For some people, the idea that money = freedom is absurd. Some may even be offended by the idea. Or perhaps enraged.
Why such strong feelings? People can have complicated feelings about money. And they may even see their financial success or failure as part of their character. So, when you mention the fact that money equals freedom, someone who isn’t doing well financially can see it as a personal attack.
No matter how you feel about it, your feelings can’t change reality. The fact is, there are all kinds of ways having money can make you feel free and give you more options in life.
Money Equals Freedom
Think about it: When you have enough money, the world is your oyster. You can do things. You can go places. You can buy stuff. And, if you have enough money to do all the things you want to do, then you don’t need to put in the effort to get more of it. If you have enough money, you can quit working – as in, you can quit your job, forever.
Generally speaking, this idea of bagging work is known as retirement. Having worked long enough and saved enough money, people can stop doing the work they don’t want to do. Instead, they do whatever they want. And if they want to sit around all day drinking Miller Lite and watching Netflix all day, then they can do exactly that and nothing more.
But, if they want to pursue any number of postponed hobbies, or launch a business (so long as they don’t blow through all their money), they can do that, too. The point is, having a large cash reserve can give you the freedom to choose. And the freedom to choose is a great thing.
Debt is Slavery
Still, it’s important to consider the other side of the spectrum – the opposite of building wealth. If money is freedom, then debt is slavery. With debt, you have to do something. You’re obligated to pay back a person or a bank for what you borrowed. You can’t stop working because you owe money. With debt in the picture, work becomes mandatory. This is why debt – in most circumstances – is bad news for your life. Of course, there may be exceptions.
How to Prioritize Your Freedom
Most people don’t get to the work optional phase of their life until their Golden Years. This is simply because they don’t prioritize their freedom – as in, they don’t prioritize saving money. Instead, they prioritize staying in their comfort zone. This means uncomfortable things don’t get done.
If you want the freedom that comes with being financially independent, on the other hand, you have to be willing to do things other people don’t want to do. You have to do the new and uncomfortable things.
Here are some steps you can take to prioritize your freedom:
Step #1: Track your spending.
You absolutely must track your spending if you hope to have any chance of outrageous financial success. You need to know where your money is going. This is critical and non-negotiable. Most people can barely handle this idea. It blows their minds terrorizes them all at the same time. But, it’s essential.
Step 2: Learn to live with less.
With enough delayed gratification, you can achieve financial freedom – which is to say freedom. Consider this even if you absolutely love your job. That’s because your job in it’s current form may not be around forever – or you may not be able to do your job forever. You may not even be able to do your job tomorrow. The future is unpredictable.
If you’re having trouble with the whole delayed gratification thing, consider this:
Money is not dollars, or pesos, or denari. Money is little bits of freedom.
Each time you willingly give away your money, consider that you are willingly giving away your freedom. Purchases seems a lot different in that context.
Is your freedom worth food? Of course! You’d die without food. It definitely makes sense to forgo some freedom to get some food.
But, what about a BMW 240i Coupe? Is your freedom worth a brand-new luxury automobile? I guess it depends on who you ask. And it’s also important to consider just how much freedom you’re giving up. If you’re 85-years-old and have a million dollars in the bank, it may not be a big deal. But, if you’re young and trying to build wealth, buying something relatively over-priced that quickly loses most of its value (jewelry, a new luxury car, a boat) can set you back financially for life.
Step 3: Avoid debt like the plague.
We already mentioned how you need to track your spending and learn to live on less, but there’s one more step that’s crucial if you want to buy your freedom. You have to avoid debt. This may mean doing things differently than your friends and neighbors who buy flashy cars and name brand clothes. But, you may be OK with that because you have bigger fish to fry: freedom.
If you can avoid debt, you will be able to save more money every month based on the simple fact you won’t be paying interest out the nose. Without a bunch of credit card and loan bills to pay, you can use your cash to invest and build your freedom fund.
The Bottom Line
If you’re someone who believes money is freedom, don’t let anyone tell you any different. Just keep saving and investing until you have the financial assets to sustain yourself for life. It may take a while, but you’ll get there if you build positive financial habits, save like your future depends on it, and stay the course.