One More Thing About Financial Freedom

Kids and Money: A Series by Jayne PearlOne More Thing About Financial Freedom

You probably have your own definition; your kids may have quite another. I like to tout my own vision or version of financial freedom in my workshops and posts, when the topic pops up. A new book, The New American Dream, says there ain’t no such beast. The feisty author, Penelope Trunk, devotes a whole chapter to the topic: “Financial Freedom is a False Promise.”

She explains, “I think the root of the idea of ‘financial freedom’ means freedom from having to do a job you don’t like. But this thinking comes from the baby boomers who felt compelled to climb ladders doing jobs that destroyed their personal life. Today we don’t do that. Many people of ladder-climbing age today don’t believe it’s worth the trouble. Today you can hold out to get a job you love at the beginning of your career. Financial freedom is not a prerequisite.”

Promotions and measly raises, says Trunk, are so last century. Instead, “Learning new skills is worth a lot more to you than some ridiculous 4 percent raise. If you’re offered a raise, tell them you want something that really matters: training, the new workplace currency. Unlike salary and title, training can fundamentally change how you operate and what you have to offer.”

I still say my definition of financial freedom holds (see previous post). But Trunk is talking about the more usual meaning, in terms of having enough money to do pretty much anything you want–or nothing at all.