My Financial Freedom


My Financial Freedom

On Monday, I wrote about the change of mindset I experienced after thinking about retirement through the eyes of financial freedom. I used to have a difficult time imagining what retirement looked like before this mindset shift. First of all, retirement felt like it was a lifetime away. Every website and calculator told me that I could “afford” to retire sometime around 2055. 2055?!?!? I mean, that number doesn’t even seem real. It seems like the title of a science fiction movie. I feel like the zombie apocalypse is more likely to happen before my retirement with a year like that.

I also had a difficult time envisioning retirement because I am young (relatively speaking) and I can’t imagine sitting around reading a paper or playing golf all day long. I actually love working. I am fortunate to have found my calling in life and despite my recently hectic schedule; I love what I do, so I don’t mind late nights or early mornings.

When I started thinking about financial freedom instead of retirement, it truly felt like a monumental shift in my mind. All of the sudden, I could define lots of what I was working toward. Yes, I love to work, but it would also feel good to not feel any pressure to bring in an income as part of the work.

Goals Before Freedom Declaration

My hubby and I have been having lots of financial freedom discussions over the last few years and there are a few financial goals we want to achieve before we make this declaration:

1)   Pay for my son to go to college (if he wants) – one of the greatest gifts that both my hubby’s dad and mine gave to us was a fully funded (room, board, books) college experience. As my sister said recently, “I can’t give my kids anything less than I had.” And I feel the same way. Despite the fact that it will be an extremely expensive gift to give, we want to give it to my son.

2)   Take my son on 2 – 3 international trips – another gift my dad gave to his family a few years ago was a trip to Italy. I was 24 at the time and it was my first time out of the country and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. My son is highly inquisitive and I would love to feed his curiosity and appreciation for other cultures by exposing him to them.

After that…Financial Freedom!!

Once we achieve those financial goals, financial freedom looks pretty simple to us. We have cut back on many of our ongoing expenses and don’t anticipate the need to add things back like cable or high car payments. Here is what we anticipate.

1)   A rental home or condo – FB Hubby is a DIY guy and he loves a good project, but in our financially free days, we want to have less responsibility. We would like a broken toilet or a cracked tile to be someone else’s responsibility. We don’t really care where we live though because:

2)   Travel – We would like to travel more when we are in our financially free days. We don’t have to stay in a Ritz Carlton or go anywhere fancy, but we would like to see more of the country we live in or other countries. I would like to say that I have been to all 50 states at some point in my life and at this point, I am only about halfway there.

3)   Work that I enjoy – I don’t know what I will be doing 20 years from now, but whatever it is, I hope it makes me happy like my work does now. Since we have pretty low anticipated ongoing costs in our financially free days, this should give me lots of flexibility as far as work.

Financial Freedom = Before 2055

When we run the numbers on our financially free lifestyle, they make us smile. We know that we will not need much to fund our day to day expenses and a large part of this is because of the work we have been doing the last three years of living more financially responsible.

Since we have shifted our mindset from a spending mindset to a frugal mindset, financial freedom is a reality that will not be as far off as we originally thought. A few years ago, this list would have had 20+ things on it and every one of those things would only keep us further from declaring freedom.

If you have not defined what financial freedom looks like to you, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. And if you feel as though you will never achieve it, maybe it is because you are living an unsustainable lifestyle for the long term. Remember, the sooner you make changes, the faster you will be able to say “I am free!”

Image Soure: Free Digital Ponsulak

What does financial freedom look like to you?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


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