It may appear to be a pleasant theory. However, the truth is that it is attainable by anyone. And I mean anyone – even someone who, like yours indeed, once owed tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Whatever financial difficulties you are experiencing today, there is always a way to recover. Perhaps your first step should be to download a budgeting app.
We’ll discuss the value of financial freedom and share some financial freedom tips, including a few that worked for me, in this article.
What Does Financial Independence Mean?
Financial independence entails taking control of one’s finances. You have a consistent cash flow, which enables you to live the life you desire. You are not concerned with how you will pay your bills or unexpected expenses. Additionally, you are not burdened by a mountain of Debt.
It’s about recognizing that you require additional funds to pay down Debt and possibly increasing your income through a side hustle – more on that in a moment. It’s also about long-term financial planning, which includes actively saving for a rainy day or retirement.
Ten Life-Changing Financial Independence Tips
- Recognize Your Current Position
You cannot achieve financial independence unless you first determine your starting point. Considering how much Debt you have, how much money you lack in savings, and how much money you require can be depressing. However, this is a significant step in the right direction.
Compile a list of all your debts, including your mortgage, student loans, car loan, and any other debt you may have accumulated. Include any money you’ve borrowed from friends or family over the years.
Take a deep breath now. And yet another. Then add all the numbers together.
How much Debt do you currently owe?
If it’s a large number, don’t panic; I promise to discuss some strategies for paying it down later in this article; if it’s a low figure, congrats! Please feel free to leave your financial independence tips in the comments section below.
Following that, take a look at the money you’ve saved.
Compile a list of all your savings vehicles, including savings accounts, stocks, company stock-matching programs, company retirement-matching programs, and pension plans. Then we’ll add any recurring monthly payments you receive, such as a salary or income from a side hustle.
Keep these figures in mind as we discuss the following financial freedom tips.
- Take a Positive View of Money
Debt can undoubtedly be discouraging.
However, remember that money is a good thing, even if it appears to be burdened right now.
You deserve financial independence.
According to Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass at Making money, people who do not earn a lot of money frequently experience shame when it comes to earning money. Thus, the primary impediment that many people face when making money is their belief that money is terrible. Many feel guilty for possessing it and even more guilty for desiring it. As Sincero put it, “we use money every day to improve our lives, yet we always seem to focus on the negative aspects of it.”
Money, like food and water, is a necessity. It enables you to acquire the items you require and live the life you desire.
To achieve financial freedom, you must view money as a tool that will assist you in achieving your goals, fueling your energy, and living a stress-free life that you can enjoy.
Because if you have a negative attitude toward money, you will subconsciously undermine your chances of earning and keeping it.
- Create a Goals List
Why are you in need of money?
Do you wish to be debt-free for good? Are you desperate to escape the grind of the 9-to-5? Is there a destination you’ve always desired to visit? Are you saving for a wedding, children, or retirement?
I achieved financial independence because I connected it to an emotional goal. My goal was to pay off my student loans and save for a down payment on my first home. And, to be honest, it was a euphoric experience to watch my Debt disappear, and my savings grow.
I became so excited by the changes in the numbers that I worked harder to earn more money to see a tremendous shift in my finances. Would I have achieved financial independence if I had not associated the goal with something emotional? Most likely not. I was desperate to pay off my Debt and relocate away from my parents’ house. That sense of desperation motivated me throughout my journey.
Another exciting occurrence occurred. In February 2016, I scribbled a few of my goals on a scrap of paper:
Earn $100,000 online by selling products.
Make a down payment of $20,000
Pay off $24,000 in student loan debt
I eventually misplaced and forgot about that piece of paper. And then, a little more than a year later, while I was already settled in my new home, I discovered it in my notebook. Indeed, I had accomplished all three objectives. The irony was that I wasn’t even thinking about those goals consciously.
You may not be able to accomplish everything in a month. However, a year is a long time to make significant progress toward your goals. Assign your destination to a specific number that you wish to achieve. Believe it or not, you will unintentionally begin working toward those goals.
Knowing precisely what you want to accomplish simplifies the process of achieving financial independence a millionfold.
- Maintain a Record of Your Spending
Tracking your spending is a critical step toward financial independence.
You can use a tool like Mint to track your spending, identify which categories you’ve overspent in, the amount of money in each of your accounts, and the amount of Debt you have.
- Prioritize Yourself
You’ve probably heard the adage “pay yourself first.” However, if you haven’t already, “pay yourself first” refers to setting aside a specific amount of money in your savings account before paying any other obligations, such as bills. And paying yourself first has aided countless people in their quest for financial independence. Why? Because if you want to pay yourself $1,000 per pay period first, any remaining funds must be used to pay bills. And if you don’t have enough money to pay those bills, you’re forced to earn extra money to cover the costs.
By paying yourself first, you ensure that you are constantly setting aside money to invest in yourself. By doing the opposite, you receive whatever is left over, which is frequently insufficient to help you achieve financial independence.
You can also prioritize yourself in other ways. For instance, if your employer offers a retirement savings plan, you can request that funds be withdrawn for your retirement. This way, you’re prioritizing your investment in yourself and your future. The money is deducted from your pay, leaving you with money to set aside for bills and expenses.
- Reduce Your Spending
Warren Buffett purchased a five-bedroom home in 1958 for $31,500 and has not left since. What is his net worth? A mind-boggling $90.3 billion. He can afford a larger, more expensive home. However, his thriftiness may very well be why he is one of the world’s wealthiest people.
On the other hand, Kanye West is not afraid to flaunt his wealth. He is the owner of a $20 million mansion. And at one point, he decided to ask Mark Zuckerberg for $1 billion… via Twitter.
What distinguishes these two highly successful gentlemen? Buffet did not overspend, whereas West spends money he does not have.
The truth is that many wealthy individuals do not appear rich. Every day, Zuckerberg wears the same uninteresting t-shirt and jeans.
Purchasing less can help you become more prosperous.
Two things work in your favor when you spend less. For starters, you’ll have more money to set aside for financial independence. Two, you’ll discover that you require significantly less stuff to survive, which allows you to save more money.
- Purchase Experiences Rather than Things
Life is brief. It is not necessary to hoard all of your money until you reach the age of 65. You are permitted to take pleasure in life while you are still alive.
Ultimately, the experiences you have, not the products you own, will help you live a more fulfilled life.
And are the items you purchase making you happier in the long run? Is the Debt you incurred by buying a lot of stuff making your life easier?
Now it’s time to flip the switch.
Which of your memories is the happiest? How were you spending your time? To whom were you?
Let us continue to create memories in this manner.
Perhaps you have a friend with whom you enjoy working out. Invite her over to your house for a free workout to a YouTube playlist.
Date night has arrived. You want to create an unforgettable experience. Groupon can help you find an unusual activity you’ve never done before at a fraction of the cost.
You’ve always desired to visit Rome. You’ve been saving for a year to take your dream vacation. Take that vacation guilt-free. You did not incur Debt to obtain it; you earned it. Alternatively, you can become a digital nomad and work remotely while traveling the world.
Moments are what makeup life. The best ones result from meaningful interactions with friends and family. While some products can help you connect with your family (such as a weekly family video game night), most of them add little value.
Spend Money. You don’t have to appear to have money.
- Eliminate Debt
Some people will argue that it is more prudent to invest in stocks rather than repaying Debt. Perhaps that is true if you are an expert stock picker. However, if you’ve never invested in stocks before, you risk accruing additional Debt.
Many people report feeling the same way after making their final debt payment: relieved.
If you owe $50,000, even if you have $30,000 in the bank, you cannot genuinely claim to be financially independent. You’re still $20,000 short.
While paying another person is not as glamorous as having money in the bank, it does move you closer to financial independence.
There are two primary strategies for debt repayment: snowball and avalanche. When you pay off the smallest Debt first, this is called a snowball. Avalanche occurs when the Debt with the highest interest rate is paid off.
