What's Your Goal?
Freedom may be at the very core of what it means to be an American. But achieving financial freedom--well, that can require some work.
The first step: defining what it means to you. Then you can figure out what you need to do to get there.
Need some inspiration? Readers from around the world sent us their definition of what financial freedom means to them and what they're doing--or have done already--to achieve it. Keep reading for their responses, then tell us how you define it in the comments section below.
I lost my full-time job back in October. I am blessed to have a husband who has a good job with benefits. Still, we dialed back many home improvement projects and fun things; basically we 'buckled down,' as my mother used to say. One day, we got to talking about what we can't do, about ‘not having the money.’ I [stopped him] as I believe negative thinking blocks the flow of positivity.
I asked him if we have been able to meet our financial obligations. He said yes. I asked if we have been able to put food on the table. He said yes. I asked if we were able to eat out here and there. He said yes. I asked if we have cars that are running and can get us from place to place. He said yes. I said, `We might not have as much money... but you know what? We will always have enough.’ And that is financial freedom to me. Knowing I have enough. --Susan, Rock Hill, SC
My credit card debt would be paid off, my student loan debt would be paid off and I'd save enough to own a cute, small house that I could afford with enough land for a garden. --Misty
My definition of financial freedom is to be debt free! We are trying very hard to achieve this in two years! We are having a yard sale this weekend, and I am putting anything in it I can live without. I want to be out of debt so bad it hurts. I have two young kids who are growing up way too fast and I want to be able to have fun with them and not be at work all the time. --Karma, Crestwood, KY
Peace of Mind
Financial Freedom, for me, is peace of mind. I'm passionate about environmental health education and advocating consumers to make better choices for a sustainable healthier lifestyle. Living in America for the last four decades, I accomplished my mission by living within my means and [having] the mentality to always enjoying the goodness of life. This accomplishment did not come with an inheritance but hard work and perseverance that pays off with a life plan. I'm proud to live paycheck-to-paycheck. I pay for everything with cash. I have no mortgage, no car payment, no long list of medicine to consume every day and no headaches. --Loni, Los Angeles, CA
Following Your Heart
Doing something I enjoy every day and not having to worry about money. That doesn’t mean I have to be a millionaire–it just means I have enough to live the life I want without the worry I will run out of money. I will feel free when I get to that point! --Heather
The ability to do things I love. (I don’t have to be rich--comfortable is good!) And the freedom of not having a boss (or two) I see on a daily basis. --Susan
To say "I could buy that if I wanted to, but I don't so I won't." --Tracy, Auckland, New Zealand
Spending on a budget and having savings to be comfortable. I used to be at a point in my life where I would cringe at checkout because I didn't keep track of my spending and had no idea what was in my account. I am a lot better now, but I still have a long way to go. --Jackie, Atlanta, GA
TIme Well Spent
Success to me is the ability to provide for your family without missing quality time with them. Financial freedom is my goal, but entrepreneurship is key to that reality, creating income streams that free up your time. --Ronke
The luxury to schedule and pay all bills at one time, options to eat out or prepare a meal of my choosing, ability to pay cash for just about any contingency...medical, home or auto repairs, gifts, pampering. The freedom to toss my dreams into the universe and have them come true! --Celeste
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