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How Do You Know if You’re Financially Independent?

In the spirit of the 4th of July we recently celebrated, I have a question for you. Are you financially independent? 

I’m curious how many of you responded with a resounding YES! But I’m guessing many of you are either shaking your head ‘no’ or furrowing your brow, wondering if you are.

Let me clarify.

You are Financially Independent if you have enough to meet your needs and satisfy many (not necessarily all) of your wants…free from the stress of overdue bills and struggling to make ends meet.

Financial Independence has nothing to do with how much money you earn, but how much money you keep. You achieve it by spending less than you have and saving more than you need.

But for some of you, spending less and saving more is akin to self-imposed poverty. I’m reminded of an email I once received…

“How can I SAVE money to create wealth (which means cutting back spending) and still have a feeling of ABUNDANCE (which means the desire to SPEND) and not a mentality of LACK?” 

In her mind, spending provided the pretense of prosperity while saving felt like self-denial. 

To someone with a wealthy mindset, saving means giving the money to yourself (not Visa or Starbucks) so that ultimately you can purchase whatever you please without pressure or worry.

The difference between the two mindsets is not deprivation but delayed gratification. 

I remember, as I struggled to clean up my financial mess, my mentor, Karen McCall, saying to me, “It’s ok to have massages, but what if you had one a month instead of every week, and deposit what you would’ve paid into your savings?” 

I followed her advice. And because I did, I gave my future self the gift of financial independence.

What could you do to give yourself the gift of financial independence? Leave me a comment.

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Comments & Feedback

  • joyce

    I do have financial independence because for the last 39 months I have practiced the principles of spending less and saving more and giving generously–and I paid down all of my debt. I do struggle with delaying gratification but now it’s a struggle that I play out emotionally and spiritually; ie, I am not acting out with my money. I do sometimes wish that I could “spend” instead of save a hunk of money. So I have made sure that there is money set aside for fun and I have a talk with my future self in these moments who thanks me for the life they are living because my present self delayed the gratification.

    • Mandy

      I love the conversation you have with your future self, Joyce! Thanks for that great inspiration.

      • barbara huson

        Joyce, I LOVE YOUR POST! You beautifully articulate the internal struggle so many of us have…and the brilliant way you approach that struggle…not by ignoring it, but listening to it and making healthier decisions that will serve you in the long run while not depriving yourself completely. Thank you for sharing this. How would you feel if I used your post in one of my blogs…you said it much better than I ever could!!

  • Connie

    I’m giving myself the gift of the awareness and gratitude of the abundance, financial independence, I DO have despite my debt and current low income. I have a beautiful Feng Shui designed place to live, food to eat, people who love and care for me, gift certificates for massages, … my needs and most of my wants are met in amazing ways. I’ve even been investing $2 a month in myself. Though it’s a tiny amount, it’s was a big mind and energy shift for me to start saving “something”. It feels really good watching it grow penny by penny and I know that it will grow in bigger amounts soon. This is just priming the pump.

    My husband died a year ago after a 5 year decline through Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia. I was his all-the-time caregiver through those hard years. There was a small lift insurance policy that supported me this last year so I could grieve without worrying about my bills. Now that money is nearly gone and I’m finding ways to bring in my own money again. It’s going slower than I want. My debt is more than I can pay, but thanks to Covid-19 I’ve been able to defer but it’s just delaying the problem.

    I’m working on expanding my private chef business, breathing new life into my jewelry business and warming up to the idea of a part time job. I want to heal and restructure my relationship to money while holding the vibration of abundance. What percentage of my income do you recommend using on debt? I want to honor my commitment to repay my credit cards, but I’m at the point of needing to negotiate minimum payments.

    My Mentor recommended your book Overcoming Underearning to me and she empathized the importance of taking care of myself WHILE I’m paying off my debts. This is not how my mind is programmed so I’m trying to wrap around this idea, strategy. I thought that everything I earn should go to debt. My Mentor is teaching me to budget for things that feed my Soul and body first. She’s recommending using 20% of my income on my debt, but right now that’s hardly anything.

    I’d love your thoughts, Barbara. Thank you!

    • barbara huson

      Connie, first let me say how sorry I am for your loss. You’ve been through a lot, but you sound so strong and level-headed. You’re doing all the right things. Finding ways to bring in more money. Setting aside small amounts for yourself. Committing to paying down your debt. Consciously shifting your programming. Well done…really well done. I 100% agree with your mentor. Don’t put all of your money into debt repayment…put aside some for your self care and some to cover future emergencies so don’t have to go deeper into debt when the unexpected expenses arise.

      My suggestion, if you haven’t already…contact…the National Federation of Credit Counselors. Let them help you negotiate with your creditors and set up a debt repayment plan. And if you do , I’d love to hear how it goes.

      Meanwhile, Kudos to you for getting help from a mentor, for writing me, and for all the changes you’re making. Well done.

      • Connie Long

        Thank you so much, Barbara. I appreciate your compassion and wisdom. I’m enjoying your book Overcoming Underearning. It’s challenging me and showing me the beliefs that need an upgrade.

        I’ll keep you posted!

  • Lisa


    Interesting what you wrote about massages. I know a massage therapist who works at the Peninsula Hotel where celebrities like Paul McCartney stay when they’re in town.

    She said although the majority of her clients are wealthy people, none of them regularly go for massages. They tend to get a massage around their birthday or during vacation. I think it’s about prioritizing how to spend time and sometimes money. Maybe playing a round of golf with business associates is more valuable than passively lying on a massage table once a week.

  • barbara huson

    Interesting point Lisa. I agree…it’s a matter of priorities. Now I get a massage every week, because that’s a huge priority for me to heal my chronically painful back. I think people get into trouble when they don’t have clear priorities. Thanks so much for sharing this with me!

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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