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Thursday poll: Financial Freedom

Unless you have millions in the bank, you and I are probably not that different. We are both likely working towards securing financial freedom. I like the term financial freedom because it is vague and totally subjective. For one person it might mean going off the grid, living in a 40sqft shack, and growing your own food. While for another it could mean working a high paying job you don’t necessarily love, so you can retire at 45.

Regardless of what financial freedom looks like, I assume we all want it. And that is why today’s poll is going to focus on the topic. Maybe you are seeking a degree in hopes of earning a higher salary. Maybe you are paying off your debt as fast as you can. Or maybe you recently bought an investment property. Today, I want you to share what your current PRIMARY means of securing financial freedom is.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

[poll id=”9″]

Again, I realize you might be paying down debt, saving for retirement, and seeking out a higher paid job. But which of these things is MOST important to you, or makes you feel the most optimistic about your future?

Three years ago I would have said paying down my debt. Today, my answer is investing in retirement funds.

Anything you would like to see in a Thursday poll?

note: you can find my other polls here



  1. Paying down debt ($15,900 to go) is my focus right now but saving for retirement is my main goal.

    Living frugally and trying (and failing) at some idea to make more money is how I am trying to achieve my saving for retirement goal.

  2. I think just saving period. At this point, I don’t really care what it’s going toward. I just want to see more money in bank account every month. And while we know the importance of saving for retirement, it’s really hard to get excited about something that we won’t be able to cash out on for another 40 years.

  3. Paying down debt is #1 on our list, followed by finding ways to cut costs, and increasing our retirement savings…. in that order.

  4. I actually have 3 of these that are equally important – pay down our mortgage, build up our cash reserves and build up our retirement accounts. Maybe I should focus on just one???

  5. I’m trying to get my post-tax savings rate to 50%, its an exciting goal for me–probably by September — a raise that will come through next month, and then a work loan paid off in August that will re-figure how much my partner and I each pay into our mortgage should get me there, Currently I’m at 41% and it has been freakin neat to see how that adds up over the course of paychecks and months this last year.

  6. I’m blessed to have a good job out of college (Houston has a beautiful job market) in order to cover all three of the big ones (savings, debt, retirement), but nothing feels better than a decent amount in the bank to make you feel all warm and fuzzy (Sorry Dave, $1k just isn’t enough).

  7. I voted “building up cash savings” but technically it’s a close combination of that and cutting costs. Without cutting costs I would not be building up cash savings quite as quickly!

    Also, totally agree on the term “financial freedom”. You’re right, it is very subjective- much more so than “financial independence”. To me FF means I’ll be free to make life decisions without taking finances into account. That’s not to say I’ll be completely financially independent, but at least I’ll be able to make decisions without too much worry 🙂

  8. I would have never really thought my way would make it on the list. But then again it really takes a combination of strategies to become financially free. Also reading some of the comments regarding retirement savings vehicles being locked up to a certain extent is quite enlightening. In that one respect, my cash savings trumps an IRA 🙂 I know, teeny, tiny win for me LOL!

  9. Paying down debt. Medical bills just don’t end. When they say ‘if you have your health, you have everything’, you’d better freakin believe it.

  10. We are concentrating on building up our retirement accounts, saving up cash, and living frugally.

  11. At perhaps two years until retirement and with little remaining debt, retirement savings is most important. Thanks to compounding, I would say it’s much more important at this point than increases to income.

  12. I said working a second job, because that is what I am doing to do all of it–pay off debt, save an EF, DP for a house, and other savings. My husband and I have paid off 35k since September and will be debt free this year. We both have full-time jobs and each work 2 extra jobs. I am also earning my Masters part-time. It is busy, but we are actively working to secure our future so we won’t have to work as much when we are ready for a family 🙂

  13. My goal was to pay down debt, and then we successfully paid off all $65K of it. Then we wanted to build up some savings and managed to put away over $100K while also fully funding our retirement accounts. Now we’re focused on investing in taxable accounts, but we’re also looking at investing in other form as well (rental properties, opening a business, etc.) but so far we don’t feel comfortable with the risk and work involved. I still feel we’re novice investors, so we’re working on getting better at it and slowly I think we are.

  14. I already reached financial freedom a long (28 years) time ago! I cashed out of my apartment buildings/shopping center and businesses about 20 years ago. The proceeds are invested in the stock market and growing nicely.

  15. It was definitely hard to choose just one. I picked pay down debt because I would love to have our homes paid off!! But investing in retirement, building cash saving, and saving for kids’ 529s are also tops on our list.

  16. So many! Paying down debt is most important to me. I want to be able to have minimal expenses so I don’t have that burden.

  17. I select “building up saving” but I also try to max the 401k, invest and live frugally.
    I’m also working on being more indispensable at work to hopefully lead to better job security.

  18. Paying down debt is my most important goal at this time. I am paying close to $500 a month in student loans just to get rid of them as soon as possible.

    My second priority is saving for retirement. The more I save now, the soon I can retire.

  19. I’m doing all of the above: contributing to my work 401k to get the match, paying extra on a mortgage on an investment property, paying off credit card debt, paying down student loans, sweeping leftover money at the end of the month into extra debt payments or a taxable account…..

    But basically my priority is paying off the credit card debt. Once that’s done, I’ll split my goals between student loans ($125k from law school, which is high but worth it given the income boost I’ve gotten thanks to the education), saving for a house, and investing/retirement.

  20. I have no debt, so my main money goals involve saving, investing and budgeting for the things and experiences I want. However, my main focus is investing in my retirement accounts while I’m still young (23) and can contribute a large percentage of my income. As my lifestyle changes with age (maybe marriage, kids), I hope to maintain these large contributions, however, I think I will be able to scale back if necessary knowing how much compounding interest is working in my favor.

  21. I marked OTHER as I am “none of the above.” I guess 99% of your readers are 20-something but I enjoy your articles and I am retired.

  22. I save the max of $17,500 to keep the gov from taxing it. I currently put none in Roth. My plan is max out the delayed taxable part now and when I have kids switch to saving the max in Roth and rest in the delayed taxable side. I’d love to say its for my future but my main reason is to keep from paying as much taxes.

  23. I am going with my retirement accounts which I include my taxable investment accounts. I like the growth potential.

  24. An extra 7700 a year to the mortgage principal and at least 5k a year to taxable accounts.

  25. So many are equal, we have locked in a faster pay down of debt (only the mortgage and it is a 15 year), I invest about the same into retirement and taxable accounts and I am trying to build up a side business. The pay down of debt takes the most cash (it is a mortgage payment after all), while the side business takes the most time. But the investments are what really will bring freedom because they provide a passive cash flow.

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