Why Freedom Can Be Scary

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I recently read a fascinating book called “In Order to Live” by North-Korean defector and survivor, Yeonmi Park.

It’s an autobiography, telling the story of 13-years-old Yeonmi fleeing North Korea, becoming a victim of human trafficking in China, and eventually finding freedom in South Korea.  To say that she’s “had it bad” would be an understatement. She goes through so much that I wouldn’t even wish it on my worst enemy. I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say it was one of the most harrowing tales of escape I’ve ever read. 

What struck me about this book was that, even though she escaped one of the worst places on earth, she found it surprisingly difficult to adapt to freedom in South Korea. In some ways, getting an education, thinking for herself, and finding a job was more difficult than being in North Korea, where jobs were assigned, and the government constantly told you what to do and how to think. The burden of freedom terrified her.

This got me thinking. Is freedom really that scary?

Obviously, despite growing up on 44 cents a day, my experience pales in comparison to Yeonmi’s. Only my parents have tasted that level of suffering. But it did get me thinking about why quitting a job is so terrifying.

I never thought quitting my hateful job would be hard. After all, I’d been crossing off the days on my calendar, secretly packing away my things, and daydreaming about giving my boss the finger for months. But when the fateful day came and I handed in my resignation, instead if jumping for joy, I suddenly had second thoughts and experienced a mini-panic attack.

Even if your job is hateful, giving it up is still petrifying. Because even if it’s a job you hate, it’s at least a job you know.

Security is easy. Freedom is hard.

Little did I know back then this was only the illusion of security that I was giving up. We all know, now that we’ve been through another economic crisis, that job security is a myth. All it takes is one pandemic, or recession, or terrorist attack completely outside your control and your job may disappear.

But still, relying on a job seems much safer than relying on a portfolio. If you don’t believe me, try walking into a bank and getting a mortgage based on the size of your portfolio instead of the size of your paycheck. To the banker, a job is more secure than your portfolio. Even though a job can easily be lost while our portfolio has withstood multiple economic crisis and each time, grown larger than before.

But it’s human nature to be afraid of the unknown. It’s normal to be afraid of freedom and here are the main reasons why:

We’re Afraid of Failure

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Entrepreneurs know that repeated failure is not only healthy, it’s necessary. Otherwise, how can you possibly grow and learn?

The best way to protect your ego is to stagnate and never take any risks. If you never try, you never fail. But you also never learn. That’s how you fail by default.

Bravery doesn’t mean that you never feel fear. Rather, it’s feeling that fear and doing it anyway. Writing was terrifying for me, especially with 200 rejection letters plastering my apartment walls. But pushing past the failure is what enabled me to finally achieve my dreams of becoming an author. If you don’t fail, you never learn.

Get comfortable with failure and freedom won’t seem so scary. Try to inoculate yourself by experiencing some small failures from passion projects before you retire. That way, it won’t feel so terrifying when you quit.

We’re Afraid of the Unknown

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Our brains have this pesky tendency to jump to the worst-case scenario whenever we face the unknown (at least if you’re a pessimist like me). That’s because our amygdala, the “fight-or-flight” generator, is trying to protect us from making a huge mistake and getting eaten by a bear.

The proverbial bear in this case is dying broke in an alley, with no friends, and no identity. But rarely does that ever happen after quitting a job.

There are many things that are known. The fact that by virtue of reaching FIRE, you have skills. And those skills will never go away. Even if they atrophy a bit from being out of the workforce, you can still learn and create.

To fight the unknown, start writing down a list of skills you have and things you can do. If you quit your job and end up finding early retirement boring, you can always use those skills to find meaningful work. Make the unknown known and it won’t be that scary.

Analysis Paralysis

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When you sit down at a restaurant, does it take you longer to order when the menu has only 3-5 items or when it has 20+ items? Obviously, the shorter menu. That’s because, as optimizers, our brains are trained to scan through all options before picking the best one.

