Sometimes we put limitations and expectations on our happiness. It sounds like “if-then” statements. If I could just make more money, then I’d feel successful. If I had more time, then I’d finally feel free. If I could make more money and have more time, then I’d be happy. Somewhere along the line, these if-then statements convince us that time and money freedom are just beyond reach — that we need to be millionaires to unlock that freedom in our lives.
Jamila Souffrant is a podcaster, writer, money coach and founder of JourneytoLaunch.com where she shares her journey to reach Financial Independence while helping others do the same.
I have another one for you: If you think you need millions to achieve time, energy, and money freedom right now, then this episode is for you. Jamila and I discuss the stages of the financial independence journey, the concept of spending money in a way that feels good (not just budgeting), and the ways you can pursue freedom in your life right now.
You Don’t Need to Be a Millionaire
“You don’t have to reach financial independence or be a millionaire to unlock freedom in your life,” Jamila continued. “Because once you start putting a plan together with your finances, no matter how small or how little the change is, you unlock freedom at every level.”
Jamila learned from an early age that saving money was important. She moved to the United States from Jamaica to reunite with her mother who came to New York when Jamila was just an infant to build a foundation for their life here. The power of saving money was instilled in her from her very first savings account as a kid, but it wasn’t until later that she learned about investing and financial independence.
When Jamila learned about the financial independence movement and the ability to strategically plan her finances to retire early, she poured her energy into learning all about how to make it a reality for herself. In the process, she started blogging and then podcasting about her journey, and it was the earliest iteration of Journey to Launch, her podcast and programs.
Jamila emphasized that unlocking freedom in your life is not about reaching millionaire status. Instead, it’s about building a financial foundation that gives you the freedom to live off your investments and not actively work to earn a living.
Financial Independence and Freedom
Jamila defined financial independence as, “Having enough money in your investments or in passive income that you don’t have to actively work. You can literally live off of the income from your investments.” Jamila calls this the “moon goal” that many people want and strive for.
Jamila and her husband were able to save $169,000 in two years. She’s transparent in that her income from a corporate job was a factor in the amount they were able to save. At that time in her life, it was all about saving and watching the number in her account go up. Her philosophy was, “Let’s keep working, let me work and then put that money in, and then I’ll live life later.”
She’s not completely financially independent — she still works — but she was able to quit her job and gain freedom in her life. Now, ultimate freedom looks like being able to pick up her kids at school anytime. Her journey to financial independence has given her that freedom.
Where to Start Your Journey
Financial independence is a huge goal for so many people. So where do you begin if this is a path you want to walk? “It’s not a one size fits all,” Jamila began. But most people have two things that impact their financial independence journey: income and expenses.
“The difference between those two things allows you to get to your goal,” Jamila explained. “So you are trying to potentially make as much as you can in a way that feels good, and when it comes to your expenses, spend in a way that also feels good.”
The first big question you need to ask yourself is this: How much money would you need on a monthly basis or annual basis to be financially independent? Run the numbers of your current expenses.
From there, it’s important to identify the stage of financial independence you’re in. Jamila shared the five stages in the episode with descriptions (so press play for the full explanation). They are Explorer, Cadet (Debt Payoff), Aviator (Investing and Saving), Commander (Work Flexibility), Captain (Financial Independence).
More from Jamila Souffrant
Want to start your journey to financial independence and unlock freedom in your life? Press play on this episode and be sure to follow Jamila on Instagram @journeytolaunch and tune into her podcast Journey to Launch wherever you get your podcasts.