Tuesday, 19 May 2015

What does Financial Freedom look like to me?

When I uploaded my recent post on what I would need to be financially free I didn't realise the impact that it would have on my life and the way I thought about it.  I did it because I thought it would be a cool thing to do and to track.

However thinking in terms of financial freedom has really changed the way I look at my approach to wealth generation.  Previously (as the name of this blog would suggest) it was all about becoming rich.  I didn't really have any plans for those riches...it just seemed like the right thing to aim for. Financial freedom is something else though...it allows you to choose the lifestyle that you want, when you want.

What does it mean to be financially free?

People describe financial freedom in a variety of different ways.  For some people it's about not having to wake up every day and go to work.  For others it's about having a security blanket so you know that you are never going to end up on the street.

Here is the definition I am using:
To be financially free is to be able to choose what I want to do, when I want to do it and not worry about the financial consequences of my decisions
Why did I underline the word 'worry' in the sentence above?  Well that's because most decisions have financial consequences.  Some of them large and some of them small.  If you run your own business, your decision to take a few months off can have huge financial consequences.

I'm not aiming for a system where
my choices have no financial consequences.   Rather I'm aiming for one where I don't ever worry about the financial consequences of those decisions.

What does Financial Freedom look like to me?

It is actually far harder than you imagine to design a world for yourself that is so foreign to the one you currently live in.  And I don't necessarily want to get rid a lot of my world.  In fact I like a lot about the life I currently lead...financial freedom isn't about getting rid of everything in your life...but it does force you to think about what you do and what you don't like about your life.

I recently heard a great quote by Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn:
"Design a life you don't want to escape from..."
 I love that idea.

I love the idea of having a life which you were so content in that you never dreamed of escaping it and doing something different.  Or one where all the alternatives did not live up to the one you were currently living.

Aren't I dreaming of the impossible here?  Isn't this just wishful thinking?  Well it all depends on what you actually want.  If you want to be a rock-star or to live a billionaires lifestyle then maybe.  But stop and think about what you actually want to do.

For me, financial freedom and a life I wouldn't want to escape from would look something like this:

  • The freedom to spend time with my family and watch my kids grow up
  • The ability to make a significant portion of my income investing in shares (which I love doing)
  • The ability to make a significant portion of my income writing (which I also love doing)
  • The ability to give back through charitable deeds and through teaching and empowering other people
  • The ability to travel the world

Honestly I don't think that is so hard to achieve.  I currently do most of those which is why I'm quite satisfied in my life...however:
  • I don't give as much as I'd like to charity
  • I spend less time writing than I'd like to
  • I spend less time teaching than I'd like to
  • My annual leave balance limits how much of the world I can see

I still want to generate the $100,000 I spoke of in my recent post on "How much do I need to be financially free" but by defining what my financial freedom looks like it allows me to create a plan for how to achieve this.

What does financial freedom look like to you?  I'd love to hear from others going through the same journey.

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  1. Hey 90M,

    Great article buddy, looks like you're getting more spiritual recently or at least switching gears on the goals slightly, which is good! :)

    To me financial freedom = time freedom, which involves similar goals to you about the travel, giving, teaching but I'd also add in fitness for me..

    I'll reply to your email as well.. Did you get my other one about comments on blog suggestions? If not I can re-send :)

    1. Hi Jef,

      Thanks heaps! I was listening to an online Stanford lecture recently where they suggested taking a step back every so often to assess whether what you are doing is what you want to be doing.

      This is something I definitely don't do often enough and it was really quite an eye opening experience

      Did get your email - thanks for the tips and will respond shortly

  2. Would be interested to check out that Stanford lecture if you're able to shoot it through in your next email.. Sounds great! :)