Freedom that Lasts

Let me start off with a question for you: where does your freedom come from?  Does your freedom come when you have the ability to buy what you want when you want? Or to live in the biggest home with the fanciest cars?  Is it found in doing a job you love, being your own boss or waking up knowing you don’t have to commute and your PJs can be your work uniform? I believe freedom can look differently for everyone, but at what cost do we achieve our idea of freedom?

Before Tim and I started working for MONAT, we were really eager to pay down our mortgage and achieve our savings goals. We had a wealth manager with Black Star Group (shout out to the best wealth managers ever!!) that helped us to set spending budgets so that we could manage life with our kids while still considering the future. Then came MONAT. And the paychecks started growing. Along with our growing paychecks came an increase in our spending. And also an increase in the time spent working.

Working from home blurs a really important boundary between work and home because your work is always at your fingertips. It is so easy to get sucked into answering one more message…which leads to 20. Don’t get me wrong, working from home is amazing but we had to start being intentional about our time.

We loved the extra income and the convenience of a work-from-home lifestyle, but was it worth it when we were so busy and we hadn’t increased our savings goals, or cut down more of our house mortgage or put money away for the kid’s education? We decided to chat with Black Star again to develop a plan that matched our growing income.

Our idea of freedom is to have a stable future. We are not the kind of people that need the biggest house or the best cars (although Tim does fantasize about owning a Lamborghini!) We wanted to make sure that as our income increases, our savings increase rather than our spending. With the help of our wealth manager, we’ve been able to start working towards what’s known as our “Freedom Months.”

We’ve put money away in investments and savings with the goal that this will keep growing and our Freedom Months along with it. Freedom Months are the number of months we have where we could live off of our investments, without any additional income. This means that if we stopped working right this second, we would still be okay for the number of months our Freedom Months allows. This number can just keep growing though because we won’t stop working anytime soon and we continue to invest and put money away in savings!

I love thinking about my Freedom Months. Who wouldn’t want to know that all of their hard work is going towards a better future for the entire family? We’re motivated to stick to our monthly budget because we know that ultimately the Freedom months will pay off. We may live more modestly than others in our income bracket, but it’s all worth it if it means that we can spend more time with the kids and have the money for when it really matters. There is no way that we could do all of this without the help of our friends at Black Star. They are so incredible. I would recommend them to anyone!

Freedom is enjoying the time we have with our kids. Watching them grow up. Providing for them and teaching them what it means to live generously and intentionally. Freedom to us means creating boundaries around our work so that our house doesn’t just become office space. Putting the phone away, getting unplugged so that we can plug into what really matters in life. Freedom isn’t about having everything we want, it’s about appreciating and prioritizing what matters most which is our family. Investing in our family creates freedom that will last. What does freedom look like to you?

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