Financial freedom has a meaning which is personal to each of us,
which depends on the kind of life we dream of, and the objectives we set
ourselves. Someone might wish for a debt- and mortgage-free future,
while others might dream of reducing their working hours, or having the
opportunity to transition from employee to employer. One thing that we
all have in common, is the fact that we need to have ‘binocular’ lenses,
one lense through which we can see what we are like today, in our
current life, and another that can help us see how we will be in the
future, in the life that we imagine for ourselves. Both these scenarios
can be guaranteed by learning to manage our money.
of investing one’s own money does not only mean not having to pay a
consultant, it also means breaking free of the misconception that saving
is a (very conservative) form of investment. Inflation is the greatest
enemy of saving: if we do not ensure that our savings increase at the
rate of inflation, we are losing money without even spending it.
to save money cannot be limited to simply not spending it: inflation
makes the cost of living higher in the future, even if our habits don’t
change between now and then. This means that if today we enjoy eating a
meal in a good restaurant, and can afford to do so, it is not
necessarily true that we will be able to continue doing so in the
future: our money will certainly be worth less, so we will need more of
it to be able to keep doing the same things.
On a macroeconomic
level, inflation is considered by economists to be a positive force.
According to studies conducted by the International Monetary Fund, a low
and stable inflation rate creates a virtuous cycle of consumption,
salaries and jobs; more jobs are created and salaries go up. However, if
inflation increases beyond a certain level, buying power decreases,
consumption falls and jobs are lost. This is where the value of our
savings can erode. As far as the stock market is concerned, an increase
in inflation has the opposite effect: stock prices generally increase
with inflation because revenues and profits tend to increase.