This Independence Day, as with each 4th of July, I’m reminded of the great leap of faith my parents took more than 37 years ago when they bought one-way tickets to the United States. Their move from their embattled Iran granted my brother and me a life of privilege and greater freedoms.
Their journey also encourages me to be a do-gooder and, as nerdy as it sounds, manage my money wisely. Because you can’t exactly say to your immigrant parents, “Hey, thanks for risking everything and moving here to give us a better life, but I have $80,000 in credit card debt and need to move back home.”
I want to be financially free, if for no other reason than to make them proud. That means living a debt-free life and supporting my family’s needs and wants both today and in the future. It means having my financial bases covered to avoid stressing over money. For me, personally, it also means have a little savings cushion for the day my parents might need my help for a change.
The term “financial freedom” signifies different things to different people. I was curious to learn more, so I took to the world of social media to crowd source the many definitions.
On Twitter, I ran a small, unscientific survey and discovered that one in three of us define financial freedom as never having to worry about money. I was surprised to learn that only 3% think making more and having more money is the exclusive path to financial freedom. A majority of us think that it’s a combination of being debt-free, having more money and never having to worry about dollars and cents.
On my Facebook page, feedback came from all over the country and overseas. Financial freedom is an aspiration for many of us, and we define it with terms like, “having choices,” “peace of mind” and “living in abundance.”
What’s your definition of financial freedom? Share it with us in the comments section below.
Farnoosh Torabi is America’s leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, she’s become our favorite go-to money expert and friend.