Last night I had dinner with a few friends at Amara, an Indian restaurant in Inman Park, a lovely community in Atlanta, GA. My friend recently retired early, but he had a plan. I start with that story because financial freedom should be aligned with a strategy. A few weeks back, a follower asked about financial independence, and I told her I’d write a blog post about it.
What does financial freedom mean to me? Financial freedom is your respective journey to getting out of debt. In large, we can sustain being debt-free by building good money habits. Financial independence gives you the ability to live life on your terms. You get to choose where you want to work, doing work you enjoy, and owning more of your paycheck. I love that I don’t have to pay Mohela, Navient, or whoever services student loans these days, but I am also very mindful that I can fall back into financing a jumbo enough life decision like going back to graduate school.
That was me regularly making my payments to my student loan provider. The reality is it’s a journey to get to financial freedom/independence, and often we have to change some of our money habits. Mind you, I don’t come from money or a family with much formal education, but my family landed on grace and mercy. They were proud to send their kid off to college but little did they know the debt I would incur.
The ups and downs are part of your financial journey. Everyone has their challenges and extenuating circumstances. Give yourself grace and mercy. Becoming debt-free has allowed me to give more and travel. Most of my family live in other states or back in Ghana. Financial freedom affords me the ability to see them regularly without incurring credit card debt, but it is costly. A tab I gladly pay because it is important to me, and part of my goal was to spend more time with them. In the past three months, I attended my little sister’s wedding in Dayton, OH. I officiated my best friend’s wedding in Detroit, MI. My mother and I took a road trip from Atlanta to D.C. to see my niece graduate from high school. I flew to most of these events, rented cars, and not to mention gifts for all these events. Whenever I travel, I use a cash envelope, so I don’t go swipe crazy.
It was at the end of the movie screening Playing With Fire, where a young lady expressed concern that she could not relate to the average “FI” person. After that comment about looking for more diversity in FI (financial independence) is when I got serious about 400LB Elephant. A friend said, “The first part of your career is about creating success; the second part is about creating impact.” Financial literacy is my life passion and part of a journey to help a generation become debt-free. Early retirement is next for me. I want to spend more time with my family pursuing my goal of assisting people who are on their own financial freedom journey by sharing my story. I’m going to put all my heart into teaching the masses about FI and helping other people to pay off debt so, in turn, they can spread the message to their inner circles. It’ll have a ripple effect where people aren’t afraid to discuss money and find a safe place to say out loud that they don’t know certain things about money. With aging parents and starting a business, it’s nice not to have to deal with debt because just like many of you reading this, I’m still trying to figure this life thing out.