Insights of Pauline from
Reach Financial Independence

1.   What is your idea of financial freedom?

Financial freedom for me is the point where I don't have to go work for anyone if I don't want to. I reached that point when I quit my day job at 29. I remained active, but I was only freelancing for a few travel website, which I loved. Then I took some time off, and now I bought a piece of land that I am developing for residential estate. My bills and living expenses are paid by proceeds off my investments and I could stop working altogether, but like to keep busy doing things I enjoy.

2.   When we talk about finances, budgeting is always there, any money saving tips?

Learn to differentiate your needs and your wants. I didn't need a car until now that I live in a remote location in Guatemala, and bought an old car cash that I could afford. For others, a car may be a necessity, but not brand clothes or an expensive TV. Only buy the things that bring you a great enjoyment, and do without the ones you can't justify.

3.   What are your thoughts about passive income?

I wish there was such a thing as passive income! Having owned rental properties, I can tell it was not very passive. Even stock picking or niche blogging require some work in order to make money. Of course, if you consider the amount of work needed on a rental property, it comes out at a great hourly rate, although not fully passive. I am trying to diversify my sources of passive income so if one dries up I can rely on the other.

4.   Is there an easy or fast way to prosperity?

Apart from marrying well or winning the lottery, no. It is a long and steady race that requires hard work and dedication. It also depends on your definition of wealth. I have a simple lifestyle, sure I travel a lot and like to eat well, but having removed all the unnecessary in my life, I can live on less money than most, so I feel wealthy with less.

5.   Where should we start our journey to freedom?

By saving $1. Lower your bills, review all your expenses and trim the fat. Say you are now able to save 10% of your income, but it hurts when you try to save 15%. The next step has to be make more money. Make an extra 10%, keep your lifestyle at 90% of your old salary, and you are now saving 18% of your income painlessly. I believe making more is more powerful than spending less, but don't like waste either so only spend on what is important to you. As you grow financially you will start to ponder each purchase. Do I want to go out every week and spend $100 or would I rather have $5,000 at the end of the year to go on a fabulous holiday (or put a deposit on a house, or max out a retirement account, whatever you prefer)? Saving money is not a goal, the goal is to buy freedom. Living on 80% of your salary could lead you to work 4 days a week, to stay with your kids or work on your passion, or to take a month holiday every month, the possibilities are endless. 

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