How to achieve economic independence?
“Economic independence means that you don’t depend on anyone or anything to live”. Plain and simple. That’s how clear our financial director, Oriol Tafanell, is. We follow, step by step, his advice, and we answer how the 11Onze community will reach it.
First, however, we need to ask ourselves why it is so important to empower ourselves. “Economic independence allows you to decide what you want to do in life and this, even though we often separate the heart from the brain, makes you emotionally stronger,” Tafanell says right at the start. With financial independence, we forget the stresses, the nerves, the sleepless nights and the anguish. Economic independence, then, is first built individually, and then we struggle to achieve it collectively. Let’s see it!
Three tips for individual emancipation
- Make a budget. Our CFO is concise: “The most basic thing is to make a budget, to know what income you get and what expenses you have,” he says. If the income is not enough to pay all the expenses, the most logical thing to do is to reduce the latter. And he gives an example: “If you have made a budget thinking that you will pay a rent of 1,000 euros a month, but then you add clothes, food, supplies, and it is not enough, maybe you have to see if the rent you have is too high. If you get obsessed, or you know you can’t reduce the expense in any way, you have to look at how to get more money.” For Tafanell, it is very important to know how much money we have, how we manage it and, for this reason, he considers an application like the one 11Onze’s clients will have, El Canut, to be essential: “People will have the possibility of seeing where and how their money is, they will learn how to manage it, how to move financially. It’s a tool,” he says.
- Force yourself to save. Even if you have achieved a stable balance between income and expenses, Tafanell recommends that income should always exceed expenses, for one simple reason: uncertainty. “You have to be able to deal with shocks, and in life they happen all the time: because you lose your job, because your fridge breaks down… Any situation can cause a crisis. Then, what will really make you financially independent is that your income allows you to save,” he says.
- Detail what you have to spend the money on. Finally, our financial director reminds us that each stage of life has to set savings priorities. “So, when you are young, if you study thanks to your family, it is important to work to save. Later, you live as a couple, you have children, or you build a career path, and savings are used to be able to pay for what’s coming up. And, in the end, when we are old, we have to invest our savings in a good pension plan, in retirement,” Tafanell says. The key, according to him, is to do “a little bit every day, to maintain discipline throughout your life.
The five objectives for collective empowerment
- Reduce debt. “Today, with the economic situation we have, if you are young, you have to study and work, and save. In cities like Barcelona, paying rent is practically impossible. This must change, it is clear. A universal income? In a country like ours, although we would like it, we have to forget about it,” admits our chief financial officer. And he reminds us that “Spain is a country with a high deficit”. “If collective economic independence is to maintain the expenses and income of a country, we cannot get into debt. And in Spain, indebtedness grows and grows, everything goes to pay interest,” he explains.
- Solidarity means paying taxes. For that reason, it is essential, according to Tafanell, “to be very supportive”. “That means that no one works under the table and that everyone pays taxes,” he summarizes. On a large scale, it means avoiding tax evasion and tax havens. “It’s unsupportive, and all it makes is sinking the country’s collective economy.” In fact, the more people pay taxes, Tafanell explains, the less taxes we will have to pay.
- Continue to educate the world. “There is too much capital that does not pay money. This has to stop,” he says, and the comment inevitably leads him to talk about the business culture of Mediterranean countries, which he sums up with the saying: “The law is made, the trap is made”. “It can’t be that the first thing we think about is how to sneak around, how to make the most of the system. Everyone makes a thousand and one tricks,” says our CFO with his gentle demeanor. Picaresque, he says, means that the unemployment rate has reached 25%, as it has during the pandemic, and there is no revolt. For this reason, he considers the reflection and debate that the 11Onze community proposes in La Plaza to be essential. “And from here, to continue educating. We can help, for sure. That is why we have created a financial community,” he says.
- Rebuilding the economic network. Precisely, the community that 11Onze is patiently building is the key to rebuilding a Catalan economic network that, Tafanell confesses, “practically no longer exists”. “In Catalonia we were very proud to be a country of entrepreneurs, but the second and third generations of managers sold all the successful companies to multinationals, who don’t care whether the headquarters are in Catalonia or Mozambique,” laments the financial director. Moreover, instead of investing the money from these sales in innovation and development, it has gone into real estate and speculation.
- Defining our community. The last objective for achieving economic independence is, therefore, to define very clearly what our community is. “If it is only the territory of Catalonia, and we do not have to drag the deficit of the whole of Spain along with us, the power we have to build ourselves economically is impressive,” he says. And he concludes: “The independence of Catalonia is a dream, yes, but I believe it is achievable. We have to prepare people for when it is possible. How? Less words. We have to take to the streets”.
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