Financial Socrates was created as a vehicle to fuse powerful philosophical ideas with effective financial strategies to help people achieve financial freedom as early in life as possible. Since beginning full time work less than 3 years ago I’ve learned how money is the core of freedom and freedom is the core that allows each of us to reach our full potential. Although the mission of this site is to accelerate financial independence at an early age, the real purpose is helping people of goodwill solve their money problems so that they can focus on contributing to the advancement of the human race.
The vast majority of people are diverted from their life mission by living in a state of financial slavery. How many Picassos, Michelangelo’s, or Da Vinci’s died without showing the world their greatness because they were not financially free? In short, how many people did not pursue their talents and passions because they needed to make money to eat and put a roof over their heads? The answer is hundreds of millions in America alone. This is unacceptable and my mission is to give all those seeking financial freedom the intellectual and financial skills needed to reach financial independence.
I grew up in Long Island, NY, but was insulated from the vices of American consumer culture by my parents who embodied immigrant ethics. They ingrained in me a sense of ownership and inner directed values. The biggest influence on my life growing up was playing baseball. My Dad spent an enormous amount of time coaching me and taught me some of the greatest life lessons on the diamond.
One such lesson was to not place value on participation trophies, but the real lesson was that if you’re going to do something do it with excellence or not at all. Not everyone will agree, but I firmly believe that quality is a value that should be rewarded on merit, not participation. If you want to achieve you have to do more than show up, you have to prepare and practice for victory. I never understood participation trophies and being an adult it’s even more clear that they do real damage to a young person’s long term development. In any event I was gung ho baseball player from 7 years old until 19. This commitment paid off in 2 major ways. 1) I was a 4 year varsity starter in high school and had the opportunity to play baseball at the Division I level, and 2) I learned the value of a team, how to bounce back from failure, and how to pursue excellence.
Shortly after starting college I read a book that would change my life forever. That book was the Republic by Plato and the reason it changed my life was because it made me aware of my own ignorance. This awareness created an internal desire to seek the truth of myself, my country, and the world I live in. This desire led me to the financial independence community.
Through self education I learned how my upper middle class education was borderline useless, how the institutions I trusted betrayed me, and how my worldview was cemented in illusions, not truth. It was a tumultuous time, which saw my plastic world view disintegrate under the microscope of analysis and open mindedness.
While in college I majored in accounting, but was autodidactic studying politics, history, philosophy, and psychology in my free time because a simple accounting education seemed woefully inadequate in light of the quality of our leaders and the state of the world. I wanted all the knowledge I could process to know how I could change the world for the better. I wound up graduating from college with a degree in Accounting, a Masters in Taxation, and, ironically, an undeniable understanding that I would not be an accountant for very long.
Shortly after graduating from college I became a Certified Public Accountant and began working for one of the Big 4 accounting firms as an auditor. I knew I had made a grave mistake within the first 6 months of starting my first ‘real job.’ I was working 70 hours per week, including weekends, and besides the mind numbing work of being an auditor what I really resented more than anything else was the fact that my time was robbed from me. I felt like a slave because I no longer controlled how I used my time and I was dependent on a paycheck. I would pass homeless people on the streets of Manhattan and wonder if that was better than what I was doing. “At least they were free,” I cynically thought.
I pondered quitting, going to law school, and changing my career path completely. Before making an emotionally defiant decision I began to do what I did in college when my world was turned upside down. I began to read, research, and strategize my next move. What I found was a whole community of people that had experienced what I was going through and had achieved financial freedom at an early age. A whole new world opened up for me. These were people just like me who had middle class jobs, a deep desire to be financially free, and live life on their own terms.
I wanted to change the world, I wanted to end corruption and injustice, but first I needed to be able to control my time and that’s why my first mission would become financial freedom. I reasoned that the best way out was through and that if I committed to financial independence I would reach escape velocity within a decade.
Coming face to face with the prospects of another soul crushing auditing busy season I began welcoming opportunities from recruiters for greener pastures and before the year ended I landed a much more lucrative position in the accounting field that would be a game changer in my pursuit of financial freedom.