Driving down the highway near the small town where he lived, my Grandfather pointed to a huge blue Harvest ore grain silo in the distance with an American flag painted on it.
“That American flag stands for freedom and it means that the farmer has that very expensive grain bin paid for,” he said.
The gravity of that comment did’t hit me until much later on in life when I started acquiring debt for the “stuff” that is necessary in life. I remember driving to his house and taking notice of all of the grain silos with the American flags on them.
It led me to think about Freedom.
It’s such an intangible thing, and for most Americans, it becomes further and further out of reach every day. We go to work everyday to get that paycheck every other Friday so we can go out and buy more stuff (or pay for the stuff we bought on credit). We repeat the process every day for hundreds of days a year and hope that someday we’all achieve that elusive thing… freedom.
There’s another way.
I met a software designer turned multimillionaire at a conference and he clued me in on the way to sure freedom. He told me of the Four Legacies — the four things that we leave future generations:
Financial Freedom, Time Freedom, Relationship Freedom, and Service Freedom.
This savvy entrepreneur told me that Financial Freedom is first because while most people work hard and strive for more stuff, the financially savvy strive for their money to work harder than they do. Succeed in your job and your boss may reward you with more money, but also require more of your time. Succeed in your business, and your business will reward you with more money AND more time. This is Time Freedom.
Time Freedom allows you to do the things you’vs always wanted to do, but could never squeeze into your work-to-live lifestyle. You’all find those with Time Freedom enjoying the fruits of their labor – learning languages, taking classes, playing sports, and probably the most important, spending time with people they most enjoy.
This leads to the third of the Four Legacies: Relationship Freedom. Ever looked around your office only to pick out the two or three people who you’d actually be friends with outside of the work environment? Or taken a look at your life from a higher level and realized you spend less time with your kids and your spouse than you do your co-workers? Relationship Freedom is the ability to spend time with people who really matter to you. It’s having the choice of who you spend time with… and helping them become more.
When doing what you were called in your heart to do is at the center of your life, you’vs now achieved Service Freedom. It’s the fourth of the Four Legacies and probably the most important when it comes to living your fullest life. You see, it’s my opinion that we were not put on this earth to be employed, but to be deployed. Your deployment is that thing that tugs at your heart to go do —
maybe it’s working or volunteering at the Animal Rescue League, or teaching English as second language. Perhaps it’s doing complicated accounting work, or being a nurse. It’s different for everyone… by design.
So how do you begin to Live The Four Legacies?
- Start by taking a look at your financial picture. It’s the one skill they don’t teach us in school, but has the most profound effect on our overall well being and fulfillment.
- Minimize what you spend money on for at least 60 days and see how it changes your life.
- Build a bigger life, not a bigger lifestyle.
- Downsize your car and some of your habits to save money to put to work for you.
- Learn. Increase your ability to leverage your unique talents and abilities.
- Look for opportunities for side income, investments, and tax-deductions.
- Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.
Lastly, find quiet time to reflect on why you were deployed. What is it that you were called to do here? It certainly wash’t to punch a clock, sit in a cubicle, or wish you were somewhere else. Life is for the living… and Living The Four Legacies is so much fun.
To your financial freedom,
Chief Education Officer, National Financial Educators