Money may not be everything, but it is a very important thing, indeed. It’s not because it makes you rich, enables you to buy anything you want or allows you to go on an expensive vacation.

It’s because it gives you freedom.

The freedom to have control over your time. The freedom to not constantly think about survival or making ends meet. The freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want and wherever you want, with the people you want to do them with.

Money is the means that enables you to increase optionality in your life. It gives you the freedom to choose rather than make you feel obliged to make a choice.

By controlling the flow of money, others can control the decisions you make. If someone can pay you just enough to keep you in survival mode, you will stick to them whether you like it or not to make your ends meet.

On the other hand, if you have enough money at you disposal, you would choose not to work with them, not worry about making money for sometime and go figure out what you want to be doing next. Money gives you that safety cushion to lean back on for sometime until you find something worth pursuing again.

So the next someone tells you “We won’t be able to pay, but this would be a great opportunity for you”, think about it twice. Is it really worth getting into it?

This is not to say dismiss everything that doesn’t pay you back in money immediately. But understand the fact that money is an exchange of value. If you are able to see something that is valuable for more than just money, go for it. But do it consciously. Truly understand what you are getting out of it.

One of the most important rules of investing is to invest within your circle of competence. If you can’t decide, the answer is no. Especially, when you don’t have money at your disposal, the only asset you have is your time. So protect it aggressively at all costs and invest it wisely.

Choose freedom over anything else.