1. Financial Independence is not a guarantee for happiness. I constantly keep this thought in the back of my mind. I don’t expect to achieve F.I. some day and suddenly be filled with eternal and everlasting bliss. It’s entirely possible to have enough money to never work again and still be miserable. F.I. provides wonderful freedom to cultivate a life that brings happiness, but the money by itself means nothing.
2. The real gift of financial independence is time, not money. The numbers in my bank account mean nothing to me. But the freedom they represent makes me truly excited. The freedom to do work I love, spend time with my favorite people, and wake up each day where I get to decide exactly how I spend it is mouth-watering.
3. Spending should be entirely based on value. I spend an obscene amount of money on Chipotle because I get an obscene amount of joy from it. Conversely, I rarely buy new clothing or eat out at expensive restaurants because they don’t bring me enough joy to justify the spending. Before I purchase anything, I ask myself will this add value to my life? If the answer is a resounding yes, I don’t feel guilty spending money on it. Money is a tool, and it should be used to maximize happiness.
4. Working hard in my 20’s is a ticket to a lifetime of freedom. This belief drives my work ethic. I believe the work I’m doing now along with the aggressive saving and investing is the ticket to buy my freedom. While I have no wife, no kids, and very few responsibilities, now is the time to grind and build up my net worth quickly so I don’t have to worry about money at all for the next 60 years.
5. I plan on working even after achieving financial independence. Just not in a cubicle. I understand plenty of people find fulfillment in their 9-5 corporate job, but I know myself and my nature well enough to know it’s not for me. But I do plan on working even after I have the financial means to walk away from a 9-5 job. I plan on writing, blogging, and creating just as much as I do now. This type of work brings me fulfillment and F.I. offers a beautiful opportunity to do this work full time.
6. Philosophy must come before finance. My personal philosophy – what I want to do in life, how I want to live, what type of things I want to accomplish – gives my financial life direction. I want freedom to travel, to write and create full time, to spend time with people I love, all of which gives me a direction to press towards. It helps me only spend money on things that are necessary. It provides motivation to find ways to earn more money. Without my personal philosophy, my financial life would lack direction.
7. Life is short. Life is too short to not live in a way that I can look back on and smile about 60 years from now. It’s too short to waste money on crap I don’t need. It’s too short to not spend time with people I love. It’s too short to live buried in debt, to constantly worry about finances, to never be in control of my time. Life is too short to let money prevent me from living my best possible life. I want to be in complete control of my finances so I have the ability to live a life of meaning and fulfillment.
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Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
Although the bulk of his net worth is invested in index funds, his favorite place to invest in individual stocks is M1 Finance, a site that allows you to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
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