This may not be the first time you’ve clicked on a blog post about ‘financial freedom’, you might have even read a book or two on the topic. It’s top of mind for many Australians these days.
Most advice out there covers things like assets, debt repayments and sticking to a budget. Essentially, the main message of money advice is that financial freedom is achieved by more control and more money.
But in my experience of working in the financial capability sector, more control and more money can never bring financial freedom.
Why more money ≠ financial freedom
As soon as you feel you need more of something, you are in servitude to it. If you believe that more will bring you freedom, this will dictate every financial decision you make. The desire for more is calling the shots, not you, and that’s not freedom.
Therefore, the way to achieving true financial freedom is being able to say, ‘I don’t need more’. Now that’s easy to say, hard to believe and harder still to practice.
How can we truly say, ‘I don’t need more?’
Start by listening to a different story. Our culture tells the story of ‘I need more’. In contrast, the bible tells the story of ‘we have enough’. God is described as a Father who loves His children and generously gives so they would all have enough.
However, when we believe the ‘I need more’ story we mess things up for ourselves and others. We get caught up in our exhausting and never fully satisfying pursuit for more. And when we take more than we need, someone else misses out on what they need.
When we come to trust that God has given us enough, it changes us. We start to look at our finances grateful for what we have, rather than always noticing what’s missing. We start making financial decisions not out of a desire for more, but out of a desire to do good. When the desire for more no longer dictates our financial lives, we are financially free.
Of course, we must get around to a budget eventually, part of being grateful for what we have means learning to use it wisely.
That’s why CAP trains churches to run the ’CAP Money Course’ in their communities, teaching the basics of financial wellbeing, which includes balancing a budget, managing money day to day, making financial decisions and managing debt.
None of it is particularly complicated. A budget is simply knowing what is coming in, and what is going out. When you have less going out than you have coming in, that’s a balanced budget!
The important bit is getting your story straight by no longer believing that you always need more, but finding financial freedom in being able to say, ‘I have enough’. That is true financial freedom.