Financial freedom. It’s a feel-good term that’s often bandied about, usually by those who seek to help you experience it (brokers, etc.). What it means largely depends on your circumstances, although some assume it mostly means having a lot of money. While that’s not necessarily so, financial freedom is desirable. Here’s why.
The Meaning of Financial Freedom
Perhaps, to you, financial freedom means only working when you want to. Or, not having to work at all.
But really, it means that you’re on top of your finances and are in control of your life, rather than just letting life happen to you.
After all, many people go to work each day, toil the best they can, but don’t feel in charge of their lives. Others feel like they’re working too hard for too little money.
Is that how you want to spend your life? You sure don’t have to.
Perhaps you feel like, owing to your lifestyle, you’re a permanent member of the proverbial rat race. Well, that’s what keeping up with the Joneses can do. Because you’ve been living above your means, you feel doomed to a life of “appearances” when really, you’re living on the edge, burdened by your finances.
On top of that, you may have investments that not only aren’t helping you accumulate wealth but may be abrading what you do have.
To shed your “financial inmate” status, or to avoid the standing in the first place, you must have an approach that you can utilize to skirt the traps that promote financial incarceration.
Perhaps you’re thinking, easier said than done. That’s understandable. After all, when it comes to something like trying to study online without surfing and wasting time, advice may seem easy to employ (e.g., focus on your work). But remaining 100% disciplined in this area does not come naturally to many people. It’s the same when it comes to money and paying off debt, for instance. Look at all the recent debt settlement advice for Texans, who are, on average, running up those credit cards at levels that exceed the national average.
The good news is that regardless of your financial station or your level of education, or whether you’re wealthy or impoverished, you have equal access to the tools the affluent have been employing forever to produce unending abundance.
Know Your Priorities
Ask yourself what financial freedom means to you. For some, it means the ability to travel. Whatever your answer, then ask yourself why that’s important to you. Then write that down. After that, continue to drill down until you get to the essence of what it is that propels you.
Really thinking through this exercise gets you close to pinpointing what it is that motivates you to seek financial freedom. If you don’t do this, you’re committing to a life driven by your whims and compulsions. Gaining financial freedom is about creating wealth, yes. But it’s also as much about determining what’s most important to you.
Everyone’s Answer is Different
That is why you shouldn’t compare yourselves to others. Financial freedom may be as simple as making sure you have a place to lay your head. For others, it may mean no longer having to work, or being able to financially help others.
For some, it may mean having no debt, or bringing in a certain income so that they can travel when they want without having to rely on others.
While there are no right or wrong answers, you do need to think about what you want, and why. You need to mull why financial freedom is desirable, and what it means for you. Once you arrive at that, you can take the steps to achieve it.