Start With Your Why
Katilyn | July 18, 2019
Every financial journey needs to start with a “why?” Why do you want to start on this financial journey? Why do you want to pay off debt? Build wealth? This will be the MOST IMPORTANT step to your financial journey. If you have a strong enough motivation to reach your goal, there is little to nothing that will stop you from reaching your goals. What do you want more than anything else? When it comes down to it, success on the path to financial freedom is all about you having clarity of your personal priorities in life. People who say that people that are part of the Financial Independence movement are living a life of deprivation are seriously misinformed, because it is quite the opposite. People who achieve financial independence know what they want and know how to rank their desires in order of importance and use this to reach their goals
Once you have this clarity, then you know you will see success. I can teach you the “what” and “how” of financial freedom, but no one can tell you why you want financial freedom. That is something so personal and unique as the person it comes from. What I can share with you is how I found my “why.” Then I can give you a few thought starter questions that you can use to reflect upon your own reasons on why you want to become financially independent.
When I graduated college, I desperately wanted to pay off my student loans.... or so I thought that was my strongest desire. I was wrong. More than wanting to pay off my debt, I wanted to live in the expensive downtown apartment where all my friends were living. I made payments to my debts, but made no substantial changes to my life. Fast forward to 8 years later... it wasn’t until the birth of my second child that I was seeing how quickly my two little boys were growing up. By the time I had my second child, I was confident in my ability to be a working mom, but balancing being a good wife and mother with an extremely stressful time at work put me in a soul-searching season unlike any other time I’d ever experienced. I was not myself. I was not the mother, wife, or employee that I wanted to be. I felt like I couldn't keep up and was failing at everything. AND, I could do nothing about it because I had racked up so much debt and failed to financially plan for childcare costs of 2 children, that I couldn’t afford to make any changes in my life even if I wanted to.
I’ve always been a dreamer. I always just wanted to fill my life with so many diverse experiences, but I was not living my life that way. It seemed I only had time for work. I wanted to travel the world, see how people live all across various cultures. I wanted to see all of God’s beautiful nature, learn many languages. I wanted to teach my boys all about what it means to be kind or all about history, Jesus, and so much more. I wanted to be a writer, a National Park Ranger, a teacher, a fitness instructor.... so many dreams! I wanted to be involved at my church: sing in the choir, lead a Bible study, start a women’s ministry. At some point along the way, I stopped dreaming.... or at least I suppressed my dreams in an effort just to make it to the next day. I knew in my heart of hearts, that this was NOT what God had intended for me and my life. I stumbled upon Minimalism, and then into the financial independence community. I learned that every day, people WERE seeing their dreams become a reality. They were living intentionally, striving to become something better.
I’m so grateful for that tough time in my life, because without it, I would not have found my “why.” I don’t know if I will realistically do ALL the things on my list, but that’s only the surface of my why. I want to live intentionally. God’s desire for me is to be a good steward of his money, not be a slave to debt. He wants me to quit wasting my energy feeling trapped and pursue things that are GOOD. When it comes down to it, I want to set a good example for my two little boys. I want them to know that not only did mom love them and their dad with every bone in her body, but that she did all that she could to live a life focused on PRIORITIES. My family is worth this fight. Saying “no” to that shirt? Coffee? New rug for the house? No problem, because I know I don’t want any of those things more than I want to take my boys road tripping across America making memories that will outlast any of those material things. I want financial freedom, because I want the possibilities or option to do all these things and BE anything I want to be. I don’t want to ever be trapped.
My message to all of you for finding your “why”? You need to start dreaming again! Life can have a way of making us stop dreaming. Reflect on these questions to develop a crystal clear “why.”
1. What if you could do what you wanted? 2. You may have to reach back, sometimes, way back into your childhood. What did you enjoy doing before anyone told you that you couldn't do that? 3. When did you feel your happiest? 4. What is your happy place? I bet you will find that your answers were not that complicated, but maybe you’ve just forgotten. 5. When do you feel free? 6. When’s the last time you felt a sense of accomplishment and proud of something that you did?
Take note of trends you see in your answers.... who are the people surrounding you in these scenarios? What material things are surrounding you?
Here is how you can use this Dream to achieve your goals. When faced with a financial decision here are some questions you can ask.
1. Will this purchase or decision get me closer to my goals? 2. Do I want this as much as I want my “why?”
If your answer is yes, you can be confident that you are living intentionally. You do not have to feel guilty about that purchase once you’ve applied this lens. You are not just plodding through life without purpose. You are in control of your future, and THAT is a beautiful feeling... that you CAN dream again, because your dreams can ACTUALLY come true.