This is how we are taught to live in America: You start your career and work really hard until you turn 65 and can finally retire. Work is how you define yourself. Most of your week (40-plus hours) is dedicated to your job for the majority of your time on earth.
Let’s be real. That vision for your life is becoming outdated. The grim realities of the 9-to-5 grind are becoming too difficult to ignore.
You work so hard that you don’t have time for the things you love: your hobbies, your family, your friends, yourself. You are overworked, stressed the %$#* out, and unhappy. You can’t imagine doing this until you are 65, when your life can actually be enjoyable.
This disillusionment with the American work system is the kindling for the Financial Freedom Movement. Becoming financially independent and, ultimately, financially free can mean a lot of things — but it doesn’t mean waiting until you’re 65 to experience the joy of not working.
Keep reading to learn about the Financial Freedom Movement and how a generation of people are building a life free of the stresses of overwork, money, and the 9-to-5 grind.
What Is Financial Freedom?
Picture this: When you wake up on a Monday morning, you get to do whatever the hell you want.
You take your fluffy dog for a two-hour walk, grab an oat milk latte on the way, and read a riveting novel under the shade of a tree.
Or maybe you paint a masterpiece, write the next American novel, or learn how to code. Or you spend hours writing letters to your local government in protest of police brutality or volunteer as a community member at a local restorative justice circle.
Or you hop on a plane to Mexico, get yourself a margarita, and take a nap.
The freedom to choose what you do with your day, the opportunity to fill your life with your passions (creative, political, and otherwise), and the chance to spend quality time with the people you love — that’s what life looks like when you’re financially free.
So what’s the definition of Financial Freedom?
Financial freedom is a dream shared by entrepreneurs, disgruntled 9-to-5ers, and anyone who doesn’t fantasize about labor.
It’s when you have earned, saved, and invested enough money that you can essentially do whatever you want with your life. It’s when money is no object and work is optional.
It’s the ability to pave a different path for you and your family so that life is no longer about work, stress, and the lack of time to do the things you love. It’s when you have learned that life is about more than success and money.
This day and age is ripe with opportunities that make it possible for anyone to achieve financial freedom if they take the right steps.
Steps to Reaching Financial Freedom:
- Change the way you think about money.
- Determine your current financial situation.
- Set your goals for financial freedom.
- Make that budget and stick to it.
- Create additional sources of income.
- Invest your money!
Who Is Behind the Financial Freedom Movement?
While there’s no one “founder” of the Financial Freedom Movement, there are various key players in the concepts — and no, we’re not talking about YouTube celebrity Jake Paul.
Side note: Jake Paul is the owner of a business with the same name, “The Financial Freedom Movement,” an online course that allegedly helps young people achieve financial freedom by becoming influencers. Don’t get this confused with the general movement of financial freedom — we know it can be confusing!
Better names to know are Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, authors of Your Money or Your Life, a New York Times bestselling financial classic.
In 1992, the book offered a new way of thinking about work: When you’re working, you’re trading your life for money. So when you buy things, you should think about it in terms of hours of your life. You can always make more money, but you can never get back your time.
This way of thinking led to the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) Movement, a precursor to financial freedom.
What’s the difference between financial independence and financial freedom?
Financial independence and financial freedom are similar but different terms.
Financial independence comes before financial freedom. It is when you have enough passive income to no longer work.
Financial freedom is when you have enough money to live your absolute best life, when money can no longer hold you back from happiness. It’s when you’re truly free from the tangles of finance and can live the life of your dreams.
What Will You Learn in the Financial Freedom Movement?
If you join the Financial Freedom Movement, you’ll learn:
- How to maximize your savings
- How to use side hustles to increase your income
- How to build passive income streams
- How to invest your money
- How to budget sustainably
- How to live a life not controlled by work
What Are the Benefits of the Financial Freedom Movement?
- You’ll have more time for the parts of life that you enjoy most: be it family, friends, passions, and purpose.
- You’ll be the master of your money, not the other way around.
- You’ll no longer waste money or time.
- You can help others escape the oppressive workplace.
