The Non-Financial Benefits of Financial Freedom

The Non-Financial Benefits of Financial Freedom

Financial freedom sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? The thought of never again having to set up autopayments or worry about what bill is due when…Ahhh-mazing.

That said, have you ever thought about the benefits of financial freedom BEYOND just freedom with your finances?

Well today we’ve got Jacob from Dollar Diligence to introduce us to the non-financial benefits of financial freedom —

Financial Freedom

Being $25,000 in student debt, I knew I was feeling the strain and the anxiety. I hadn’t experienced a good night’s sleep in months and felt drained of energy on most days. I wasn’t completely hopeless, but I felt constrained by the enormity of the problem.

The damage my debt was doing to my finances and credit was clear, because I monitored it almost daily. But, what wasn’t so clear was the damage it was doing to me and those around me. The stress, coupled with my inability to concentrate on much of anything else, led to a deterioration of my health, my relationships and my career.

Getting free of debt not only gave me my financial freedom, it saved my career, and it probably saved my life.

Everything began to turn around for me when I got serious and developed a plan. I freelanced for extra income, I refinanced to a lower rate, and I setup auto-pay for weekly debt killing payments. Just having a plan gave me a sense of relief and the ability to focus, prioritize and make decisions. After 15 months, I am debt free.

Financially I’m not yet where I want to be, but I now have a clear path to achieving my most important goals.  It’s a feeling like no other.  While the financial benefits of becoming debt-free are clear, less clear, but much more important, are the non-financial benefits. When you understand how debt impacts every corner of your life, it becomes your most powerful motivation to eliminate it completely.

The Physical Reality of Debt

You feel it first in your emotional makeup. It’s hard to ignore the feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, but you feel as if you can cope with it. What you don’t realize is the physical toll it takes. Studies show that stress is a leading cause of heart disease and researchers have found a positive correlation between debt-induced stress and heart attacks.

When I was at the peak of my distress, my family forced me to get a physical. I found out I was a hypertensive time bomb that needed immediate disarming. I long ignored the migraines, the weight gain and the new age lines – all stress-induced. When I got rid of my debt, I got my health back.

Debt Can Hollow Out Your Life

While your mental and physical health deteriorate under the weight of debt, everything else that is important in your life seems to fade into the background – your family, your relationships, your career and your future.

When you can’t concentrate on anything other than your finances, nothing is prioritized. It doesn’t happen deliberately; it just happens.

You grow distant from the people close to you and there is no urgency in your relationships at home or at work. Some people become resentful of others – their spouse for not understanding or being able to help, their employer for not paying enough and anyone who is enjoying a debt-free life.

Debt threatened my relationships, my career and my future. When I became debt-free, I got my life back.

Finding the True Meaning of Wealth

At the risk of drawing any comparisons between eliminating debt and surviving some real life and death situation, I did gain a similar sense of appreciation of everything around me.

There are so many moments of wealth that occur in our lives that, when we’re lost in a fog of despair, we miss entirely. Wealth is as much about accumulating these moments of love and happiness as it is accumulating vast sums of money.

It’s also about being able to choose how you want to live your life – free to pursue your passion with peace-of-mind and no encumbrances. All of that is lost when you can’t see past a stack of bills.  When I became debt-free, I became a very wealthy man.

It may seem hopeless at times, but there are great rewards awaiting you for taking a stand against your debt, the least of which is your financial freedom. When you understand how much is taken from you when debt controls your life, there is no greater feeling than making that last payment.

What would you life look like if you were financially free?

Tell us in the comments below!

This post courtesy of Jacob @DollarDiligence Follow him for daily personal finance tips! Jacob is a high school math teacher who hustled his way out of student loan debt. Frugality is Jacob’s middle name (okay…maybe not…or is it…)

Dreams of Yet Another Blogger

Dreams of Yet Another Blogger

Blogging is dead! If you’ve ever dipped your toe into blogging, there’s no doubt you’ve come across that notion before. The idea that blogging is a waste of time or that becoming a professional blogger is impossible…well I’m here to show you that quite the opposite is in fact truth.

