What does it mean to be financially free?
There is no better time to start thinking about financial freedom than when we are celebrating our country's freedom, and therefore our freedom, on the Fourth of July!
So What Is Financial Freedom?
Well, you know that feeling: the panic, the worry that sets in when you see a bill, quite frankly, any bill:
How am I going to pay for that? But what if that bill just because an inconvenience or even better, just an everyday task that doesn't affect your mood at all?
Instead of worrying, you pay the bill without thinking twice. That’s how little it affects your financial situation. It’s not an inconvenience, emergency or really anything. It's just a bill.
Do you feel that sense of relief?
That’s what financial freedom feels like.
That is what financial freedom is: knowing you have the money to pay for things, unexpected or planned, fun or not, big or small, and live the life you want, because you have money, know how to manage your money, and are FINANCIALLY FREE!
The definition of Freedom:
- is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint;
- the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved;
- the state of being physically unrestricted and able to move easily;
- unrestricted use of something.
Now apply those above definitions to money. Can you imagine anything better than not having to worry about money? Can you feel how wonderful being financially free or having complete financial freedom would be?
You have the ability to live where you want to live, travel where and how you like, take care of your family and/or friends, and so much more.
You have the ability to have complete Financial Freedom!
On the 4th of July, we celebrate with fireworks, flags, friends and family as nothing is more beautiful than freedom. We live in the greatest nation on earth, completely free.
That is the American dream: to be free. Free to make our own choices, forge our own destinies, make our own paths...because we are free.
The same applies to money. If you are financially free, the reality is and one that some don't want to admit...money makes everything easier. If you have an unexpected medical bill, condition or health scare, but know you have the finances to get the best treatment, you don't have the added stress; which may help your condition. Or at the least, be something you don't have to worry about.
Financial freedom is different for everyone.
If you have always wanted to travel to a certain part of the world, you can and actually enjoy your trip more, if you are financially free. Your idea of traveling may be back packing through Europe, camping in the most beautiful places on Earth, being one with nature. Others may be going to every country in Europe and staying in 5-star luxury resorts, trying new cuisine, experiencing hidden gems of the cities.
With money and financial freedom we can both pursue the life we want to live.
Financial freedom is about more than just being able to afford emergencies or even those dreaded monthly bills. You don’t have to worry about retirement because you’ve planned, saved and invested consistently for decades. It’s the freedom to do something you love, because you are passionate about it.
Financial freedom is about being prepared. You make decisions confidently in life, because you are comfortable with the financial impact to your everyday life. You take control of your life, because you have taken control of your finances.
Financial freedom isn't something that is easy, or quick, or achieved from any get rich quick schemes. You also aren't “free” from responsibility. You may still have bills, but they are setup to be taken out of your accounts automatically; and you aren't worried, because you know the money is there.
What Is Financial Freedom Mean to You?
Financial freedom is personal and different for everyone. Get clear and very specific about your goals and dreams.
What is financial freedom to you? Here are some Financial Freedom examples:
Freedom to pay all of your monthly bills without worry
Freedom to know you have money for an emergency
Freedom to choose a career you love and are passionate about without worrying about money
Freedom to take trips every year or even every month without busting your budget
Freedom to pay cash for a new BMW
Freedom to pay cash for your new home
Freedom to help others in need and give exactly what you want with great generosity
Freedom to retire because you are ready, not just at a certain age
Freedom to take care of your children, or parents because you can
When you are financially free you have options. You make your own financial destiny.
Achieving financial freedom is a goal, and even a gift, for most people. Many think it is a far off dream, or don't even try because of the fear of failure. Let go of that fear, set your goals and believe you can achieve financial freedom!
Here are 10 Easy Steps To Gain Financial Freedom:
1. Set Goals
You have to be specific when you set your Financial Freedom goals. Just a general dream of "financial freedom" is too vague. What does Financial Freedom specifically mean to you?
Come Back Next Week For Free Download You Can Use To Set Your Financial Goals
Write down your goal: For example write how much you want in your bank account
What does the lifestyle entails: Write down what this goal will allow you to do
Write why you want to achieve this goal: Get specific. Write down why you want to achieve the goal. For example: I want a beachfront home because I am truly happy at the beach; I want to take my kids to Disneyland so they can have that experience; I want a new Mercedes because I love safe luxury cars; I want to go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, etc.
Choose an Age or Year or Timeline: Write an age or deadline/timeline to meet this goal
The more specific you area about your goals, and why you want to achieve them, the higher the likelihood of achieving them.
