How to create a rich life now — especially when financial freedom feels far away

And the surprising “dream day” exercise

Oz Chen
3 min readJan 30, 2022


Financial freedom sounds good in theory, but the journey to get there makes a lot of people miserable.

This is because financial freedom makes people fixate on a goal in the distant future. When I finally have $5 million, then I won’t worry anymore. Goals are meant to be motivating, but what if they backfire? Here’s a case in point…

I coached someone who’s plenty rich. He and his wife make more than $200K combined and they have an investment property. They scrimp and save every penny to buy another investment property. One weekday, they were walking past a sidewalk cafe and watched a couple just relaxed, laughing, enjoying an afternoon cocktail. He shared his internal dialogue with me: Wow…when can I relax like that?

Here’s the irony: the psychological cost of chasing financial freedom is the sense of freedom it may cost you now.

He can literally take his wife to a nice dinner the same night. When I pressed him, all these reasons came up: yeah, but we don’t really like to waste money on fancy meals.

A rich life is created now. And it can be done in small and subtle ways. Because if you don’t cultivate that rich life now, what are you going to do once you do have all the money?

Here’s an exercise that shocked me in its simplicity.

Enter the dream day exercise

I did a dream day exercise, which asks questions like:

“What’s a perfect day for you? What does your rich life look like?”

The power of its exercise lies in how specific it is, from how you wake up to what your morning routine is. Here’s an excerpt of some things I wrote down:

  • Wake up next to my love* and make coffee for us
  • Have a slow mornings to move, meditate and write
  • Walk on the beach
  • Have friends over for meals

*still working on this one. I’m taking referrals ;)

I was shocked at how basic my dream day looked like. And here’s what I realized…



Oz Chen

Writing about personal finance and UX Design on