Be financially free

Money exists to enable our goals and dreams. For some people, money is a status symbol – in effect an assumption that driving expensive cars will somehow earn us respect.  However, the reality is that this is stealing from our futures, to pay for the opinions of strangers, who truly will not be there to support us when we do not have enough money to retire.

To be financially free is to be able to choose where you live, if you work or if you do not, when you work and where you play.  And that only happens when the things we invest in (our assets) generate enough income to replace the salary that we currently have.  For some, financial freedom comes when they retire, and for the lucky few it comes earlier.  But given that only 6% of people are able to live at the same standard as they did when they were employed, most people are never truly financially free.

Know where you’re going to get there

It is no point wanting to go to Cape Town to catch a cruise ship and heading off towards Durban.  Similarly, you need to know how much money you need in order to be financially free.

Following the Brave to Be Free event, this is what was revealed:

It is wonderful that 40% of you know how much money you need. What encourages me is that in our youngest audience, those less than 30, know that already.  Having a clear understanding enables you to make choices consciously as to whether you save or spend now – rather than finding yourself short of money when you need to retire.

Like our health, we all know we should save.  But knowing is only one of the steps to achieving our goal.  We need to supplement that with a clear picture in our head of what financial freedom is.  Who is with us?  Where are we living?  How often do we travel and to where?  What does it feel like, smell like, look like? WHY?  It’s hard to resist buying that ice cream or dress unless your WHY is strong enough – and likewise saving more, now, is hard.  You need to save a minimum of 20% pre-tax – and for many it will be a lot more.

Only 36% of the ladies have a clear idea of what financial freedom looks like – and not surprisingly the older we get, the clearer our vision is.  For those under 30, 40% have their goal defined and written down, versus 57% of people in their 50s.

It takes work to be financially free

Like anything in life that is great, we need to work on our money like we work on our marriages, careers and health.  Every day.

Only 11% of GWII women spend more than 4 hours a month on their money.  What is so encouraging is that 50% of our under 30’s spend 4 hours or more.  I know that life happens – but knowledge is power.  So, I deeply encourage each of you to spend at least an hour a week on your budgets – tracking and understanding how you’re doing and where you need to be.

Act despite your fears

These days, there is someone who can teach it to you via videos, blogs posts or driving to work on a podcast.  My website, has all of the above to teach you on any topic you’d like to learn about.  The more time you spend, the more confident you’ll become, and the greater your chances of reaching financial freedom are.

Good luck.  Choose to act despite your fears (courage), pick up that phone and make the call you’ve been putting off.  What’s the worst that can happen?  And is that so bad really?

Lisa Linfield
Founder of Working Women’s Wealth