Financial independence, or the interchangeable “financial freedom”, is a powerful concept.
We all recognize it as a good thing. Something to strive for. Something to admire in others who have achieved it.
The 20somethingfinance tagline and mission even alludes to it: “Get a head start on freedom.”
But if you ask five people what financial independence is, you might get five different answers:
“Never having to work again.”
“Being free from debt.”
“Doing what I want for a living.”
“Not relying on others for money.”
Wikipedia describes financial independence as:
“a term generally used to describe the state of having sufficient personal wealth to live indefinitely without having to work actively for basic necessities”
All of the above are legitimate definitions.
My personal view of financial independence could best be described as:
“Living comfortably and doing what I want with my time without concern about how much income I earn.”
The “without concern” part is key. If you are concerned about income, are you truly “free” or independent?
The Problem with Qualitative Definitions of Financial Independence
Each of the above definitions have one thing in common: they are qualitative.
In part, “financial independence” is rarely achieved. The qualitative aspect of financial independence is important because it motivates or fuels you to set out to achieve your goal.
However, if you don’t have a clear idea of what financial independence is from a quantitative standpoint, how can you set goals to get there? And when will you know when you’ve actually reached your destination? The dream becomes just that – a dream. And it stays a dream.
I do have a quantitative definition of financial independence that I subscribe to which I will share in an upcoming post. First, let me describe why the concept is so important to me…
My Motivation is Financial Independence
Personal finance personalities have different motivations that fuel them to do the work they do:
- getting out of debt by holding themselves accountable publicly
- building career opportunities – speaking engagements, book authorship, etc.
- making a quick buck or building passive income
- helping others
My motivation is to become financially independent and share my journey with you (hopefully inspiring a few of you along the way to jump on board). It’s what motivates me, gets me excited, and keeps me going on this site and in my career.
I truly believe that this world would proportionately be a better place by the number of people who were financially independent.
When our actions, careers, and pursuits are driven by desire, passion, and interest (vs. profit), the result is a more genuine, happier, motivated, and generous human being.
For if a man is not free, then what is he?
Financial Independence Discussion:
- How do you qualitatively define financial independence?
- How do you quantitatively define financial independence?
- The Crossover Point & Financial Independence
- Two Paths to Financial Independence
- Traditional Retirement is Dead
- Safe Withdrawal Rate: how to Calculate how Much you Need to Retire
- To Build Wealth, you Must Defy Status Quo