The more choices you have, the less happy you are. This is because you’re worried you’ll pick a sub-optimal option, and regret it later. In this case, limiting your options and having constraints feels safer and easier.

When we have a job, we have a schedule, task lists, and bosses who tell us what to do. When we’re on our own, we feel like we’re floating around in space, lost. We have to be our own bosses, and that’s difficult, because our brains get bogged down with all the different things we could be doing, and as a result, we end up doing nothing.

Being free from your 9 to 5 is scary, because now you can do whatever you want whenever you want.  It feels uncomfortable to have infinite options to choose from.

The best thing to do in this case is to simply make a list of all the things you want to do, pick the top 3 and then go do it. Don’t get paralysed by picking the best option. Just pick an option—any option—and make things happen.

We’re Afraid of Regret

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Regret is also related to having too many choices. If we choose to leave our jobs, will we regret leaving behind the extra money and prestige we would’ve gotten from climbing the corporate ladder?

If we don’t quit, will we regret missing out on the adventures we could’ve had? The passions projects we could’ve cultivated? The wonderful people we could’ve met?

The only thing that is certain in life is uncertainty. You will never know what parallel lives you could’ve lived, and which would have been the best one. All you know is you’re taking a chance to improve your current life. Sure, you could be in a worse situation, but if you’re not in love with your current life, you know you can improve it. Besides, we tend to regret the things you didn’t do more than the things we did.

If you died tomorrow, would you have any regrets? If the answer is yes, that’s the first thing you should be working on. A life with no regrets.

We’re Afraid of Falling Behind

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This fear is mostly ego driven. We’re competing with our peers to see who has the biggest house, the nicest car, the most prestigious title. We don’t want other people to look down on us, to feel inferior to our friends, family, and colleagues who are still working.

We fear that if we quit our jobs, the freedom will be too much to handle, because we’ll be spending so much of it twiddling our thumbs, while our peers rocket up the corporate ladder. They get richer over time, while we get poorer.

But the reality is that you’re getting richer, not just in money, but in wisdom. You are choosing what’s important to you, versus feeding your ego. The pandemic showed us what life could be like if weren’t able spend buttloads of money or compete with others. What a simple life could be like. What our priorities are.

And in that sense, after retirement, we’ve found ourselves actually ahead rather than behind. We know ourselves better than before. We’ve re-evaluated our lives to figure out what’s important. And now we will no longer feel obligated to be a cog in a corporate wheel just because other people are killing themselves to get ahead. We are already ahead by refusing to be part of the race. We are more than our ego.

Taking the reins of your life is terrifying. That’s why most people get a job instead of becoming an entrepreneur (even though most of the richest people in the world are entrepreneurs with no degrees). Being told what to do is easier than failing again and again and figuring out what you need to do.

I’ve been through it, and it wasn’t easy. There has been a lot of doubt and pessimism whether this whole thing would work out. And not just the money part, but the identity and community parts.

So, I can understand if you’re terrified to never have a job again. It’s easier to be safe, to be told what to do. But, on the other hand, having lived the past 6 years of my life without a job, I have to say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I have no regrets and I know I won’t have any on my death bed.

If you don’t try, you’ll never know what life on the other side can be like. And you will die never knowing. If you’re ok with that, that’s your prerogative, but don’t let the prospect of freedom scare you from choosing a life well-lived. I would’ve missed out on so much had I stayed working, simply out of fear.

What do you think? Do you find freedom scary? If given the choice, would you trade your freedom for lifetime job security?

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55 thoughts on “Why Freedom Can Be Scary”

  1. The psychological term for this type of fear phenomenon is called Ambiguity Uncertainty….common translation: “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know”.

    I’m probably one of the rare early retirees who did not experience this…at all !! I had a rabidly visceral dislike for my job, and as a result I sort of overkilled in my FIRE planning, postponing retirement for a couple years so that I would be absolutely totally 1000% confident that I would never again in my life end up in a similar work situation. Now that I’m retired and the sting of an unpleasant job are in the past, I’m happier than I’ve ever been ! Whatever fear people might have about retirement, it tends to dissipate within a month or so.

