What is Financial Freedom To You?

In 2015 I was teaching full time, working about 55 hours per week. I would go to work, come home and collapse on the couch. I couldn't put my finger on what was bothering me, but it was a general sense of dying-slowly-without-doing-what-I-want. I was too thin and I started having anxiety attacks. I was confused because I didn't hate my job. I didn't hate my life. I had a boyfriend and a cute house. I was doing everything I was supposed to do. 

It turned out to be pretty simple; I wasn't doing what I wanted to be doing on a micro or a macro level. I didn't have control of my income and I was tethered to a job in order to earn an income. I started obsessively journalling, goal-setting and creating a new vision for how I wanted my life to look and feel. 

I made more money in 2017 than I ever have before. I've learned more in the past two years than I have in a long time. Most of my extra cash has gone to loan repayment, but I noticed a pretty substantial shift in my money mindset, which in turn, shifted my overall mindset. I allowed myself to spend money on self-care and I worried less about costly home repairs or car maintenance (things that used to cause HUGE amounts of stress).

As I adjust to this newfound step closer to true financial freedom, I find the need to return to my 'Why'. 

  • Why do I fill my schedule each week? (busy is your own creation!)

  • Why is it important that my income increase?

  • I could easily do less. I could easily make less money and survive, even live a comfy life.

  • I could get a salary job, work 9-5 and probably make more than most of the world.

  • I could go back to teaching full time. I was making plenty of money for my modest lifestyle.

  • Why have I chosen this way?


Above is an excerpt from my journal, webbing what financial freedom means to me. It probably means something different for you. When I feel like I need an extra hit of energy, I'll revisit this (very nerdy) web. This is probably wildly hard to grasp if you're not in my mind, so I outlined it for y'all below. 

My main motivation is freedom to live the life I want. When I think about what that means to me, I know that it's not because I'm greedy. I don't want the status or the power. I don't want to be a millionaire just because. I simply want to do what I want to do, give to who i want to give to and maintain and nurture human connection.

At times, when creating my "Why Web," I felt a little ridiculous. I don't need a facial, but allowing myself little luxuries like that are a part of my financial freedom. I also want to stress that I have unlimited gratitude for the current freedom I experience. I am unbelievably grateful for my life, my time, my people and my *stuff*.

What Financial Freedom Means To Me:

  1. Macro Freedom

    • Travel frequently without time constraint and without money stress

      • visit international friends - maintain those friendships in a tangible way

      • plan trips with friends from Austin frequently without money stress

      • travel with Alan - we haven't done this enough due to schedules or money

      • travel on my own when I get the urge

      • stay where I want to enhance the experience

      • enjoy time away in cities frequently, without pinching pennies

    • Spend time with family

      • I have 2 younger brothers and 2 younger sisters. I want to see them grow up. I want to be able to fly to them when I want and when something big is happening in their lives. I want to be the coolest aunt (when the time comes). I also want to take them traveling with me.

      • I have a lot of family across the country as well. I want to visit out-of-state family regularly without time constraint and without money stress

    • Homes in different cities

      • As a real estate nerd, every time I visit a city, I think about what it would be like to live there. I look up home prices and I pay close attention to the areas. This seems like a wild dream, but it's really quite attainable if you're smart about it!

      • New Orleans will be my first out of state purchase because I'm so in love. Maybe Berlin! Northern italy? Maine?? PNW!

    • Low stress lifestyle

      • I try to live a pretty low stress life as it is, but when i do stress, it comes from money and time constraint - eliminate it

      • outsource the jobs in my life that cause me stress: laundry, dishes, house cleaning, grocery shopping (okay, is that everything needed to live? eek)

  2. Micro Freedom

    • Daily schedule freedom

      • wake up without an alarm

      • make coffee and have time to enjoy it

      • exercise daily - yoga, maybe even a trainer??

      • plan and prepare healthy meals

      • spend time strengthening relationships with my boyfriend, my friends and my family

      • get a massage and a facial every so often - or like, biweekly! What a dream!

      • generally avoid the feeling of "having no time" or "being exhausted"

      • pursue hobbies, businesses and athletic endeavors daily *see Hobby Rich

      • practice gratitude always


  3. Hobby Rich

    • Plants!

      • I want them all and I want to know everything there is to know about them.

    • Sports!

      • Playing sports enriches my life in such a unique way. I already find a lot of time to do this, but I want to continue to learn and grow physically

    • Business ideas

      • have so many, but I don't currently have the freedom to pursue them. How fun would it be to try the things in your mind and not be ruined if they fail?

    • I want a dog, eventually

      • While I could obviously get a dog now, the freedom I currently have isn't where i want it to be to care for another life.

  4. Volunteer + Charity

    • I currently give to charity! But I give very little. It's increased over time and with salary bumps, but I want to do more.

      • I would like to donate 10% of my income to causes I believe in.

      • I also want to continue and increase being generous with friends and family - do this without a second thought

    • Volunteering

      • never stop working with kids, teaching, helping families

      • schedule freedom to do this often on top of self care

  5. Time 2 Learn

    • Languages - fluent in Spanish first

      • This may mean traveling to a Spanish-speaking country and living there for an extended period of time

    • Woodworking, welding, electrical, plumbing - while I can do some of this, I would enjoy learning more

Again, your financial freedom probably looks different than mine. I find it helpful to see goals and values of others. What an interesting jaunt into who they really are. Please don't hesitate to talk to me about my goals, or to share yours! I have many different journalling exercises that I swear by. Thanks so much for reading!