By: Scott Van Den Berg, CFP®, ChFC®, CEPA®, AIF®, CRPS®, CMFC®, AWMA®
As a proud steward of financial guidance at Century Management, I have dedicated my career to helping individuals and businesses navigate the challenging waters of wealth management. Today, I want to take you on a journey that is somewhat unique - one that takes the concept of freedom and examines it from two vastly different yet intimately connected perspectives: the independence embodied by July 4th, or Independence Day, and the autonomy achieved through financial independence.
The Birth of a Nation: Independence Day
Independence Day, or July 4th, is an iconic day that punctuates the history of the United States. It's the day that we commemorate our nation's liberation from external control and the birth of a sovereign nation. The significance of this day cannot be understated; it symbolizes the breaking of chains, the assertion of self-governance, and the pursuit of a democratic society that values life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In this context, freedom takes the form of a nation’s collective right to self-determination, an intangible concept made concrete by the establishment of laws, institutions, and a constitution designed to protect and uphold the rights of its citizens. Independence, therefore, is a fundamental cornerstone of our democracy and our society.
A Personal Liberation: Financial Independence
On the other hand, financial independence is a more personal, individual pursuit. It encapsulates the aspiration to be free from the constraints of financial obligations, and to make choices based on desire rather than necessity.
Just as July 4th symbolizes national autonomy, financial independence signifies personal autonomy. It affords you the power to make decisions based on your personal objectives and lifestyle preferences rather than monetary constraints. It's the capacity to take that vacation you've been dreaming of, support your favorite charity, or even to retire early. It is, in essence, the ability to live your life on your terms.
In my work at Century Management, I regularly witness the transformation that financial independence can bring to people’s lives. For high-income-earning business owners, executives, and families, achieving financial independence often means more than just the freedom to spend. It means the ability to shape one's life according to one's values, to invest in one's family and community, and to make choices that bring joy, meaning, and fulfillment.
The Parallels and Divergences
While these two forms of independence – national and financial – may initially appear distinct, they are deeply intertwined. The freedom that July 4th celebrates is a prerequisite for individual financial freedom. In a democratic society, we have the right to strive for personal success, to innovate, and to accumulate wealth.
Conversely, financial independence contributes to the strength of the nation as a whole. When individuals are financially independent, they are better able to contribute to society, whether through starting businesses, investing in their communities, or supporting philanthropic causes.
However, unlike Independence Day, which was achieved through collective action and a shared vision, financial independence is a deeply personal journey. It's tailored to the individual's financial goals, responsibilities, and lifestyle aspirations. It's not a one-size-fits-all concept but rather a bespoke plan tailored to each person's unique situation.
Navigating the Path to Financial Independence
Navigating the path to financial independence, much like the journey to national independence, can be fraught with challenges. But, with a solid plan and the right guidance, it is achievable. At Century Management, we understand this journey because we've taken it ourselves. We've learned the value of strategic planning, disciplined investment, and forward-thinking decision-making.
Through strategic wealth planning, setting up and managing retirement plans, structuring investment portfolios for long-term growth, and employing tax reduction strategies, individuals and businesses can chart their path to financial independence. The journey will require discipline, patience, and resilience, but the reward—freedom to live life on your own terms—is undoubtedly worth the effort.
The Multifaceted Nature of Freedom
Freedom, whether it be national independence celebrated on July 4th or personal financial independence, is multifaceted. Each form of independence brings its unique form of liberation and its distinct set of responsibilities. As we celebrate July 4th, let's also remember to strive for our personal freedoms, including our financial independence.
With financial independence, you gain the freedom to craft your life according to your values, aspirations, and dreams, much like the founding fathers did for our nation centuries ago. As we take time to celebrate and appreciate the freedom we enjoy as a nation, let us also celebrate and strive for our financial freedom. It's through this journey that we can truly embrace the full potential of what freedom can offer.
Remember, at Century Management, we're here to guide you on your journey to financial freedom, every step of the way.
Century Management ("CM") is an independently registered investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Century Management is also registered as a Portfolio Manager in the Province of Ontario. Forward-looking statements are not guaranteed. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The discussions and viewpoints featured are not intended to be investment advice. A full description of our Firm’s business practices, including our Firm’s investment management services, wealth plans and advisory fees, are supplied in our Form ADV Part 2A and/or Form CRS, which are available upon request or at www.centman.com. CM-2023-07-03