Luis Cuende


Earn your freedom as soon as you can

I found this fascinating:

I don’t usually talk about money, but a friend asked me what it was like to get rich, and he wanted to know specifics, so I told him my story.

I had a day job in midtown Manhattan paying $20K per year — about minimum wage… I did this for two years, and saved up $12,000. I was 22 years old.

Once I had $12,000 I could quit my job and become a full-time musician. I knew I could get a few gigs per month to pay my cost of living. So I was free. I quit my job a month later, and never had a job again.

When I finished telling my friend this story, he asked for more. I said no, that was it. He said, “No, what about when you sold your company?”

— Derek Sivers on How I got rich on the other hand

I had such a similar experience. I started saving since I was a kid. My parents gave me 2€ per week. At age 12, that was enough for me to purchase a domain name and hosting for my first open source project.

Doing that project allowed me to get deeper into software and start landing my first freelance gigs at age 14.

At age 17 I had saved enough to move from my hometown in Spain to Madrid, where I got my own place and lived on 1,000€ per month.

I was such a weird edge case in a country with >30% youth unemployment and mean emancipation age >35, so I was on newspapers/TV a lot. That allowed me to land speaking gigs, on which I made ~1,700€ per month.

Boom, I was free. I could keep doing startups and following my passions 24/7.

Ultimately, that freedom allowed me to take risks, and if you work hard and take risks long enough, luck happens.

Of course you can do this in your teenage years and early 20s, but it becomes harder as you age, start a family, etc.

The time to prioritize freedom and risk-taking over all is as soon as you can.

First, because starting earlier means more time for compounding to do its magic (both on finances and knowledge). Starting to compound money and knowledge (and health, via exercise) in your 20s can make a massive difference as early as your 30s and 40s.

Second, because there’s so much literature linking happiness to one’s control of time (freedom). After you can buy your own time, wealth can provide nicer meals, faster cars… but it’s not a life changer as buying your own time is.

I’m radically against the more and more infantilized view of youth that society has. The fact that we consider teenagers or people in their 20s as clueless kids is outrageous. Our education systems have succeeded in making the youth bland and stripping them of any creativity or passion.

Biologically speaking, a human being in their early 20s is a fully functional human being. Physical qualities are in all time high, number of neurons too. For women, fertility peaks at ~25.

It’s no secret that the brain becomes less plastic as we age. That means the younger, the more creative. Somewhere in late teens or early twenties, high brain plasticity meets enough rational knowledge of the world to create the perfect time to be all-absorbed by one’s passion and take risks. But again, it’s outrageous what modern society is doing to its youth.

To forge your own luck, earn your freedom as soon as you can.