today we’re going out on a limb, but it’s something we feel strongly about. let us know — do you agree? think we’re crazy? or does it not bother you one way or another?
the word “badass” gets thrown around a lot in personal finance/financial independence circles. and every time we see it, we have this… reaction. a little like nails on a chalk board. because it glosses over so much, assumes so much, and doesn’t acknowledge something super fundamental: all of us who are working toward or have achieved financial independence — collectively, “the badass” — have one big thing in common. we’re LUCKY. like, crazy lucky, in ways we can’t ever fully see or acknowledge.
yep, we’ve made good decisions. you bet we’ve zagged when others have zigged. and for sure we’ve questioned the conventional wisdom more than a little. good for us, truly. these are all things we’re doing consciously that plenty of other folks are not doing, many of them for no good reason.
but there’s no escaping the fact that we’re all lucky, every single one of us. how? here are a few possibilities, and this list could easily be several times longer:
- we were born in countries where it’s possible to change your path in life, at least in many instances
- we’ve had the benefit of good or at least passable schools, while many people haven’t, and most likely were able to go to college (meaning we weren’t forced to go straight into the workforce after high school to help the family make ends meet)
- we were empowered from an early age to make our own decisions and *feel* in control of our own destiny (this is not very common!)
- we haven’t lost everything because of crippling health care bills or natural disasters
- we’re able minded and able bodied, at least enough to have been able to earn the money needed to become financially independent
- we are able to get jobs that pay us enough that we can save money and pay off debt (try doing that on minimum wage, which tens of millions of americans are forced to work for)
- we have access to information about financial independence, which isn’t on most people’s radar at all
- we’ve benefitted from lots of other help along the way that we probably aren’t even aware of, like the GI Bill that helped our grandfathers go to college and enter the middle class, or the suburbization of america, which let us grow up in safe communities away from the problems of the inner city
we love the post that frugalwoods did on the privilege of pursuing financial independence. they’re so right that doing what many of us in the fi space are doing isn’t achievable for a huge number of people in the u.s., in canada, and in the world. most people all over the world are scraping by, in the most literal sense of scraping. not because they’re dumb, or make bad money decisions, but because they weren’t born into any definition of privilege, and because society didn’t help lift them up in the ways it helped life up you and us. (don’t believe us? check the global rich list, to see where you rank. $32,500 annual income, which is the u.s. federal poverty level threshold for a family of six, puts you in the global 1 percent.)
we would love if our collective fi community could take a new stand, one that is a little less self-congratulatory and preachy, and acknowledge that we’re privileged to be able to do what we’re doing. let’s remind ourselves that we’re not better or smarter than everyone else, even if we’re making some better decisions than others. we’re lucky in more ways than we even know. let’s talk gratitude more.
here’s the best part: starting to acknowledge more openly how lucky we are, and expressing more gratitude accordingly, will be so good for all of us. how easy is it to get frustrated when we aren’t reaching our goals fast enough or when various first world problems get in our way? if we shift our mindset to realize how lucky and empowered we are, we’ll get a huge collective mood boost. and the benefits to our well-being of practicing gratitude are well established.
badass of the world, we can do this!