What does financial freedom mean to you? Is it having a big house? A luxury car? All of the money in the world? Or is it something else? I remember hearing a story about a young man and his wealthy father that put the topic of financial freedom into perspective for me.
One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the intent of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “It was great, father.” “Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.
“Oh yeah,” said the son. “So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father. The son answered: “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve each other. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us. They have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thank you father, for showing me how poor WE ARE.”
From this story, you can see two different perspectives on what is valuable in life and the true meaning of financial freedom. On one hand, you have a father who believes in the material things that money can buy. Alternatively, you have a smart young boy who appreciates the things that money can’t buy. Regardless of where you sit, financial freedom is whatever you say it is. If material items are your aim, then there is a process to follow in order to make that your reality. However if your desire is to live a simpler life, there are steps you should take to assure that you are not struggling to meet your basic necessities. I call this process The L.I.V.E. F.R.E.E. Life, which consist of the following:
“The L.I.V.E. F.R.E.E. Life”:
- List your financial goals
- Incorporate an emergency fund
- Visualize your budget
- Establish savings
- Fund your future
- Raise your credit
- Eliminate unnecessary debt
- Envision abundant living
Following these steps will set you on the right track towards financial freedom, no matter what magnitude you decide to choose. (I also did a cool podcast breaking each step down specifically so check it out here.) So back to my original question: What does financial freedom mean to you? I want to hear your thoughts. Using the comments below, share your meaning of financial freedom.
The views and opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of BankMobile. The blogs are intended as general financial knowledge that may or may not be applicable to your individual needs. Always contact your accountant for tax advice.
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