What Does Financial Freedom Mean To You?

The following blog post is part #TheRoad to Financial Wellness Blog Tour. Over a period of 30 days, the Phroogal team will go to 30 locations to raise awareness about financial empowerment. Today they will be in Nashville! Our goals is to help people learn about money by starting the conversation. We understand that local conversations can help bring about national awareness.

#TheRoad has been generously made possible through Payoff. You can thank them by taking their super fun Financial Personality Quiz!  

We'll be joining the Phroogal team for an informal meal and money chat at Edley's East BBQ on 908 Main Street in East Nashville at 12:00 PM. We hope to see you there!

What is Financial Freedom?

For Jason Vitug, financial freedom meant selling everything he owned, quitting his corporate job, and visiting 20 countries in 12 months. He had an epiphany on top of a temple in Bagan, Myanmar and discovered his life's mission: to democratize financial literacy and empower a generation to follow their dreams.

And thus, Phroogal was born.

I've learned financial freedom has many definitions.

For example, my father hopes to retire from a career in pharmacy within the next few years, but my mother plans to start her second career in art therapy. My sister wants the ability to work remotely and live in different countries for a couple months each year. Some plan to retire early, but many just want more control over how they spend their time.

And me? I want the ability to pursue the amount of work I choose, when I want, from where I want, without ever feeling the need to sacrifice quality of life for compensation.

My Story

For those of you unfamiliar with my story, a few years ago I realized how hard I was working and how little I had to show for it.

Like many Americans, I was living above my means, regularly splurging on designer clothing, extravagant gifts for loved ones, expensive dinners and drinks.

I was a slave to my lifestyle.

All this changed when I took a free personal finance class through the University of California Irvine via Coursera. In addition to learning some of the basics about investing, insurance, and estate planning, I was connected to a community of 80,000 people through their forums.

This is where I discovered the world of personal finance blogging, and began reading everything I could find. Bloggers were retiring early, paying off massive amounts of debt, and working toward financial freedom.

How? Aggressive saving.

I immediately took a magnifying glass to my own budget, shaved my expenses as low as possible, and began saving between 40-50% of earnings.

When my inevitable job burnout came last summer, I was able to quit my job and recharge for a few months while transitioning into my new career.

That's financial freedom.

Everyone says they want financial freedom, but how hard are they willing to work for it? How much do you want an oversized home, a new car, a fancy wardrobe, or expensive meals? How important is a daily coffee habit, cable television, or an overpriced gym membership?

Are these things more important than financial freedom?

Readers: What Does Financial Freedom Mean To You?

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Discussions — 9 Responses

  • Ali @ Anything You Want June 11, 2015 on 10:15 am

    Sounds like my definition of financial freedom is very similar to yours: having enough money to take time off to recharge if need be. I also hope to have enough to travel regularly and make time in my life for things that are important to me outside of work.

  • Retire29 June 11, 2015 on 10:29 am

    Taken literally, financial freedom is the ability to afford one’s own lifestyle without depending on anyone, or anything, else–that would include a company.

    I’d argue that have the ability to take time off and recharge could be accomplished if you just have a decent emergency fund. Financial freedom means no end date, unless self-imposed for non-financial reasons (i.e. I want to work, but don’t need to).

  • Brian @DebtDiscipline June 11, 2015 on 11:12 am

    Financial freedom for me is not relying on someone else for your income. Once you break that relationship you open yourself up to so many more options.

  • Melanie @ Dear Debt June 11, 2015 on 12:15 pm

    I love your story! My idea of financial freedom means being in control of my money and not letting it control me. It also means the ability to travel and give when I want, without worry.

  • Stephen June 13, 2015 on 11:22 am

    Great read, it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot of these last few months. I actually wrote an article on the same topic http://bit.ly/1G1IUDy

  • SavvyJames June 14, 2015 on 10:05 am

    Two parts for me. The first, being debt free. As noted by Ambrose Bierce, “DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver.” Second, being able to live my chosen lifestyle on passive and portfolio, sans earned (labor) income.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach June 15, 2015 on 8:36 am

    I had no idea it was the class with coursera that got you started! I was always interested in that one. Your idea of financial freedom is the same as mine. I just want to work on the projects I’m most passionate about whether I get paid or not.

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