What Kind of Freedom Do You Want?

What Kind of Freedom Do You Want

What kind of freedom do you want?

Do you want the freedom to spend your time as you please?

More time to spend with your kids. More time to read a book. More time to go to the beach, play at the park, or ride your bike?

If that’s what you want, you need a job that provides just enough income to cover your expenses while giving you maximum flexibility to work fewer hours on your own schedule.

One way to make that more achievable is to minimize your expenses. The less you need, the easier it will be to find a job that provides it without requiring you to work long and inconvenient hours, freeing you up to spend more of your life pursuing more of the activities you enjoy.

There are tradeoffs though.

With less money coming in, you may have less money to save and therefore have to work for a longer period of time before you reach full financial independence.

And you may not “achieve” as much in your work life. It all depends on what achievement means to you, but there aren’t many empires built or corporate ladders climbed on minimal hours worked.

Do you want the freedom to spend your money as you please?

Bigger vacations. A larger house with furniture and decorations you love. Eating out whenever and wherever you please. The newest gadgets.

If that’s what you want, you need a job that provides more disposable income. The more money you make, the more you can spend on luxuries.

There are tradeoffs though.

Earning more money often requires working longer and odder hours, meaning you may have less time to enjoy those things.

And with more needs to support, it may require either more savings or more time to reach financial independence.

Do you want the freedom to quit working as soon as possible?

Complete freedom from the need for income. No need to go to work in the morning. Every day an open book, ready for you to take advantage of as you’d like.

Minimizing your expenses is a good way to get there. Fewer needs require fewer savings.

Maximizing your income is also a good way to get there. The more you make the more you can save, and saving more money is the best way to reach financial independence sooner.

If you combine minimal expenses with maximal income, you may be able to retire decades before most of your friends and colleagues.

There are tradeoffs though.

The quest to minimize your expenses may cause you to forgo experiences that would bring you joy today. Things like traveling or taking your kids to a baseball game.

The quest to maximize your income might lead to long hours and stressful work, which would make your day-to-day experience before financial independence less enjoyable.

What kind of freedom do you want?

Every path, every decision, comes its own set of advantages and disadvantages. This is what makes personal finance so tricky.

There are no right answers. There is only what’s right for you given what you want and what you’re willing to sacrifice.

Only by clearly defining those two things can you start making financial decisions that truly give you the freedom you want.

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2 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Justin @ Atypical Life July 12, 2017

    I couldn’t agree more. Personal finance is all about what you want, but most people will not tell you that. Everyone tries to sell their way as the best way to do something without a thought about each individual’s situation.

    I want the freedom to choose. The freedom to work or not, to choose when to get up, where to live, what to do. In order to achieve it, there are sacrifices, but they will all be worth it when the working career is over!

  • Done by Forty August 1, 2017

    I like the way you’ve framed it. There’s more than one type of freedom.

    Personal finance in a lot of ways is a type of lifestyle design: the money is secondary in funding the kind of life you want.

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