What does Financial Independence mean to you?

Published April 23, 2015   Posted in Having some fun

Financial Independence is one of those terms that enjoys a broad following.  It means different things to different people, and we all have our own special way of defining what this phrase, and especially the meaning behind it, truly means to each and every one of us.

What does financial independence mean to you?For me, financial independence is simple: it means that you are not beholden to a job to provide for your livelihood.  Instead, your wealth – acquired through a high level of income or aggressive savings plan, supports your lifestyle.  While you may still work, you don’t need to.  You work because you enjoy it.

To my wife, financial independence is a choice.  It refers to the ability to choose the life that we all desire and live it as the person that we all choose to be.

It is fascinating to read what financial independence means to bloggers from around the personal finance community.  Below, I have compiled a growing list of bloggers with what financial independence means to them.  Take a look through the list and see what you think.  Heck, you might find a new blog to follow because their view of financial independence closely resembles your own!

What about you?  How do you define financial independence?  I am always eager to hear what others have to say.  If you’d like to add your contribution to the list, please contact me and I will add what financial independence means to YOU.

Brian from Debtless In Texas:

To me, financial independence means that you have the ability to live life by your design. You don’t have to work, but if you want to – you have the ability to do it from anywhere. Financial independence means that you no longer have to trade your time for money and are free to pursue what you are passionate about, which you might not have been able to do when you were working 40+ hour weeks. FI means freedom – freedom from fear, freedom to choose, and freedom to roam. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Visit Brian’s blog at debtlessintexas.com.

 

Jason from Reaching Our Balance:

Financial independence means that I have the ability to choose whether or not I have to “work” to maintain my life. By work I mean having to do all kinds of extra activities and side hustles to pay off debt, save more for retirement, and save for my family’s future.

For me, FI involves continuing to work in my career but I can de-emphasize the money-making aspects of the position and focus more on things that really motivate me which includes researching and writing, politics, sports, and traveling.

Visit Jason’s blog at reachingourbalance.com.

 

Chris from Money Mozart:

Financial independence is being free of any debts and having enough money to live the way you desire and do what you want. It’s not having to do something because of money.

Visit Chris’ blog at moneymozart.com.

 

Even Steven from Even Steven Money:

Financial Independence to me means reaching a point in your finances that you have the ability to make a choice without money being the primary focus of your decision. If I want to travel more, spend extended time with family, or volunteer to help someone in need, these decisions are made without money as my primary focus. Instead I am always looking for what I enjoy the most in life. I think I have put myself in a corner with money and reaching financial independence gives me a new paint brush and new color to paint with.

Visit Even Steven’s blog at evenstevenmoney.

 

Fervent Finance writes:

Financial independence means freedom. Freedom to pursue a dream job. Freedom to pursue passions. Freedom to spend time to with family and friends. Freedom to travel. Freedom to do nothing.

Visit FerventFinance.com.

 

The Mr. and Mrs. from Slowly Sipping Coffee:

Mr. SSC: Financial independence means freedom. Freedom from being tied to a 9-5 job just to make ends meet, freedom to do what you choose to do each day, and freedom to not worry about where your money is coming from.

Mrs. SSC: Financial Independence means that I no longer have to trade my time with an employer to provide me with the money I need to raise my family.  When I am FI, I will be able to be a stay at home mom and pursue my passions (teaching, reading, photography, hiking) and know that I can spend the rest of my life reading books and playing games with my kids and future grandkids, without worrying whether or not I have money for the bills. I will have the freedom and time to experience life!!!

Visit their FI blog page at slowlysippingcoffee.com.

 

Brian from Debt Discipline:

Financial independence is a term I’ve come to learn more about over the last few years. I’ve always thought I’d work until I’m sixtyish and then retire. FI give me more hope beyond that. I think FI is generally having enough personal wealth to live without having to actively work or at least working at a job you may not particularly care for. I think in most cases once someone reaches FI they will find something to do, whether it’s a hobby, work they love, help others, etc. It’s a concept I’m really making sure my three children understand. I want them to understand all of their options as they begin their financial lives.

Visit Brian’s blog at debtdiscipline.com and his FI page.

 

Bare Budget Guy writes:

Though the general definition of financial independence (I refuse to say findependence) implies that one has enough passive income or savings to sustain a lifestyle, I see it more as a mindset. One definition of independent is “not influenced or controlled by” something. So in a way, the more of my energy I give to monetary pursuits, the less financially independent I am. For money enthusiasts like me, every minute of not letting my thoughts, words, and actions revolve around money is a step closer to true financial independence. When I stop letting money control who I am, I find that I can more clearly see the things that are truly important to me.

Visit the blog at barebudgetguy.com.

 

Craig from Stay Your Course:

The meaning of financial independence is unique to an individual because its primary component is subjective: independence. Some folks seek independence from credit card debt and student loans; others have loftier goals like being free from working a nine to five job to travel the world. Financial independence is the notion that you can achieve what independence means to you by intelligently managing your budgets and investments.

Visit Craig’s blog at stayyourcourse.com.

 

Generation Y Finance Guy (GenYFinanceGuy) writes:

Financial Independence is the point at which your passive income exceeds your living expenses (or the point your assets could be converted to cash at a certain rate to cover your living expenses for the rest of your life). You now have the option but not the obligation to work for someone else. It’s not about not working. It’s about doing work that your’re passionate about and that is fulfilling. But it is not just about the money. Financial Freedom is only one aspect of Financial Independence, once achieved, it also includes Time Freedom & Location Freedom. At this point you get to live life on your terms. It is now your full time job to live life by your design.

Visit the blog at genyfinanceguy.com.

 

Justin from So Over This writes:

Financial independence means that you literally no longer have to depend on someone else to maintain a living. That’s it… you might be self employed or do nothing…regardless, it’s all on you! The freedom of leaving managers and HR depts. behind is something I long for as well!

