Have You Experienced What Financial Freedom Feels Like?

I have heard the term Financial Freedom many times, but I really have never fully understood what that meant because I was in debt and didn’t have that freedom; I didn’t know what it actually felt like.

As my families financial situation has improved since we started actively seeking out improvement, I finally am starting to see that debt really is a prison and I now have, even if it is just a taste, a bit more of an understanding of what financial freedom really feels like. It really is liberating, like nothing else I have ever felt before. It is a feeling of control and security.

Let me give you a few examples of where I have felt this freedom. The most recent example was just this week. We as a family have spent the last two years really focusing on improving our financial situation. We have a fully emergency fund, we have started planning for retirement along with starting to build on that plan, we have no credit card debt and we have some investments that although not without problem, are proving to be worth our time. My wife and I are also working really hard on diversifying our sources of income so we will never have to rely on a single job, and never be in a position where losing a job would completely cripple our progress. Things have changed a great deal in the past two years but until recently I haven’t felt the freedom people are always talking about.

Next week is my wife’s birthday, she will be turning 23. Usually we go out to dinner on her birthday or go on a mini vacation to California, visit family and hit Disneyland. We prepare all year financially for it, but early this year we decided not to take that vacation opting to do something locally instead. We hadn’t talked much about her birthday and I actually forgot about it, realizing just this week that it was fast approaching. So I decided to surprise her with an unexpected gift.

Her current laptop is almost five years old, and really hasn’t aged well. She complains about it’s speed on a pretty regular basis, and I can’t even stand to touch it much less spend enough time on it to speed it up for her, it’s that frustratingly slow. I decided it was time for a replacement.

Normally, I would research for at least a few months before making a purchase like this, but I hopped onto Amazon.com, spent about an hour researching what was available and what prices looked like (I work in the computer industry, so the technicals of the machine didn’t need researching, just the currently released makes and models) and made the purchase. Not only that, I was able to make the purchase, guilt free, knowing it would have no effect on our day to day finances; knowing it would come out of savings that are in excess of what we use on a monthly or even yearly basis, and knowing she would never even see the money gone because those accounts are on autopilot and never need looking into.

Excited by the purchase, I gave it to her early, and she was very surprised. She had no idea and I could also tell that the purchase didn’t make her worry at all about where I came up with the money to buy it.

That right there is the freedom others talk about. That is the freedom I have been dreaming about for years, and the freedom we are working towards. We aren’t there yet, but these little tastes of freedom we get keep up motivated.

They say money doesn’t buy happiness, but my philosophy is that money buys opportunity and peace of mind.

Image by Dazzie D

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20 People have left comments on this post

» JeffNo Gravatar said: { Aug 19, 2010 - 10:08:20 }

that must have been a great feeling. Unfortunately, I need a new laptop as well (almost 5 years old) and it's starting to slow. Hopefully it wont shoot craps and ill have time to save up to replace it, but i'd really like to get a desktop to take some of the stress off the hard disk and ram (currently 10% free space) and hopefully it will pick back up once that happens.

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

It was great, but fleeting as I know we have plenty of time and work to put in till we are fully financially free. It does drive me forward though.

As to your laptop, here is the link to the one I purchased, on sale for $280: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003N19784/ref=o

For my wife's needs, it fit pretty perfectly for the price. She doesn't play high taxing games, or do any major media editing so the fact that it's a bit weak on the power side doesn't really matter.

With a laptop you pay for the convenience and size, not the power so you will always pay more for a powerful laptop compared to the same power in a desktop. If you are looking for a basic office laptop, this is a great fit (blog writing, photo viewing, daily browsing) but if you do more intensive stuff, a desktop is def a better fit. HP's have been putting out great desktops lately, and they are in the price range of 300-600 depending on what upgrades/accessories you get.

Good luck saving and finding what you are looking for! If you have any questions on computer stuff, I'm always willing to help out.

» Debt AssistanceNo Gravatar said: { Aug 19, 2010 - 04:08:56 }

I have been lucky enough a few times to receive a considerable wind-fall as a result of some investments of mine and I agree with you that it is amazing feeling when suddenly you have far more options than normal. Once or twice these have been equivalent to 3-4 months of wages for me and I certainly sleep very soundly when it arrives 🙂
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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

I bet you slept soundly, 3-4months is quite the windfall!

» MFONo Gravatar said: { Aug 19, 2010 - 06:08:44 }

Cool story! I love giving my GF surprises, I'm sure she is loving it. I know how frustrating a slop computer can be!

I have a bit of a similar situation in that I just booked a cruise with four friends. One of the friends is unable to pay for it right now, so I am spotting him a few hundred, in addition to paying for mine. How am I able to do this, through MONTHS and MONTHS of being financially responsible. Actually I am going on this cruise right about the time when I started my blog, so it's almost like an anniversary:)

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Thanks MFO, and I love surprising my wife too, it's so much fun! I used to do it a ton when we were dating, and I spent way too much that I am now way too conservative..I really need to pamper her more often.

That's also great of you to help out your friend like that. I've had similar situations and it really feels good to help others. Congrats on the anniversary too!

» MoneyEnergyNo Gravatar said: { Aug 20, 2010 - 12:08:28 }

Good job with the savings and emergency funds! Nice way to see financial freedom as simply the ability to not have to go into debt for a needed purchase.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Thanks, it really feels good to have some of those milestones down.

» Financial SamuraiNo Gravatar said: { Aug 20, 2010 - 07:08:12 }

I'm not sure if I've EVER felt full financial freedom unfortunately. It's probably b/c I have debt, mortgage debt to be specific. However, I have a clear goal of being debt free in 8 years. Then, I think I'll be totally free as I won't be working anymore.

Good stuff building your savings!
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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Not quite yet here either, just the taste here and there. 8 years..a year ago, I would have thought, "wow that's way too long!" but now my perspective has changed so much, towards the long term, that 8 years is no big deal.

» Len PenzoNo Gravatar said: { Aug 21, 2010 - 10:08:23 }

Congrats, Jesse. Financial freedom tastes great doesn't it? It's all about keeping your options open. When you are in debt, you've greatly limited your ability to make choices in the future.

All the best,

Len Penzo dot Com

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Thanks Len, it sure does! It's interesting how many people, myself included, don't realize what financial bondage feels like until you feel the real freedom of choice later on.

» Scott WarnerNo Gravatar said: { Aug 21, 2010 - 11:08:00 }


» Grin AnndNo Gravatar said: { Aug 22, 2010 - 12:08:00 }

Well put!

» Scott WarnerNo Gravatar said: { Aug 22, 2010 - 01:08:01 }

Well put!

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Aug 22, 2010 - 08:08:00 }


» Money ReasonsNo Gravatar said: { Aug 22, 2010 - 08:08:05 }

I've never carried credit card debt (neither has my family either), I was just raised that way… But once I bought a house, the shackles were in place and I felt greatly burdened by the mortgage loan!

I was determined to pay it off as quickly as possible, while still trying to start a family!

It took us just a wee bit over 10 years to pay it off, and now I'm debt free and sleep much better at night.

I don't think business debt is quite the same, so I would like to buy a few rental properties eventually, but I won't view that debt quite the same way…

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

That's amazing MR. I really need to consider my mortgage shackles too, because we should focus some on paying that down.

Your are an inspiration 🙂

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Aug 22, 2010 - 10:08:48 }

Thanks man!

» Value of a DollarNo Gravatar said: { Aug 29, 2010 - 09:08:04 }

I'm still battling to find out what it feels like but i hope to get there at some point very soon. Thanks for the post.
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