What is “financial freedom”? For some people financial freedom means paying off all of their debt. Dave Ramsey, radio host and author of books such as The Total Money Makeover, is a huge advocate of paying down debt. Dave tells fans to live like no one else so later you can live like no one else. Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad series, sees financial freedom as obtaining income streams sufficient to meet all of your personal goals. I see financial freedom somewhere in between…paying off enough of your debt and creating enough passive income to have the security of knowing that the basic needs of yourself or your family can be met. Obtaining such independence usually requires setting goals and deciding which assets help you on the path to financial freedom and which assets hold you back or keep you from paying down your debt.
When we were working through Dave Ramsey’s baby steps my wife and I evaluated our assets when we were in the stage of paying off debt. Ramsey tells listeners that when you’re getting out of debt or building up your emergency fund you should “…sell so much stuff the kids think they’re next!” We realized we had all kinds of stuff around the house we didn’t use and that it was easy enough get rid of that by having garage sells. Other assets that weren’t making us money took much more hard work and creativity to liquidate. We realized we needed a team with a background in law, finance, real estate, and oil and gas. As we worked through selling tiny interests in closely held entities and very difficult to sell real estate we realized that we had put together a unique skill set and that we might actually be able to make a living helping other people liquidate hard to sell assets and help them unlock value in those assets to meet their own goals.
Financial freedom is still possible in America. Midland, Texas and West Texas in general are full of opportunities and potential. The reality is that most people do not luck into financial freedom. We are blessed to already be in a land of opportunity. Financial independence normally requires sacrifice, hard work and intense focus. It may require working really hard to get things sold. It may require people questioning your sanity when you dedicate money and effort towards your goal of financial freedom rather than immediate gratification. At the end of the day though, moving toward financial freedom and the things you learn along the way may be even more satisfying than obtaining it.