Financial independence is a lofty goal for many people. It requires saving diligently, being conscious about what you spend, and having a plan for the future. However, I think for anyone who is trying to be good with money, this is the ultimate goal.
But why is this something someone may want? Well, the depth and breadth of reasons are vast!
Here is a list (in no particular order) of 50 reasons for you to pursue financial independence. Some may resonate with you more than others, but most points should apply to most people.
1. Do what you want
When you are financially independent, you are not dependent on a job to sustain your lifestyle. You can work if you want. You can not work if you want. You can do what you want.
2. When you want
As a result of being able to do what you want, you also have more control over your time. When you’re not dependent on a 9-5 income you can choose to continue that if it’s what you choose, but you can also choose greater flexibility.
3. Where you want
For most people, where they live is highly tied to their job. People frequently move just for a job. When that’s not necessary, you can choose your ideal climate, cost of living, amenities, environment, proximity to certain people, etc.
4. Peace of mind
Only you can know when you feel financially independent, but when you reach that point, it means you’re comfortable with your savings and your spending and you have control over your actions. You have “enough” and that brings peace of mind.
5. Help others
There are many ways to help others. It could be done through assisting with physical labor, comforting someone in grief, babysitting, donating food, etc. These all require time and/or money though. Financial independence gives you more of both.
6. Physical health
Many working environments are poor for our health. Whether that is from a sedentary desk job, high stress, or proximity to unsafe materials, your health can improve greatly when you have the time to exercise, the time to cook healthy food, and more autonomy over your physical actions.
7. Mental health
8. Boost confidence
Lack of confidence leads to inaction. When you don’t have to worry about money, or a boss, or the expectations of other people and you can make decisions that are true to you, you have fewer negative influences to drag down your confidence. You can take action without needing the support of permission from anyone else.
9. Time with people you love
There are many ways this can play out: Time with your children while they are young. Time with ageing parents. You can always make more money. You can never make more time or get back the time that has been lost.
Many people can be financially independent sooner if they decrease their spending. A byproduct of that is less consumerism which is good for the environment.
This is a popular reason for many. When you are dependent on a job, your time for travel is either limited by the number of vacation days you have or limited by money because you have to take a pay cut by taking unpaid time off. Financial independence removes those chains from your ability to travel.
Gardening is healthy for you, the environment, and your mental health. However, I have a hard time keeping one alive in my semi-desert climate when I’m working full-time. When I’m financially independent, I fully intend to garden more.
13. Unemployment/Disability Insurance
If you don’t have to work, you don’t have to worry about being unemployed or having a disability.
14. Can save you money
In addition to not needing several forms of insurance anymore, there are many expenses associated with many jobs. Commuting, work attire, social expectations for meals, etc. You could eliminate those if you wanted!
15. Allows you to spend money
You shouldn’t blow your whole cash reserve, but if you’ve had the discipline to save enough to become financially independent you likely have the discipline to let yourself splurge now and then without worry. You can indulge in the areas that truly bring you greatest joy.
16. Frees you to take risks at work
When you worry less about job security, you are free to try new things and do something out of the norm for your boss or your clients. It may be risky, but it could also bring great reward.
17. Be more creative
Full-time, high-pressure work is often associated with creative burnout. The ability to leave that allows you to regain that creativity.
18. Pursue entrepreneurship
Many people can’t/won’t start businesses because they need an income to support them. Financial independence gives you a buffer to take that risk.
19. Avoid foreclosure and bankruptcy
Whether you believe financial independence requires paying off all your debts beforehand, or you save enough money to cover them, financial independence ensures that you can cover whatever money you owe to someone else.
20. Become more educated
When you have time freed up from working, you have time to learn something new!
There are many organizations who would benefit from volunteers but many want more than a few hours here and there of commitment. Financial independence allows you to take that time.
22. Pursue hobbies
How many interests do you put off because you don’t have the time? If you have more time you can spend more time painting, making music, golf, woodworking, [insert your hobby here].
Net worth should never equal self-worth. However, there is dignity and self-esteem to be had from being able to make it on your own and in your own way.
24. Broader horizons
We all get stuck in our comfort zones at times but dependence on a job can keep you there. Having the ability to explore the world and new activities on your terms can allow you to branch out and broaden your horizons.
