I wrote a post about my financial lackadaisicalness and got some excellent comments. You should check them out.
Besides intelligent advice for what to focus my finances on, the common thread among the questions was: "How do you define freedom?"
Freedom from debt was what motivated me to correct my previous financial mistakes and to begin a life of fiscal responsibility (and the occasional irresponsible shopping spree :-) ) and eventual financial "security."
But what does freedom mean to me now? I think it hasn't changed much. Freedom to me is doing whatever I want, when I want to do it for the most part. Right now, I am not in a position to be free from the daily grind, but I would LOVE to be. As a matter of fact, maybe that is truly my definition of freedom: Being able to do what I want, go where I want, whenever I want WITHOUT having to work every single day to do it.
Honestly, though, I think that's a bit of a pipe dream. Anyone of sound mind and body should probably be working in some capacity their entire lives. You don't want your mind and body to become unsound (is that a word?) and, besides, the world, our communities, ALWAYS need it. But my larger point is simply that I don't want to be dependent on anyone but myself.That's freedom to me from a high level. So how do I bust that down into smaller pieces and then actionable steps I can take to achieve that freedom? That's where I was struggling a few months ago when I was out of debt and had more cash than I normally do at my disposal. I got lazy and, by the last two months of the year, downright sloppy and went shopping crazy! Well, crazy for me, which does enough damage.
I had no focus and, thus, no drive or motivation. Getting trinkets from Forever 21 and sale items from J. Crew excited me. Blech. That's like eating cake and ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sounds great for about one day, but keep doing it and will show all over you and inside you. The damage you do in a short time would take a LONG time to repair, if you could ever manage it. So, no matter what, eventually, you gotta eat your broccoli.
In 2010, I guess I gotta get back to eating broccoli. I think I didn't plan well enough for fun, so I went overboard here and there, but if I allow for that, it should make reaching my more responsible goals much more palatable.