What does it mean to actually be financially free? If we make it a goal, what are we really working toward?
Rather than looking at financial freedom as an abstract concept, it can be very useful to visualize exactly how it could impact your life.
Ultimately, financial freedom means different things to different people. To me, true financial freedom comes when you can quit your day job and still be able to cover your expenses—usually with other sources of (passive) income.
The actual dollar amount depends on your unique situation, where you live, and the lifestyle you lead.
In the past, I’ve asked you to evaluate what’s keeping you from financial freedom, and how to figure out your financial freedom number. But I’ve never really talked about the benefits, or how being financially free can impact your day-to-day life. So, here are some ways it can do just that.
1. More security, less stress
One of the most basic human needs is the feeling of security. It dictates how we act and the decisions we make every day. Without that feeling, we tend to regress into survival mode, leaving no time to accomplish what we truly want.
This, in turn, ramps up the level of stress in our daily lives.
Imagine how it feels to live paycheck to paycheck, in a serious amount of debt, without knowing if continued changes in medicine are going to sabotage your ability to take care of your family.
Now, imagine how it would feel if you knew that whether you went to work or not, your family would be taken care of.
Lifting that burden is immensely freeing, and one of the greatest benefits to financial freedom.
2. Control over your time
Financial freedom gives you the choice to work how and when you want. As such, you can decide exactly how to spend your time. Some may want to continue to practice medicine for the love and passion of it. Others would retire immediately and pursue other interests.
Either way, when all of your expenses are covered by other sources of income, that choice is all up to you, not up to the administration. In this regard, financial freedom is very literally freeing your time.
3. Choose to pursue other passions
I continue to practice medicine because it continues to be a passion for me. Still, I’ve chosen to do so at a lesser capacity, in order to spend time with family and pursue other interests.
Spending less time at work had allowed me to start my own businesses.
I’m also quite passionate about golf, so I make time for that too.
However, others might have other passions like art, outdoors, baking … who knows?
Unfortunately, many of those passions have been suppressed by the grind of the medical path. How many of you would love to rekindle or explore those passions?
Financial freedom allows you to do that.
4. Your actions can be more aligned with your values
Now that you can choose to work how and when you want to work, you can choose to do things more in line with your values. No longer do you have to practice medicine in a way that has an element of being driven by profits for yourself or for the system you work for.
Either way, once money isn’t the main motivating factor and you don’t have to worry whether you will be able to put food on the table for your family, you can start making choices about how you spend your time–with your values at the forefront.
5. Take more risks
When you have financial freedom, the world is quite literally open to you.
Some decide to get up and move to a different part of the country. Some end up moving abroad. Not being tethered to one location and job allows for you to take risks and adventures in life.
Again, I know some who would never have taken certain actions, like starting businesses or trying new things, had they not found financial freedom. You can live without fear, knowing that you’re financially secure.
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