Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Living without Money

My time in Australia has not been utilised on the academic purpose, which one day I might regret painfully. However at this moment, I am certainly glad that I have learned something so fundamental that I have not been able to discover while being a student since five years old: live. Almost three years in Australia and I have attempted and still learning on different types of lifestyle.

In April 2012, I tried living as a semi-vegetarian, one of the reason being I don't feel comfortable treating animals cruelly and differently. I have an active lifestyle with regular cardio classes. Last year particularly, I learned about minimalism, to let go of materialism. I want to be able to control wants and needs. It has worked quite well for 2016, then I discover this idea of waste-free lifestyle and now cash-free lifestyle. Someone recommended me this documentary, Living Without Money.

It started off with conversations in Italian, which excites me when I could understand a word or two. Then it switched to German which was the native language of this lady behind this inspiration. Years ago when I decided I wanted to pursue Finance, because I was good at Mathematics. Then I learned that everything revolves around money and I was interested in behavioural finance; not interested in learning how to make money but how the financial market worked. The more I learned, the more despised I get with the idea.

The monetary system and the financial market are great, but people became so delusional with it that they stopped being humane. People cheated each other of for money and for more profit. We earn and produce enough, but we don't distribute evenly. Even though I am in support of equality but I know the world's nature is never about equality right from the start, and I do not foresee it changing to be any positive any time soon.

I might carry a slight pessimistic view to this world. But what I do hold optimistically is myself which I have control of. My time in Australia has open my eyes towards the simplicity in general. To keep everything simple is actually challenging. Most wants and needs are created by capitalism. We could have survived with a lot less essentials but we are being influenced by materialism.

In December when I was at Western Australia, my travel partner's car broke down in an unsealed minor. The owner of the homestead towed us to his paradise after 3.5 hours of wait. The experience open my eyes to the idea of self sustainability. Simply planting their own vegetables and farming their own meat, shower by processed seawater and conduct electricity with solar power. It was amazing.

I was being lured into Multi Level Marketing by using the tagline of achieving financial freedom. Most goals are luxurious house, travels and cars. How much is enough? By the time we achieve the financial freedom goal we set 20 years ago, we observe the surge of money because of inflation or lower purchasing power, or simply another need/want is being created like the smartphone phenomenon. I believed it works but it was against my principle that I do not want to be part of.

I worked for 12 days and it was enough for a travel trip to the final state of Australia I have not been to and an action camera to document my travel adventures. I might have been greedy and I lost 1/3 of my hard-earned cash to scams. It was heart-wrenching, partially on the money I lost, but more on the despicable humans behind it.

A lecturer was a strong advocate on bitcoin and believes that the bitcoin system will takeover the currency in Australia in a couple of years. And if that really happen, it'd be really interesting to observe.

The takeaway from the documentary is, it is not what I think it is, we would still need basic essentials which need money to be spent. But it certainly enforces my idea of living with minimalism and less relying on money. There are a couple of things more that I need to let go but hopefully it will come by with time when I have the energy to deal with it.

Wen Xin