Updated: Jan 4
So you want to get financially free? Well, first you need to understand at a fundamental level why you want it. Doing this is the "why" portion of your financial freedom. In other words, why did you click on this post and start reading it? Maybe because someone shared it on LinkedIn or Facebook and it got your curiosity going. Maybe after reading a few other posts, you have started thinking about your why for financial freedom. Whatever the reason, now is the time to nail down your motivation for financial freedom if you haven't already done so.
What does your “why” mean, and why does it matter?
Many people want to achieve financial freedom. Whether it be because of lack of time, access, money, knowing-how to, or energy, most end up giving up at some point and fall back into the status-quo. It’s also completely fine to be content and happy with a secure life and work until retirement, if that’s your choice. However, for those that want to be work optional or stop working earlier than ~67, there are some things that you must do that differ from the regular. But let’s be real. It’s hard to constantly stay motivated out of sheer will power, but there’s a secret to getting back on track and sticking with your course of action.
It’s a clearly defined answer to “why do I do this/want this”?
Financial Freedom is going to look different for you than for any other person, so you’re going to need to understand why you want to achieve it in the first place. It’s not for everybody, but it can be for anybody.
1. Search Inward
What makes you happy? What do you truly value and what brings you the most joy? You will never truly understand your own happiness by listening to others’ opinions and seeking outside approval. You may think that the fancy cars, the women, and the caviar bring you joy, but do you even like fish eggs?!
2. Write down what you are most grateful for and then ask “why”
This exercise kills two birds (oh no!) with one stone. You’re practicing gratitude and also defining what’s most important in your life.
My own whys:
Grateful for good health. Why: having the body and mind to accomplish what I want to, without difficulty, and increasing my chances of a long, high quality of life
Grateful for my family. Why: I love them and they love me and spending time with them brings me immense joy
Grateful for being able to provide for myself and my family. Why: the peace of not being burdened with the stress of worrying about our wellbeing
"Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” – Henry David Thoreau
3. Believe that you can do this
It’s necessary to have the unwavering belief that you deserve financial independence and wealth. When limiting beliefs start to creep in, imagine that you’re talking to your best friend. Would you tell your own best friend that they can’t achieve what they desire? No. You’d be their hypeman/hypewoman and tell them that they can do anything. Speak those encouraging words to yourself!.
4. Imagine what you want your future to be
For some, financial freedom means not working at all while living a modest lifestyle. For others, it means that they don’t have to work to sustain their lifestyle, even if it’s a large lifestyle. You need to imagine what your future will look like. Will you have more time/money to travel? Will you be able to engage with your family and/or kids more? Will you be able to work on your passion project? Will you still work, but it’s an easier job? Will you be able to support your parents in retirement or retire them earlier than they planned? What would you do with your time? Take 10 minutes and just think…”if I could live the life I wanted, without needing to work to make more money, what would my life look like”. Write down your answers and start from there.
5. Be flexible
One of the hardest parts of defining your why, is rejecting the parts that you believed made up who you were. I used to believe that I was going to climb the public policy ladder, and finally coming to the understanding that it wasn’t for me, gave me a little blow to my ego and my own self-definition.
Your why may change, with reflection, but you should always be able to define it. It’s what’s going to keep you going, when you don’t feel motivated or you’ve hit a roadblock.
Knowing why you do the things that you do, is just as important in knowing how or what you do. It’ll become easier to focus on where you are going, what matters most to you, and making decisions that align with your goal. More importantly, it will keep you grounded above all else.
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