What are the Drawbacks of the Financial Freedom Movement?
- People might be jealous of you or judge you for opting out of a career. (Note that if you want to continue to have a career, you can! Financial freedom is the ability to choose.)
- You might be initially overwhelmed, working extremely hard in the beginning.
- You might be initially lost, and thoughts might arise like, “Who am I without a steady job?”
- You might feel lonely. You’ll be free while your companions might still be bogged down by work.
How Do You Prepare to Join the Financial Freedom Movement?
Financial freedom is an attainable goal for hardworking people who want a life of leisure before they’re too old to enjoy it.
If you’re interested in joining the Financial Freedom Movement, the first step would be to learn more about it. Reading this article is great, but once you’re done, keep learning!
If the vastness of the world wide web seems overwhelming, we hear you. Here are some resources that can offer you professional financial advice on how to make your dreams of becoming financially free come true.
We covered this a bit before, but the FIRE Movement led to the Financial Freedom Movement and is closely related.
The FIRE strategy is really about optimizing your life, not just your wallet. It involves asking yourself what makes you truly happy, and then making your financial life about maximizing your happiness.
As you can imagine, it’s only gotten easier since 1992 to find creative ways to achieve financial independence.
dFree Financial Movement
dfree is a transformative, faith-based movement that aims to lead the African American community to financial freedom by providing accessible training and access to financial professionals.
One of its initiatives, the Billion Dollar Challenge, is a free campaign designed to empower the African American community to pay off debt. Through economic empowerment, the campaign goal is to pay off $1 billion of consumer debt.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Here are the most frequently asked questions about the financial freedom movement.
How much money do you need for financial freedom?
This question depends on the life you want to live. You’ll first need to plan out the kind of life you want and then assign a number to it.
A general principle is that you need 25x your annual living expenses to retire early. But again, early retirement isn’t the same thing as becoming financially free.
Your annual expenses might not be enough to give you the life of your dreams. Or you might even be happier with less expensive living. That’s why it’s important to take time to figure out how much the life of your dream costs. Once you have a number, you can start your journey.
How many people are part of the Financial Freedom Movement?
While it’s hard to put a concrete number on it, the FIRE and Financial Freedom movements are growing quickly.
The books Your Money or Your Life and Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need have sold millions of copies.
And there are thousands of people documenting their financial freedom journeys online and even successful financial freedom courses. Our best guess is the number of people building their own financial freedom are in the millions.
What are the key objectives of the Financial Freedom Movement?
- Help a generation of people become financially free
- Spread knowledge on how to save, invest, and generate wealth
- Inspire people to obtain passive income streams
- Demonstrate a path without life-long work and stress
Is it more difficult to reach financial freedom as a person of color?
There are vast disparities in finance between white people and people of color due to generational trauma and systemic racism and inequality. The impacts of slavery and deliberate discrimination in education, housing, employment, and investing are still felt today.
In 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Black poverty rate was around 22%, over twice the white poverty rate. And the average white family has eight times the wealth of the average Black family.
This racial wealth gap is an obstacle in the way to reaching wealth the traditional route. This makes it all the more important for people of color to learn how to become financially free and free from financial discrimination.
Is it more difficult to reach financial freedom as a woman?
Thanks to the gender pay gap in America, women also face unique retirement challenges.
Women are almost two times more likely than men to have zero savings for retirement. This doesn’t bode well for women, especially when they statistically outlive men by an average of six to eight years.
That’s why it’s so important to get educated about how to achieve financial freedom for yourself as a woman.
When should you join the Financial Freedom Movement?
If you’re interested in joining the Financial Freedom Movement, you should join now! Even if you’re really young, like a teenager. Teens and finances definitely belong in the same sentence. Learning how to save and invest money young will make it even easier to reach financial freedom.
The Bottom Line on the Financial Freedom Movement
The Financial Freedom Movement empowers you to take control of your money, time, and life.
It is an opportunity for everyone — no matter your race, age, gender, or financial situation — to build a better, more fulfilling life away from the stress of money and work.
You are more than capable of achieving financial freedom. The first step is believing in yourself.