What is Financial Freedom?
Yesterday I was interviewed for a new podcast, which will launch in the next few weeks. It is pretty cool, and aimed at an audience that are looking to build a bigger life, not a bigger lifestyle.
I will post it when it is available, as it is full of interviews with people that have made the decision to do something different with their life.During the interview, a concept was presented to me with regard to financial freedom.
The concept was this:
Financial freedom leads to time freedom, leads to relationship freedom, leads to service freedom.
The final one, service freedom, being in relation to being of service to others – doing good things.
I thought at the time that this concept could be tipped on its head – as service freedom, in many ways is the one freedom that we all have at our hands every day.
Doing good things which benefit others, can be anything from small acts to grand gestures.
Only this morning, on breakfast television, I watched a report about a man on a train, who had performed a random act of kindness towards a stranger.The man had observed a young mother with her son, and noticed how she interacted with him, and how in his opinion she was being a great mum. As he left the train he passed her a note which praised her for being a great mum, the note contained some money with the request that she treat herself.
This story went viral, it created a wonderful news story, and the stranger was tracked down.The mum had been extremely touched by this mans actions. He shared that the reason behind this random act of kindness was that years ago, a stranger on a train had helped his daughter out, and that he had been very thankful to him, and so he was paying it forward.
How wonderful !
As this particular act of kindness involved a gift of money, maybe it is an example of how financial freedom can lead to service freedom.
Since the interview yesterday, and then after watching this report on television this morning, I have been thinking about what financial freedom would actually mean.
Money can be a burden wether we have a little, or a lot
Possibly the only time in our lives when money has no significance to us, is when we are under the age of five.
As we get older, money begins to play a bigger and bigger part in our lives, and for many of us the burden of it is, that we don’t have enough of it. We want, houses, cars, holidays, etc.. and at the early stages in our career, the wants usually outweigh the income we are generating.
Is it the the lists of things we want, or the lack of funds to get them which cause us unrest?
Wanting to own a house, or to be able to afford good holidays etc., is to my mind, a good thing, as it gives us the drive to work hard, and earn more. Wanting to improve our circumstances is a positive, and often leads to us seeking new opportunities, and striving for additional success – to relieve the burden.
More money than you can imagine.
Recently I was invited to partake in an interesting challenge called The Prosperity Game.Each day participants were sent a cheque for an amount of money. It started low $100 then doubled each day, and each day we had to imagine where the money had come from, and what we planned to do with it.
Initially I found it great fun, getting excited, and stating in detail, where it had arrived from, and what plans I had for the money.
As the days passed it became a little more challenging, I began receiving cheques for $500,0000, were had it come from?, what would I do with it?.
The challenge was not so much in where it came from. I really enjoyed getting creative, and inventing lots of different scenarios about where my business could have generated these huge sums of money.
This exercise encouraged me to think bigger than I had been thinking, in terms of the opportunities for the business in the future.
What I found much more challenging was the question of how it should be spent. Which charity should benefit?, how to divide what size bonuses for people, what treats for myself, what savings etc.
The money was flowing in, and the greater the amounts, the more challenging the burden of what to spend it on became.
Now I am sure, that if I did get a cheque for $1000000 I would quite easily find some great uses for it, but it would nevertheless, be a burden to me, giving me a huge responsibility to utilise it well.
Recently a friend of mine shared with me, that she was really excited as her parents, who are extremely wealthy, had made the decision to gift her family some money, in-order to make their lives a little easier
My friend is married with two lovely children, she is self-employed, her husband is in the forces, and they both work hard.
Her parents had said they would gift the money so that her life would be much easier, and she could spend more time with the children. It really was a wonderful offer.
The following week her parents sought legal advice about gifting the money, and said that they had been advised, that there should be certain criteria put into place regarding the gift of the money, which was a little complicated.
Without going into detail, it would mean that my friends house would no longer really belong to her and her husband, and should my friend die, the house would go back to her parents. This in effect would leave her husband homeless. This complicated situation has, sadly led to family arguments, and discussions about events which most of us would rather not discuss.
This initial act of kindness, of wanting to provide financial freedom for someone else, became a huge burden to all involved.
What is financial freedom ?
Financial freedom, to my mind, is in knowing where you are now, and knowing where you are heading, and being confident that you are making good financial decisions with the money and circumstances you have.
When I first started out with my own business, my number one time consuming, energy draining worry, was money.
I learnt to have faith that all would be well, and have confidence that my strategies would work.
I am not worrying about money at the moment. Does this mean that I have found financial freedom? I am not not wealthy, I have a mortgage, and financial commitments.
I have found freedom from the worry I guess, and find it exciting now, to consider how my finances will grow.
We can never guarantee that financial freedom will ever truly mean freedom from worry about our finances. We may attain the happy position of not needing to worry about where the next cheque is coming from, but would that give us financial freedom – there is no guarantee.
I believe that the service freedom is something we can all achieve immediately.
I have service freedom, as I am able, on any day to perform acts of kindness and service, and I do.
I love the concept of pay it forward and random acts of kindness, which can simply make someone’s day.
What does the term financial freedom mean to you?
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