25. Better decision-making
When the little details about finances aren’t as important in your daily judgments, the decisions you can make can change. You can make decisions based on your values and life goals rather than just on money.
26. Sense of accomplishment
Unless you inherited a large sum of money, chances are you will only become financially independent through hard work. Reaching that milestone can give you a sense of accomplishment that you truly achieved a worthwhile goal.
27. Pursue work for passion and meaning
Work is a natural human activity, but for some people, a traditional JOB can take the pleasure out of work. When the money is taken out of the equation you can rediscover working for personal satisfaction in areas that you are passionate about or that have great meaning to you.
28. Decreased burden on others
When you are capable of meeting your own needs, you don’t need to depend on others. You can lighten the load for others around you.
29. Be your truest self
When you are making intentional decisions about the life you want to live, you are being your truest self. When your life is not dictated by financial stress or the expectations of a boss it can truly be YOURS.
30. Set your family up for financial success
Financial independence allows you to take care of your family without financial stress or worry. Whether you want to leave money to your family or not, financial independence allows you to make decisions in your family’s best interest, model healthy money habits, and teach them strong lessons.
31. Reduce stress
When you are not worried about your next paycheck, your stress level can decrease significantly.
32. More time for spirituality
Whether for you this means religion or simply being connected to your true spirit, making time for spirituality is good for mental and physical health. Spirituality also helps people to be gracious, self-actualized, and compassionate.
33. Pursue dreams/goals
Do you have dreams or goals that have been put on pause because of your job or because of money constraints? What would you do if those weren’t an issue anymore?
34. Have options
When work is optional, you get to choose how you spend your days. You get ultimate control over how your life is structured.
35. Retire early
If you want to retire early, financial independence gives you that opportunity.
36. Retire with dignity
Even if you don’t want to retire early, whenever retirement will be for you, financial independence allows you to retire without being dependent on anyone else. You can live out your life with dignity.
37. There’s no reason not to
The only downside could be if you are so focused on achieving financial independence that you forget to live during the journey. However, if you strive to achieve a balance on the path there, there is no downside to having your financial life organized and secure.
38. Pick your 5 people
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. How many of those people do you get to choose right now? If you work 40+ hours a week, you possibly spend more time with your co-workers than your friends and family. Who would be your 5 people if you got to choose?
39. Escape the rat race
40. Inject social capital into your community
There is much that a successful community requires that Is much harder to do when you have a full-time job. Having extra time to be involved in your community provides social capital, which is very valuable for communities. You can shovel snow for a neighbor, ring bells for fundraisers, be involved in PTA, etc.
41. Avoid regret
When you can make life decisions based on your true passions and goals, you are less likely to make decisions that you regret.
42. Pursue multiple life paths
You probably have more than one interest in life. Rather than just sticking in the same career for 40 years, why not try others? Why not be a teacher, and a chef, and a pilot, and a parent, and a social activist throughout your life? Financial independence makes that possible.
43. Societal security
“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hopefully more financially independent people will make it less likely for us to be taken over by a dictator.
44. Protect yourself from the robots
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45. Love is not forever and your job does not love you back
Some people think it doesn’t matter whether they are financially independent because they love what they do. That is a fabulous situation to be in, but at a job, there are many situations that are out of your control and it’s possible that conditions may change someday so that you don’t love your job. What will you do then? Every job is great until it’s not. Financial independence gives you the freedom to make other choices when that day comes.
46. Know that your spending is in line with your values
Many people achieve financial independence by being consciously aware of their spending choices. Having that self-awareness allows you to make choices that are in line with your values rather than mindlessly following social expectations.
47. Be a role-model
Financial independence allows you to model good money habits and intentional life decisions.
48. Pre-empt emergencies
Hopefully, you have an emergency fund set up before you reach financial independence, but financial independence enhances that security.
49. You only live once
Ultimately, financial independence allows you to make a deliberately designed life. What do you want out of your life? Go out and make it happen because you only get one chance!
50. Because you want to
Do you really need any other reason?
My top 3 reasons are #9, 34 and 42. That will likely change over time!
What are your top three reasons for pursuing financial independence? Do you have any other reasons I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments!