The End of Slavery – Why I Live Off Dividends

One of the reasons why I don’t like being around people most of the time is because they tend to say things that trigger me. Maybe I am too sensitive. Most of the time people just say whatever is on their mind, and they quick jump from one superficial idea to another. Most of the time human interaction is just an attempt to say something for the sake of saying something, so perhaps I take things too seriously.

I live with my mother, and a few days ago, someone at work commented that I should not live with my mother because she will become a burden on me as she grows older. The reason why this comment triggered me is because there are many assumptions made, and it simply isn’t true. I didn’t get much of a chance to explain myself before the topic of conversation moved on, but days after this colleague made this trivial comment, I am still thinking about it, and my colleague may have forgotten all about it.

If I moved out from my mother’s house, she could still be a burden on me because technology connects us all, so even if I lived far away from my mother, she can still call or message me if she wants something from me.

However, suppose my mother and I lived in different cities. It would be more difficult for me to get to her, so she won’t be as much of a burden on me. Regardless, currently I don’t consider myself to be too close to my mother even though I live with her. I work quite often, and she also works as well, so we often do not see each other. My mother and father divorced a few years ago, so my mother learned from experience how important it is to be independent and to never trust or be dependent on anyone. Even on weekends I may be out somewhere, and she would be as well, so we rarely see each other. The only time we regularly see each other is at night when I get home from work and she cooks me dinner, and this is a tradition that seems to just happen all the time. She has always cooked dinner for me, and I never objected to it, so it keeps happening. In fact, my mother cooked dinner from my whole family, but over time everyone moved out. After the divorce, my father moved out, then my brothers moved out, and now she only cooks for me.

Even though my mother is in the habit of cooking dinner for me, this doesn’t happen all the time. For example, last night I had dinner with a colleague at work, so I came back at around nine at night, had a shower, and went to bed. This tradition of my mother cooking dinner for me seems to be the only habit that keeps us together. My grandmother on my father’s side used to wake up early and cook breakfast for me. I didn’t like it because there were days when I wanted to go to work earlier, so I just wanted to make my own breakfast or skip breakfast and just drink coffee, but my grandmother wanted to make breakfast for me. After the divorce that ripped through the family, my grandmother left the house to live with my father, and now I rarely see her. Most relationships are based on dependence and habit. When you are a child and you’re dependent on your parents, you are forced to interact with them, and they become familiar to you, so you bond to them. The same applies with work. You provide skills to your employers, and employers give you a salary, so you are mutually dependent, and over time there are colleagues at work you see all the time, and familiarity breeds trust and bonding. But as people become more independent, that dependency goes away, and as a result, bonds break.

Going back to the topic of my mother and her habit of cooking dinner for me, there are many in my family who jokingly talk about how I need my mother to cook for me (or I need a woman to cook for me), but I think many people say this because many people are traditional, and they believe in the traditional family. They want to believe that the woman’s role is to cook. This includes many traditional women. However, in my opinion, modern technology has made cooking irrelevant. You can easily eat out at restaurants, but even if you consider that to be expensive, it is not difficult to cook simple meals for yourself using e.g. a blender or microwave. For example, it is not hard to microwave or boil beans or to throw fruits and greens into a blender. To clean up, there is the dishwasher. There are many traditionalists out there (mostly women, based on my observation) who want to go back to the days of old when they stayed at home and engaged in low-skilled cooking and cleaning duties, and I think the allure of this is that woman don’t need to go out into the workplace to make money, and this is what drives anti-feminism among women. These women are simply selfish. I would consider myself to be a feminist man, and I encourage all women to get out into the world, work, invest, and become financially independent. They should resist the temptation to glamorize slavery.

My mother does not always cook dinner for me. There are times when I eat out, e.g. when I had a girlfriend a few years ago I spent a lot of time having dinner with her. If I wanted a cheap dinner, rather than eating out, I can bring meal replacement powders (e.g. Aussielent, Soylent, Huel, or Joylent) to work, and after work I can simply mix the powder with water and drink it as dinner. For added nutrition, I can come home and prepare a green smoothie using the blender. Because these foods are simple to make, I am not dependent on my mother for anything.

In the future, I intend to rent a one-bedroom apartment in or near the city because I am quite tired of commuting to and from work. I love to just be able to walk to work. Once I grow my dividends, my dividend income should cover the cost of renting an apartment in the city. As my dividends grow even more, I may be able to work part-time and use the spare time to work in a coworking space doing projects that I enjoy. With the proliferation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, I suspect that a lot of business in the future will be done online and on the blockchain. It is a new frontier. Basically my plan is to transition gradually from living in the suburbs with my mother to living in the city and being self-reliant. I will also transition away from the traditional 9 to 5 job into more flexible work that gives me more control over what I do and with whom I work, and all this will be funded by dividend income. I recently performed a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation and found that I am investing about $70,000 per year, which is a lot. A considerable amount of this (about one-third of it) is going into my superannuation fund, which means I will not have access to it until I am very old) but about two-thirds of it is going into dividend-paying stocks or ETFs, so I expect my dividend income to gradually increase, which will improve my standard of living. I want to use my dividends to fund a more autonomous life with more freedom. I want to be free from my family and from my employer.

I expect freedom to come gradually. Most people have a date when they simply retire. There is a clear date, a line in time when they are no longer slaves but are free. I will have no such date. I believe that slavery is a continuum. On one end you have total freedom, i.e. no debt, good health, and living off enormous amounts of passive income. Then on the other end you have total slavery, e.g. shackled and in prison. Then there are degrees of slavery, and most people have quite a considerable degree of slavery imposed on them by their jobs, their family, their children, their mortgage and car loans, etc. For me, there is no retirement, just a gradual move from slavery to freedom.

