241 years ago, the Declaration of Independence was approved. In this document, the American colonies declared themselves independent of Britain’s rule and decided to uphold certain principles. Among the words written in the document was this well-known passage:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Whether you believe in a higher-power or not, it almost goes without saying that everybody should have access to certain rights, just for existing (given that they don’t try and take those rights away from anyone else, of course), regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
Although today is a day to be celebrated, I think it’s also a time to reflect. Reflect on the freedoms we have, the freedoms we need to protect, and the freedoms that we still have to work for.
Being Grateful For What We Have
First of all, those of us in the US (and many other countries) have a lot to be grateful for. It’s easy to turn on the news and see all the terrible things that are happening in the world. But headlines like, “Americans Continue Being Able To Express Their Ideas and Opinions” or “Americans Can Still Worship As They Please” just aren’t as catchy, and so they aren’t published, and people forget about them in place of how “unfair” things still are.
Don’t get me wrong, we as a society still have lots to work on and we need to constantly push forward. I’m just saying that we have a lot to be grateful for. And if we don’t stop every once in awhile to appreciate the freedoms we have, we start to turn into an angry mob who is constantly blaming and judging each other for mistakes made and perceived harm done.
And what’s the point of freedom if you can’t enjoy it?
We live in a world where we can worship how we like, we can marry and raise a family as we see fit, we have access to sites like Facebook, we can travel anywhere in the country, we have free education, we can express ourselves how we choose, and the list goes on and on. These freedoms can obviously be taken away if we try to take away from the freedoms of others. But by default, we are given these freedoms just for being citizens of this country.
I’m sure you already guessed that I’d have to throw something in here about money. This is a personal finance blog after all! But the freedom we have to even pursue early retirement or our dream career is something to be admired. I know I sometimes get caught up in how far I am from my goals. But I need to be more grateful for the fact that I can even have goals like that at all.
Freedom Don’t Come Cheap
Unfortunately, as many of you looking to improve your finances know, there are very few things that come absolutely free in life.
The freedoms we have today were gained through countless wars, protests, courageous actions, and people willing to stand up for the rights of others.
Fighting For Your Rights
In today’s world a lot is given to us by default. If nothing else, the freedoms I mentioned above. I think that this makes it easier to take those freedoms for granted and to feel a certain sense of entitlement. “Oh I don’t need to vote because I’m comfortable with my life” or “I deserve that freedom, so I’m sure no one will try to take it away.”
Sometimes fighting for freedom isn’t about fighting for yourself. It’s about making the world a better place to live in for your children. If you have no children then maybe it’s about doing something out of gratitude for what’s been done for you.
I’m not saying to go out and join the military or run for Mayor. But at least do the little things to make this world a better place and to protect the freedoms we have.
Fighting For Financial Freedom
It’s the same things for financial freedom. Okay, typically not nearly as intense, but it’s something that comes at a price. It takes hard work, dedication to a cause, and the willingness to fight for your ideal life.
For me, financial freedom/independence is about being able to do what you want with your time because you’re not forced to work anymore. It’s about being free to visit with family in the middle of a weekday. Or being free to go on a month-long vacation if you want to.
You’re living your life and not a life you’re forced into because of financial constraints.
Although it’s easy to feel entitled to the life you want, nothing will happen until you start putting in the effort. The struggle for financial freedom isn’t fought on the battlefield. This battle is fought in our own minds – in the little decisions we make each day.Financial freedom is won through the little decisions we make each day.Click To Tweet
What Price Are You Willing to Pay?
Now it just comes down to the price you’re willing to pay for your freedoms. Are you willing to take time out of your day to research candidates and vote? Are you willing to cut down on eating out? Or even start a part-time business on the side?
Before you answer this question, I want you to take a second and imagine what your life would be like without the freedoms we have today. You can’t express yourself freely. Your spouse is chosen for you. Social media and other websites are censored by the government. There’s no television except what the government wants you to watch. Your job is chosen for you – you work when they say, how they say.
Literally, your entire life is controlled for you.
Now answer the question – what price would you pay for those freedoms back? Not only for you, but for your friends and family as well?
As seekers of financial freedom, we often try to look for the lowest price. However, there are times when frugality is not the way to go, and I think that matters of freedom is definitely one of those times. Never take for granted those freedoms that we have, and remember that all freedom comes at a price.
Hope you all enjoy the fireworks tonight and Happy 4th of July!