It seems like in this “hustle culture” nowadays, we come across a lot of attention-grabbing titles that teach us how to make X amount of money (mainly that’s to achieve a goal to get up to 6 figures) and why we need to be programmed to work towards those big money goals. I admit I do like watching those videos as they can be very educational, but I recognized that the older I got, the more I worked, the more that making a lot of money was no longer the drive for my life nor is the need to grind a lot because I found how financial freedom is not synonymous with making a lot of money.
What is financial freedom? Financial freedom is having enough savings, investments, or other money to give you the lifestyle you desire, either for ourselves or for our families. I think even when I was still in college, deep down, this was something I wanted for myself but I thought it was a long shot before I achieve such a goal. I feel like many of us can relate to this, but I’m here to explain that it’s possible and why it can be more desirable than focusing on producing a lot of money.
Financial freedom is different from financial security. Financial security is being able to pay your bills on time (yeah we have to be realistic about this too!), but also having the ways to increase your money so you can protect your financial freedom. This post is going to be about why I value financial freedom.
As an entrepreneur and as many entrepreneurs can relate, we are expected from others to be “rich” or to work towards culminating an abundance of wealth. I don’t think that is the case for a lot of digital nomads who care about more than money.
Why care about financial freedom?
For me, having financial freedom means having time as a priority. Time is the most precious thing that anyone can have because even though it might seem like we have a lot of “time”, truth is time goes by so fast, it doesn’t seem like we have all the time in the world after all.
Time is also not something many of us are privileged with especially if we’re all cooped up in working 9-5 jobs or going to school full-time (or both). For me, when I used to work a 9-5 and had a crazy schedule, all I knew was the things I knew and I know I didn’t have much freedom towards running for my own dreams.
I would, however, make time to go out and travel on my holiday breaks in between college semesters and that’s when I knew I wanted to have a lifestyle that allowed me to experience that. Another thing is, I had a friend once asked me “How do you hike so often?” The flexibility of freelancing and having saved up in my savings when I first moved to Arizona allowed me to explore.
I care about my time because I do not want to miss out on such precious time with the people I love in my life and with the opportunities I can create for myself. Most of all, I love the time I have to help my body heal with rest when it was needed to without pushing myself to work when my body wasn’t healed. Prioritizing wellness is important along with time.
I know it seems like you need to make a lot of money to get to the very point of putting financial freedom and to afford a certain lifestyle, but that is just not true as I go onto my next point.
I made the decision to get paid less because my lifestyle meant a lot to me.
I actually took a huge pay cut when I quit my 9-5 job right before getting diagnosed with Valley Fever, a debilitating illness that I talk about a lot, and decided that I will just freelance for short-term, part-time gigs. It seemed to make sense that not only do I get time to heal but I can use my flexible time to explore and not worry about taking off a certain amount of “paid time off” days whenever I wanted to take off. I also really wanted to work more on my blog and set the hours I wanted to.
So, no, you do not need to make a lot to choose flexibility. Many people do it where they opt for a part-time job because they desire time yet still find a way to pay the bills, even if it meant not having the same consistency in pay monthly. Not everyone also gets lucky with a full-time job that allows a flexible amount of paid time off days, but if you do, you are lucky!
With my circumstances of being ill, I have to choose to be careful with where I place my energy and I want to still give energy towards what makes me happy and matter, such as my hobbies.
Financial freedom is giving value to the things you do, not to chase money.
I feel like the whole purpose of us having to live a life on this Earth is to find purpose in all we can do. I was watching a YouTube video of a millionaire that talks about what it’s really like to be a millionaire, and he said “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” I can definitely understand what he means by that. I think we need to give credit to ourselves to grow but sometimes our circumstances can’t allow that for us.
For me, choosing to work different types of roles in freelancing have really allowed me to grow. Not just in growing my skills in certain things (marketing, blogging, photography), but I can grow in connecting with different people, exposure to different places, and also putting myself first or other people in my life (serving my church community, family, friends).
How the heck can I have all the energy to do those things if I chose just one path for myself? It’s possible, but everyone is different in finding what they believe can help them grow in the way they desire to.
I used to care superficially about money by trying my hardest to work more just to have more money, and I was materialistic, but that all has faded away when I realized no amount of money in the world can give you the happiness you can have.
YES, having money can give you the comfort to live in a nice place, allow you to travel more, be able to give to more people, eat healthy foods, but what is all that if you lack time?
You can do all those if you budget and invest smartly instead of being caught into a rat race that means we have to be trade in our time and endless amount of efforts to get to monetary achievements or status achievements. (For ex. Being the best employee or reaching up to being a manager or director.)
There you have it on why I value financial freedom than being tied to chasing money and status. I’m sure there can be much more said about this, but I wrote this post in one sitting just talking about why it matters to me in this moment of my life.
I made this post to allow people to think about the other possibilities that lie out there than just one single direction in life and in how we make money.