What is “Financial Liberty”?

Financial Liberty is the power to create the life you want without being controlled by money.

Photo by @chronisyan at Unsplash

We’ve all been controlled by money at some point of our lives. Whether you stuck it out in a job you hated, majored in something you weren’t actually interested in merely for the career prospects, or even just ordered water last time you went out for dinner then you can relate to this feeling.

It’s considered “normal” these days to have almost every aspect of your life controlled by your income and your job. In response, there’s an abundance of information out there about achieving financial “independence” or financial “freedom”.

However, just achieving financial independence or financial freedom doesn’t mean that money has no control over your life.


Let’s start with breaking down financial independence and financial freedom, versus Financial Liberty.

Financial independence is generally understood as being independent from any institution or organization when it comes to your money. That is to say, you don’t have to show up for a 9-to-5 every day to pay your bills. Maybe you’re a YouTube star, or a “trust fund baby”, or you worked your whole life to build up a hefty nest egg. You have all the money you would ever need.

For millions of people, financial independence is just something to daydream about. Financial freedom, on the other hand, is more attainable for the “average” person. Financial freedom is the ability to afford everything you need and most (if not all) of your desires, which also sounds pretty great, right?

Well, yes. But again, many who have achieved financial independence or financial freedom are still missing something.

What exactly?

Let’s start with a couple examples.


Meet Sasha

Sasha started as a software developer. After 5 years, she now works as a product manager for a respectable tech company just east of Seattle. Sasha earns $95k a year, she owns a home, is single with no children, and she has a comfortable balance in her savings account. She is privy to the world of financial freedom. If her car broke down, she could pay to get it fixed or buy another one. If she needs a break from work, she can take a week in the Bahamas.

But Sasha HATES her job: the bureaucracy, the meetings, the micro-management. Most of Monday through Friday, Sasha daydreams about quitting to start a non-profit for the benefit of rescue animals; something she’s wanted to do since she was a kid. Yet, anytime she gets close to her dream she starts thinking, “But how will I continue to pay my bills?”

Sasha has financial freedom. She does not have Financial Liberty. She is still afraid to leave a job she hates to do something she loves.


Meet Arlo and Maya

Arlo and Maya are deep in the throes of mid-life: early 40s, 3 kids, both working full-time, and constantly juggling soccer practices, doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher conferences, etc. Combined they make $68,000 per year, so they’re not struggling, but they’re not rich either. Earlier this year when one of their cars broke down they needed a loan to replace it, and they’re carrying a small balance on their credit cards.

Neither of them feels like they have the time to manage their finances. Every now and then they start to feel concerned that they’re not doing enough to save for their kids’ college or their own retirement, but the unsettling feeling is quickly forgotten as they get busy with something else.

Life can be hectic, and that’s why millions of Americans feel like they’re just scraping by. It may seem an impossible feat to start getting ahead, but it’s easier than Arlo and Maya might think. There are baby steps that they can take to pay off their debt, set up an emergency fund, and start saving.

It’s easy to think “I don’t have time”, or “I’ll never be wealthy”, but these become self-fulfilling prophecies. Small changes today can become big successes tomorrow and enable Arlo and Maya to live with Financial Liberty, and it may not be as busy or difficult as they expect.


Meet Kevin

Kevin is retired and wants to buy a motorcycle. He called into a popular financial talk show for advice because he wasn’t sure if he could afford one. 

From following the advice of said talk show through most of his career, Kevin had accumulated a net worth of $2.7 million. Yet, he still wasn’t sure if he could afford a $20,000 motorcycle. Of course, it was likely Kevin’s aversion to spending that enabled him to accumulate such a nest egg. 

Kevin could live comfortably off investment returns and leave plenty to his family, but he was still afraid to spend money. He has achieved financial independence, but not Financial Liberty.


What Makes Financial Liberty Different?

The only other place to use the term Financial Liberty was this article from 2015 on InvestmentU.com. The author, Andy Snyder, explains that financial freedom leads to nothing but mediocrity. 

He provides a clear example: “We all have the freedom to travel where we want and when we want, and to do what we want. We simply don’t have the liberty to do it.”

He continues to elaborate on liberating oneself by building wealth.

For the most part, I agree with Mr. Snyder. However, I don’t believe that building wealth is the only means of achieving Financial Liberty. It only requires thinking differently about money.

So…

What is Financial Liberty?

Again, Financial Liberty is the power to create the life you want without being controlled by money.

  • It’s quitting a job you don’t like, and finding a fulfilling career, even if it pays less.
  • It’s breaking out of what feels like a never-ending cycle of work, pay bills, repeat.
  • It’s feeling comfortable about spending the money you’ve earned and saved on things that bring you joy.
  • It’s living where you want, and not being stuck in traffic every morning and every evening.
  • It’s pursuing your hobbies, donating to charity, and spending more time with your friends and family.

My goal with this blog is to show you a different way of thinking about money and a different way of living. I will teach you to stop being controlled by money, and ultimately, to create the life you want.

Stay tuned!

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