5 Ways to Kick-Start Your Journey to Financial Independence

Precisely 243 years ago, a bunch of ragtag colonists declared their independence from the tyranny of a monarchy across the sea. On July 4, we acknowledge their courage with celebrations all across America.

Many people enjoy fireworks displays. Others hit the beach, host a barbecue or simply relax and reflect on how lucky they are to live in such a great nation.

But if you are deeply in debt — or simply on shaky financial ground — you can use the spirit of the holiday as motivation to break free of another type of tyranny: the prison of bad financial decisions.

Following are five changes you can make that will help put you on the path to financial independence.

1. Stop spending and start saving

Hands counting US $100 bills
Denis Vrublevsk / Shutterstock.com

American households owe more than $1 trillion in credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve.

Some of us simply lack the discipline to save. Others have meager salaries and turn to borrowing to make ends meet.

No matter how you got there, it’s time to add it all up and confront it — there’s no advantage to remaining in denial.

Just as our forefathers had the courage to imagine a nation of liberty long before it materialized, you need to believe you can climb and conquer your own personal mountain of debt. Starting this July 4, commit to paying down your debt a little at a time with every paycheck.

2. Don’t be afraid to invest in stocks

Stock market bull
Filmmanjue / Shutterstock.com

Just over half of Americans — 54% — invest in stocks, according to Gallup. While that number may sound decent, it means millions are missing out on what may be their best chance at building substantial wealth.

Yes, investing in stocks can be scary. But historically, the stock market has been the best place to build the type of wealth you will need to enjoy a sound financial future and retirement.

Ready to take the plunge? Check out:

3. Work to improve your credit score

Good credit/bad credit signs
Jane0606 / Shutterstock.com

Your credit score has a huge impact on the rate you will pay on loans for cars, homes and other purchases. The better your score, the lower your payments will be.

And remember, those payments can last for years. So, a bad credit score today can impact your finances for many tomorrows.

Improving your score should be a top priority. Fortunately, we have some tips to help you out.

4. Shore up your safety nets

Safety net
Mike Focus / Shutterstock.com

Surveys consistently show that the average American has very little money saved up for an emergency.

But that can be a huge mistake, and a major savings drain. Not only does an emergency fund keep you from having to put emergency expenses on a high-interest credit card, but it also can save you money in other ways — such as cutting the cost of your insurance by allowing you to raise your deductibles.

Among your goals should be setting aside enough cash in savings to cover your insurance deductible (high or low) if you have a sudden claim.

Does it seem like money is too tight to build up an emergency fund? Again, we can help.

5. Celebrate your financial independence — but not quite yet

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

If all of this talk of scrimping and saving threatens to turn your fireworks into a fizzle, remember that your goal is financial independence. America struggled hard for its own independence, but the payoff has been more than 200 years of freedom and prosperity.

Eventually — after you eliminate your debt, and save and invest wisely for many years — you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labors. But for now, it is time to heed the words of one of the Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, who said: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Have any tips for achieving financial independence? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

9 Things You Should Never Pay For With a Debit Card
9 Things You Should Never Pay For With a Debit Card

Use your debit card for one of these expenses, and you could risk your bank account balance, your credit score or even identity fraud.

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom in Minutes
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom in Minutes

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

15 Ways to Stretch Your Dollars in Retirement
15 Ways to Stretch Your Dollars in Retirement

Getting older presents new ways to save money. Study these strategies to make your golden years more golden.

This Is the Top Home Insurer — for 18 Years Running
This Is the Top Home Insurer — for 18 Years Running

Homeowners are increasingly unhappy with their insurance companies, but one stands out for the better.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?

Two factors determine how much money is coming to you.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on these familiar purchases. Yes, even pregnancy tests.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus
5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus

You likely already have some of these products at home.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

These vaccines may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store

Not everything sold at dollar stores is a great bargain or a safe purchase. Here’s our list of products to avoid.

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

41 Things You Should Never Buy
41 Things You Should Never Buy

Some purchases are just plain dumb. Give yourself — and your budget — a break. Don’t spend money on this stuff.

9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price
9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price

If you’re willing to pay a little more for these products, you may never have to shop for another again.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Award-Winning Products That Impressed 40,000 Shoppers
8 Award-Winning Products That Impressed 40,000 Shoppers

The Product of the Year awards help shoppers find the best pet products, personal care items and everything in between.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.