Achieving Financial Freedom – providing for yourself and your own family is certainly not easy, but independence has its rewards. It astounds me every time I encounter someone who takes pleasure in being dependent on someone else or worse, the government.
As soon as I graduated high school, I left home to go into the Navy where I would start providing for myself. In fact, I enlisted in the Navy in October of my senior year. I love my folks, but being dependent on anyone, including my parents was just not something that had any appeal for me.
These days, it is common for adult children to continue living with parents indefinitely. They may move away for a while, then boomerang back home to enjoy the life of dependence.
Financial Freedom begins by achieving a state of Self-Sufficiency, being free from dependence on another for your basic needs. Sometimes there are good reasons for returning home. It is good to have parents that can assist for a while, but not when there is no effort to return to an independent life.
Break Free From Dependence
Maybe you have found yourself at the point where I was many years ago. After serving in the Navy for about ten years, I was not earning enough to support my growing family without some assistance from the government.
You can read the long story of how I got to that point and how I recovered in Who is Responsible to Provide Basic Needs of Americans? That post laid out the problem and referenced next steps. This post should be more of a challenge to take the next steps toward independence and gives you clear steps to that end.Whether you are dependent on the government or on your parents, it is time to plot a course for self-determination and self-reliance. Click To Tweet
Now, if being broke and dependent on the government or someone else describes your situation and you are ready to start on your path to financial freedom, this article is written for you.
Don’t give up hope. There is a way out when it feels like there is no way out. It might not be quick and it may even get darker before dawn.
Remember, it is darkest just before it goes pitch black. But don’t despair, the light always returns. Tomorrow is a new day.
There is a Better Way
I’m proud of my two daughters who have both sought to be financially independent. Their efforts include pursuing education and paying for it themselves in order to be self-sufficient. They even encouraged boyfriends to seek better opportunities to improve their position.
Steps to Financial Freedom
Step 1. Mindset
Make a decision. This should be a natural progression after reading my blog for any length of time. I have alluded to this for a while.
Getting your head ‘right’ is the beginning. Realize that you want to be in a position that is different than the reality you are living today. Make a good assessment of how you want your life to be better and decide that you will do what it takes to be self-sufficient.
Step 2. Determine where you want to go.
That should be tied very closely to number 1. You’ve made a decision where to go. Now it is time to define that vividly. Visualize what it will look like to be free from the bondage you are living in now. How will it feel to be independent? Self-determined.
Avoiding pitfalls comes into play at this point. There are many pitfalls that try to suck the life out of your dreams. People can act like crabs in a bucket. If you drop one crab in a bucket, he will scramble right back out. However, if you put a bunch of crabs in a bucket, none will get out because all the others keep pulling them back in. Don’t let anyone steal your dream!
Begin with the end in mind. This is one of my favorite habits found in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
So often we take off at full speed but without a clear idea of where we want to go. In the Aviation community, they use an expression, “full thrust, no vector”. That’s a great formula for a crash.
Next, you want to make a clear distinction between where you are and where you want to go. Your desired endpoint might be freedom from the dependence on assistance or complete freedom from debt. The beautiful part is that you determine where you want to go, not someone else.
Step 3. Determine where you are.
Take an inventory of the things you need to break free from. How much does it take to cover your current expenses? How much additional income would cover the costs. Which costs are under your control and could be reduced? How willing are you to do what it takes to bring down expenses?
Once, I even sold my house and moved into military family housing to get myself out of debt. Many people would find that hard to take. It turns out that it is not so bad when it gets you free from dependence on a welfare system. There is a difference between welfare system and a military benefit. If you don’t believe me, join the military instead of counting on public assistance.
Step 4. Set interim goals.
Break the journey between where you are and where you will end up into medium and small goals. The Startling Truth About Goals Objectives and Campaigns will show you how to create a Plan of Action to lay out the road map from beginning to end.
An example of an intermediate goal might be to eliminate one bill that has been nagging at you month after month. A good friend named Billy Reavis used to refer to the Sears and Roebuck ads that said ‘only 12 EASY payments’. “Man, none of those payments were easy!” Billy would say. And he was right; it is not easy to make those payments is it?
Once that first bill has been eliminated, how free will you feel?
Step 5. Take steps toward the next goal
Once you have your goals broken down to the smallest component, you can start making measurable progress toward the destination. If you create a habit that moves in the direction of your next milestone, the effort to continue in that direction will be reduced. Eventually, the force of habit will carry you forward without much conscious thought. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other. As time goes by, you will feel like it was all of a sudden that something happened when it was, in fact, happening all along the way. It’s a time warp thing.
Step 6. Move from milestone to milestone.
Once you reach the next milestone along your journey, don’t drop your pack. Do take a moment to celebrate the progress, assess your plan, make any necessary adjustments and take the next step toward the next milestone. Leverage your momentum and use the snowballing effect.
Step 7. Rinse and repeat.
Now that you are making progress, an acceleration kicks in. Take a moment to assess where you are. Appreciate how far you have come and reevaluate your goals and milestones. Then keep pressing on to the next milestone.
By continuing to reach incremental goals, you will eventually achieve complete Financial Freedom.
Ready to Begin Your Journey?
If excessive debt is holding you back, check out my recent post, Launching A Practical Get Out Of Debt Plan.
What are your specific goals? Do you need help developing a specific goal of financial freedom for your personal situation? I would like to help. Use the contact form below to reach out and I will personally reach out with personalized assistance to help you move forward. In fact, if you need assistance with any of these steps, I would be happy to help out. This feedback is not the same as the comments form below the post. These comments will not be shared publicly with attribution.