August 18

Coffee with Mike – Is Financial Independence Really Financial Interdependence?

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Q: Is there such a thing as financial independence? Can you ever truly be financially independent? 

A: Well I think we're finding out you can't. I don't know who is truly independent. I read Jeff Bezos is having a hard time, richest man in the world. Well on Amazon Amazon is having a hard time you know trying to get all their stuff done.

-      Their stock has also gone up 30%-

Oh, never mind! No, I really read that, I mean I read that Amazon is having a hard time being able to handle all the orders, right? 

-Well yeah, so they're having a hard time filling new orders. I know that Elon Musk is always having liquidity issues, even though he's a billionaire in terms of his portfolio, because of all of his stock invested in Tesla and SpaceX, but however he always has to, even Elon Musk, has to take short-term and long-term loans in order to live his lifestyle.

-Yeah so you know what is financial independence, right? I think that we're finding out, it's about financial interdependence. You know, when I was taking a few classes back in college they talked about what dependence is: you're dependent; and then what independence is, and that really both of those things come together to create an interdependence. So even successful people like Warren Buffett took a loss this quarter, and he sold things that were really down, he got rid of the stock because he feels like the world is changed, so he got rid of the stock.

 You have Amazon saying, “Hey, you know success is dang hard! We got all we ever dreamed and more, and now we have a gallon bucket and we have 5-gallon requests and we're only a gallon big. So, what do we do? How do we expand? How do we handle all this success?” 

It’s pretty darn hard, and so we find out that no matter how successful you are, you always need other people to help you. There is such a thing as interdependence that we really need to think about when we do our own jobs.

I remember thinking when I was first 19 or 20 years old, working as a staff member at a church, and I had all these things that I wanted to make for youth and children's ministries. I thought, “man I'm really organized, and I have really good ideas about how to put stuff on paper!” I felt that for about a year and a half and then I left that position to come to Louisville, and when I did, I found out I was so disorganized and I couldn't hardly put any idea on paper! What I found was that my secretary really good at that. I had no idea about that until I left.

"It’s pretty darn hard, and so we find out that no matter how successful you are, you always need other people to help you."

So I think that a lot of us are operating under the facade of what we consider to be independence. When really, we're all connected in such a powerful way that it's hard to say that we are truly independent. I think that most of us, that society itself, is interdependent. I think to a degree, it's really good to recognize that, admit your own limitations about your own weaknesses, find out how you can supplement your weaknesses with someone else's strength, how you can supplement your limitations with someone else’s, where what you're struggling with is within the limits of someone else, and you're able to create community. 

I think that's what creates community. You know, it's not, “I don't need you. Leave me alone.” It's that we need each other, and we need to respect each other so that we get along. That's what really where we should be seeking. I hope that's what we are seeking financially and we're seeking socially. I think that's what we found out during this COVID thing. 

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