Eat Dream Blog

Eat Dream Blog What Would You Do If You Had No Fear of Failure

Many of us have dreams that we think will forever remain just that – dreams…

What we could do “if only…”

If only we had… more time, more money, more space, more support….

More courage?

It’s hard to put it all out there. Really hard. To try and make a go of it, especially in today’s world where you don’t have to be a celebrity to have your messiness or mistakes exposed.

But I’m trying. Because a life where I only get to spend 35 hours a week with my children while I spend 45+ at work doesn’t sound like much of a life to me.

Before I started this adventure, I had no idea just how much work went into running a successful blog. All I have to is write and post, right? Build it and they will come?

Yeah. Right.

motivation quote to chase dreams

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy with my stats thus far. It may not seem like much compared to other sites out there, but in the 18 days since I’ve launched, I’ve had 641 visitors. And I’m so grateful for each and every one of you.

I love it, though. And that really is all that matters in the end. I wish I had more time to work on it, but I make do. I come up with post ideas while I’m driving to work, I promote via social media while I nurse my baby to sleep, and I dream about the day this blog will set me free financially. Because it will happen. Someday.

Dont just dream it live it quote

Until then, I shall continue writing for the sake of writing and I hope you shall continue enjoying what I have to say (or at least some of it). Make sure you subscribe to my postings by entering your e-mail in the upper right hand corner of my page (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile)!

What are some of your dreams? I’d love to hear about them!

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UPDATE: It’s been TWO YEARS since I wrote this post (whaaaaa…?!) and I’m happy to say *I DID IT*!!!!! Check out this post on how a cat convinced me to quit my job to become a professional blogger!

 

When I Grow Up: Making Room for Joy

When I Grow Up: Making Room for Joy

If you’re struggling to find freedom through your dreams, this piece is for you.

When I Grow Up: Making Room for Joy

What did you want to be when you were five? Ten? Eighteen?

What changed?

Was it just you growing up, your passions and interests growing with you?

Or were you told it was too silly? Too unreasonable? Too impossible?

When I Grow Up: Making Room for Joy

When I Grow Up, I’m Going to Be….

A ballerina. An astronaut. A dinosaur.

brown hair baby girl in blue dinosaur costume

Why do so many seem to constantly discourage dreaming big? Is it because so often our own dreams are crushed? Is it a sour hand-me-down from the previous generation? They never made it and neither will we, so it’s best we never try?

When I Grow Up, I’m Going to Be…

A writer. A doctor. The President of the United States.

young brown hair woman writing

Why if our children say they want to be artists or football players, do we tell them “That’s really hard to make a career out of…”

Is it because we want them to know the struggles they’ll face? To prepare them for the possible heartache? Or do we so greatly fear them living with us forever that we have an immediate reflex to want to stomp out that spark?

When I Grow Up, I’m Going to Be…

A secretary. A bus driver. A teacher.

young brown hair woman giving presentation to small crowd

Do we think we must aim for more reasonable heights because it’ll hurt less if we fall? Are we afraid encouraging others will lead to an inability to handle the rough-n-tumble that is our current day?

When I Grow Up, I’m Going to Be…

WHATEVER. I. WANT.

young brown hair woman sticking her tongue out

A mother. A blogger. A partner.

Financially free. Happy. Organized.

A superhero.

young child in captain america costume

Today I challenge you to stop limiting yourself and to never discourage dreams, yours or others.

Any time you hear that little whisper that says “I can’t…” or “Maybe if I was younger/older/smarter/richer…” I want you to physically shake it off. You can try a little shake at first. Tap your toe. Flick your wrist. Whatever it takes to remind yourself that negativity is not welcome here.

Then at the end of the day, when you can just let it all go without judgement or fear of looking silly (or kinda nuts), give yourself a full body shake.

Shake off all the negativity, the stress, the anger, the regret. Just let it go.

Make room for the positive, for the joy and the dreams. Welcome your optimism and believe in it.

Shel Silverstein said it best:

shel silverstein poem

What would you be if you could do anything with no risk of failure or remorse? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.