Working Toward Financial Independence Is A Long Road

financial freedom roadHappy Independence Day to my American readers! I don’t know about you, but I have the day off today, so I am doing some family things and just enjoying the day. Considering that I have to go back into the office on Friday, I plan on enjoying myself.  Here is to the day of our independence.

On the theme of independence, I want to talk a little about financial independence.  My friend, Pauline, has created a financial independence carnival with links to some great articles about the topic.  I don’t think it is necessary to define it because I believe this term is different for each person.  Since getting out of credit card debt, this topic has been on my mind for quite some time.  I am working hard to figure out how to reach my definition of financial independence.

What is Financial Independence to me?

Let me describe what I think financial independence is.  There are some that feel it is all about being debt free and not being tied down by money or at least owing money.  As I said, I don’t think the are wrong, but that is not what it means to me.  To be financial independent, I want to not have my life dictated by money or lack thereof.  I want to be able to make decisions based on how I am feeling and what makes me happy.  I want money to be second and life to be first.  I don’t mind if I have debt, but as long as that debt doesn’t hinder me from doing what I want.  I would love to get to a point where I am making passive income that meets all of my needs, so that I don’t have to work, but if I wanted to, it wouldn’t matter.

On the Road Toward Financial Independence

Ever since paying off my last credit card a year ago, I have jumped onto the road toward my financial independence.  Ever since I have been in college, I have been in debt.  Not having to pay credit card payments is a different lifestyle for me, and one that I truly enjoy.  I have been working hard to figure out how long I want to take to reach my goal of breaking free of money dictating my life.  At this point, I think I want to reach this goal within 10 years.  I do think it can be done, but I am sure that it will be difficult.

The road toward financial independence is going to be long and have many curves.  I have to make sure that my money making vehicle is all tuned up and ready to go.  I also don’t mind if I add some upgrades to my vehicle to make it a little faster and one that can handle the twists and turns of the financial road.  Can you tell that I love working on cars ;).

While traveling down this financial road, I have to make sure that I create goals and milestones.  You can easily get tired of driving down the same road without having a pit stop or rest stop.  I created many different milestones when I was paying down my credit cards and that was the only thing that kept me going.  Setting goals to reach financial independence is going to be the same thing.  I need to stay motivated.

As I travel down this road, I hope to learn new things and expand my skill set.  I do think that acquiring knowledge along any journey is a necessity in life.  I don’t like being stagnant, so learning new and different things is always a big goal of mine.  I plan on doing this same thing when on my path toward financial independence.

Have you ever thought about being financially independent?  What does the term mean to you and how do you plan on getting there?

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About the Author Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress support company, along with another blog, Eyes on the Dollar, which is another great personal finance blog.

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Leave a Comment:

Edward Antrobus says July 4

For me, financial independence is about being able to handle whatever life throws at me. That’s all I want. I can’t imagine not wanting to work. An individual day? Sure. But in general, I want to be working. That desire is so ingrained that talking about not having to work is just not worthwhile. I will always have to work. There may come a day where I don’t have to work for financial reasons, but never a day where I don’t have to work for emotional ones.

Now, if I ever got stupid rich, I would hire a chauffeur, because I really don’t like driving.

    Grayson says July 8

    I like your definition Edward. I actually like working and doing something that I enjoy. I don’t know why work has to be a part of it, but as long as the work you are doing brings enjoyment, then you are good.

Laurie says July 4

My definition of financial independence and yours are pretty much the same. I want us to be in a financial position where we make our decisions on what is right for our family, not on how much money we don’t (or do) have in the bank. Can’t wait to get there!

    Grayson says July 8

    Of course it is Laurie. You and I have very similar view points.

Michelle says July 4

To me it means being able to do what I want, without being worried about when the next dollar will come in.

    Grayson says July 8

    I like it Michelle. With the way you make side income, you should be good there!

Canadian Budget Binder says July 4

Financial independence to me means that we have no longer owe any debts except our every day bills. It means we don’t have to worry about spending money on things that we want to have or places we want to travel too. That being said, we’d likely budget right to the end.

    Grayson says July 8

    Sounds good to me Mr. CBB! I don’t mind some debts, but consumer debt is not in my picture of financial independence. I just want to be able to make decisions not based on a monetary value.

Martin says July 4

Unfortunately in many cases we have to put our money on the first place to reach FI. Just look at our time allocation. Next to sleeping time we spend the most of our time at work to make money so we can live. I wish this would change soon.

    Grayson says July 8

    Well, of course we have to put up our money to get there. Once we get there, then we can let life dictate our decisions and not the money aspect.

Pauline says July 5

Thank you for participating Grayson!
My goal was to not have to go to an office ever again. I am not one to go for office politics, gossip and useless meetings, so the corporate world was not my cup of tea. It helped to have a clear goal and target to stay motivated!

    Grayson says July 18

    It sounds like you understand very well what it means to you.

Daniel says July 5

Financially independent to me (especially recently) has come to mean being able to schedule a trip or vacation without having to ask anyone else’s (besides my wife’s) permission.

If you’re the boss, you make your own rules, but if you’re still letting other people create your schedule, you’re not quite independent yet.

    Grayson says July 8

    I think that is important as well. Being able to plan a trip without having to ask anyone, beside someone else going on the trip, is a great place to be in.

Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility says July 5

I like what you’re saying about how financial independence looks different to every one. Personally, I’m not sure I’m super-bothered about having a mortgage while I am concerned about our consumer and student loan debt. Being free of these last two things would give us another $1000 a month in disposable income. We’re aiming for five years to pay off! thanks for the article, buddy! Great perspective.

    Grayson says July 8

    I am with you on that one Lindsey. I am not bothered by a mortgage either as long as you have to money to cover it and anything else you want to do. That is financial independence to me.

Kayla says July 9

Great post. Financial independence to me is first and foremost– not owing any debt. Not being held down financially from past decisions — I think a reasonable mortgage payment would really be the only exception, because I think that’s better than paying rent year after year. Saving up to buy a house in full though or paying off a mortgage I think would be the ultimate financial freedom. Without debt, nearly every dollar earned can go towards the present or future.

    Grayson says July 10

    Thanks for sharing what it means to you. I like all of the different perspectives.

thepotatohead says July 10

Financial independence to me means having that “shove it” money where if things got really bad you could quit your job and do something alot more enjoyable (with potentially a lot less pay), without being stressed about not being able to pay bills or make ends meat. I’m hoping to get there somewhere in my 40’s although the earlier the better :p

FI Pilgrim says July 23

To me FI begins when you have enough capital working for you that you can live off of passive investment income. Of course there are varying degrees of that plan that I’d be totally satisfied with, but that’s my ultimate goal. Great topic to get people thinking about!

    Grayson says July 24

    I like that goal. I think that would be a great place to be in. I have varying degrees of what I would consider being financially independent, but why not strive for the top?

krist says August 22

To me, it’s someone who doesn’t have to rely on others for money – including income from a job. While we have no debt and can financially support ourselves, we still rely on income from jobs to support our lifestyle. To me, if you were financially independent you wouldn’t need that. Your money would be working for you, not the other way around. We hope to get there by retirement.

    Grayson says August 22

    That sounds like a good view of financial independence. Thanks for stopping by and sharing Krist.

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