Atlanta Financial Blog

Only You Can Define “Financial Freedom”

Julianne F. Andrews, MBA, CFP®, AIF®
July 4, 2018

John Adams and the founding fathers specifically recommended “illuminations”[1] to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s birth. The official decree calling for fireworks on July 4th was written even before the country was officially formed. Even though fireworks are almost exclusively reserved for these patriotic celebrations, we think you deserve some fireworks of your own – to mark your progress on the path to financial freedom.

But before we can light the fuses, we need to know how you define this elusive state of expected being. Some people think financial freedom is just beyond where they are now, while others see it as light years away.

Many people associate achieving financial freedom with a specific numerical value. So much so that one international financial services company spent millions of dollars to orchestrate a global advertising campaign asking a seemingly simple question, “What is Your Retirement Number?” While the question may seem easy to answer on its face, there is no one answer. In fact, there are literally millions of answers, each of which is complex and highly personal to the person who claims it.

When we asked some of our clients how they defined the term, their answers were diverse and sometimes surprising. The word, “enough,” was peppered through those conversations. However, one person’s “enough” won’t likely satisfy the next person and may well be excessive for a third. That’s where confusion begins to complicate the discussion.

This list features just a few of the answers heard about the highly personal definition of financial freedom:

  • Being free from debt.
  • Living comfortably off your income.
  • Seeing your children graduate from the colleges and universities of their choice.
  • Being able to stop working and follow your passions without needing a paycheck.
  • Choosing to change jobs with confidence.
  • Funding your own business.
  • Relocating to a favorite destination.
  • Having enough money to thrive without further income.[2]

At Atlanta Financial, we think all these answers legitimately represent financial freedom to many of our clients. But we think a different question needs to be asked: “What do you want your assets to do for you?” Hidden in that answer are the specifics of how you personally describe what it means to be financially free and how we can help you get there.

For many, financial freedom comes down to living the life of their choosing without worrying about money and “what ifs.” If you share our belief that understanding what you want from your assets is more important than any one single number, why not take the time this July to reflect on your progress to financial freedom as you define it?

No matter where you are on that path, you can count on Atlanta Financial to honor and illuminate your dreams with action. We look forward to working with you to Make Life’s Journey Richer.

[1] How Fireworks Became a Fourth of July Tradition. (2016). Time. Available online from http://time.com/4828701/first-fireworks-history-july-4th/

[2] Hamm. T. (2010). What Does “Financial Independence” Really Mean? Available online from https://www.thesimpledollar.com/what-does-financial-independence-really-mean/

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