Today I came across a New York Times interview with Elon Musk where he details the turmoil that he has been going through over the past year. Elon Musk interview
Elon Musk is a decorated business man who has done so much to bring innovation to this world and he is considered a wealthy man. But his story was a wake-up call on how much wealth does not equal financial freedom.
Every time I search the internet I find so much information about online business that claim to offer “financial freedom”. In fact may people who are looking for a business online routinely bring up the pursuit of financial freedom as the major motivation for pursuing a business.
But what is financial freedom?
According to Wikipedia, “financial independence is generally used to describe the state of having sufficient personal wealth to live, without having to work actively for basic necessities. Financially independent people have assets that generate income that is greater than their expenses.” In other words, according to this definition, financial freedom is equivalent to having enough wealth to take care of your financial needs.
But I believe it is more than that. To some people it’s the ability to spend money when you need it without worrying about its availability. To others it’s the freedom to walk away from a job or current situation that is less than ideal. For others still, its financial stability……stability could mean a lot of things. Stability could mean having a lot of money in your savings account, or simply having regular income every month.
The Elon Musk story certainly demonstrates that financial freedom does not necessary equal being wealthy. His business is taking a toll on his physical health and that can by no means be considered freedom.
Why is Financial Freedom Important?
Financial Freedom is important because of the effect it has on our well-being. Even through wealth is part of it, financial freedom is actually more important than wealth. Wealth represents a value whilst financial freedom represents peace of mind. You can have more money than you need and yet continue to be in bondage. If you are stuck in a career that pays you well and yet it drains you of every ounce of energy and joy, then you are not free.
I have worked as a banking executive for many years. The career has taken care of me over the years. But I must say, some of the time I have felt stressed, exhausted, and emotionally drained.