When talking about financial freedom, different people can mean entirely different things. For some it means getting to do what they want because they have enough money. For others it means having enough income from investments that they are free of any financial concerns.
Of course, few people are actually unconcerned about financial matters regardless of how much income they have. Some even get more worried about their finances as they get wealthier. And few people get to do everything they would like to do no matter how much money they make. Time and health can limit us as much as a lack of money.
Nonetheless, if used properly money certainly can buy more security and more freedom, to the extent that those things are possible in this world. So lets look at how we can actually use money more effectively.
How do we actually achieve financial freedom?
This article is not about the “making money” part of the equation. That’s covered in a thousand good books. Money does not bring the freedom automatically though, so this is about some of the problems we run into once we start making more, and what to do about them.
Freedom From Financial Worries?
First, if you want greater security you want it for the obvious reasons as well as to “feel” more secure. Setting up streams of investment income helps with the physical needs. Once you have enough income from enough sources you are free from needing a job. Of course that only happens if your lifestyle remains within the means of your income.
We often grow our lifestyles along with our rising incomes. This makes sense if you were eating cheap noodles and driving rusty old cars before. It resolves itself in time if income rises faster than the new expenses. But it’s a lot easier to escape the “rat race” and relax with your investment income if your expenses are lower, so watch your changing habits.
If you notice that there seems to be no natural level of comfort where you are content, and that you just continue to “need” more as you make more, the problem might be one that requires some self-reflection and self-work rather than more money. Even millionaires go broke feeding their habits, tastes, and the needs of the ego.
Also, be aware that you can feel insecure no matter what your level of income. Often with more money you will feel more afraid of losing that money. The resolution to this is again not in money itself, which only buys the little bit of physical security available to us. To feel free of worry over money, you have to look beyond money to whatever psychological and spiritual practices help you.
Freedom To Do What You Want?
Money can buy a lot of freedom of choice in this world. With enough you can live how you choose, go where you like to, help who you want, and buy what you desire. But it only accomplishes these things if used properly.
Often people get so caught up in the process of making money that they forget why they wanted to make it in the first place. Meanwhile, they adopt a new lifestyle that eats up all the income which could have paid for their goals if they happened to remember them at some point. Some people really do want that big home and several new cars, but others just fall into that life as a consolation prize for a dream life they just couldn’t figure out how to achieve.
If you want to travel the world, and for you that’s what financial freedom means, you have to plan for that. You may even have to quit your job at some point if it gets in the way. And why not? If it is supposed to help you towards your goal, it better not do the opposite, right?
Whatever the term financial freedom means to you, think about it more specifically. Then start making plans. Money alone can come and go by the millions without offering freedom of any sort. You have to learn how to use it wisely rather than just chase it blindly.