It would be best if you determined what is most effective for you. However, as I worked toward debt freedom, I experienced the snowball effect. It aided in my motivation. Because I was able to pay off my first Debt, a $1,200 credit card bill, in less than a month, the sense of accomplishment motivated me to tackle a much larger, lingering student loan.
And, because credit cards were no longer an issue, I would pay approximately three times the meager $300 minimum payment. In the end, it took about three years longer than the nine years I was allotted to repay the student loans.
Paying off a large debt relieves you of a tremendous burden. After repaying your Debt, you will notice an increase in the amount of money in your bank account. It’s an incredible feeling to watch the number grow (even if you had to watch it fall at first), and it motivates you to continue developing it.
- Develop Additional revenue streams
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “My debt exceeds my income; how am I going to pay it off if I don’t earn enough?”
If you’re serious about financial independence, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices in terms of blood, sweat, and tears.
Your 9 to 5 may not be sufficient. If that is the case, you must step up your efforts and look for work outside of your current position.
According to some experts, having seven streams of income is a good idea. If you have a 9 to 5 job, consider yourself fortunate; you now have one, with only six more to go!
Now, you can consider your sources of income in two ways: active income (which involves exchanging time for money) or passive income (which does not involve exchanging time for money) (Money that can keep coming in, even while you sleep).
When you exchange time for money, you are constrained by the hours of the day. Here are a few side hustles you can do to supplement your income:
As a freelance writer, you can find jobs on ProBlogger. As a virtual assistant, you can find jobs on Upwork.
Acquire new skills and monetize them through online courses for entrepreneurs.
Become a driver for Uber
On Task Rabbit, you can find assistance with household tasks.
Find odd, sporadic jobs on Craigslist and more!
If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to earning income, you can concentrate on passive income streams such as:
Establishing an online dropshipping store on Oberlo
At Shopify, you can start your own custom clothing business.
Distribute profitable content (blog, ebooks, courses, webinars, audiobooks, podcast, apps)
Develop your skills as an affiliate marketer.
Purchase the real estate and rent it out
Consider investing in stocks.
Fortunately, all seven of your income streams can come from the same source. For instance, if you are an eCommerce expert, you can earn money by creating seven stores. Additionally, you are not required to begin with seven streams; you can gradually increase your number over time.
- Make an Investment in Your Future
The final financial freedom tip is critical. Assume you follow this article’s advice and recommendations to pay off Debt and grow your savings. That may be sufficient assistance for the time being. However, what if the unexpected occurs? Are you prepared?
It’s critical to saving money for rainy days, retirement, and (sorry to be morbid here) in the event of your death to help ensure your family does not drown in funeral costs, debts, and taxes. Now, let’s return to that happy place.
If you have a 9 to 5 job, speak with your employer about adding a retirement plan or verify that you are already receiving deductions toward one. The determination is made before the money reaches your account, so you never feel you’re losing money. And it’s pretty cool to check in on it regularly and watch your savings grow.
Additionally, you should save enough money for an emergency fund. According to some experts, $10,000 is sufficient, while others recommend six months of your salary. And to be completely honest, those figures can appear relatively high if you don’t earn a lot of money. Rather than that, begin with a manageable goal – such as $100 for the first month. And as your active or passive income increases, gradually increase your plan to $500 per month, $500 bi-weekly, and so forth. If you’ve overspent on credit and now face a large credit card bill, avoid using your emergency fund and instead focus on increasing your active income opportunities to pay it off faster.
The emergency fund is intended to cover unplanned expenses such as a tree falling on your house, a car accident that requires payment out of pocket, or a hospital visit.
By saving for rainy days and retirement, you’ll be less likely to find yourself in the same situation as you are now: wishing for financial freedom.
Financial independence can assist you in reclaiming control of your finances and, more importantly, your life. It’s about living within your means, being a little frugal, and prioritizing expenditures on necessities such as food, shelter, and, yes, vacations (relaxation is important too, you know). By following the financial freedom tips in this article, you can take a step closer to achieving the financial independence you deserve. Therefore, examine your finances, develop additional sources of income, and pay down that Debt; before you know it, you’ll be debt-free.
How close are you to financial independence? Tell us in the comments section below!