    1. Heh heh. I had this rabid dislike for my old job as well.
      I planned as well as I could and retired when things looked okay. I still remember driving away from the office for the last time. That felt like freedom. It was sweet. I have no regret at all.
      Freedom is great. I love it.

    2. Wow. Good for you! I definite was not as level-headed as you. But I did get over it, like you said. Packing for travel around the world helps with the Ambiguity Uncertainty 😀

  2. Right now, with 50% and 4-5 years away from my FI number, I’m like 10% scared. I’ve tried blogging, taking up guitar lessons more seriously, looking for nearby adult sports leagues, etc. Unfortunately, with 2 young kids, wife, and 2 jobs, I don’t have time to explore these hobbies and interests deeply. When the time comes, I will be scared, and I might go from doing two full time remote jobs to just one. And when I have the one remote job, I’ll pursue these hobbies better. Then I’ll come back to this article, read it again, and hopefully feel confident I can pull the trigger!

    1. Hey Scott, yeah I hear you. It’s way more difficult when your time is taken up by the kiddos. Going down from two full time jobs to one should help. Sounds like it’s a glide path for you, where you gradually drop from 2 to 1, and then down to zero, and wade into the retirement waters slowly.

  3. Is it just me or is this topic popping up lately more than before? I guess more and more people are getting closer to FI.

    I really liked the bit about comparing yourself to your peers and getting richer despite not increasing your financial wealth.

    I’m in a situation where I’m considering a trial-FIRE (trial by fire?). I don’t enjoy my job, my oldest kid is going to start school next year. I am not entirely FI according to the 4% rule, but I’m considering giving RE a try for a good part of the year to see if I even like it, while spending my time with the family.
    If I don’t like it, I will focus on finding a job I like, regardless of the pay, as long as it covers the remaining part of my expenses. If I like it, I will figure out a way how to get all the way there once my eldest starts school.

    1. That sounds like a good idea. Even if you don’t completely retire and just “downsize” to a job with lower pay and lower stress that covers part of your expenses, you’ll be a lot happier and less stressed. It’s much easier to work towards FIRE when you know the end result is worth it.

  4. I left work 2 months ago and so far it’s been the best decision ever. I’m now able to focus 100% of my time and energy on our kids which is priceless. It’s still a tough decision for sure to pull the trigger buts it’s been amazing. Thanks for the post it was very timely for me and reassured our decision.

  5. I took the FI leap after I was laid off about a year ago by my moronic boss. Health issues were impacting my work too, and the insane tech industry work culture wasn’t helping. But I was confident that I will be able to swim against the current as I had built a comfortable nest egg. It does hurt sometimes to see the updated LinkedIn profiles of my friends and former colleagues who continue to climb the overrated corp ladder. I have used the last year to transform myself by focusing on improving my health, and by building sustainable productive habits and skills, and thus prepare for the next phase of life, whatever that may be. Looking back, the lay-off was a like a divine intervention for my own freedom. I am glad I quit my job.

    1. “It does hurt sometimes to see the updated LinkedIn profiles of my friends and former colleagues who continue to climb the overrated corp ladder.”

      It’s definitely overrated. Whenever I meet up with those types of colleagues, they’re always complaining about how much stress they are under and how many meetings they have to go to. Overrated for sure. If you’re confident in your lifestyle choices, doesn’t matter what other people do or how far ahead they seem, it won’t affect your happiness. Plus, health is something you can never buy back. Health > time > money.

  6. I FIREd 4 years ago. Despite no planned activities after FIRE other than traveling, I cannot recall any boring moments. What is clear, the feeling of freedom has been intoxicating.
    My ego? well, what is better than gleefully and gratefully smiling at working people, enslaving themselves for the prosperity of people like me who leisurely sip cold beers, make new friends, enjoy unrushed & unlimited sex, dining out, learning…while thanks to them, the money continues to flow in?

