These are a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself.
What does financial freedom mean to me? Why do I want to be financially free?
If you have no idea what the term, “financial freedom”, means, then how are you going to achieve it? It can mean different things to different people. And even more so, the “why” is different for everyone. My challenge for you is to ask yourself those two simple questions each morning for seven days straight. I say seven days because if you haven’t ever thought about it, and you attempt it only once, it will not be clear to you. Give it a few days and see what you come up with.
For me, I knew from a young age that I wanted to have the resources to help my parents, to help my church, and to give my own family experiences. I remember thinking to myself that “someday, I’m going to make it”. I also remember asking myself, “how do some people make all that money”? I don’t know about you, but I was never taught how to make money or how to become wealthy within my own schooling growing up. And in my house growing up, we didn’t talk about money in a positive way nor did we talk about how to build wealth. Instead money was talked about from a scarcity mindset. There was never enough of it, and if someone did have a lot of money, it was probably attained through evil means. The more I talk to people, the more of a common theme this seems to be in regards to how we are taught to view money.
So, I did what I thought was the surest way to get ahead in life. I got good grades. I went to college. I attained a doctorate degree in physical therapy, all the while accumulating an enormous pile of student loans. I was very employable. I got a very safe and secure job. I took a job working at a privately-owned clinic with an offer to buy in and become an owner. This was exactly what I wanted to do from the time I entered PT school. So why wasn’t I fulfilled? This was everything I wanted and more, right?
Right about this time, Leah and I met with a financial advisor named Jerry Fetta. Jerry challenged me to start writing out my goals and to think about the life that I wanted to live and the impact that I wanted to have. This is when our mindsets began to shift. Leah and I would dream of being able to help others, to give large amounts to the church, to take care of our parents without it being a burden to them or to us, but never knew how to make it happen.
This is where you must start. It’s simple, but necessary. Take some time to think about what your world would look like if you couldn’t be told “no”. What if the universe would give you anything you truly wanted? With my clients, I call this the “someday goal”. What does your world look like if money wasn’t an issue? Would you travel? Work? Work part-time? Not work at all? Who are you visiting? Where do you live? What are your hobbies? Answer these questions, and don’t limit yourself. Once you have an idea of that near perfect life, then we can start working on building that.
For me, buying in as an owner at that clinic would have meant that we would have to give up some of our “someday goals”. I’m not saying all PT jobs are that way as I have met some amazing PTs since then who have built their own practices allowing them time flexibility and increased options. And if those people were my mentors at the time, I may very well still be in that field of practice today. I am saying that if you truly want to achieve your goals, you must start by figuring out what those goals are.
The reason it’s important to achieve financial freedom is because it’s all too often that money is the reason that we can’t do things. Right? We can’t take that vacation. We can’t buy that property. We can’t go on that hunting trip. We can’t take off work. And, the list just goes on and on. If we can get our money right and start producing income that comes in whether we have a day job or not, this would free up our time and allow us to do things that are currently being restricted by lack of money or lack of time in being tied to our day job.
So why financial freedom? I think financial freedom is most important because we only must think and worry about money if our money is not right. Becoming financially free is more than just becoming wealthy. It’s literally becoming free from having to worry about money and it will allow you to focus your attention on things that bring you true joy in life like family, community, and having an impact on others.