I love this question. I came across the phrase “Rich Life” two years ago. Ever since then, I have loved the idea of it.
Because let’s be honest for a moment.
In the past, we thought a successful life had everything to do with money.
As long as you are rich, then you are successful.
But, is it?
I think life is way more profound than that.
People no longer only crave the monetary aspect of it. Because we understand now, there is a greater power than the financial aspect.
We want more. And also we realise being rich doesn’t make you happy.
Being wealthy will help you solve many problems, but it doesn’t fulfil your soul’s.
So, when the Rich Life concept comes floating to my spectrum. I realise I like the idea of a Rich Life.
And even better, I think I do live in the direction of Rich Life. Moving forward, this is the only direction I want – Rich Life.
According to Ramit Sethi, author of the 2009 New York Times Best Seller book – I Will Teach You to Be Rich, everyone’s Rich Life is different, but one of the most common responses is “I want to do what I want when I want.” People talk about freedom and flexibility.
Which makes sense. Success is rarely a dollar figure. Most people want a LIFESTYLE.
For me, this phrase here, “I want to do what I want when I want.” It is so powerful.
It is because not everyone life can make this happen, at least not in a short period.
A student who needs to go to school. Have to wake up at 5 or 6 am to get ready. Even when they don’t want to.
A man has to go to work, wake up at 5 or 6 am, five days a week. He is going to work that pays the bills but not the kind he likes. Between that work hour, he can’t do whatever he wants. He needs to work.
A mom needs to wake up as early as 5 am to get the children ready for school even though she is so tired. After that, she needs to go to work at a job that pays the bills.
Maybe she likes the work, perhaps she doesn’t, but either way, most of the time, she can’t apply – I want to do what I want when I want.
“I want to do what I want when I want,” seem simple but is not.
Most of the time, we are on a schedule. If either is the children, spouse, family, friends or work schedule. You are always tight to a schedule. Which sometimes can be suck.
To be honest, I hate that.
I hate to be on a schedule for something. During our school life, we have to wake up early to go to school.
When we are adults, then we have to wake up early for work.
Then, after you have children, you have to wake up early sending them to school.
It’s like a non-stop cycle.
MY TURNING POINT
After working for six years with a few companies, I have enough of that life. And I decided to go freelance and start a business.
I was so scare and afraid of the unknown, even though in my guts, I know this is my journey.
Now after, 12 years of running my own business and creating my own rich life. I am so happy that I made that first step 14 years ago! It is the best decision I ever make!
It is scary at first, but if you push through and never give up and keep on solving all the problems that come your way, it can be rewarding. So rewarding that I can’t believe I’m living this life.
A life where I can say, “I want to do what I want when I want.”
For me, a Rich Life means no commute, no office, no fluorescent lights and plenty of freedom to control my time.
No blaring alarm clock, I can wake up at 5 or 6 am or even noon if I want to, I can start work at 2 pm or 6 pm, anytime I feel I want to work. No office politics, which I hate the most, not going to miss that.
According to Ramit, there are five levels of Freedom. Each gets progressively more liberating and empowering as you go. He calls this the Ladder of Freedom.
I’ll walk you through each.
LEVEL 1: LADDER OF FREEDOM
Freedom from $3 worries.
This is the ability to stop sweating the small stuff – coffee, appetisers, picking up a round of drinks – because a small purchase here or there won’t affect your life at all.
Freedom from $3 worries makes every day much less stressful and much more enjoyable. It still brings me joy to order appetisers if something catches my eye.
I stop sweating about this, especially on my grocery items or when I’m ordering food online.
The difference between a few cents to ringgit doesn’t bother me much if I need the items.
But, on a big item. I might still sweat.
LEVEL 2: LADDER OF FREEDOM
Freedom to ask $30,000 questions.
Instead of only cutting back, now lean into big opportunities like negotiating salary ($25k), Investment fees, asset allocation. And just enjoy the ability to buy the things you love-guilt-free.
Most people obsess over tiny, not-important-in-the-grand-scheme decisions and completely ignore the Big Wins like automating your money and starting a second income stream.
I’m focusing on my saving, investment and debts. My home loan accounts ( which I have a few) and paying more can help me save more than RM100k for the long haul.
And I am always focusing on earning more and invest that extra money monthly.
LEVEL 3: LADDER OF FREEDOM
Freedom from the location.
Work & live whenever you want. It could be Starbucks, a home office, or Japan. I am not locked into one location or two weeks of vacation/year.
Some want to work remotely, and others don’t. But almost everyone *appreciates having the option*.
I think this is my favourite. While I usually work from home as we have a home office, I love working anywhere.
I love combining works travel.
We used to travel for 1-2 weeks abroad, and it is not all travel. We would spend breakfast and work in the morning.
Then, we started our travel plan from noon till evening and enjoying ourselves for the whole day.
We can make sure the business is excellent, and the income stream is still flowing while vacationing. For us, that is fantastic.
LEVEL 4: LADDER OF FREEDOM
Freedom from time limits.
At this level, you use the money to buy back your time. It could be groceries, cleaning your house, or planning entire trips for your family. No endless meetings that you didn’t schedule. No alarm clocks.
Many people dream of this.
So, we used to have a part-time cleaner comes to my house daily to clean and do my laundry. It was great; we can focus on doing what’s more important.
Since the pandemic hits, we do our housework by ourselves, but we try to categorise daily, weekly and monthly housework so that we don’t spend too much time on it.
We do a lot of online groceries and delivery to our doorstep. That saves a lot of our time, and it allows us to plan our day effectively.
If you run a business, you can hire a bookkeeper or accountant for the company account, a social manager to run your social media platform, a writer to write for your website, etc.
And I think this is a great way to have more time for yourself on focusing more pressing issues.
LEVEL 5: LADDER OF FREEDOM
Freedom from expectations.
At this level, your life begins to look very different from others. Not just money, but values. In some ways, you are bewildering since you’ve chosen your own Rich Life.
Maybe you want to buy a house — or not.
Maybe you want to have kids — or not.
Maybe you want to travel around the country!
Freedom from expectations means you’ve mastered the $3 level, the $30,000 level, the freedom from location, AND the freedom from time limits.
This level is the culmination of the others — the top of the ladder of freedom — because you’ve truly earned the right to be free from expectations.
We have not earned this Level, but we are working on it, and one day, we hope we might be there.
Now you can choose the life you want.
What level excites you the most?