Define Your Purpose: Why Do You Want Financial Independence?

"Dive" into Financial Independence!

What’s a “Purpose?”

As this is a military blog, I figured I’d start with some military lingo.  In a five-paragraph order, the most important element is the mission statement.  This statement - in simple and digestible fashion - tells all parties involved the who, what, where, when, and why of an operation.  And, every mission statement is divided into two parts: task and purpose. The task is the who, what, where, and when of the mission.  While this is certainly critical information, the most important part is the purpose, the reason why we’re conducting this operation.  As the situation on the ground changes, the tasks we’re expected to accomplish can change, too.  However, the reason why, the purpose for doing something, never changes and drives individual initiative and ingenuity on the battlefield, regardless of how chaotic the situation becomes.  

Define Your Purpose: The First Step to Financial Independence

So what does purpose have to do with building wealth?  Life is long, things will inevitably change - sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.  To tackle these changes, the short-term tasks we need to accomplish in our day-to-day lives will change as well.  However, to truly accomplish financial independence, people need to be guided by much more than the whims of everyday life.  This is why the first step to achieving financial independence is defining why you want this independence.  What is your purpose?  What do you want to do with your life that will drive you every day, regardless of what life throws at you, to continue seeking the wealth that will give you this precious status of freedom?  Without this guiding purpose, it is near impossible to truly build long-term wealth.

The “Lottery Experiment”

Okay, so I get that the above is kind of abstract, so here’s a good, concrete method to help you define your purpose.  Imagine that today you won the lottery, we’ll say it was the Powerball - $1 BILLION! Now, some variations of this experiment ask you what you’d do tomorrow.  But that’s silly, because we’re all human, right?  I know I’d go out and spend like a drunken sailor (no offense to my USN brother and sisters…) for a few weeks.  So, here’s the question: if you won the lottery and knew you could stop working immediately, what would you do next year?  You’ve gotten all the impulse spending out of your system, now ask yourself, what will be the reason I get out of bed every day?  What will I do to fill every day? What will be the aspect of my life that gives me true joy and happiness?  When you’ve answered these questions, you’ve found your purpose.  Who knows, maybe it’s one of the following:
  • Spending more time raising your children.
  • Traveling with your loved one to learn as much as you can about each other and the rest of the world.
  • Mentoring children through programs like Big Brother and Big Sisters.
  • Starting a charity that helps solve a problem that’s particularly close to your heart.
  • Volunteering in your community.  

Bottom line, to achieve financial independence - and receive the true happiness that comes with it - you need to be guided by a purpose greater than yourself.

Stay the Course

Now that you’ve defined your purpose, you need to stick with it - let it guide you through the ups and downs of life.  As you face obstacles - a particularly challenging deployment, a set of PCS orders across the country, separation or retirement from the service - don’t let these minor bumps derail your path to financial independence.  Remember your purpose, and let it motivate you to achieve true freedom in life.

Questions?  Thoughts? Recommendations for another topic?  Let us know in the comments!

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