We often talk about financial freedom and how important it is to work towards it - but how can we work out how to get there when ultimately everyone’s journey is unique?
Some people want to travel the world. Some people want a house and a family and a career to boot. Some people want to build an investment portfolio that allows them to retire at 30.
Your goal might be to become financially free - but what exactly does financial freedom mean?
We want to open up the conversation about what financial freedom looks like in different contexts. And more importantly, start a discussion on what financial freedom means to you.
What’s Your Definition of Financial Freedom?
Sam 31: To be able to do what I/my family want, when we want (within reason) without having to think about how we have to change our lifestyle before or after the event.
Dani 32: I think it means the freedom to not worry about money. I think financial freedom is seeing something and being like, I’m going to buy that and not feel bad or can do that for myself and for others without even thinking.
To achieve it, I’m actually mentally budgeting all of the time. I get texts from my bank so I know how much is coming in each month. I’m never really strict with myself, it’s quite organic. But I always see what I buy as a treat, like a dress I bought yesterday was a total treat because it was over the amount I would usually pay for a dress. I know I can do this about once a month and have a big spend on myself.
But freedom is also not about spending all of the money you have. It’s about feeling like you have some security and stability too.
Hannah 25: My idea of financial freedom would be being able to live my life as I had imagined without the constraints of how much I had in the bank.
Strangely I would say I’m not really going after what I have described as financial freedom as I don’t like the idea of chasing money. I think when you get that next pay-rise your idea of ‘living well’ will change, your expenses will go up and you’ll have to keep chasing the pay-rises to accommodate what you think you need. I work for a charity so job satisfaction means more to me than the size of the paycheck.
Ben 27: I suppose my definition of ‘financial freedom’ would be the ability to do what I want, when I want, without too much concern for how it will financially impact me.
This doesn’t necessarily mean having all my credit cards paid off, my student loan settled, and no mortgage; but, rather, being able to budget for these and still have disposable income each month, with very few restrictions on what I can and can’t do.
Similarly, I feel that if you can put money away each month toward something (i.e. a holiday), that indicates some level of financial freedom.
I have very strict ways of ensuring my financial freedom. I split my pay packet as soon as I get it, with the majority going toward bills, a small amount going into savings, and a chunk left over for my day-to-day needs. This way I have full control of my finances; I know that all my direct debits are covered, I’m saving towards big purchases that I may not be able to afford in one go, and I still have enough left over to see me through.
Travis 26: It means I’m able to not panic if someone invites me out for an impromptu drink.
I want to own my own home. So, as a freelancer, there are certain jobs I do that I don’t intend to spend the money. I have already put it away in my mind to work towards my financial goals.
So, What Is Financial Freedom?
According to The Money Charity, over half the UK population feels their mental health has been affected by the stress of money problems.
With so many of us worrying about money on a daily basis - and often becoming overwhelmed with our finances - the idea of financial freedom is a dreamy one.
What would we do with the extra cash?
Where would we travel to?
What are the things we would buy?
It’s easy to set financial goals that focus on attaining a luxury life-style; the big house, the flash car, the fancy handbag and all the trimmings.
Realistically, financial freedom is having the ability to live the life you want to live, without worrying about the financial impact. So, attaining that freedom rests entirely on what you perceive as a comfortable life.
Finding Financial Freedom with Peer-to-Peer
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How Do You Find Financial Freedom?
Figure out what goals work for you. Be realistic but optimistic. Stretch yourself but don’t set yourself up for failure.
Budget and plan to make sure you have enough money to cover your expenses, can save a little and work towards your financial freedom - whatever financial freedom means for you.