal life-energy exchange. 

The Greater Wheel does not stop spinning until investment income reaches infinity. The highest need is to have no need for anything at all beyond daily survival. 

Still, I have a few rough ideas on developing this level of FIRE to this level of proficiency: 

  • Break the contradiction between frugality and hedonism - If you have cold baths for a week, a hot bath will feel good. I take cereal with yoghurt for lunch so that dinner feels a lot more enjoyable. 
  • Having children to inherit your wealth will lessen the desire to spend it down - Imagine being single and have over $10 million, you may not have the years to enjoy it till the end. Children solve that problem because it is natural for human beings to want to benefit their loved ones. 
  • Personal accomplishments, not material goods, should form a bedrock of your identity - If you have your self-esteem tied to personal accomplishments and not material goods, you will have fewer wants that can be attained by spending money.
  • Observe folks who study the Humanities - There was a joke that says that with a liberal arts degree you can be philosophical about the fact that it attracts such low salaries. You can be philosophical without a liberal arts degree.
  • Leave one material weakness - If you know what you truly like and spend on it out of passion, you would come very close to reaching the ideal of the Greater Wheel, spending on everything else is superfluous. Don't feel bad if you have a weakness of PS5 Games. But avoid watches as they can cost a king's ransom. 

If you explore the duality of the Lesser and Greater Wheel, Money actually becomes a new kind of Monkhood. 

I'm not spiritual, but I have the potential to pursue a pecuniary form of enlightenment. 

No comments:

Post a Comment