One of my biggest dreams when I was younger was to have a huge house.
When I was a little boy, I used to draw floor plans all the time of a huge house that I would live in. There would be rooms for all of my family members, a giant library, an indoor gymnasium, and many other features.
To me, a home like that wasn’t just a fantastic place to live in. It was also a symbol of being a success. If I had a home like that, I must have been successful at something significant in life. It also represented my ability to take care of the people I love and value the most.
Over time, the core goals remained the same. I still want to be successful at things. I still want to be able to take care of the people I love.
I have other goals, too. I want to be creatively and spiritually fulfilled in whatever I do, for one. I want to raise my children to be successful independent people with strong internal lives.
A big house fulfills some of those goals, but it does not fulfill nearly all of them.
So, over time, my dream grew into something different. Rather than dreaming about that big house, I mostly dream about financial independence.
Financial independence brings me almost all of the things that I want in life. A big house really does not.
Financial independence gives me the freedom to chase big dreams that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to chase, like writing an audacious series of fantasy novels and getting them published or taking charge of a local charity and building it into something that can help lots of people in the community. Those things are certainly signs of success, plus they’re creatively and spiritually fulfilling to me.
Financial independence inherently means that I am able to take care of my immediate family. If I’m not able to do that, then I am not financially independent.
Financial independence gives me the schedule flexibility to always be around for my family. Without it, it would be nearly impossible to greet my children at the door every day and ask them how their day went. It would be impossible to prepare home-cooked meals on a regular basis. I wouldn’t be able to attend all of the events that my children care deeply about.
Financial independence checks off almost every core goal I have in my life. If I achieve financial independence, all of the rest becomes quite possible.
Thus, doing everything I can to maximize financial independence actually moves me toward most of my major life goals.
Whenever I take a step that “widens my gap,” meaning it either improves my income or reduces my expenses, I’m moving toward financial independence.
That connection between lifelong personal goals and daily personal finance choices is a very powerful one for me. When I choose to be frugal or I make a good financial decision, I directly push myself toward the big things I want to achieve in life.
It’s another step on that journey of a thousand miles, but it’s a step I’m confident in. It’s a step that takes me exactly to where I want to go.
Think about the big things you want out of life. If you start breaking them down a little bit into what you really want, it’s likely that many of them lead to financial independence.
Once you see financial independence as the key to the many things you want out of your life, it becomes a lot easier to motivate yourself to work hard for your income and to be frugal.