Is Money Freedom?

When I first wanted to become financially secure and stable I browsed PF blogs like there was no tomorrow.

All around the blog-o-sphere were people saying the same thing, or at least versions of the same thing. We all know it as the bible according to Dave Ramsey:

  1. Get yourself a $1,000 E-fund
  2. Get yourself out of debt ASAP
  3. Build a bigger E-fund

Now, I have no problem with this as a way of getting out of debt. And in fact, this was the method I have been essentially using for the last year and a half.

However, it has come to my attention in the past month that I may have been wrong.

What I failed to realize when I started out in this journey is that my lack of money wasn’t just keeping living in a day-to-day, month-to-month scenario. It was making me dependent on my job for survival. Sure, this may seem obvious, but hear me out.

When you only have a $1,000 emergency fund, while you are paying off your debts you are at the mercy of your circumstances. You can’t quit your job, you can’t accept a new job, you can’t leave a terrible home environment, you can’t go back to school, you can’t leave a dangerous life situation. For the period of time that you are in that debt repaying mode – your fate is set because you can’t afford anything different – if you don’t have adequate savings.

And when I first started, this didn’t matter. I didn’t see myself leaving the position that I was at until the debt was gone anyway, so it didn’t matter to me. However, we CAN NOT predict life. We CAN NOT predict the things that will make us happy or miserable or the opportunities that will arise in the future.

Yes, debt is terrible. I have vowed as soon as this debt is gone that I will not be taking on any more debt load – including cars and housing – for the rest of my life.

However, personal freedom is far more important than a zero debt balance. At first I didn’t understand why in the world Debt Ninja was so afraid to pay off his student loans even though he had the liquid cash to do so (he eventually did transfer $10,000 of his savings to pay down his loans, fyi). But now I get it. There is more to personal finance than having no debts – much more – this is about financial freedom. And sometimes financial freedom means slowing down on paying your debts to make sure you get the most out of life.

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11 Responses to Is Money Freedom?

  1. Okturn delMoniq says:

    AMEN!!!

    I am with you on this. =)

  2. Jethro says:

    I truly get what you are saying… it just shows that even with all the information out there you have to make your choice to which sacrifice you are going to make.

  3. lifeasapurse says:

    I completely agree – you have gotten me thinking about this a lot lately, and I am about ready to put my debt repayment on hold in order to save up the cash I need to make my move to grad school. The truth is, it’s easy to let the debt take a toll on you mentally until you get to this point where that’s all you see. However, I’ve been living month to month with no savings for four months now, and I am ready to have more cash on hand to have some flexibility.

  4. Like most things in life, it’s all about balance. I believe in having an emergency fund and paying off debts, but I tend to pay off the debts more slowly than many hard-core PF bloggers would because I want to enjoy life a little bit! I’m not taking 4 vacations a year, buying $500 purses or shoes, or anything like that, but I enjoy going out to dinner once in a while and getting some new work clothes now and then.

  5. Jessie says:

    Great food for thought SS4BC!!

  6. Very interesting. Great post 🙂

  7. One thing that we all must keep in mind as we go through this journey of becoming financial responsible and debt free is the our circumstance and enviornment will change. Sometimes these changes will require us to review and amend our short- and long-term strategies.

    Personal finances are just that…personal, so any action must be customized. In your situation, I would not say that Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps are bad or in the wrong order, but I would stop aggressively paying debt and build up funds to make the necessary move. Then when you are settled you can pick up where you left off.

    Noone should sacrifice basic happiness unless it is absolutely unavoidable.

  8. I love this post so much. So so much.

  9. Fig says:

    Interesting post and I really like what you are saying here. As much as I want to be debt free (oh do I ever!) I really want personal freedom more.

  10. Man I completely agree, I’m feeling super trapped by my mortgage at the moment. It just eats up sooo much income I can’t make any progress. I think I’m going to do it up and flick the house. Buy something substantially cheaper!

  11. Pingback: Link love: Powered by spring rolls and ponytails « Musings of an Abstract Aucklander

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