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.

Embracing Laziness

It is easter and I have not been out of the house. It is cold outside, so I just don’t feel like going out. I don’t have many friends, so I am rarely invited places, and even if I am invited, I often reject the offer because I consider it a hassle to go. It is paradoxical because I feel mild loneliness but at the same time I am repulsed by humanity.

When I talk to colleagues at work, they always talk to me about their latest weekend adventures, e.g. skiing or hiking in the mountains, going to music festivals, etc. Now that I am in my early thirties, many people my age are married and have children, so they do family activities, and there some DINKs as well who spend their free time holidaying or playing with their dogs.

Meanwhile, the way I live now in my early thirties earning six figures is no different to the way I lived when I was a university student, that is, with my parents mostly staying at home indulging in electronic entertainment. Now that I am older, I am less ashamed of my lifestyle, and there is a rebelliousness in me now. I want to defend this lifestyle.

Some things have changed. Rather than read books from the library, I read ebooks now. I still watch YouTube, but I prefer higher quality films and shows streamed via Netflix. I am still an avid reader of everything on the internet.

I still travel. About a year ago I travelled by myself to Bali, and I met some girls while travelling and have mostly kept in contact with them. When I travelled to Bali, I was strongly encouraged by my manager to travel because I had too much annual leave accrued. I have heard people telling me it’s illegal for an employer to force employees to take annual leave, but I sometimes don’t mind having my hand forced in certain situations.

Upon reflection, I am quite lost in my life because I don’t really know what to do. My main focus has always been on freedom and autonomy by living off dividends, and when you have the freedom to do what you want, oftentimes you don’t know what to do because nothing seems to provide any significant happiness, and I suspect nothing will. Nevertheless, having the freedom to be able to experiment with different activities is in itself satisfying.

I feel that my career has stagnated. I received a promotion about three or four years ago and since then I have applied for a handful of jobs with more responsibilities, but I haven’t been successful. I will continue to apply for promotions or better jobs, but I see it as just a chore. I feel like I am just going through the motions, and I show up at work because I have nothing else to do in my life. If I stay home, I would just sit in a room all by myself whereas work does give me companionship because I am around people, and I talk to them. I admit that the connections you make with colleagues at work are not as deep as, say, the connections you make with a spouse or family member, but I have learned to appreciate the benefits of superficial relationships now. Greater connectedness to others exposes your vulnerabilities, which invites conflict, and often when others reveal themselves too much, what they expose is quite vulgar. The interactions at work are sanitized by HR guidelines, anti-discrimination legislation, fear of authority, etc, and these forces seem to do a good job at making socializing at work more pleasant. Many people complain about “political correctness,” which to me is roughly defined as “restricting behaviour to minimize offending others.” I personally love political correctness. Why would anyone want to be exposed to an environment in which they are bombarded with people, ideas, conversations, etc that are offensive? You can grow a thick skin, but at the end of the day, everyone is offended by something. Blocking offensive communications is not about being afraid of truth. The truth is that there are many out there who only want to offend others without any regard for truth or logic. Trolls don’t just live on the internet.

I now have a desk with a window view facing the city, so I can see skyscrapers and busy streets below, and often I love staring out the window at people walking on the streets. There is a homeless woman who sits on the street at the bottom of the building opposite mine, and I see her all the time, and I often think about her life and how she ended up where she is. We all live together in this city but we all go through different paths in life.

Because work for me has become very comforting and pleasant, I spend a lot of time at work. Often I am not working hard enough during the day, so I need to stay back to catch up.

I will continue to live off dividends. I believe it is the best way to live. Everything I earn from work, I invest, and I live off my investments. This ensures that I am not dependent on work. Even if I am fired, it does not matter because I already live off my investments. I can work how I want to work. If I don’t like where I work, I simply move, and I am very happy to hire career consultants or other professionals to help with the move. If all efforts to move to a new job don’t work, it doesn’t even matter. I can travel to Thailand and start my own online business or I can freelance. I have layers upon layers of backup plans for everything.

I will always work because I love making money and growing my investments. My investment portfolio is like a child to me. I love watching it grow. I love protecting it by diversifying government bonds or gold mining ETFs into it. It is a beautiful child (in my opinion), and unlike a human child, my investment portfolio pays me money in the form of dividends. I love to work, but I don’t like to work hard. I hate pushy people and unrealistic deadlines. I want to enjoy my work. I want to work with people I get along with. I don’t think the job I do right now is the perfect job for me, but I am hopeful I will land in that perfect job one day.

Comparing Yourself to Others at Work

The last week at work has been much busier than normal. It is getting tough. There is a new member of our team, and she is such a sweet girl. She’s probably 25 now. She can be quite a distraction because she and I chat quite a bit, but I enjoy it. She and I are equal in pay now, but she is seven years younger. This made me wonder about myself. I did quite well in high school and university, but in my seven or so years of work I’ve only been promoted once, which is less than average. This girl started working at the same time I did, and she studied while working whereas I didn’t work (substantially) while I studied. The way I see it, university is an investment and for some it pays off and for others it doesn’t. 

When I joined my new team area four years ago, I worked with completely different people. The people I work with now are different to the people I started working with four years ago. Basically what is happening is that I am staying where I am while people all around me are changing, which I suppose is good because it allows me to work with new people, and I love all these new people. They are better people to get along with compared to the people I used to work with, but at the same time I feel like other people are moving ahead and I am falling behind.