    1. Shhhhhh. Don’t let them know! We want them to stay working so we can continue enjoying our lifestyle. Just nod and smile whenever they look at your with pity for “not having a job”. Then secretively smirk on your way to the beach with your bucket of beer.

  7. Loved this post. I think this also goes beyond FIRE. I know people that have hated their jobs but were scared to look around because they “know” the job they are in.

    Also, I think staying in a job allows you to blame the boss or the company if things don’t go the way you want them to. Once you take freedom into your own hands, you are left to blame yourself if things don’t go the way you planned.

    “Security is easy. Freedom is hard.”

    1. “staying in a job allows you to blame the boss or the company if things don’t go the way you want them to”

      This is so true. With a hateful job, at least you have a scapegoat. Once you’re free and you’re still not living the life you want, you have no one to blame.

  8. No, I do not find freedom scary. But too many choices can be stressful. For example, we were all set to go to one preschool until the “Harvard of preschools” emailed and asked if we wanted to join.

    It was kinda funny. We declined.

    Freedom is great, especially if you have a clear purpose.


      1. Exactly. Nothing really matters. It’s all in our heads.

        With this raging bull market, investors don’t need to stress as much about the little things anymore.

        So long as you provide enough for your family and love for your children, that’s good enough.

        Got to live it up!

  9. I’ve written a lot about this. In psychology it’s called the “Happy Slave Syndrome”. It’s definitely not easy to overcome.

  10. For me, freedom is more important than anything else. It is not that I don’t feel the emotions that you are describing in your article. In reality, they can be quite painful, particularly when I feel that my security (mainly financial) is at risk. But my thirst for freedom is stronger than my fear of failure or my fear of the unknown.

    When negative emotions arise, I always try to take rationale decisions, even if they can be difficult to make. They don’t always work, but most of the time they do. Since I had a lot of success in the past, I try to remind me of that positive feeling for when I will look back at my desicions five years from now, I will be happy with the choices I made.

    I can’t imagine what escaping from North Korea might feel like. I have a lot of respect for her and I am very impressed.

    I feel sad today that in America, we take our freedom for granted. Something our ancestors fight so hard to get. It’s almost like the majority of the people would love to go back to a state where the government would take care of all of our needs, and have nothing to say about what we want or need. It seem like we are doing the same journey Yeonmi did, but in reverse. I hope I’m wrong.

    1. So True. Our forefathers who wrote the Constitution of The United States have warned us not to be complacent or Freedom Will Be Lost. I’m afraid we are loosing it daily. We Have to get Involved at Local Levels or we will be another China/North Korea 🥲

    2. It’s easy to take things for granted when you have nothing to compare to. Growing up in a totalitarian society gives you that perspective.

      “my thirst for freedom is stronger than my fear of failure or my fear of the unknown.”

      I can totally relate to this. I think this is why even though I was anxious about quitting, I still did it in the end.

  11. But still, relying on a job seems much safer than relying on a portfolio. If you don’t believe me, try walking into a bank and get a mortgage based on the size of your portfolio instead of the size of your paycheck. To the banker, a job is more secure than your portfolio. Even though a job can easily be lost while our portfolio has withstood multiple economic crisis and each time, grown larger than before.


    Someone I know who is FIRE did exactly that. They wanted to put a downpayment of 20% on the house. The bank (credit department) initially turned down the loan outright. 🤯 Then, the bank wanted a 50% downpayment when the client pushed back saying they could purchase the home outright with cash. I told them to go back and tell the lender to contact their private banking division to get “educated” on how to deal with customers with wealth. 💰 Quelle surprise! All of a sudden, the lender and their credit department were enlightened and gave them the financing they initially wanted with no conditions.

    Yes, poor working people, including bankers, can be completely clueless. It is our job, as the upper crust to show them the way on how to service our needs in the best possible way. 🤣

    1. Yeah, bankers aren’t the best when it comes to finances. If they don’t have the right checkbox, they don’t know what else to do. So, I’m not surprised they don’t understand how portfolios work and why they are more reliable than jobs.

