By Reid Kanaley
The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Financial independence can mean being able to live on your own, feeling free to retire, or feeling free to work at something you enjoy without worrying about the size of your paycheck.
J.D. Roth, founder of the Get Rich Slowly website, says in this post that he has boiled the subject down to a “one-page guide to financial independence” in the retirement sense. What does he suggest? A rather ambitious program to save money, and not just 10 percent or 20 percent of your income.
“Your goal should be to save at least 50 percent of your income, and 70 percent is better,” Roth says. The rest of his one-page guide has pointers for getting there, including rejecting the common advice for homebuyers to “buy as much house as you can afford.” Instead, “buy as little as you need,” he says. Maximize income by negotiating a better salary, getting better educated, selling “your stuff,” and starting “a side gig.”
Millennials can achieve financial independence in spite of the money hassles that now afflict many twentysomethings, according to this U.S. News post by consumer money writer Holly Perez. “Ditch the debt” is one of her top priorities, and start with high-interest credit-card debt. “Millennials should focus on clearing their credit cards first, and then use all the money they’ve freed up to ditch student loans and car payments. It’s best to avoid credit-card debt altogether, but do keep the plastic in your wallet for the times you might really need it, like an emergency.”
Financing Life is the title of a free online course offered by Smith College’s Center for Women and Financial Independence. In videos and other material, Smith economics professor Randall Bartlett “demystifies finance, from the time value of money to the child care credit, in plain English. With this self-directed sequence of videos and activities, you’ll gain a clear understanding of how concepts like inflation, compound interest and marginal tax rate fit into the ‘big picture’ of your financial life,” according to the site.
Financial planner Scott Hanson says here at CNBC.com that financial independence and retirement aren’t the same thing. “Now that people are living longer and retirement is out of reach for many, retirement should not be a goal for most. Rather than planning and saving for retirement, how about planning and saving for financial independence instead?” Hanson writes. “So rather than save for retirement, save to the point where you have the freedom to retire or not retire. View your retirement savings not as your ticket to a life of luxury but, rather, as a vehicle that allows you to do those activities that you value most. This may likely be work and not retirement.
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