What is True Financial Freedom?
What would it take for you to feel like you were financially free? Does it mean getting out of debt? Able to be retired while retaining your lifestyle? Accumulate a million dollars?
What if I told you financial freedom had nothing to do with a number?
Financial freedom looks different for everybody. I know accredited investors (people with over $1 million net worth excluding their primary residence or above $300k in annual income) who I would consider distant from financial freedom, while I know people whose net worth is less then $100,000 and make $30,000 a year and they consider themselves to be financially free.
How is it that one person can be financially free while another person of significantly greater financial resources is not? Again, it's because financial freedom is not a number.
Each one of us has a calling; a unique, individual calling unlike anybody else's. And the ability to accept and step into your calling adds purpose and richness to your life. But how many of us neglect our true calling because of financial restraint?
Don't get me wrong, it makes sense why we allow finances alone to drive our decision making. More comfort. More luxuries. More appearance of "success" to our peers. American culture has driven many of us to place an unnecessary reliance on our assets and income, but we've got to redefine what it looks like to be financially free.
The first step towards financial freedom is to discover your calling and be okay stepping into it while accepting the financial ramifications of such calling.
This is a hard step, because we as a society love to assign value to people (including how we view ourselves) based on how much income we generate or assets we accumulate. But we have to accept that just because our calling happens to be much less financially rewarding than somebody else's doesn't mean we aren't as talented, smart, gifted, or valuable as somebody else.
We need good secondary school teachers just as much as we need good anesthesiologists, even though these 2 careers will result in drastically different financial outcomes. Yet how many people are straying away from the calling on their heart to be a teacher because it doesn't pay like other careers do?
The second step to financial freedom is to flip the order of our lifestyle. Currently, we are defining the type of lifestyle we want first, then selecting careers that will satisfy the lifestyle we want. What if we reversed that? Boldly stepping into our calling first, and then humbly accepting the lifestyle that accompanies our calling.
This is so counter-intuitive to the driver-seat mentality we've embraced in American culture today. We desperately seek to always be in control, disregarding everything that appears to diminish our level of control. However, I'd argue that this "reversal" is not a passive step; rather it's actually an active shift towards true financial freedom -- a refining of how to measure "worth".
Sounds super great on paper right?! But how do we address the practical implications of actually carrying this out in our lives with the existence of bills, student loans, aspirations to save up a down payment to buy a home, go on vacations, enjoy a nice meal out, all while still putting some funds away for the future and giving to those less fortunate?
That's where having an expert in personal finances comes in. It could be yourself if you have the time to become an expert and have the desire to be proactive in each area of your financial life planning. Or you could engage a personal financial coach. Somebody who is actively looking at all areas of your financial life -- helping you evaluate what your short and long term goals are and how your finances fit in with those goals. Helping you align your passions and values with your money. Helping you strategize around cash flow, student loans, company benefits, tax education, insurance, and charitable giving -- all while providing accountability and encouragement to you while you're pursuing your passions and stepping into your calling.
If you would like to see how our services could help you in your journey towards financial freedom, I would invite you to book a free consultation call here.
I would also invite you to check out our next post in this Financial Freedom series around Fixed Expenses (i.e. debt) later this month!
Until next time!