What you need to know:
There are deliberate steps you can take to be in control of your money. You are financially free if your current income exceeds your expenses and you can spend the rest of your life without necessarily working.
Making the most of what you earn is an independent decision you must take.
This is coined in a term- financial freedom, which means you have enough financial resources to pay for your living expenses while allowing you to afford many of your goals.
Financial freedom has an element of growing your savings to either pursue a career or retire without necessarily being driven by earning a traditional salary each year.
In short, you are financially free if your income exceeds your expenses and you can spend the rest of your life without necessarily working.
Lilian Kimbugwe, a graduate in economics, says that growing up has taught her the value of financial freedom.
“With each passing day, I have to budget and prioritise certain items. These have helped me know the financial resources to live the life I want to live and worry less about money that would lead to stress and affect my health,” Batenga says.
She recounts how on one fateful morning she was asked to sit back at home. Although it was a time when she wanted to look after her young children, she was also torn between foguring out how to sustain her family.
“I learnt how to set objectives, both large and small. These involved monetary and lifestyle thereby helping me create a plan for achieving those objectives,” the mother of three recounts, adding that she now has to budget the money she gets so that it can cover all her needs.
In addition, one must be a little frugal when possible and not afraid to negotiate for better offers or when it comes to purchasing items.
Ms Lydia Mirembe, the manager corporate and public affairs at the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) says financial Freedom defines a situation where one has enough financial resources to live the life they desire; meet their life goals and still have enough to spare.
Attaining financial freedom
But it takes a lot of work to attain financial freedom.
“Set your goals so that you know what drives you and measure progress towards the freedom you desire. Then you have to work hard and smart to generate the funds you need to achieve those goals,” Mirembe explains.
In addition, you have to save and invest so that your money grows over time.
But saving requires a high level of self-discipline. You should be willing to postpone gratification. That does not mean you sacrifice and deny yourself the simple requirement to live a meaningful life. Rather, strive to create a balance between your current needs and future prospects.
“As you save and invest wisely, your finances will grow and you will start making progress towards financial freedom,” she elaborates.
In addition to saving and investing, try to stay debt-free. “You can’t attain financial freedom if you are indebted. Debt insinuates obligation and bondage, both of which clearly counter the notion of financial freedom.”
She further adds that at a personal level, financial freedom means you will enjoy a happier life and be totally in charge of your finances. You will be living for yourself, with enough time and money to do what you are passionate about and enjoy it in fulfillment.
John Kakungulu Walugembe, executive director, Federation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Uganda (FSME) says it is important to invest if you want to enjoy financial freedom.
“If you want to enjoy financial freedom, there is no better way to grow your cash than through investing it. Whatever amount you choose to save, you can plan and decide on the direction you want to take when it comes to investing. Saving is the most important step,” Walugembe says.
“When it comes to financial freedom, you ought to pay yourself first,” Walugembe says.