What Does Financial Freedom Mean to You?

Most of us dream of being “rich” or “wealthy” or experiencing “financial freedom”. But what do those words actually mean to most of us? What is our exact definition of “wealthy”? It probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that to some degree, these terms are relative to one’s background and current circumstances. What is middle class to one person might feel “rich” to another, and what feels like freedom to someone else might feel too constrained to yet another person.

But, to get an idea of what “wealthy” means to most Americans, GoBankingRates conducted a survey*. The answers might surprise you.

  • 37 percent said “wealthy” means being able to afford the life you want
  • 30 percent said it means feeling happy, no matter how much you earn
  • 19 percent say it means having meaningful relationships with family and friends
  • 10 percent say it means having a large nest egg or savings for the future
  • 4 percent say it means earning a lot of money through work

Clearly, to many respondents, quality of life depends upon more than just the size of their bank accounts! But you might be particularly interested to learn that Americans aged 45 to 54 – those actively planning for retirement – tended to choose responses that had little to do with actual dollar amounts. Sixty-one percent of this group said that wealth means having meaningful relationships, or feeling happy no matter how much you earn.

Meanwhile, millenials were more likely to choose responses relating to savings or salary.

What do these statistics mean for you, personally? It’s hard to say whether the older respondents focused less on actual money because they’re already ahead of the game, or if time and wisdom has brought perspective. Perhaps it is a bit of both. But as you continue planning for retirement, we know that accumulating assets will certainly help you prepare for a comfortable lifestyle. Yet, we shouldn’t forget to nurture our relationships with family and friends, or to take care of our own mental and emotional health.

Perhaps true wealth means having a bit of all these things. For help with the financial side of the equation, remember to continue regular consultations with us as you prepare for retirement. Once you feel comfortable with your financial plans for the future, you can shift your attention to other components of long-term happiness.