Do You Feel Independent?

 

Happy 4th of July! For all of you here in the United States, it’s a day to celebrate with family and friends. Crank up the grill, cook up some good food, and enjoy the festivities!

 

This is the first 4th I haven’t worked in several years – so, if you are at work today – hopefully you will be able to escape early so you can spend the day with the people who are really important to you. To borrow a phrase Bill Clinton once uttered “I feel your pain!”

 

The term “independence” has me thinking about personal finance this morning. It can be a vague and nebulous term unless you have really thought through it – and its meaning can be different for each of us.

 

For me the goal is simple - create more freedom and independence over time. It’s not to quit “working” but rather have the freedom of more choices. I don’t want to be tied down to a career I don’t especially care for. I don’t want to continually cede control of my life to an employer – I want more ability to own my time and energy. 

 

Simply put, financial independence is about control and choices. I will always “work” in some shape or fashion – a cessation of working means death to the body and mind.

 

Striving towards financial freedom is about finding ways to live life more fully. It’s not about hitting certain numbers on my personal “balance sheet” (although I do have those numbers in mind, and they are important targets.)

 

Striving towards financial freedom is all about living more holistically and freeing myself from the things that clutter my week, suck my time, and drain my energy.

 

Knowing that the unexpected happens in life – striving towards financial freedom is not about predicting all the things that could derail my plans – rather it’s about building a lifestyle that can handle the curveballs thrown my way.

 

I see financial freedom as more about eliminating the things that encumber me – that tie me down and prevent me from being who I really am.

 

These things come in many forms:

  • The extra stuff in the house that I really don’t need/ use that we work to pay for (either in buying, maintaining or storing)
  • The clutter on my schedule time that adds limited or no value (pointless emails, meetings with no purpose)
  • Toxic people

And with that being said, when I think of financial independence, I look to the opposite corollaries as goals:

  • Freedom from being tied down to stuff
  • Freedom to explore the world with better use of time and energy
  • Freedom to be present for those who I care about

As you are celebrating this 4thof July, find some time to think about the dual meaning of Independence Day – how can you find ways to strive towards your goals in life and live more holistically. Find ways to eliminate those things that are holding your back. 

 

No matter where you are in the life, you have a choice each day to think anew about where you want to go. It’s never too late. Make a plan. Know that your plan will need to change as curveballs are thrown your way, but don’t let those curveballs deter you. 

 

Have a wonderful and happy 4thof July and stay safe out there!

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