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