I shouldn’t fall into the trap of comparing myself to others. Even if I go get a promotion soon, my pay will be low compared to some people who have climbed the corporate ladder much faster than I have, and even they would be inferior compared to the billionaires of the world, so it’s important to not compare yourself to others but focus on yourself and improving yourself and being happy with what you have. I also believe that it is not so much what you earn that matters but the difference between what you earn and what you spend. Someone earning $1 million per year but has $2 million in mortgage payments, bills, alimony, and other necessary expenses will be unhappy compared to someone who earns $100k but happily lives off $10k per year.

Rather than compare myself to others, I should just keep working. I remember a quote from Ted Turner: “Early to bed, early to rise, work your butt off, and advertise.” I think the advertise part is important because I need to get into the habit of advertising myself to others, lift my profile, and apply for jobs with more responsibility.

Dealing with Dissatisfaction in Life

I’ve been having boring days at work. I go to work and I don’t really have any motivation to work. I just do the minimum. If something is due soon, I do it. Otherwise, I literally just daydream. I could look out the window or stare at the wall for hours. I have a to-do list that I follow. I just work my way through the list doing one item at a time, almost like a machine.

My manager left in the afternoon because his family had an appointment with the dentist, so I took the opportunity to go the gym (there is a gym at work). While at the gym, I noticed something interesting. If I imagined that there was a beautiful girl watching me, I worked harder. My lifts at the gym became stronger. I started to use this technique and noticed that my workout improved quite a bit, and after the workout I felt really energized. I also employed this technique at work. While working I imagined there was a beautiful blonde girl watching me from behind. I am not sure if it helped me become more productive because I still felt unproductive, but maybe I was more productive than normal. 

I do admit that I am feeling empty. Life is getting boring, and I can just feel myself getting into that trap of trying to spend money to feel happy. Luckily I am quite disciplined. My total expenses equals my income from dividends. I am quite a disciplined person. I eat a healthy plant-based diet, I go the gym fairly regularly, and I invest all the money I earn from work. If these are not the mark of a disciplined man, I don’t know what is.

Nevertheless, I still feel dissatisfied, and I keep wondering what I can do to cheer myself up. There are times when I go on Tinder and start swiping, but then I think more carefully about what I’m doing. I think about all the negative experiences with dating I’ve had in the past, so I simply uninstall the app. I’ve done this about three times recently. Because I watch Netflix, I’ve been watching many Hollywood movies, and of course Hollywood movies almost always promote romantic love, so those urges to be intimate with a woman come back to me, but I know better than to give in to these urges. I feel a need to always be resisting temptation and to always be disciplined. I certainly give into female intimacy sometimes but I always correct myself and get myself back in line. I give into temptation often, but where I differ from other people is that I don’t give in completely.

Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds You

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Instead, lick it, and suck on it lovingly, even if it’s stained with shit. If you don’t suck it, you won’t be fed.

This expression really illustrates how soul crushing the 9-to-5 is. You can’t object to whatever is paying your bills or your mortgage. You got to kiss ass. You got to kneel down and submit just like the slave you are.

But what if, instead, the hands that feed you are rivers of cash from passive income? What if you lived off dividends from shares, rent from real estate, interest from bonds, revenue from ebooks?

If hands offer you food, then eat, and if those hands abuse you, you are free to refuse their feed.

You can also bite back.

Dragging Myself to Work on a Cold Day

It was hard for me to wake up today because it was so cold. I wanted to press the snooze button over and over again.

Work is a bit relaxing because my manager is on holiday, but there is still work to do because I am managed by a senior officer. Whenever I am at work, I always feel like other people look down upon me for not being promoted fast enough. People within my team don’t ever talk about this, but people outside my team always talk about it. I find that strange. There is one guy at work who told me that I needed to get out of my team and go elsewhere because I was not being paid enough where I was. He has been in the organisation for the same amount of time I have been and is on the same level as me. I don’t know why he is such a snob to me.

Anyway, I must say I’m used to status anxiety at work, but it’s something that always bothers me. I am only human.

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I bumped into a girl I once had a crush on at the train station. We chatted for a bit, but she had to get back to her work. She doesn’t work with me. When I got back to work, I messaged her and tried to chat with her, but it didn’t really go anywhere. I could kind of tell she wasn’t into me, so I stopped chatting. I sort of did the same thing to another girl I remembered. We used to hang out often but haven’t seen each other in months. I emailed her. We exchanged more emails. She told me she got braces. I told her we should catch up, but she told me she was busy that we had to catch up another time. I wasn’t sure if she was trying to push me away.

I don’t know. I suppose now that I’m single again and I’m back in my old boring routine, that familiar hunger for female attention is back. The previous girl I dated told me, after we broke up, that I was unstable, that I don’t know what I wanted. Maybe she’s right. I hunger for female intimacy, but when I get it I suddenly fear commitment. Is it possible to have female intimacy without the commitment?

After work today I went to the gym. I did my standard workout but at the end I went on the chest press machine and lifted 100kg until my arms were hurting. Afterwards I had a protein shake.

On the train ride home, I continued reading an ebook called 12 Weeks in Thailand. I enjoyed the sample first chapter so much that I purchased the book outright on Amazon and began reading on the train. The book is about a wage slave earning a salary in America who decides to quit and live in Thailand. In Thailand he becomes a scuba instructor, a Muay Thai fighter, and an online entrepreneur. He enjoys a brilliant lifestyle in Thailand (living in luxury) for a low cost.

Escape!

This is just the dream scenario for me. I hate my job. I hate being a wage slave. I hate being confined in a building with people I hate. I want to be free to do my own thing. I want to be free to travel. I want to escape. When a group of friends get stale, I want the freedom to just fly out and start again from the ground up somewhere else. I know I will need to slave away a little longer at my current job so I can save up enough, but I am almost there.