Freedom of Financial Choice

As we wind down our holiday weekend, let’s take time to acknowledge and celebrate the freedoms we have in earning, giving, saving, investing and spending our financial resources.

We are blessed to live in a country where we are free to choose what we do for a living. Is financial gain the sole reason for choosing a career or path in life? Let us applaud the opportunity to grow from a job, to a career into a calling, or vocation. It is ultimately not the almighty dollar that will satisfy us, but the opportunity to serve others. More and more we are seeing social entrepreneurship – Visionaries and realists seizing opportunities to improve systems, invest in new approaches and creatively address issues in our world to change it for the better. We live in a country where free enterprise levels the field and anyone can enter the game. There are a growing number of venture capitalists and venture philanthropists that are investing in companies with new ideas that will serve others as well generate opportunities for ROI. The game is changing and the “win” looks different. Let us heed the words of Victor Frankle “For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”

Let’s celebrate the liberty to give of our time, talents and resources – we are a generous nation. The challenges lie in how to discern who, where, what and how to give. Creating a “giving plan” can help you and your family clarify what causes and organizations speak to your hearts. Deciding “how much is enough” for yourselves and your heirs can help you to create margin to free up your time, or resources to share with others. Educating yourself and understanding the creative side of giving – donor advised funds, beneficiary designations, charitable remainder and lead trusts will help open doors to leverage your giving.

We get to revel in the freedom to save and invest for our futures! We can choose to be free from consumer debt. If we have learned anything over the past five years – is that there is the certainty of uncertainty. While we cannot plan for every opportunity or obstacle that will happen in our lives, a solid, boring savings account will help you ride out a storm or seize an opportunity. There are a plethora of investment opportunities –which ones are a fit for you? How do you make your investment decisions? If we look at our money as a flow of our intentions, we have an opportunity and responsibility to look at how our money is invested. Our investments have the power to facilitate change. If you invest in the markets, dig deeper into your portfolio. Do you want it to be more than asset allocation, tax strategies, risk management or ROI? Speak up and ask questions of your advisors. There are filters to opt out of certain types of companies, there are filters that focus on specific sectors – do your homework.

We have the freedom to choose how we spend our money. Commend yourself for having a spending plan – you get to decide where your money will go! We vote with our wallets. What does your credit card statement say about you? What is important to you? Are you making intentional choices about what you buy, where you buy and why you buy it?

Let’s be cognizant of the personal wrestling match with our minds, our emotions and our money. I encourage you to take the time and energy to ask yourself arduous questions and put forth the energy to make small, but over time, significant changes. We know the cost of freedom is not free. We owe it to those who have given their lives to provide us with these opportunities to choose how we earn, give, save, invest and spend. Be part of the change, we are citizens of a great country and we have plenty reason to celebrate!

Danielle Howard is a Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner. Wealth by Design, LLC., her financial life planning office is located at 23300 Two Rivers Road in Basalt. Contact her at 927-3909 or by filling out the contact form here.

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