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Does Money Actually Equal Freedom?

Childhood memories have a profound impact on our perspectives, and for me, my grandfather’s advice to “work hard and pay myself first” still resonates. His belief that “money equals freedom” has shaped my approach to finances. With Financial Freedom Day this month, it really got me thinking: does money = freedom? How does money get me from point A to point B? What does freedom actually mean? These musings led me to explore the difference between being rich and being wealthy.

Often the term “rich” implies a high income, extravagant spending, and a focus on material possessions. While individuals who are considered “rich” may indulge in lavish lifestyles, they frequently lack genuine wealth. On the other hand, being “wealthy” encompasses more than just financial abundance. It encompasses having control over one’s time, making strategic investments, and continuously expanding knowledge to build prosperity for years to come.

It’s important to recognize that money can’t directly purchase happiness, love, or freedom. However, it undeniably facilitates the pursuit of these aspirations. Achieving financial stability alleviates concerns about meeting basic needs, such as food and shelter, allowing individuals to direct their focus towards higher aspects of life. Money grants us the freedom to nurture self-esteem, build confidence, and pursue personal achievements. Without the burden of survival, we gain the liberty to explore personal growth and strive for more.

The misconception lies in the notion that money itself guarantees freedom. If individuals become fixated only on acquiring more wealth or protecting what they have, they inadvertently restrict their freedom. Money should be viewed as a tool—a means to an end, not the end. It holds value only when it aligns with and enables the pursuit of your own personal goals.

Money Equals Time Which Equals Freedom

Upon reflection, I have come to realize that my grandfather’s mantra was oversimplified. Sorry Grandpa, but money ≠ freedom. Rather, money = time = freedom. Money is the gateway to time, which, in turn, allows us to experience freedom. With financial security, we can create opportunities to live life on our terms, investing in moments that hold true value for ourselves and our loved ones. These cherished memories and experiences are priceless.

So, how do we make enough money so that work becomes optional? The answer is surprisingly simple: you just need a solid plan. There are no shortcuts to becoming wealthy, but if you follow tried and true principles you will significantly increase your chances of financial success. We’re here to help you along this journey.

Creating Your Roadmap

As you begin to work on your own plan, there are key areas that you must focus on and important steps that you will need to take. Start by:

  • Setting clear short-term and long-term financial goals
  • Build a budget and practice financial discipline
  • Developing a strategy to manage and reduce debt.
  • Save for your future and invest appropriately
  • Secure adequate insurance to meet your specific needs
  • Reassess your situation regularly and adjust as necessary

Money is a means to an end—an enabler of opportunities. While it can’t directly purchase freedom, it can provide the time necessary to live life authentically. By striving for financial stability, diligently following sound financial principles, and seeking guidance when needed, we can unlock the door to financial freedom. The answer lies in finding the balance between monetary abundance and the pursuit of a fulfilling life.

Ultimately, financial freedom translates to time freedom. As we attain the ability to choose how we spend our time, it becomes vital to ask ourselves: Do we want to be rich, or do we want to be wealthy?

Kenji Noguchi
Financial Fitness Consultant

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