July 5, 2008
Seems like a reasonable subject for this blog, too, so let’s see what I can reason out.
For one thing, I am not poor. Pete from Bible Money Matters recently posted a link to Global Rich List. I put my annual salary into their calculator and found that I am, if this is correct, the 674,568,733rd richest person in the world. Now that may not seem like a lot, but that puts me into the top 11.24% of earners in the world. (The site notes that if you make over $47,000/ann., you are in the top 1%.) Yeah, I know, that and $2.00 will get me on the bus, at least until the MTA raises the fare again. Still, it’s kind of humbling to realize how well-off I am in comparison to much of the world.
To me, financial independence would be to not be in debt to anyone. Not to Marc, not to a credit card company, not to my Landlord, not to Nelnet (my student loans). It means that the money I earn would go into supporting me both on a daily basis and for the long haul, and constantly and consistently making choices that support those goals. It means not having to feel I can’t afford to pursue something important to me. It means having the money to not have to use a dental clinic provided by my union where I am poorly treated because what I need is more than what the clinic’s practitioners who are mostly just out of dental school, are capable of handling. It means being able to follow the career paths I want to (writing and other creative pursuits) rather than having to take a low-level job that is exceedingly stressful. It means not having to put up with a roommate who has no desire to manage her finances.
The steps I am taking toward financial independence are not sacrifices. I’ve noted elsewhere that I don’t believe I am making sacrifices, but choices that will give me opportunities to make a wider variety of choices in the future.
In short, while financial independence is a goal, it is primarily a stepping stone to achieving other goals, and to me that is the thing to keep in mind along this road.
What does financial independence mean to you?