In 1999, a sci-fi movie called The Matrix hit theaters and became a pop culture phenomenon. The special effects–which were incredible–drew people in, but the the story–which was intricate and compelling–had people leaving the theater buzzing.
The main character in the film, Neo, slowly starts to sense that something is off. He begins to discover the life he thought he was living was something that had been created for him, and he was actually living in a computer simulated reality. Hyper-intelligent machines were harvesting power from humans, keeping them in pods and plugging their brains into a simulation that was mistaken for real life.
He had been going along like everyone else until he had his this realization about the Matrix. That moment where everything clicked for him and he realized there was a whole different world out there.
Have you ever been there?
A time when it suddenly felt like you took a step back and noticed your surroundings. A time when you started asking “Why?” A time when you realized you were sleepwalking through life, or when you suddenly became so aware of what was going on around you that you knew you had to change and that you couldn’t go back to how things were?
I call that a Matrix Moment.
I have had a few Matrix Moments in my life. The most important one for me was when I had a realization about my faith. I finally understood what it was that I believed, and it helped shape who I am today.
Another Matrix Moment came in 2015 when I read something along these lines in a news article:
According to many experts, if you are able to amass roughly twenty five to thirty three times your annual expenditures in passive income producing assets, then you will most likely be able to live on that income without working for the rest of your life.
Um… excuse me? If I can reduce my expenses and invest wisely into passive income producing assets, such as index funds or rental properties, then I don’t have to waste away at a 9-5 office job until I’m 67? And I don’t have to win the lottery or get a huge inheritance in order to get there?
My mind was truly blown.
I had been exposed to personal finance before, but I had never heard of financial independence. Most influencers in the personal finance world make it seem as if the ultimate goal of personal finance is to get out of debt, save 10% of your yearly income, and retire with a decent nest egg in your mid 60’s. That’s definitely not a bad strategy, but there’s plenty more out there for the taking.
By making wise choices about how you spend and invest your resources, you could retire 10, 20, 30 years before ‘typical’ retirement age, even on an average salary.
This concept is known as Financial Independence.
Financial Independence can be summed up by the ability to survive and thrive without trading working hours for dollars. The goal is to be able to live off of the income that is created from your nest egg. It is literally putting your dollars to work for you.
In order to reach Financial Independence, you must aggressively attack debt, create streams of passive income, and spend far less than you make every year. Many people striving for financial independence save at least 50% of their yearly income.
I was hooked. Suddenly, reaching Financial Independence became a goal.
Millions of people go through life leveraging their future for fleeting pleasure in the present. They are living in the Matrix of personal finance without even pausing to ask, “What value is this really adding to my life?”
Keeping up with the Joneses. Buying fancy cars, designer clothes, huge homes, none of which the majority of them can afford.
I was headed that direction until I had my Matrix Moment. It’s something I can’t unsee. I’m unable to go back to my old way of life.
Thankfully, I’m now on my way to being debt free and financially independent.
What about you? Have you ever had a Matrix Moment? How did it affect your behavior? Let me know in the comments.