Visit the blog at sooverthis.com.

 

Stephanie from Stephanie Patterson Photography:

For me it is 100% about freedom. Freedom from my debt, freedom from working solely for the purpose of making ends meet and freedom from all of the stress, worry, etc that money can cause. I’ll probably continue working long after reaching FI, but that’s because I enjoy work. I hope FI will give me the freedom to choose work I am passionate about without worrying about how much money it’ll make me.

Visit Stephanie’s beautiful blog at spattersonphotography.com.

 

Our Next Life writes:

FI means no alarm clocks! No obsessive need to check in with email or phone at all hours. Any work is by choice and not stressful. Work is not necessary to cover living expenses.

Visit the blog at ournextlife.com.

 

The Mrs. from FrugalWoods writes:

Even though our goal of reaching financial independence and moving to a homestead in the woods by 2017 wasn’t crystallized until early 2014, Mr. Frugalwoods and I have been working towards it ever since we graduated from undergrad (8 years ago) and got married (6 years ago). We knew we wanted to live a life outside the ordinary and we wanted options. Frugality gives you options. When you don’t spend most of what you make and when you don’t limit yourself by debt, there are a lot of possibilities open. Thankfully, frugality is a way of life for us, not a struggle.

Visit the FrugalWoods blog at frugalwoods.com.

 

Sarah from Suburban Finance:

To me, financial independence means the ability to choose what I do with my time. I know that sounds like it has nothing to do with money, but it does. Because when you have financial independence, you can buy back your time from the crappy 9-5 you’re in, or even just work that doesn’t light you up, and do what really interests you.

Visit Sarah’s blog at suburbanfinance.com.

 

The Early Retirement Guy writes:

To me it means having the safety and security of not relying on a job just to survive. Having the freedom to take risks in your life without worrying about being starving or homeless as a result. To never having to endure a job or lifestyle you hate just to pay the bills each month.

Visit the blog at EarlyRetirementGuy.com.

What about you?  How do you define financial independence?  I am always eager to hear what others have to say.  If you’d like to add your contribution to the list, please contact me and I will add what financial independence means to YOU.

We track our net worth using Personal Capital



Comments

29 responses to “What does Financial Independence mean to you?”

  1. Seems like Mr. SSC have pretty similar views. I’ll have to check out their site. Great list so far!

  2. I would say that financial independence means that you literally no longer have to depend on someone else to maintain a living. That’s it… you might be self employed or do nothing…regardless, it’s all on you! The freedom of leaving managers and HR depts. behind is something I long for as well!

  3. Awesome rundown Steve.

    Really cool to see what other in the community define as FI.

    Cheers!

  4. Great list! Glad to be a part. I like the way Generation Y Finance Guy puts FI “…have the option but not the obligation to work for someone else.” Good stuff!

  5. Stephanie says:

    I’m not a financial blogger by any means but love the idea of FI. Infact, it’s something I’m working towards on my own and I already feel the benefits. For me it is 100% about freedom. Freedom from my debt, freedom from working solely for the purpose of making ends meet and freedom from all of the stress, worry, etc that money can cause. I’ll probably continue working long after reaching FI, but that’s because I enjoy work. I hope FI will give me the freedom to choose work I am passionate about without worrying about how much money it’ll make me. Great post!

    • Hi Stephanie!

      Beautiful blog – as a fellow photographer, I love your work. You truly are a talented and gifted artist. I’m bookmarking your site and will re-visit on the regular.

      I also added your perspective on FI to my list. You certainly don’t NEED to be a personal finance blogger to have a good perspective on FI, like you.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Great post! For me it’s finding the balance between the broader definition of FI and one’s personal definition of FI. I want to eventually be FI and sustain myself through passive investments, but I don’t want to be obsessed with money in trying to achieve that goal, which is more about being the person you want to be like your wife said.

    • Yup, I completely agree. Finding how FI fits into your lifestyle is absolutely the best way to stay productive, active and happy throughout your life. Taking things to the extreme, even if that means “extreme savings”, might be a little too much. Balance is key! 🙂

  7. Awesome list Steve…it is great to see how many of us are all on the same page. I like seeing the word freedom so often.

    • Thanks Brian! Yeah, I love seeing how close most of us are in our definitions of financial independence. It means we are all shooting for a similar goal, and we all will probably know exactly when we’ve hit our target.

      And, we’ll probably be quick to tell our blog readers alllll about it. 🙂

  8. FI means no alarm clocks! No obsessive need to check in with email or phone at all hours. Any work is by choice and not stressful. Work is not necessary to cover living expenses. Love this rundown — cool to hear from many bloggers in one place.

  9. Mr. SSC says:

    Great idea on compiling this list, and nice execution. I agree with Debtless in Texas that it’s nice to see people viewing it as freedom. Plus it looks like there are some “new” bogs for me to check out as well. Thanks again!

  10. Even Steven says:

    I think I owe you a FI explanation, as you can see from my post today, my mind is far far away.

  11. Chris Muller says:

    First of all, thank you for including me. Second, great concept for a post. It was really interesting to read everyone’s perspective on the question. I’ll admit, I thought I knew the answer right away, but as soon as I emailed you back I was second guessing it. Now reading everyone else’s thoughts, I’m doing that even more. Awesome post, Steve. Thank you!

  12. Mrs SSC says:

    Awesome! After reading all of these – I think we can all agree to sum it up in one word — FREEDOM!

  13. Thanks for quote and, more importantly, thanks for putting this together! This is great! I loved reading everyone’s definitions..

  14. […] have reached financial independence on far less than what my wife and I bring in every month, and FI looks different to everyone. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re simply “done working” for the rest […]

Leave a Reply