Benevolent Sexism

In my free time, I often read old blog posts to remind myself how much I hated my job in the past, but things have changed now. When you endure the pain of work, often things change. Workers around you change. People move on. Suddenly I am surrounded by better workers and suddenly I enjoy my job. However, just as things can change for the better at work so too things can change for the worse, which is why I live off dividends and minimise obligations. I live as if employment termination is imminent.

Something I have noticed is that there are many powerful women in my organisation and that the line between me and the man in charge of the organisation is mostly filled with women. I may have had an issue with this earlier, but I’ve had a change of heart, and I don’t mind women occupying positions of power in society. I find I don’t mind treating women better than men. I open doors for them and even walk with them through dark alleys to protect them. I wouldn’t call myself a feminist because feminism implies equality. I now believe in benevolent sexism. Of course, when I behave like this around women, I’ve had men tell me that women won’t love me because I am nice to them. These men are typically married and feel as if they can teach me a thing or two because I am single and therefore must be desperate to do whatever I can to attract women. Their great value-add is that women do not love nice guys. They tell me this as if it were such a huge revelation, a secret that only the smartest men know. According to these people, I need to display more dominance if I want to be loved. I need to rough women up and put them in their place. They are begging to be dominated by powerful men. To be honest, it is annoying when people impart this advice on me because clearly they look down upon me as if I am inferior, and the solution to my problem, according to them, is to spend more time trying to conform or do whatever is necessary to impress others. What ever happened to just being yourself?

Nevertheless, I do want a girlfriend. However, I am content being single, and I am prepared to be single forever. I suppose I am selfish because I do want a girlfriend but I don’t want the commitment. I don’t want the obligation. I believe in antiobligationism, i.e. do whatever you can to minimise obligation whether it is financial obligation (e.g. debt), legal obligation (e.g. marriage), or social obligation (e.g. customs, norms, or tradition). The minimisation of obligation and control over the “direction of flow of obligation” is central to freedom and autonomy (see The End of Slavery: Why I Live Off Dividends).

When I had a girlfriend in the past, I complained about how expensive it was to take her out all the time, but it’s been a long time I’ve been single and I find I am losing passion in my life. I don’t look at travel or going out as something enjoyable anymore. If there is no one to go out with or travel with, I feel I am wasting my time. I am saving a lot of money, but now that I have more passive income and therefore more money budgeted for spending, there is little I can do other than make the routine of work more comfortable or luxurious.

I notice that many people at work go to incredible lengths to save money. During lunch they bring their disgusting smelly food to work, and they wash their plates after they’re done eating. They drink instant coffee at work. They wear old clothes. They do whatever it takes at work to slave away and save money, but then outside of work these people splash out and go on consumerist binges. They have multiple children, they go on lavish vacations, and they send their children to private schools. This is the work-life balance that people talk about. People work to live, but work is not living. Work is something to be endured, something to slave away at so that you can live your real life, which is outside work, mostly on the weekends.

However, I don’t have a typical life: I don’t have children, I don’t have a family (or at least, I have a dysfunctional family), I don’t have a partner, and I have few obligations. My spare time mostly consists of work or passive electronic entertainment (Netflix, YouTube, Kindle, etc). When I am not working, I barely spend anything. Netflix is only $14 per month, YouTube is free, and Kindle books cost maybe $15 and I spend many months finishing a whole book. Because I don’t have a “life,” then work is life, and life is work. If I don’t spend money at work, there is a risk I will never spend any money ever, so I allow myself, while I am at work, to indulge in a coffee at a proper cafe, or I eat out at a restaurant during lunch. I like to get out of the office, breath in the fresh air, chat to the barista, and indulge in that warm $5 coffee.

To be honest, I would love to be a “normal” guy i.e. I would love to have a girlfriend so I could have someone to travel with, and I do value female intimacy, but at the same time I am skeptical of marriage and I never want children, so if I do have a girlfriend she needs to have similar values. But I just can’t find such a girl and there is no way I can meet such a girl. I cannot use Tinder because I don’t want people to see me on Tinder. I used Tinder before and found out that there were rumours around the office that I was using it, so I completely shut down the account and vowed never to use it again. My friends and family have tried to arrange relationships for me, but these relationships failed. Finding female intimacy at work is very dangerous, so I am extremely cautious. There is no way I am going to a bar or a nightclub. I do not like these places. Therefore, there is nowhere I can go and nothing I can do. It is as if modern society has conspired to make it impossible to find love. I just need to find happiness in being single.

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.