Declaration Of Financial Independence
As we celebrate our Nation’s independence this month, the price that is paid to protect it, our responsibilities to uphold it, and the blessings we receive because of it, I want to share how to take a stand for financial independence.
- We will decide and hold tight to that which is foundationally important in our lives. Money is a tool to be used constructively to build sustainable dynamics in families and communities. We will learn what money means to us and how to use it properly in the context of expressing our values. It is easy to be swayed by the winds of social media, FOMO, and our hard-wired pleasure-seeking brains. Our self-worth is not our net-worth and defining success beyond our bank account will provide us with true liberty.
- We will embrace giving as a foundational component of financial freedom. We will wrestle with our demons of “not having enough” and move towards giving of our time, talent and treasure creatively, graciously and extravagantly. We will explore the causes that are important to us and create a plan that allows us to give systematically and intentionally. We will build some margin into our resources to give when an unexpected need arises in our family or community. By being intentional with our giving we have permission to say no to other concerns without feeling guilty.
- We will reconnect with our financial vehicles. We will know what we have, where it is, and track it down if necessary. We will know why we have the financial tools we own, what their purpose is and the costs associated with them. We will understand how they work and adjust them if necessary. Depending on life and economic seasons, recalibrating your financial tools (mortgage, IRA’s, insurances, brokerage accounts, and others) will optimize how they work for you over time.
- We will spend less than we bring in. It may be a paycheck, or from other sources – intentionality is key. We will create a spending plan that reflects purpose with our choices. We will not get to the end of the month and ask – where did it all go? We will set up times to talk with our spouses, partners, or friends and hold each other accountable. We will not take guilt trips but look for ways to make adjustments. We will fully enjoy freedom within the safe spending boundaries that we create.
- We will use our home as a savings account not an ATM. We will save to have a generous down payment. We will only have a mortgage that combined with taxes and insurance is under 25% of our disposable income. We will be free from over-leveraged lives that can wreak havoc if life circumstances or the economic environment changes.
- We will eliminate our consumer debt. We cannot borrow our way to prosperity. We will dissect the reasons why we have fallen into credit bondage and the price we pay for it. We will establish a plan to pay off any consumer debt that is holding us hostage.
- We will shed light on our money stories that serve us or hold us back from creating financial health. As we look at and talk with others about our history with money and how our DNA, our upbringing and life circumstances have impacted our beliefs and behavior, we can facilitate change. With positive mindsets around how we bring it into our lives, share it, invest and protect it and how we spend it, we will create long-term healthy financial lives that powerfully impact our families and our communities.
- We will build a support team. A team that has your back, advocates, educates, and assists you in making the most of your financial decisions. You have rights to ask questions on scope of service and costs. Find the right professionals to help you look at life goals, build wealth, create optimal cash flow, mitigate and manage taxation, and navigate life’s anticipated and unexpected turns.
- We will communicate with those in our lives who are or may be affected by our financial decisions. We will communicate openly and honestly about what we are trying to accomplish and why. This communication will serve you well as you build and pass on not only financial assets but create family story.
As with our national liberties, it takes discernment, discipline and dedication to maintain them. When we put in the warranted efforts, we reap the rewards and can enjoy the fruits of freedom. What are you willing to do to take the next step toward your financial independence?