“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” -John F. Kennedy
To succeed in achieving financial freedom, you’ll need to start by envisioning what success looks like for you. Before you set your vision, let’s discuss a trap many of us fall into.
The typical path: Saving up for ______
When we think about financial goals, we typically imagine saving up for something. For example, “I want to save $500 to visit my sister in New York” or “I want to save up to buy a car.”
There’s nothing wrong with saving for a big purchase, but these goals will not help you achieve financial freedom.
Why? In the best case, you’ll work hard to save up some money, spend it, and end up back in the same financial situation. In the worst case, you’ll pull from savings or use a credit card and end up in a worse financial position.
As a result, we end up on a hamster wheel, where we work hard (in jobs we may not enjoy) to save up and buy things, just to end up back in the same stressful and restrictive situation. We then repeat this cycle again and again.
That’s not to say you should never travel or buy things - you absolutely should! But there’s an additional path we can take.
Our path: Saving up for freedom
Imagine a world in which you had unlimited money. How would your life change?
Your thoughts may first jump to “the typical path” outlined above, with answers like buying expensive clothes, a flashy car, or a big house. But let’s think more deeply about that approach. From your experience, do these types of material changes actually improve our happiness long-term? I think most of us would agree the answer is "no." Our new things become the “new normal” and our happiness remains the same. Most of us know in our hearts that buying more or nicer things won’t make us happier.
So, apart from buying new things, how would your life change with unlimited money? Your thoughts may next move to the question of how you would spend your time.
Would you spend more time with specific family members and friends? Would you continue in your current job with less fear of failure? Would you choose work more aligned to a personal passion? Would you change your schedule in some way? Would you start your own business? Travel the world? Spend more time in nature around your hometown? Build or create something beautiful?
In my view, these are the most meaningful questions we can ask ourselves. Life is a series of minutes/hours/days/months/years, and how we choose to spend that time defines us.
So dare to dream. Envision what a happier and more meaningful life means for you. Specifically think about one change you’d love to make in how you spend your time. Achieving this through building savings is the ultimate definition of financial freedom.
Now here’s what most people struggle with. You can absolutely get there. The methods we’ll discuss on this Path to Financial Freedom are simple. Following the path step-by-step will take hard work and dedication. But if you focus on your vision for how you want to spend your time, I know you can succeed in achieving that vision.
Ready to move onto the next step on the Path to Financial Freedom?