Economic Freedom

Tomorrow marks six months since my “retirement” began.  Since then I have heard that most of my co-workers were laid off; I was merely the first to go.  This morning I received an e-mail announcing that Pinnacle Solutions, the company that took over my office last October, is seeking to hire a technical writer, and the job description sounds exactly like the one I had.  That means they got rid of too many folks, right?

In the past six months, I have been out of town four times.  Because my granddaughter lives in southeast Georgia, an eleven-hour drive from here, it takes at least three days for a decent visit:  one day to drive down, one day to spend with the “apo” (Leive tells me that’s Cebuano for “grandchild”), and one day to drive back.  I could not take that much time off to see Lexi when I had a job, but after being laid off, I got to go down there in November, January, and March.  The fourth trip was the recently completed one to the Pre-Paid Legal convention in Oklahoma City.  Moreover, on most days I don’t have to wake up to an alarm clock anymore.

There is more than one kind of freedom.  Most of the time we hear about political/social freedom:  freedom of the press, speech, religion, assembly, the right to keep & bear arms, etc.  However, there is also economic freedom, which is not guaranteed by the Constitution; we have that when we are successful financially.  So how do you know if someone is financially successful?  When he has the time to do what he wants, and has all the money he needs to pay the bills, put aside some for old age and investments, and have some left over to give to the charities of his choice.

From an economic perspective, you can divide people into four groups, depending on how much time and money they have:

1.  Those without time, and without money. These are those folks at low end jobs, your burger flippers and the like.  Anyone living from paycheck to paycheck can be in this group, too.  For most of my time in Florida, that included me.

2.  Those without time, but with money. Most white-collar workers (e.g., doctors, your boss) fall in this category.  They may look successful, but they’re really broke at a higher level, having to work overtime to maintain their lifestyle.  I was here for my first four years in Kentucky.

3.  Those with time, but without money. If #1 is blue-collar, and #2 is white-collar, than this group can be called “no collar.”  These folks have all the time they want because they are retired, unemployed, etc.  Currently that’s where I’m at.  Most folks think I should go back to #2, but I really hope to go to #4.

4.  Those with time, and with money. This is the only group that can really be called successful.  The only way to get here is to become self-employed, to own your own business.  Then you can set your own hours, and set your income by how much you are willing to work.  If you can hire some people to work for you, more time is freed up, and you can earn even more, through the principle of leverage.  Recently I heard it said that if your name is not on the building you are working in, you are helping someone else reach his dream, not you.

Most businesses require a lot of capital to get started, whether it is the old-fashioned type of brick-and-mortar establishment, or a franchise like McDonald’s.  Do you have thousands to spend on such a venture, which may or may not succeed?  I thought not.  On the other hand, a network marketing program like Pre-Paid Legal can get you started in a business for a minimal amount.  In the case of Pre-Paid Legal, it is $149 plus whatever you’re willing to spend on tools.  And don’t forget that when you are in business for yourself, the cost of a lot of things that are used with your business can be written off as deductions, on Schedule C of next year’s tax return.  Your cell phone, for instance, and the mileage on your car.  When I go out of town, I keep track of every penny I spend, because chances are I can claim a deduction for it.

Pre-Paid Legal is aware of this, because until now only Executive Directors could afford to pursue this business full-time.  Well, with the new compensation plan announced at the Oklahoma City convention, the middle ranks of Manager and Director will be able to make that kind of money, if they help those under them to move up.  At the convention, the most popular joke was about the guy who signed up a prospect on his lunch break, and made as much money in fifteen minutes as he normally makes for a day of work.  Later that day, when he didn’t do what his boss wanted him to do, he answered, “I didn’t do it because I have an eye problem.  I don’t see myself working for you anymore!”

So now I am free to travel, wherever business prospects look good.  I no longer have to request time off.  If you’d like to try that kind of freedom, you can sign up on my website, and then contact me!  But what about the job I mentioned at the beginning of this message?  It looks like the question is not whether the company will give me my old job back, but whether I should even apply for it!

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