Here’s What Financial Freedom Really Means — and 7 Steps to Get There
Maybe you dream of waking up next to the ocean on a gorgeous piece of land you own, surrounded by nature, with zero internet because you never need to work again.
Or maybe you dream of waking up somewhere other than your childhood bedroom, without your parents nagging you to get a job and move out because you’re 35 years old.
Financial freedom can mean something different to everyone, but it always comes back to this: What drives you to get up and go to work?
We’re not talking about just your job, we’re talking about whatever it is you’re doing to reach those financial-freedom goals you have — improving your credit score so you can buy a home for your family; paying down your debt, so you can relieve yourself of the anxiety sitting on your chest; finally taking that leap to invest and build your retirement fund.
Whatever your vision of financial freedom is, we’ve compiled the steps that can help you get there.
1. Add Up To 300 Points To Your Credit Score
If your vision of financial freedom is owning a house, or leasing a car, or even just opening a credit card in your name you know that a good credit score is an important part of getting there.
When it comes to your credit score, it’s important to stay organized and keep tabs on it. After all, it’ll play an essential role in any big purchase you want to make — and could save you thousands.
So if you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame.
Within 90 seconds, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).
James Cooper, of Atlanta, used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.*** “They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he said.
Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.
2. Ask this Website to Help Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month
No, like… the whole bill. All of it.
While you’re stressing out over your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off those insane interest rates. But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.
Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.
3. Start Investing and Save For Retirement: Get up to $200 in Free Stock from This Company
Investing can seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. But in order to reach financial freedom, letting your money sit and earn pennies may not get you there.
If you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing, you’re not alone. But guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks if you know where to look.
Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.
Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so the value of that stock could vary — still, it’s a nice way to help you build your investments.
4. Leave Your Family $1,000,000
You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But this takes just minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1 million with a company called Bestow.
We hear people are paying as little as $16 a month. (But every year you wait, this gets more expensive.)
It takes just minutes to get a free quote and see how much life insurance you can leave your loved ones — even if you don’t have seven figures in your bank account.
5. See if You Can Get More Money From This Company
Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on extra cash. And who doesn’t want extra cash right now?
Yep. When you sign up for a debit card called Aspiration, you could get up to 5% back when you swipe at certain stores — plus they give you up to 50 times the normal national interest rate on your savings balance.
It’s perfect for earning extra cash for things that are already on your shopping list. You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get this extra money in the process?
This card used to have a huge waiting list, but now you can sign up for free.
Just enter your email address here and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
6. Cancel Your Car Insurance And Save Hundreds
Here’s the thing: your current car insurance company is probably overcharging you. But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies looking for a better deal.
Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.
EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.
Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.
7. Make a Budget — And Stick To It
The single task of creating a budget and actually sticking to it can be someone’s idea of financial freedom. Knowing where their money is at all times and feeling confident in every dollar they spend.
And even if it’s not part of your dream, having a budget to follow will help set you up for financial success, no matter what your goals are.
We recommend the 50/30/20 method. It’s simple, yet effective, and has a bit of a cult following, too! Here’s how it shakes out:
50% of your take-home income every month covers your fixed expenses — rent, utilities, groceries, minimum debt payments, etc. 30% goes towards the things you can live without, but don’t want to (like food delivery, a Netflix subscription and travel). Finally, the last 20% of your monthly income is dedicated to your financial goals.
Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.
***Like Cooper, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.
The Aspiration Spend & Save Accounts are cash management accounts offered through Aspiration Financial, LLC, a registered broker-dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC, and a subsidiary of Aspiration Partners, Inc. (“Aspiration”). Aspiration is not a bank.
Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.