Financial independence is attainable by anyone young or even middle age. The truth is older people might have already hit financial Independence without knowing or they’re close to normal retirement already. My father could retire now with a few life style changes or he could retire for good in less than 5 years for example, and he’s not even 60.
So, what of privilege, does how you were born take any role in your ability to save? In this day and age, I don’t think it does, at least not the normal way. This is the second, in what I didn’t think would be more than one post about anyone being able to do any of the topics on my site. Previous to this I talked about how anyone can use minimalism (look at us and our past.)
It’s not privilege its determination:
The word privilege brings up lots of feelings for many people and is often talked about around saving money in the FIRE world. Many millennials are too busy paying off loans and rent to worry about saving what little (or no) money they have left over at the end of the month, or so is told across the web.
I think there are options. Some are harder than others, but there are always options. Take a look at this post I wrote about things anyone can do to start saving money right away. In short, I think saving money is about determination.
I’m not saying others don’t have it easier or better, but it can be done. For example, we have loans to pay for like most other millennials, but rather than join our friends every few days shopping or going out to eat, we save money and eat at home or go but don’t bring a wallet and watch them shop.
If you border homelessness or are in fear of it, go the salvation army for clothes, take a job in sales for the winter, and go to food kitchens every time you can. Use all your connections to find a job or contract work. It will be hard, seemingly impossible to get started, but once you get there, there’s nothing that can stop you.
What about emergencies?
I don’t have an emergency fund. There have been a few times (even as recent as last month) that took a good chunk of our savings. We’ll just keep building, that’s why it’s going to take us longer. Yet, we’re not going to give up. That’s why I know we’ll make it.
The Small Role of Privilege…
I said privilege might have a different kind of role. Everyone knows privilege is real, even if they don’t say it. I think, however, that we are looking at it wrong. Right now, as a society overall there is a look towards privilege as bad no matter what. I don’t think that’s true, and even though some forms of privilege shouldn’t be the case, they shouldn’t be looked at in that light.
Hear me out. Privilege is “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people” according to google. You can be white and have certain things be easier in your life than a person of color. You can be rich and have many things easier, it’s true. Rather than look at what you don’t have, how life isn’t fair, what you can do to help yourself, and feeling bad for something you do have better than another, USE IT!
If we all looked at what we had and used it to help rather than look at what we don’t have, all things would be better. Many inequalities would go away.
But… What’s that got to do with FIRE?
If you are well off and on your way to FIRE with no issue you can help those struggling. I’m not even saying you have to, I’m just saying that I think that’s the only part of privilege that should be talked about, in FIRE and in life. For example…
I’m a white female. I’m from a good upbringing, smart, and can get pretty much any help I need from my parents. Due to this, I have free time where I can volunteer with local charities. I have extra cash on occasion to donate to funds I believe in. I have the smarts to tutor those who need help, for free because I don’t need the money. When I run my own company one day, I intend to hire people who really need the help as much as I can.
In short, I think that anything can be done, it amounts to how much determination you have. I’m not saying miracles will happen, but if you try hard enough you can find a way to get what you want or as close as your circumstances will allow.
You might have to work extra hard to come from nothing and reach FIRE. You might just have to put in a little more effort than others. You might already be half way there with little work. Everyone’s story is different.
Use your privilege to help others. Donate your free time, extra money, or abilities to those that are in need. Give advice to someone that just started working towards FIRE. Don’t look for ways you aren’t equal, look for ways you can help.