On the Fourth of July the United States celebrates Independence Day. Just a few days ago, on 23 June, a majority of British voters elected to initiate the exit of Britain from the European Union in what some are calling Britain’s Independence Day. Coming up on 15 August is India’s Independence Day.
Make 4 July 2016 the day you declare Financial Independence!
While the United States, Britain, India and many other countries around the world celebrate their independence days, it’s an opportunity to reflect on one’s own personal financial situation, and if necessary, make a Declaration of Financial Independence.
My notion of Financial Independence means making enough money via passive investments so that I don’t have to work a traditional 8-6 job. Financial Independence means I’m free to pursue my hobbies and interests full time and I’m not reliant on my employer to sustain my standard of living. Financial Independence means the freedom to choose what to do with my time.
What does Financial Independence mean for you? What is your “why” for growing and protecting your wealth? Is it to go on a dream vacation? Be able to retire before age 112? Volunteer full time? Spend more time with family or friends? Have more control over your own life? Be able to support your favorite charity?
Progress to Goals
I lead a modest life. I live in a single bedroom apartment in a safe but not very glamorous part of town. I drive a 14 year old car with over 200,000 miles on it. Not very flashy or impressive at face value.
What else do I have?
- Zero debt
- Steadily growing investments
- Several months worth of income in an emergency fund
I’m reliant on my job and money from my employer to maintain my standard of living. So I don’t consider myself to be financially independent but I am well positioned to become so. How have I done it so far?
- Specific savings goals
- Dogged commitment to paying down non-productive debt (such as my student loans)
- Living below my means
- Continual Financial Education
By paying off my debts, saving in smart investments, and living below my means, I’m confident that one day I will achieve financial independence.
When the American Colonies Declared Independence from Britain they still had to fight and win the Revolutionary war in order to BE an Independent Country. Just Declaring Financial Independence doesn’t GET you there. You need actionable goals that you work towards every day!
Friday 1 July marked the beginning of the second half of 2016.
The second half of 2016 is your time to pay down debt, save more (or start saving!), and working towards living the lifestyle that empowers you to pursue your dreams, whatever they may be.
It’s not easy. It does take sacrifice and discipline.
What can you start doing today to start working towards Financial Independence? Here are some ideas:
- Create a Budget and get an accountability buddy to help you stick to it
- Include a reward for sticking to the budget
- Set a realistic monthly savings goal you want to reach by 31 December 2016
- Research a new investment for the money you save
- Create a realistic plan for paying down debt
- Find recurring discretionary purchases and cut a few of them out
- If you have Netflix and Amazon Prime perhaps you cancel one. Maybe you cancel your cable or satellite TV plan and just pay for Netflix. Perhaps you buy a coffee maker and thermos instead of going to Starbucks each day.
Choose 1-3 financial goals that will lead to Financial Independence and write these goals down on a piece of paper. Post the paper in a prominent place in your home where you’ll see it ever day. The second half of 2016 is when you’re going to work for and achieve these goals.
Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Money certainly can’t buy happiness, but having enough to meet your needs is important for a happy life. Use the second half of 2016 to Declare Financial Independence and then take practical steps to work towards the life of freedom that you desire.
One of the ways I increase my financial liberty is through passive income.