Everyone (including myself) stresses the importance of financial independence, but what does that really mean?
For some, it’s a feeling. For others, it’s concrete.
For me, it’s both.
I think I finally felt like I reached “financial independence” when I hit these major milestones:
- Getting out of $60,000 of tuition debt and being $0 in debt
- Amassing a net worth of over $100,000 (a great emergency net)
- Having a fairly low yearly living expenses and knowing where my money goes
- Not having to worry about spending money on traveling for a year (within reason)
- Knowing I have enough to tell any company that treats me like a slave: Bye bye!
I felt and still feel financially independent at all of these points.
Being 100% debt-free (and mortgage-less), I don’t have a single financial obligation to anyone but myself and it’s the #1 financial milestone in my life.
Granted, I can’t retire just yet and live the rest of my days hanging out in Portugal, but after I amass another $1 million or so in the bank, I’ll have hit my last milestone.
It’s just a matter of time, so I’m not worried.
Even if you aren’t debt-free or at all of the major points you hope to be at, you can still feel financially independent if:
- you are living below your means
- you understand where your money is going each month
- you are slowly and diligently amassing savings
- you are paying off your debt in a reasonable amount of time
- you feel financially independent