Financial Freedom: Declare your financial Independence Day from debt

We’re drawing close to the Fourth of July, when we celebrate the freedoms we enjoy in this country. The U.S. Constitution grants us many of these liberties, but we have to earn others — such as our financial freedom. What steps can you take to achieve the financial independence you need to reach your long-term goals? For starters, always work to build your resources. Contribute as much as you can afford to your IRA and your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. At a minimum, put in enough to earn your employer’s matching contribution, if one is offered. If you don’t take advantage of that match, you essentially are leaving money on the table. While how much you invest is an essential factor in gaining financial freedom, how you invest your money is equally important. So make sure you have sufficient growth potential in all your accounts. While growth-oriented investments, such as stocks and stock-based vehicles, carry investment risk, you can help to moderate that risk by also including other investments, such as bonds. Another way to gain financial independence is to liberate yourself from the shackles of debt. This isn’t always easy, of course — most of us have experienced times when our cash flow simply wasn’t sufficient to meet our expenses, so we had to take on some type of debt, either through a credit card or a...

Read More