Based on your timeline, create financial milestones at regular intervals. Write it all down and put the goal sheet at the beginning of your financial binder, or better yet, put it somewhere you will see everyday: the refrigerator, on your desk, next to your bed, etc.
Make a monthly budget, and stick to it. This makes sure you are paying your bills, know your expenses and your savings are on track. It is also a monthly or weekly routine that reiterates your goals and helps you avoid temptation. Make sure you are realistic about your budget and make adjustments as you go.
3. Pay Off Credit Cards
Make it a point to pay all of your monthly credit card minimums and then pay off the full balance as soon as possible. Student loans mortgages and similar loans typically have much lower interest rates, making them less of an emergency to pay off. To start, make your minimum payments and choose one credit card to pay more towards each month, or in full if you have can. Then pay off just that one card. Then do that with the next credit card and so on (e.g. the snowball method).
4. Create Automatic Savings
Pay yourself first, always. Even if you have to consider this a bill, do it. You are your most important investment. Enroll in your employer's retirement plan and make full use of any matching contribution benefit. This is basically free money and you should be taking advantage of it! You should also have an automatic withdrawal in place for an emergency fund that can be tapped for unexpected expenses.
Ideally, the money should be pulled the same day you receive your paycheck, or if you are self-employed, right when the client pays you, so it never touches your hands. This helps you avoid temptation entirely. The amount to save in an emergency fund is highly debated. I recommend starting with a $500 emergency fund, then $1000, then more. You are more likely to stay on track if you make realistic goals.
5. Don't Compare/Compete With What Others Have
Your friend just got a new iPhone, your neighbor is showing off his new car, or your best friend just had a huge wedding or she bought an expensive designer bag. This does not mean you need the same things, or that you even need the same goals; after all, you're different people. Smile politely, nod, heck, even congratulate, and know your financial freedom and rewards are coming too!
A person's credit score determines so many things, including what rate is offered when buying a new car or refinancing a home. Did you know it can also impact seemingly unrelated things, such as car insurance and life insurance premiums? A person with reckless financial habits isn't a good credit risk. This is why it is important to get a free credit report at regular intervals to make sure there are no issues or derogatory marks affecting you and your credit.
Negotiate, as many things as you can. Culturally, many Americans are hesitant to negotiate for goods and services, worrying it makes them seem cheap. Who cares? If you don't ask, you'll never know! The worst thing they can do is say no! Is that really all that bad? The best thing they can do, is give you exactly what you want. You could save thousands of dollars each year, that alone makes negotating a necessity. Many small businesses, in particular, tend to allow or at least be open to negotiating, as repeat business can open the door to many great discounts and referrals for the business. You can also try to negotiate almost all of your current expenses: from cable, to phone plans, even credit card interest rates or annual fees and more!
8. Live Within Your Means
Knowing what you can afford and only buying what you need can actually be enjoyable. Really, it can. Buying quality over quantity and living your life fully, but with less, can be great. (Don't worry you don't have to go extreme, and you don't have to get rid of everything : )In fact, many wealthy individuals developed a habit of living within and below their means before rising to major wealth. You don't have to go overboard and live in a tiny house either, unless of course you might like that, or sell everything. Make small adjustments by distinguishing between things you need rather than things you want is financially helpful. You will start to actually think: do I really want this or need this? Heck, do I even really like this thing I'm buying? Here's a tip for online shopping: place it in the shopping cart, and then come back 24 hours later, if you still really want it, buy it, if you don't, then don't buy it.
9.Adjust Your Goals and Reward Yourself
Revisit your Financial Freedom goal sheet. People change and so do goals and that is fine. You might realize you actually want to take multiple weekend getaways throughout the year rather than one major trip one year. Things that were once important to you: for example competing with others may just become silly to you, and you realize what you actually want out of life and it has nothing to do with what other people have.
10. Envision Yourself Financially Free and Stay Motivated
While you are writing your Financial Freedom goals and timelines revisit it from time to time, or on a set schedule, and envision that what you are wanting as actually already yours. Then when you reach certain milestones, set a reward milestone. Then go ahead and reward yourself as you keep on this journey to Financial Freedom!
Come back for your free download to make your Financial Freedom goals, add in your timelines and reasons why you want financial freedom. Then revisit your Free Financial Freedom Download as you continue on your Financially Free Journey!
Happy Freedom and Happy Fourth of July!