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Self-Imposed Slavery

Updated: Mar 6, 2022

Modern men are chased by bills like ghosts. They pretty much live to pay bills. When you subscribe to a service, you create a liability for yourself. You are now tied, a slave to your bill. Consider CableTV. Once you subscribe, you must pay the monthly price no matter if you watched TV that month or not. The day you unsubscribe, you lose everything you paid for. You cannot rewatch anything, nor can you watch the episodes you missed. In comparison, paying for just the product is better. If you buy a TV series, you can watch it anytime or not watch it at all. It gets worse when cognitive dissonance kicks in. Some justify consuming a service just because they paid for it. These are some soon-to-be addicts.

The subscription model is like term-life insurance. When the term expires, you are no longer covered. You have paid the monthly premium for years but have nothing to show for it. If you did not die, you pretty much wasted your money. The product model is like buying property. If you die, your children get it. If you do not, you can keep it.

Let me say it again. The subscription model leaves you with nothing. When you buy a music CD, you keep it forever. This is how people used to have music collections, magazine collections, and art collections. When you buy a service, you can no longer access your assets when you unsubscribe. It is a liability not equity. If you don't pay for the service, your entire music library is gone like it never existed.

Subscriptions limit your economic freedom. You work to pay your monthly bills, while the service providers are doing annuity payments with it. While they pile up cash, you don't have ownership of what you paid for. It is fine so long you are succeeding financially. However, your bills become ghosts when you struggle financially. This never happens if you only buy products. You buy them whenever you have money and not buy them when you don't. When you do not buy more, you still have ownership to whatever you bought. This free choice is freedom. You can even quit your job and not worry about defaulting on your bills if you don't have any.

Consider a book. Once you have it, you can read it whenever you feel like. There will be no extra cost if you want to read it a month later. You can stop buying books when you do not have money. You can also sell it to someone when you are done reading, or just give it to someone, and they can give it to someone else once they are done reading. So long no knows throws it away, the utility of a book is unlimited. The same applies to real products like a dinner set, furniture, umbrellas, hardware tools, etc. Thus, real products have much more utility than their costs indicate. If you, however, use google books, you cannot keep them if you delete your account. You also cannot sell them because you do not own them. Eventually, you will lose them when Google shuts down, which is the inevitable end of all companies. You can buy a service only when the cost is minor. If the cost isn't minor, you must get off the grid. If electricity cost is not negligible, you must get off the grid and go solar even if it costs more in the short term. If electricity runs around let's say $40/month, within 10 years, you will have paid the company $4800. Set up solar panels even if they cost $8000, if you have the cash available. If you think it is bad decision, you may have not subtracted the resale value of solar panels. Even if you sell them for 50% less 10 years later, you end up saving $800. If you do not sell them, you milk them even more. If the panels do not meet your energy needs, you can reduce your consumption. Perhaps, you can switch off your lights during the day. Perhaps, you can get a smaller fridge or turn off the air conditioner when you don't need it. There are little compromises you can make to stay off the grid. And let's not forget, you own the panels. You can sell, repurpose, or upgrade them. Freedom is more important than money. Be open to spending a little bit more if it allows you to be economically free. Do not get tied down. Keep your liabilities close to 0. Own real assets and real products. Don't waste money on services. Be a free man.

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