  12. Firecracker, I have a legitimate question, although I may be more of a socialist than a capitalist. Many of your articles center around being self serving, where, at this exact moment, here in the Interior of British Columbia, we have reached a peak in our local pandemic and have been on and off evacuation alerts and orders most of the summer due to forest fires. I work in our local hospital, and have been face to face with the virus and fire evacuees, staff shortages and burn out. I depend on others to take care of my kids so I can work, rely on health care workers to roll out the vaccine and pray that the fire fighters are doing the best that they can so that our community doesn’t go up in flames. If everyone threw in the towel, and believe me, we are on the brink of burn out and exhaustion, what would happen to our society? Are we not in all of this together? Or each person for themselves? This is what concerns me about the FIRE movement, it could be the end of our society. Don’t get me wrong, I am saving for the day I can’t do this anymore, but what happens if our working class retires early? I have already seen businesses close because of CERB. There has been a big decline in the labour force. Why work if you’re being paid to stay at home?

    1. There is quite a difference in the decline in labor force vs folks who have achieved FIRE status. Not everyone has the wherewithal to achieve FIRE as it takes years and years of hard work, dedication, focus, competence, energy and insane DISCIPLINE. Lumping someone who says ‘Fu** it, I quit.. I’m too lazy to get my ass to work’ vs someone who spent years grinding, accumulating funds through extreme discipline (NOT keeping up with the Jones) is a completely nonsensical statement. FIRE folks have worked for this and DESERVE this.. plain and simple.

    2. If everyone threw in the towel, the index ETFs that all of us FIRE people are relying on will go down in value, until we are all forced to work again. Wealth is ultimately meaningless if people aren’t willing to offer services or goods in exchange for little pieces of it.

    3. FIRE is not about not working at all but having the freedom to do the work you want to do. FireCracker works as a blogger, published writer and as our mentor. I can FIRE now but have delayed it due to helping out for the pandemic for another 3 years but even after FIRE I am still hoping to volunteer overseas as a nurse where I am most needed and not worry about money. And don’t worry only a small percentage can achieve FIRE over the last 6 years I have talked about FIRE to dozens of people including my workplaces. Out of the hundreds I have spoken to and even mentored some personally, only 2 are on track to reach it, about 16 people are still trying for it. Some love their jobs and lifestyle too much, most just don’t want to the hard slog and some are just too scared. I train many student nurses every year in my workplace and they will need a job in a couple of years and someone will easily fill my position when I do leave.

    4. FIRE has nothing to do with being selfish or self serving. It’s about having options and choices. Nothing else. Until you get that through your head, you will remain the lost lamb you are currently portraying.

      Your back story and virtue signalling are irrelevant. I can say that because I have options and choices and don’t feel a need to pander to such silliness so I just tell it as I see it.

      Throwing in the towel. That actually was funny.

    5. Good question. Here’s the thing. Everyone who eventually becomes FI, put in decades of work before that can happen. They didn’t just get a windfall from sitting on their assess. They are in the workforce this entire time. And others, choose to continue working and not pursue the “RE” part of FIRE because they love their jobs.

      The passion projects I do now (some of them on a volunteer basis) is so much more meaningful and helpful to society than the work I did before, which was making money for a company that continued raking in billions a year while laying people off.

      I see it as the opposite of self-serving. Once I became FI, my mindset shifted from scarcity to abundance. As a result, I started to care about bigger issues outside just work and paying taxes. I also started to vote more centrist than conservative. And even though I hadn’t live in Canada for the past 6 years, and didn’t use any of the services, I happily paid taxes. When people are freed from the fear of not having enough money, they can finally have the bandwidth and capacity to care about others.

    6. Hi CAF, I also work in hospitals, and this is the worst that I’ve ever seen. Everyone is beyond burnt out. So thanks for your service.

