(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information)
Just a few short weeks ago my family started renovating our 3rd, paid-with-cash home. We currently live in one and rent one— this new home will be another rental.
You would think I would be rejoicing. After all, my family has no debt and 3 paid for homes–and I am grateful. But honestly, the rejoicing is bittersweet.
You see, the cash for that new rental came from the death of my father. The cash for the rental before that came from the death of my grandmother. The cash for the home my family currently lives in came from the death of my mother.
Words cannot describe the sorrow I have experienced on this journey. Words cannot describe how ashamed people make me feel about “not working for my financial freedom.” Words cannot describe how stressed out I get sometimes with the pressure I feel to handle this money I have been given by my belated loved ones wisely.
In total now I have received 6 inheritances. 6 loved ones gone. 6 cards I no longer receive at Christmas. 6 birthday messages that no longer bring joy to the day of my birth. I have lost far more than my family has gained.
And then there is the blow to my foolish pride. I wanted to bring my family financial freedom. I wanted to pay off our debt by managing each penny our family earns well. I wanted to increase our family income by starting a blog that would take off like a rocket even though I named it after the slowest creature on the planet.
This last inheritance especially created a war within me. I let people’s words said behind my back–but known by me–get to me. I let whispers in my head grow to loud shouts saying things I can’t even write because that would give them an ounce of truth when there is none in them.
Until one day, a friend said something that others had said but had yet to sink in until that moment “Yes, people gave you money. But you and your family chose to use it in a way that multiplied it in amazing ways”.
My loved ones gave us a packet of seeds that had financial freedom as a potential harvest, but only with the watering of our hard work and the added minerals of our out-of-the-box thinking did that packet of seeds grow to its full potential. Those 6 inheritances amounted to the cost of just one home in most parts of North America–yet we stretched it to cover 3, plus 2 vehicles, a laptop, a camera and a conference to start my blog, and a few fun family vacations and memory building tools (such as second hand RV to camp in).
I share these things not to boast (trust me–we have made mistakes on this journey) but to encourage.
To encourage you to take whatever financial windfall or talent you are given to create your own unique road to financial freedom. Perhaps it might be a mix of the two as it was with us—the windfall from the inheritances mixed with our talent to see homes not as they are but as they could be, and the skill to get them there for as little financial output as possible.
To encourage you to think beyond the normal. Often in my life I have been called weird. It used to bug me until I realized it was my weirdness that was causing my family to become debt free and own two rentals. My “weird” talents let me think outside of the box and come up with a plan to take what was enough for one home and purchase three, thus reducing our expenses as well as generating income.
To encourage you to be okay with slow growth. It is so hard some days to preach the message of slow growth when I struggle with it myself, but it is the message I feel God has laid on my heart to share with women. Slow growth is better than no growth. Slow growth doesn’t overwhelm, it doesn’t shove your main priorities to the side. I don’t know what your main priorities are but for me they are my God, my husband, my children, and my friends.
Making room for my priorities means that my blog hasn’t grown as fast as I would like, it means that the renovation homes don’t get painted as fast as they could– but it also means at the end of my days those I love will know with all their hearts that I loved them with all I had.
To encourage you to embrace your path and stop trying to follow the path of another. Stop wishing you were smarter, braver, had that talent or this talent and start developing the talents God has placed within you. I have a talent for seeing potential in things others don’t, it is a talent my husband shares with me and it is this talent that helped us stretch our financial windfalls to create our financial freedom.
To be okay with whatever path brings you financial freedom. Never in a million years would I pick this path that brought me and my family to the financial freedom we now have. The sorrow is unspeakable. I often wish that I could have done it the “normal way” with hard work minus the windfalls of the inheritances. But that isn’t what happened and I know those who left their financial legacy to me would not want me to feel this way. They wanted their money to be a blessing and so I set out to do exactly that with their money to make it create a lasting financial blessing for our family.
Chances are you too will look back on your path to financial freedom and think “Wow, that isn’t how I expected to make it here, but here I am.”
Honestly, my husband and I are not what I would call “fully financially free” yet–but we are getting closer, which has me reflecting a lot lately on just what financially free means and I think Crystal Paine in her new book Money Making Mom says it well.
Financial freedom is:
• making choices based upon what is best for you and your family and that align with your long-term goals
• thinking big and creatively
• using the skills and talents you were born with
• taking calculated risks and trying new things
• turning knowledge and available resources into income generating ideas
• being in a position to give generously
• using your time and talents to bless others and make an impact
The last 2 points of the quote–those to me are the real definition of what financial freedom is for our family–to be able to take the fruits of our labor and share it with others in a way that makes a positive impact.
What if you are just beginning down the path to financial freedom? What if you don’t have a financial windfall at your disposal? What if you are not even sure what your talent is? What if you know what your talent is but you just can’t seem to get beyond the fear of beginning?
My advice–pick up a copy of Money Making Mom (it releases Nov. 3, 2015. But you can pre-order it now and then go over here and get some amazing goodies, scroll to bottom of page when you get there). Read it, highlight what speaks to your heart so you can refer to it again and again while on your journey to financial freedom–and then push through the fear and begin.
Begin watering your own seeds to the harvest of financial freedom.
Even if friends think you are crazy, even if you only have enough funds to create just 1/2 a dozen of the product you want to sell, even if the path you want to take isn’t normal–begin.
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.