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What it Really Means to be Free

Throughout history, people have fought for freedom. Whether the fight was for freedom from oppression, bigotry, or the denial of voting rights or equal pay, the struggle was real and necessary. Our military put their lives on the line every day for our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  No doubt, freedom comes with great personal sacrifice.  Those who engage in the fight for freedom do so because they understand the consequences of doing nothing and they’re able to see the bigger picture.

The term “financial freedom” has become a popular catchphrase in the personal finance arena.  But, what does that really mean? I’ve seen it defined as having enough personal wealth to cover your basic needs without having to work so hard. Or, when your assets (investments) generate income that is more than your expenses, then you’re financially free.  Okay.  That’s putting it cutely.

Here is what financial freedom really means:  You are financially free when you are no longer a slave to debt. Yes, a slave. When you have debt, your debt (or master) tells you what you can and can’t do.  Debt holds your financial future hostage. Debt tells you where you can spend your money.  In other words, debt basically limits your freedom to do what’s necessary to reach your financial goals. Your goals may consist of saving for your or your child’s education, purchasing a home, traveling, or giving generously. 


“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”  Proverbs 22:7

Take a moment to think about your total monthly payments for student loans, credit cards, personal loans, car loan, etc. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Now, think about how many other things you could be doing with your money.  I’m sure there are at least five other goals you’d rather be funding. So, what does it take to obtain financial freedom?  Sacrifice.

Sacrifice is never easy, in fact, it can be quite painful. However, it is necessary. If you’re not willing to sacrifice to get out of debt, you are accepting the consequences of doing nothing. To get rid of debt as quickly as possible, you must TEMPORARILY give up some things (habitual shopping, eating out, golfing, etc.). Any sacrificial savings should be used to pay down your debt. Get rid of the credit cards. You must commit to not assuming more debt from this day forward.  Your level of sacrifice determines how quickly you experience financial freedom. Consider the bigger picture. Your debt is not insurmountable—including student loan debt. Proverbs 22:7 tells us, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”  Start freeing yourself and stop making the rich lenders richer.

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