      I’m not so worried about FIRE people gutting the economy. I think most of us worked for it, putting in the years and paying into this system, and some still pay taxes, like MR.

      There are far more people who don’t contribute to society and don’t plan to. Oh, well. I still take care of everyone who comes to the ER and consider myself lucky to live in a country that can afford some sort of safety net. Most of us still care.

  13. This was a thoughtful post. I’m going to bookmark it and reread it several times. You touch upon the deep-seated fears that keep so many people from taking risks that would actually dramatically improve their lives if they could just make the mental adjustments necessary for investing, entrepreneurship, etc. Thanks for this one.

  14. Sorry if my question/comment came off the wrong way! Firecracker, I love your blog and have learnt so much from you! I can thank you for your insights in creating my successful portfolio! I would appreciate your insight regardless on my topic above, I think it’s a real consideration, well for me at least (I see that others DO NOT feel the same way, and that’s okay!). In Canada, our baby boomers are mostly out of the workforce, and I see a shortage of a skilled work force where I live. This shortage has been worse lately and felt much more urgent. It’s just an interesting concept that the generation(s) behind the baby boomers are aiming for a quick exit as well. Maybe this is the wrong platform for this discussion…

    1. Hi Curious,

      Your question is a simple economic question. The answer is through “price adjustments” or “wages” in the case of jobs. If we look at the situation more broadly, we call that “inflation”.

      All things in an economy are determined by two opposing forces : demand and supply. The thing in between that fixes those forces are the prices.
      If there is not enough supply of something (shortage), the price will rise and production will eventually increase. In turn, if there is too much supply and no demand (glut), the price will decline and production will stop.

      You can apply this rule to any product or services, it will always work.

      On a macroeconomic level, the two main determinant of an economy are capital and labor.

      Employees need equipments and buildings to do their work. And equipments and buildings need employees to be used.

      Labor price is determined by wages ($). Capital is determined by rate of return (%).

      When the price of one or the other is not sufficient enough, they leave to go somewhere else, until they find a price attractive enough.

      For capital, when interest rate is 0%, capital try to go somewhere else where the rate of return is better. For example, it can go into real estate, gold or Bitcoin.

      For labor, when wages are not high enough, employee leave the workforce, either to pursue FIRE, stay on CERB or other form of welfare.

      When capital flow out of an economy, the only way to get it back into productive assets is to raise interest rate. This way, money goes out of unproductive assets (like real estate, gold and Bitcoin) and back into the real economy.

      The same goes for labor, when the price will eventually rise enough, people will eventually want to apply for the job.

      As the main input all the goods and services we consume, if prices of labor and capital both increase, the price of everything we buy will also increase. That is what we call “inflation”.

      When inflation is too high, governments can either raise interest rates, which will slow the economy (through a reduction of unproductive assets), or reduce government spending, through reducing / cutting government welfare for example.

      When governments are unable, or unwilling, to do one or the other, inflation (ie. prices of assets and wages) will keep going higher until they find a new equilibium, ie. a wage that is high enough for workers to want to do the work that is required by the population.

      Some FIRE people or other retirees could be unable to afford higher prices and forced back into the workforce. Only the strongest FIRE planners (those who have more capital) will be able to pursue their FIRE journey.

      Now… there is one last remote possibility that could happen. If governments refuse to let the economy work normally, and that they “increase” the benefits to the population in order to compensate for the higher cost of living / inflation, and that they also reduce interest rates even lower. Then, inflation could go “ballistic”. I mean, like, price could go up at lot !

      If they do that, it’s possible we end up in hyperinflation (ie. the money we use today is worthless because nobody wants it anymore).

      The German tried it in 1921 with catastrophic consequences. You can read more about it in this article if you want. Let’s hope we don’t go as far as they did…

      In conclusion, prices is ultimately what will determine who will work / not work, who will pursue FIRE or not, etc. The economy always adjust to whatever the situation is. The shock from the pandemic to the economy was immense. It’s normal it takes another 2-3 years to adjust to the new reality, meaning prices will take time to adjust with the new demand and supply of the population.

