WTOP Interview: 15 Ways to Define and Achieve Financial Freedom

Interview Transcript:

Hillary Howard: It’s 5:11, as we get ready to celebrate Independence Day and the freedoms we enjoy because of it, have you thought about what financial freedom may mean to you?

Shawn Anderson: And joining us to help define and move toward achieving financial independence, is Dawn Doebler, co-founder of Her Wealth and Senior Wealth Advisor at The Colony Group in Bethesda. Always great to see you, thank you for coming in again.

Dawn Doebler: Good to see you.

Shawn: Everyone would like to have financial freedom of course; how do we know if we’re on the right track to getting there?

Dawn: You know, in writing this article I quickly realized the challenges in defining what we mean by financial freedom. And I thought I knew what this means until I tried to define it. And that made me realize that everyone really has a different definition of what it means to be financially free.

At its core, having a sense of abundance comes from achieving financial success and really areas that matter most to you. If you oversimplify and ask people what net worth they need to feel financially independent, the range in answers is really astounding. Some people say that they’d feel feet free if they achieved a net worth of a million dollars, others need much more than a million. Mostly because of the standard of living they’re used to.

So instead, what we can know that we’re on the right track, is by understanding the variety of ways that people can express their sense of financial freedom. So, in the article we have a list of fifteen common life experiences and actions that people take when they have achieved financial independence.

Hillary: Well, you know, let’s talk about some of those actions that can make us feel so much better about it Dawn.

Dawn: Well Hilary, I want to make the point that feeling independent is a challenge, even for the wealthiest of my clients. So, my goal is really to suggest that there are experiences you can emulate to move you closer to that feeling of enoughness. And my hope is that you’ll review my list and pick some items that you can personally work on. I’ve also provided some steps you can take; for example, some of the ideas on my list: many financially free people work in a job they love that also pays the bills. You can start by finding a volunteer opportunity in a non-profit organization that could lead to a paid position or maybe you define financial freedom as living in your dream location. So, to move closer to that, you can try scheduling an extended vacation there to allow you time to immerse yourself in that culture and lifestyle. And wouldn’t we all like to spend guilt free? You can begin to have a sense of that by including in your regular budget an amount for guiltless luxuries.

Shawn: Are there times when you could even say financial independence is critical or at the very least, helpful to you?

Dawn: Well, I think listeners can find this list helpful if they’re facing life transitions. It’s really at these times it’s important to accept the reality of the change in plans and then you can begin to rework your financial plan under your new set of circumstances. And this list may help you find ways to forge a different path. Oftentimes taking one of these small steps I’ve suggested, can help you regain the confidence and hope to move forward in the face of unexpected life events. And the reality is that life brings many surprises and how we choose to respond to those unexpected events should be grounded to what’s important to us. So, having clarity about your priorities can really give you a sense of financial freedom and independence throughout your life in ways that really resonate with you and your family.

Hillary: Wonderful. Thanks so much Dawn. That’s Dawn doubler with The Colony Group. Read more at wtop.com, search Her Wealth.