As you celebrate Independence Day (if you are from the U.S.), take a few minutes to reflect on what financial independence means to you.
Freedom means many different things to many different people. As we approach Independence Day, it makes sense to reflect on freedom, and what it means to you.
I've always been grateful for the freedoms I enjoy. Even though I feel concerned about the erosion of some of our freedoms, the rise of an authoritarian approach by one of our major political parties here in Idaho and in the country, and I am concerned about some of the things going down, I am largely glad that I live in the here and now — especially since I have options when it comes to my finances and my career.
What Does Financial Independence Mean to You?
While I'm still kind of trying to figure out my writing situation and make a few changes, I do feel a great deal of independence with what I do. I largely set my own schedule, and I can make more money, in most cases, if I want to.
Honestly, one of the great things about what I do is the fact that I am “free” to take little breaks sometimes. One of the great things about freelancing, plus current computer technology, is the fact that I don't have to be home to make the most of my money. I've posted from Airbnb locations, from beside a campfire, and from the beach.
I get to travel, have amazing adventures, and spend time with friends and family.
This feels a lot of independence and freedom to me.
My Financial Independence Isn't Exactly Doing Nothing
No, I'm not at the point where I can just do nothing all day, every day. But I wouldn't want to do that anyway. That kind of retirement — that kind of “freedom” — isn't for me. Yes, I have questions about where I'm going and what I'm doing. But, for the most part, I'm in a position to explore my options. I enjoy what I do, and I have a lot of flexibility to:
- Choose my schedule
- Choose my clients
- Work on interesting projects
- Volunteer my time
- Make more money if I want
- Reduce my workload if I feel like it
My earned income and investments cover my needs, allow me to help support my son as he transitions to college and adulthood, and lets me travel and volunteer locally. But, no, I can't just quit earning that income. Technically, I haven't achieved financial independence by the measures often cited. I'm not to the point where I can choose not to work.
Even so, things are pretty good for me. I am grateful for my options, and for the fact I feel mostly free in my finances.
What's Your Approach to Financial Independence?
Take some time to figure out your own version of financial independence. Sure, to be “really” financially free you're supposed to not need to go to a job or whatever, or rely on earned income.
But that doesn't mean you can't think about different ways in which you have a measure of independence. Personally, I'm working more on other projects that help me move more away from relying on freelance writing gigs to make money. My friends and I launched the Freelance Writer Academy. I'm updating my book so I can release a second edition. There are other projects I'm contemplating.
I can start exploring these other options because I've been privileged enough to have a good freelance career, plus invest over time. I have a bit of freedom to explore because my money is on track to meet my needs.
So, step back. Even if you can't quit working right now, think about ways in which your situation affords a little more choice and freedom, including time with friends and family, vacation, or just the ability to indulge in a little self-care. Then, consider ways you're working toward even more financial independence.