  15. Love this post, definitely going to share it with my husband and friends.

    When it comes to some people being worried about the work force because of people retiring early via FIRE, I see where they’re coming from, but I have talked about this with many people & most (if not all, that I’ve talked to or listened to) aren’t planning on sitting around & doing nothing.
    They want to volunteer, work part time at a job they enjoy, become more politically active, focus on raising their kids, focus on their health, try to start their own business, etc.
    It’s about having more time & money to focus on things you truly care about.

    I, for example, want to become more involved than I currently am in our local climate chapter through citizens climate lobby, keep writing on my blog, & have a kid or two and focus on them.
    My husband wants to focus on our future child(ren), volunteer for habitat for humanity, his outdoor hobbies, & probably continue to work part time at his job since he likes it because he gets to run around all day, gets a free meal, & can socialize with others.

    People want to feel productive & effective, like they’re making an impact on the world, but they want to do it on their terms & on their time. FIRE makes this an option. 🙂

  16. Relative to your comment : “When it comes to some people being worried about the work force because of people retiring early via FIRE”.

    We would have a problem in our society (to find teachers, healthcare workers, fire fighters, etc.) if 30% to 40% of the society were pursuing FIRE and doing it.

    But the reality is probably more like less than 0.01% of the population is doing it (1 on 10 000 people). Although I don’t have any stats this.

    So worrying about people pursuing FIRE is like worrying about loterie winners who leave the workforce or Bitcoin millionnaires who quit their jobs to start a Bitcoin farm. We hear a lot about them in the medias, but very few people are actually doing it.

    I think we probably have to look toward government welfare to find the start of an answer regarding the question as to why there is so much labor shortage at this time.

    Another reason could be that there are a lot of people looking for a job who doesn’t have qualifications for the positions needed. For example, a reknowed restaurant chef will not be hired as a healthcare professional or an airplane pilot will not apply for a chip engineer job even it is a good job. This is the negative impact of conducting nationwide lockdowns. You displace more people than you need to and create more problems in the economy in the end.

    But it’s the choices we made as a society. So we will have to live with the consequences.

  17. Hi all,

    There is nothing to be scared of freedom. One can adjust accordingly with the flexible approach and mindset. Do the things of interest and st0p when the interest is not longer in existence. Life is that simple.


  18. As any country gets wealthier, the basis of free time grows…

    As the individual gets wealthier, personal free times grows on top of the basis…

    The dilemma here is not the free time (personal freedom)…

    Most of you want to express your potential with the free time you have personally earned…

    Yet the expression does not line up with the world around you…

    And that is the dilemma you must seek to resolve!

    In my travel, I personally witnessed people who have less freedom than us (…from wealthy countries)…

    Generally don’t have the “Free Time (freedom)” dilemma…

    And they are generally happier!

    1. Yes, I’ve also seen people much happier just enjoying life and not needing to go in “go go go” mode all the time like we do in North America. Travel teaches you many lessons.

  19. Thanks for this very timely article as I am preparing to leave my job in the next two weeks in order to try starting my own business. I am surprised how scared I am by the prospect, terrified! Logically I know it is the right decision, but the unknown is so scary compared to the comfort of my current job, even though I hate my current job.

  20. I think freedom is scary because there’s no set path and all of the burden is on you.

    For example, if a company isn’t doing well, there’s always management or a team to blame it on. If your portfolio doesn’t do well, or if your business is going through a bad phase, there’s nobody else to blame but yourself – this is a huge burden and isn’t for everyone. This is why I think most people choose security over freedom, and that’s probably why banks trust a W-2 income more than anything because statistically speaking, people who have a W-2 stay in a W-2.

    But at the end of the day, if one steps back and thinks about this logically, we only live once so freedom should really be the goal so we can not just maximize the money we make, but also the utility we get out of life.

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