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The Simple Dollar

Financial independence is hard work

If it were easy, everyone would do it. But financial independence is not impossible, either.

By Guest blogger / September 22, 2013

Dollar bills at a foreign exchange shop in New Delhi.

Tsering Topgyal/AP/File

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If financial independence were easy, everyone would be financially independent.

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The Simple Dollar is a blog for those of us who need both cents and sense: people fighting debt and bad spending habits while building a financially secure future and still affording a latte or two. Our busy lives are crazy enough without having to compare five hundred mutual funds – we just want simple ways to manage our finances and save a little money.

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On the other hand, if financial independence were impossible, no one would be financially independent.

I try very hard to keep those two things in mind every single day.

It’s not hard to explain why financial independence is a good thing. It frees you from having to worry about your employment. It frees you to do whatever you want with your time. It frees you from having to make hard choices.

It’s not easy to get there, though. It’s hard.

Short term desires are very loud. It might be great fun to buy that thing you want right now – and you have the cash to do it! – but every step that you take towards something you want immediately is a step away from financial independence.

Society, as well as the people around you, constantly encourages you to spend, spend, spend. Advertisers don’t make ads for fun. They make them because they work. People are constantly convinced that they need more, more, more and they use their hard-earned money to grab for their latest desire.

Every step away from financial independence requires another step to get back to where you were.If you spend twenty bucks foolishly, you’ve got to make twenty more and not spend it just to get back to where you were before, not having made any progress. Every step back just increases the length of your journey.

All of this can be overcome, but it’s not an easy road.

You have to constantly compare the long term to the short term. Is the urgent desire of today worth walking away from the dream of tomorrow? It might not seem like spending a few bucks today turns you away from that dream, but that’s exactly what it does.

You have to not be guided by the urges and whispers of society. You can’t constantly indulge in the latest treats if you want to get ahead. Instead, you have to make careful choices about the rare occasions when you’ll accept a step or two backward on your journey.

You have to judge every purchase and every decision. Is this item I want right now worth the step back it would require on my financial journey? If I spend $100 today, that drops my net worth by $100… so I have to earn and save $100 just to get back here.

This is not an easy road. It’s a road with pleasures and rewards, but it’s also a road of personal challenge and commitment. The reward at the end is financial freedom.

Do you want it?

The post Financial Independence Is Hard Work appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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