Dear Olga: Financial Freedom
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Do you think one can ever become financially free with a nine to five job?
I believe for us to be on the same page about my advice we need to go over the difference between "financial freedom" and "financial independence".
The definition of freedom is the state of not being affected by a particular thing and unrestricted use. Financial freedom implies that you’ll never have to worry about money again.
The definition of independence is the state of being free of outside control and not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence. Financial independence would allow you to enjoy your life without feeling dependent on money.
As a Money Coach, it would be irresponsible of me to promise you financial freedom, because I believe it’s an unrealistic expectation. Life is unpredictable, I can’t promise you’ll never have a financial hardship again.
Now that we're on the same page about the definitions of the two terms, let's talk about whether financial independence is possible with a nine to five job.
It's absolutely possible to reach financial independence with a nine to five job if you're able to reach a point where you make more money each month than you have to pay out. If you already make more than you spend, you're already on a path to financial independence!
If you don't know if you make more than you spend, chances are you aren't using a budget. If you don't use a budget, don't be ashamed you're not alone. A recent US Bank study found that only 66% of Americans actually follow a monthly budget.
Start using a budget to track your money expectations and actual spending each month.
If you're not sure where to start, keep a diary of your expenses for 2 weeks. List every purchase you make, including anything that is automatically renewed. This will give you a good idea of what you spend for half the month, double it and it will be a good estimate for the month.
For those of you who have never budgeted before, here's a good compilation of tips from money peeps compiled by OutwitTrade. One of my favorites is gratifying your budget, whenever we make a game out of a task, it becomes more fun and you're more likely to succeed.
If you follow the budget template in the Resources section of my website, you can build your savings goals into your budget so it will give you a good idea with how much cash you have left to spend.
If you have debt, I would suggest creating a debt snapshot which I recommend using with Dave Ramsey's Debt Snowball Plan to make the most of your debt repayment efforts.
More importantly, if you set money goals that are specific and you follow a budget plan then you'll be able to reach a point where you feel comfortable.
I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can start working on reaching your money goals.
If you have a money question, submit it here for a chance to be featured in the "Dear Olga" column!