As my dividend income increases, I will eat out more for dinner (or drink Aussielent) rather than go home and get my mother to cook. As my dividend income grows even more, I will sleep at home less. Rather than commute back home, I may hire places to sleep at night using Airbnb or I will rent apartments in the city for longer periods of time. The same applies for work. My intention is to reduce my hours so that I work part-time, or I may be more flexible, e.g. I may work at coworking spaces or at cafes. I may even ask my manager if I can work at overseas coworking spaces. This is good for me because I get away from the office, but it is also good for my employer because my desk is not being used, so there are cost savings. If technology is good enough, working remoting should not make me any less productive. This will be my main digital nomad plan, which is to do what I currently do at work but to gradually do it remotely as my dividend income and skills increase. As dividend income and skills increase, I have more bargaining power, and technology will improve over time, which should make remote work be easier. There is also a broader push by feminists for more flexible working arrangement because women want to spend more time looking after their family, so this could possibly benefit me.

Basically with higher dividends, I have more power so that I can shape my life the way I want my life to be. This has been the intention since the beginning. Living off dividends is my guiding philosophy in life because it gives me the freedom and power to do what I want. The basic idea is that you increase dividend income so that you get paid without needing to work, and at the same time you reduce all obligations, e.g. debt, marriage, and children. You minimize responsibility, obligation, and duty. By not putting any future obligation on yourself, you are free to do what you want. You are free to experiment with what makes you happy, and dividend income will allow you to experiment.

At the end of the day, my belief is that freedom depends on the direction of flow of obligation. When you hold stocks, ETFs, government bonds, etc, then there is an obligation for others to pay you money. There is a legal obligation for companies to pay you dividends. There is a legal obligation for the government to pay you interest because you are a bondholder. The flow of obligation is from others towards you. However, if you have debt, then the flow of obligation is reversed. For example, if you have credit card debt or a mortgage, you owe money to the bank. If you have obligations to family, friends, spouse, or children, that also imposes either a legal or social obligation from you to others.

The flow of obligation from you to others makes you a slave. The flow of obligation from others to you makes others your slave and increases your freedom. Freedom or autonomy is dependent on the flow of obligation. Manage the flow of obligation and you manage your freedom, and freedom is happiness.

The Main Benefit of Travelling Solo

I’m sitting at the airport now. There are two girls next to me who are clearly travelling together. As I sat there, these two girls got into a huge argument over how much money they should be spending at the airport.

Holiday fights are not unusual. When I was in the hotel, I overheard a family bickering because the mother kept barking orders at her children, and the children didn’t appreciate it.

Like like bacteria thrives in moist environments so too arguments and disagreements thrive during holidays or vacations. There is something about travelling with others. It forces you to work together.

This is not to say that all holidays will descend into argument and chaos. If you’re travelling with a great travel buddy, it’s a brilliant experience. I’ve travelled with good travel buddies before. However, if you’re travelling with a bad travel buddy, that is a big problem.

If you are travelling with someone and suddenly an argument breaks out, you are stuck with this person for the remainder of the holiday. You may even be sleeping with this person.

The better approach, in my opinion, is to travel solo and sleep alone. If you want to be with others, you can still agree to meet them at, say, a restaurant or cafe, and you can still agree to go on tours together. The benefit of travelling solo is that at the end of the day you retreat to your own space where you have privacy and freedom. From your own space, you can choose to be with others or to be by yourself. There are times you want to be with others and there are times you want to be by yourself. Travelling solo gives you the freedom to choose from both these options. However, when travelling with others, because accommodation and tours tend to be booked in advance, you are stuck with the people you’re travelling with.

If you have your own accommodation and you meet up with a friend, if you get into an argument with this friend, you have the option to simply never see him or her again.

There is nothing wrong with human intimacy and closeness. We humans are social creatures who need closeness with others. However, there are smart ways to get human intimacy without exposing yourself to the risk of being captive to human anger or hate.

Total independence is essential. You need to build a fortress for yourself where you are safe. You may venture out from this fortress to seek out human intimacy, but you do so cautiously, and you retreat back to your fortress when you are not comfortable. Every man need his own space.

Am I Misanthrophic?

I hate people. I am a misanthrope. There are times I feel lonely, and when people keep telling me how important it is to have friends and companionship, I give in and make an effort to make friends. When at work, I’d build relationships because everyone knows it’s important to network.

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But inevitably when I try to integrate myself into the world, I am so repulsed by how vulgar people are that I would quickly isolate myself again. I won’t make contact with my friends ever again, and if they invite me over, I’d reject a few times just to make it clear that I don’t want their friendship.

And I’d be lonely again, but it’s a comforting loneliness. When I think of how bad people are, it makes me thankful that I am isolated.

Of course, if you isolated yourself completely, you’d need to quit work, and if you have bills to pay then you’re out of luck because you have to work to make money. Work is a necessary evil.

Luckily, I have a job, and the job is not too bad. At work, I pretty much keep to myself and don’t get too involved in anything. I try not to make friends with anyone at work. I understand from experience that deep friendship at work can have bad outcomes.

I don’t mind working at the moment. I will continue to work, I will continue to save up, and I will see how long I can last in this organisation before they kick me out.

We live in a crazy world filled with evil people, and it’s important for everyone to have the ability to isolate himself from the world and live like a hermit if he wishes to. Sometimes you feel so drained by humanity that you absolutely must check out and live by yourself. This is what I plan to do. As I said many times already, I think I can currently live off interest and dividends, but only if I live in a country like Thailand, so I will continue to work and save and to accumulate recreational leave, and when thing get really painful for me, when I cannot take the world, then I will take a very long holiday, maybe two to four months off. I just want to see if I can live off interest in another country all by myself. Only then will I know that I can really be independent.