Financial Freedom: What Does it Mean to You?

If you’d asked me a decade or so ago what financial freedom meant, I probably wouldn’t have had a clue. Winning the lottery, maybe? Not having debt coming out my ears? I was too caught up in just getting by to even think about being free financially.

Then I read Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicky Robin, and a whole world of possibility opened up to me. It appealed to the part of me that loved the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder — books where pioneers made do, wore things out, got creative, and worked together to actually build a life.

Your Money or Your Life had concepts like FI (financial independence) and the crossover point in it. According to the book, the crossover point is the point in time at which “monthly investment income crosses above monthly expenses” — the point at which “you will be financially independent in the traditional sense of that term. You will have a safe, steady income for life from a source other than a job.”

Suddenly, I saw that it would be possible to not have to work for a living at a job indefinitely. Of course I could continue to do so if I were still willing and able to, but I wouldn’t have to. It means the ability to work because you want to — either at a paid job, in a business, as a volunteer, you name it.

It’s not just about the money in the bank (meaning savings, investments, and passive income sources in this case.) It’s about what you can choose to do or not do because of how you’ve arranged your financial life.

And that to me is what financial freedom means. What does it mean to you?

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16 comments

  • To me financial freedom means enough in the bank, and enough generating income to not have to worry about doing the things I want to do on a whim. (namely, travel, give, and enjoy events)

    xo,
    Dani

  • Financial freedom means knowing that I have the funds to pay for all reasonable future expenses based on my current lifestyle, plus extra to pay for medical care and travel. In short, no worries about basic money needs being met. This allows for time to be spent on what’s most important personally, while doing so without any money stress. Sounds great, doesn’t it!

  • Financial freedom to me means the opportunity to do what I want when I want and not have to worry about the financial repercussions (if any).

  • kim

    Financial Freedom means having my bills paid off. Having a 6 month emergency fund. If my bills were paid and I was debt free we could live on what my husband makes and I could save a good portion of what I make. This would mean a great retirement. That is not that far off! I imagine you abilities if you had no debt. Incredible!

  • I’m pretty much with you–it’s about choice. Most importantly, autonomy. I work when and if I want to. Currently, not the case, but I’m getting there!

    For folks who want to work the “Your Money or Your Life” program, the foundation set up by Joe and Vicki offers the workbook for free online at financialintegrity.org

    Love the site, love the program, love the book. It totally changed my life in the best way!

  • Financial freedom is a concept I’m not even sure I can dream of at this point in my life. To me, financial freedom means complete independence – you don’t owe anything to anyone, and you use money only in the ways you choose. Right now I owe a lot of money to a lot of creditors. I spend a great deal of my income on things I “have” to pay for instead of things I want. Financial freedom means the ability to choose more than which bill to pay first. It also means using less energy earning, worrying about, and spending money. Right now I’m just trying to tread water, but someday I hope financial freedom is one of my goals!

  • Being able to live solely off of interest and passive income streams if we wanted to. We’re aiming for $1.5 million or more and a pension by age 52. :-)