The following is a guest post from Kent Thune, who is a Certified Financial Planner(R) and the author of The Financial Philosopher, where he urges readers to place *meaning before money and purpose before planning*.
What is freedom? What is financial freedom? Is there a difference? Is the freedom that money apparently purchases worth the sacrifices we make to reach this freedom? Can the pursuit of financial freedom paradoxically reduce one’s actual freedom? Can freedom be bought? If not, then what does this say about the pursuit of financial freedom?
The Tail Wagging the Dog
“Life is about life and not the result of life.” ~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Financial goals are destinations; they’re not life. If you believe that life is about the journey and not the destination, it’s contradictory to believe that life now must be sacrificed for a life bought by money later.
If retirement, for example, is accomplished only upon (or in unison with) the accomplishment of financial freedom what is the purpose of life now? Are you enslaving yourself now for a perceived freedom years or even decades away?
The blind pursuit of financial freedom is often closer to slavery than it is to liberation. The ultimate example of the metaphorical tail wagging the dog is an individual who creates a financial plan and then shapes their life and behaviors to accomplish the plan; whereas the healthy individual will clarify life (non-financial) goals first, and use money as a tool to reach those goals second. The pursuit of financial freedom can actually be liberating if it is not a blind pursuit—if it is a pursuit consciously defined by the individual.