Defining Financial Freedom

by Ryan Guina

Financial freedom means many different things to different people. To a teenager, it might mean having their own place and cutting your ties with the Bank of Mom and Dad. To someone in retirement age it might mean never having to work again. Still to others, financial freedom simply means never having to worry about food on your plate or a roof over your head.

What is financial freedom?

Over the last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about financial freedom and what it means to me. It’s a difficult question to answer because it forces you to ask many questions and try to figure out what is really important in your life. The older I get, the more I realize time is the most important thing to me. Time with my family and friends, time for doing things I enjoy, and time to appreciate the life with which I have been blessed.

To me, financial freedom doesn’t necessarily mean retirement. But it does mean being able to work at my pace, doing things I enjoy. Life is too short to spend the majority of my waking hours commuting or sitting in pointless meetings. Financial freedom means not being tied to a job or a location for financial reasons, but working at a job because I enjoy it, and living where my wife and I are happiest.

Right now, my wife and I live very comfortable lives. All of our basic needs are covered and then some. We have loving family and friends, we live in a nice house in a nice area, we have good jobs with good salaries, we have no consumer debt (only an affordable mortgage payment), and we have a side business that is growing well. My wife and I plan on having children before long, and while we plan on going down to one salary, we know we will be able to afford the necessities. In short, we have been blessed and we want for nothing in our lives, at least from a financial perspective.

What does financial freedom mean to you?

There are different definitions of financial freedom for everyone. Mine is having the financial freedom to do the things I enjoy and not being forced to rely on a day job that I don’t like, just because I need the money. I want to work at my pace doing things I enjoy. Hopefully that will be something creative that will allow me to spend more time with my family. It’s a dream that I will one day make reality.

Am I financially free? Not 100%, at least by my definition. But I think I am well on my way.

Read what others have to say about financial freedom and retirement.

What does financial freedom mean to you?

Published or updated March 26, 2010.
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Million Dollar Journey

Thanks for another mention Ryan.

Great article and description on what being financially free means to you. I agree with you 100%, financial freedom is when you don’t rely on a job to pay the bills.


2 Dividend Growth Investor

I sometimes wonder if financial freedom really trully exists. I have read numerous articles showing that the richest %-age of the US population works significantly more than 40hour weeks. This leaves them very little time to “spend” their money. On one hand these people, who are working hard to become financially free, have actually become slaves to their goal to become financially free through hard work..
But on the other hand, if these people really enjoy what they are doing. Then these 40+ hour weeks do sound like vacation to them.

I am 90% away from financial freedom right now ( unless I figure out a way to spend 90% less, i am not fin free 🙁 )


3 Ryan

Does financial freedom exist? Yes. At which point depends on the individual. Some people work to accumulate. I want to work to live.


4 Aaron Stroud

Dividend Growth Investor, great point. You hit on the point I was hoping to make. I think one of the traps for high income earners is wanting too much stuff. Sure they can afford it and they probably enjoy it, but it might interfer with enjoying the simpler things in life.


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