Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What Financial Freedom Means

Financial experts and personal finance gurus talk about financial freedom. But what is that exactly? I think that maybe it's different for everybody. For some, it would be to have a net worth of $1 million dollars. For others, it would be to have enough money to travel the world. But for me, financial freedom is about having enough money accumulated so that I can stop worrying.

Having grown up in poverty, I like having a place to call home and not having to move every year or so. I would love to own a house of my own, and live there for the rest of my life. I enjoy having food readily accessible in my cupboards and freezer, so that I can make whatever meal strikes my fancy. Being able to pay the bills without worrying where the money is going to come from is something that also helps keep me centered. But there's more to it than that.

I already have the ability to work part-time hours for full-time pay, giving me the option of staying home with my son while he is still young. As he gets older, I plan to work more, and save more, so that we can meet some long-term goals we have of traveling the world, and owning a home. I'm grateful that I got a post-secondary education that allows me to work in a field that gives meaning to my work from helping others.

Financial freedom for me would be to have enough assets that we could live off the proceeds, enjoying family time and travel, without the necessity of continuing to work, (even though I'm a lifer). We're a couple of million short of that goal, but still aiming for it. I don't know if we'll ever get there, but in the meantime, I try to keep my life as balanced as I can. I won't trade off spending the first years of my sons life for a low paying job so that our debt will get paid off faster. We will continue to travel as our savings permit, because some day we may not have the good health we enjoy now. We give back to our community with our money, time and effort already. I don't anticipate this ever changing.

Having hoardes of money in savings and investments may equate to financial freedom for most folks. But for the most part, I think we have already achieved it, simply because we make our money work for us, instead of just working for our money. I worry less about how we are going to make it through rough times, and think more about all that I can do with what we already have.

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