Sharon Levin

How do you define financial independence?

How do you define financial independence?

In today’s complex reality, we’re required to lead self-sufficient lives, particularly when making financial decisions. Do we set aside the time and energy required to manage a household budget? Do we track daily expenses and how often do we compare prices? Many of us are unable to navigate our money, making it difficult to end the month debt free. As families, we are all the more disposed to economic challenges, impacting resilience and quality of life. Our initial tendency is to complain. True, its easy to complain and there’s definitely room for change. Independence needs to be acquired. It’s a decision one must make to take responsibility, to become accountable for our lives, and we must therefore view our households as small businesses, which include managing our income, expenses, debts and assets.

This may well be the secret of Israel’s declaration of Independence. The understanding that the Jewish people in Israel should take responsibility for their own lives, not anticipate help from others and thus leading to action and ability to drive things forward. This decision marked the direction for people to follow, despite recognizing probable upcoming challenges. Imagine waking up one morning realizing you’ve reached financial freedom!

Can this happen to anyone? Is there a particular moment that changes life forever? Does this require taking baby steps to reach personal goals, guaranteeing an enhanced financial status?

Defining financial freedom implies the ability to manage sufficient money required to live the life you desire.

How much money are we talking about? What is a sought after lifestyle? The answer is subjective; to some, money is about how much one earns or invests, while others believe financial independence suggests the ability to live off adequate passive income, that enables them to retire.

Does your lifestyle define whether you’ve reached financial freedom, and how is this defined? Some envision the day they can quit the race and just enjoy life. Others wish for a debt free reality, some prefer to continue working, and others aspire the ability to manage their money and control expenses. Imagine the day you reach that goal. Will it be an ordinary day? What will your day look like? Or your home? How will you travel? Consider how you define your financial freedom.

Are you ready to start the journey? Regardless of how you define financial freedom, you must take responsibility and generate a long-term plan that will gradually enable you to reach your goal. I recommend to anyone in need of realizing their goal, to seek help from Pa’amonim, which provides financial education and guidance to families in Israel.

About the Author
Sharon Levin has an M.A. in Public Policy and is a certified Group Facilitator. She has worked for Paamonim since 2009, lead roles include Regional Director responsible for Paamonim's volunteers who provide free one-on-one financial counseling. As Director of Group Activities, she headed the establishment of Paamonim College for Financial Education, offering courses, programs, and lectures teaching financial fundamentals to participants, all geared towards helping people acquire financial education for better living.
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