Even as a child, I liked being independent. In pre-school, when building structures with wooden blocks, I only wanted to do it myself, turning down offers for help from other kids. As I’ve grown into an adult, this desire to remain in control of my own destiny has remained and even grown.
In a country where government seems to be playing an increasingly large role in our lives, I’m looking to move myself and my family away from this trend of dependency. While such a situation might be right for everyone, it’s right for us; therefore, here are some of the more major items that are crucial to building and then maintaining our self-sufficiency, some of which we’ve already met and some of which we’re still working toward.
Mortgage payoff – complete
I’m not one to go into debt if at all possible. I like knowing that I am free from creditors even when it comes to major purchases like a home. While it might sound amazing, as noted by a recent LA Times article, “…nearly a third of the nation’s homeowners have no mortgage at all, according to an estimate released Thursday by real estate website Zillow”.
And there are all sorts of benefits from becoming mortgage-free when it comes to living a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
- No monthly mortgage payment (of course!)
- Paying less for a home (since there’s much less interest over time)
- Less stress (since I’m not indebted to a financial institution)
- More options when it comes time to sell
- A locked away financial reserve (in the form of our home’s principle)
Of course there are a few minor disadvantages such as not getting the mortgage interest exemption on our taxes and the possibility of losing more principle if or when the housing market declines. Overall though, I prefer the freedom that being without a mortgage provides.
Self-employment – complete
While I might not be making as much as a self-employed person compared to what I might with a regular employer, the freedom the role provides and the options it opens up when it comes to family and free time tend to make up for a large portion of that diminished income.
Self-employment provides certain advantages of its own though.
- Freedom of schedule
- Ability to handle childcare for two children
- Savings on transportation and the ability to be a one-vehicle family
- The option to pick up as much or as little work as I want
- Ability to relocated to take advantage of reduced cost-of-living opportunities
And maybe the most important aspect of working for myself when it comes to my self-sufficiency checklist is that I’m not solely dependant upon any one employer for my work, helping to avoid untimely layoffs or employment terminations that eliminate my entire income in one fell swoop.
Non-employer sponsored health insurance options – in progress
Being able to break away from the noose of employer-sponsored health insurance would be huge! While having independent insurance can certainly up the costs, it’s one less item that at least one of our family (currently my wife) would be bound to an employer to obtain.
With Obamacare currently muddying the waters as to what will happen with private insurance, it’s hard to know exactly how to proceed at the moment. However, since our costs for employer-sponsored healthcare jumped nearly 25 percent year-over-year, we’re highly motivated to find our own private insurance and break out of the employer-sponsored benefit trap.
Land acquisition – in progress
Personally, I feel that there is a lot of manipulation in investing these days. And if not manipulation per se, at least advantages to traders and financial firms that regular people like me don’t benefit from. Forces beyond my control can cause the stock market to drop precipitously, the housing market to collapse, the commodities market to falter, cash to become worthless through inflation, and similar detriments to my money and investments.
However, when it comes to actual land, such an investment isn’t as at such risk from manipulation. Sure, there are always things that can happen to devalue a piece of property, but when we’re talking about raw land that is being used for its resources, my opinion is that it’s much more stable than the aforementioned options and is something I’d like to consider for future investment and to further our self-sufficiency.
Harnessing natural resources – in progress
Once we acquire land, we’re well on our way to self-sufficiency with a whole slew of options to use the natural resources such a plot can provide. Here are just some of the ways I’d like to utilize land to increase our self-sufficiency:
- Utilize wood for fuel and/or building and possibly logging
- Grow food through a garden, fruit trees and berry bushes
- Lease excess land to farmers and animal owners
While I’m not a big hunter, fisherman, or raiser of animals, such options are other possibilities when it comes to harnessing the natural resources of land.
By completing my checklist, I feel that we will not only decrease dependency upon governmental and local services, but build a greater appreciation for the ability to do things for ourselves and hopefully save some money in the process.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.