Stoic Minimalism Steered Us Toward Financial Independence

Article by Meg Nordmann originally published in Issue No. 09 (August 2020) of SimpleMoney Magazine

I’m incredibly honored that Joshua Becker, founder of Becoming Minimalist and owner/editor of SimpleMoney Magazine, published this article in the newest issue of his magazine! His digital magazine is published quarterly and is chock-full of intelligent and inspiring essays from influential people in the space. It’s only $6 for a single issue or you can get a lifetime subscription for just $35, where you have access to all issues–past, present and future! That is quite a deal for something that does not clutter your home and arrives to give you new insight and inspiration to change your life in a positive direction. I encourage to fill your life with content such as this!

I wanted to share my story with you and I hope it gives you motivation to cut down on the clutter and spending and to work on some mindset shifts that can lead to a life of freedom.

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In Swiss Family Robinson style, we’ll climb the bamboo ladder up to the
first floor to a wooden deck that floats around the midsection of a tree.
A macrame hammock will sway gently in the breeze by an outdoor
kitchen and just beyond that will be a swinging rope bridge that leads to
the adults’ bedroom. Open-air windows frame a different tropical
landscape in all directions. A gauzy mosquito net envelops the single
mattress that beckons us to enter a trance-like sleep to the jungle
sounds of exotic bugs and amphibians.

The kids share their own treehouse turret which rises through the
treetops with its thatched roof dripping with the natural elegance that
only palm leaves could give. In the distance, we can spot the ocean and
know at a glance if the waves are ideal for surfing today–after all, we
have nothing else we have to do. A pathway cut through the thick
vegetation will lead us to the shimmering beach and turquoise water in
just five minutes. We can cut open a coconut when we get there and
refresh ourselves with the sweet water inside.

This is our shared daydream.

As of this writing, my husband and I are
only 431 days away from no longer needing a paycheck, according to
our calculations. For a little over five years now, we’ve been crafting this
vision to become ever more clearer. We can taste that salty humid air of
Central America as we cross off another day on our calendar
where we have hand-written our countdown to financial independence.


One mental exercise that Stoics believe should be regularly practiced is pondering
the worst-case scenario so that you are mentally and emotionally
prepared for that blow. It’s done from an objective, curious state of
mind rather than a depressive or paranoid one.

For example, we invested in the stock market and had to mentally
prepare ourselves to witness the impending crash that would surely
come, as it cyclically arrives approximately every ten years. We practiced
the visualization of our account dwindling down, even as we put more
money into it. Sure enough, the worst-case scenario arrived in March
2020 and we steeled ourselves for the plummet.

We had already envisioned it so it was easier to bear. We had prepared
ourselves mentally and financially for our vacation rental to be shut
down by a hurricane. With global warming, the chance that we’d
experience a direct hit of a Cat 4 or 5 hurricane that would shut down our

renting capabilities for a month or two was fairly high. Instead, a
global pandemic shut us down for two months.

The source of the possible shutdown was unknown to us when we
purchased the place, but we had envisioned a worst-case scenario and
so we were able to take it in stride when it arrived. Another way to think
of this practice is to always have an “Exit Strategy” with anything
financial. Imagine the worst that could happen and then figure out in
advance how you could exit the investment.

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Related Post: Joshua Becker Endorses “Have Yourself a Minimalist Christmas”