Financial Independence Day – Escape the Rat Race with Lessons from our Forefathers

July 3, 2012

Financial independence is not out of your reach, despite how difficult a goal it may seem at times. You don’t have to take my word for it, looking back in history you can learn the principles that will help you overcome massive obstacles and achieve financial independence.

Here are some factors that were key to the success of the Continental Army in winning the Revolutionary War and gaining independence for the United States.  We can follow these same principles in our quest for financial independence.

Sacrifice – The good news is we don’t have make the ultimate sacrifice for our cause like the many Continental Soldiers that died in the war.  In comparison to them, our “sacrifices” of going without material goods or services in order to save money should be no trouble at all.

Perseverance – Despite the miserable conditions at Valley Forge the Continental Army held together and emerged from the winter ready to do battle.  We’ll have tough days, weeks, and months in our quest to achieve financial independence but we can’t let them stop us from going after our goal.

Humility – Without the assistance of France the US may not have been able to win the war.  We can’t be too proud to accept the help of others.  Be willing to ask for help when you need it and learn from other people.

Training – Many people who fought in the Revolutionary War had to learn how to become soldiers.  Lacking the skills of the professional British soldiers, they went through drills and training to learn how to fight. A lot of their training also came in the line of fire. 

There may be many things you don’t know about finances, insurance, investing, etc but you have to teach yourself those things to be financially independent.  The best way to learn something is “in the line of fire”, just start investing or chasing your business idea and you’ll learn and adapt along the way.

Innovation – Out gunned and out numbered, soldiers like the Swamp Fox realized they couldn’t beat the British in the “conventional” methods of war.  They adapted their methods to suit their home turf and to maximize their strengths. 

There are countless numbers of ways to save money or make more money.  If you feel like you can’t get ahead working your current job and paying the bills, look for creative ways to save a little more each month or make some extra money.

Leadership – Every army needs a general like George Washington to make a plan, to set the direction of the troops.  We have to realize that we’re our own general. If we don’t make a plan and hold ourselves accountable to it there won’t be anyone else to lead us to financial independence.

Camaraderie – War is a horrible thing but the bonds that are formed in battle often last for a lifetime.  The camaraderie amongst soldiers is part of what keeps them fighting on. 

If you feel alone in your financial struggles, find a debt buddy, business partner, or mastermind group to share your experience with.  You can trade ideas, offer assistance, or just lend a listening ear. It’s always easier when you’re not alone.

Bravery – I remember when I was a kid and my dad shipped out for the Gulf War.  I’ll never forget a time before he left, sitting in our basement with his Army gear spread on the floor and talking about where he’d be going.  As a father myself now, I can only imagine how scared he must of been to go over there.  Knowing he may never see his family again, he got on a plane and flew halfway around the world. 

I admire the bravery of any person that puts on a uniform and goes into battle. Knowing the mental and physical challenges they face, it’s ridiculous to think we can’t be brave enough to live our lives a certain way in peace time.

Honor their Sacrifice By Achieving Your Goals
I think its Dave Ramsey that talks a lot about having the courage to make financial decisions that aren’t popular with your friends and family.  If our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, ….. were brave enough to fight for our country we should at least be able to find the courage to try and live the life we imagine; to exercise the freedom of choice and the pursuit of happyness that they fought and died to protect.

Happy Independence Day!


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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10 Responses to Financial Independence Day – Escape the Rat Race with Lessons from our Forefathers

  • Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter

    I never thought about my own financial decisions as being acts of bravery until I started a blog, lol. Now it is quite obvious that you better be darn sure that you are making the right decisions for yourself or you will definitely be pushed around by others. So yeah, you are very correct, we should all be brave enough to make up our own minds.

  • Kevin@InvestItWisely

    This is a nice way of looking at it; one can only imagine what it was like for people living through the horrors of WW2 and WW1. If you haven’t actually been there, you can’t really know, and what those people had to go through and what they had to call on from within themselves to get through it, so it remains abstract for those of us in today’s world. Still, we can call upon the same human attributes that lie within all of us, and put them toward something creative and constructive, like getting out of the rat race. Nice post!

  • Erik Folgate

    Great post, Ben. I think sacrifice, humility, and bravery are three of the most important attributes for becoming financially independent. You don’t have to come up with the next big idea to become wealthy. You just need to be willing to live differently than others. buy used cars, live in a smaller house, and save religiously.

    I love the 4th of July, and we cannot ever repay the people who sacrificed their life for our freedom!

  • Gade

    Without financial independence there is no meaning for life. Good investments can only bring in good results. Financial security is the prime concern.


  • 20s Money

    Great article. Enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading more on your blog. Thanks!


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