"Freedom is not free"

I submit to you that the word "freedom" is an oxymoron. You see, freedom is not free.

I have visited Washington DC twice in my life and both times I visited the Korean War memorial. At the far end of the Korean War memorial is a 164-foot mural wall that is inscribed with the words, "Freedom Is Not Free." It's etched with 2,500 photographic images of nurses, chaplains, crew chiefs, mechanics and other support personnel to symbolize the vast effort that sustained the military operation.

The Korean War memorial has taught me two valuable lessons:

First - the simple message that freedom is not free;

Second - it takes teamwork to win any battle and certainly any war.

The same is true for you if you are trying to become financially free. Each of us needs to team up with God. Those of us that are married need to team up with our spouses. Those of us with kids need to include them in this process. It's possible you may also want to partner with some friends for accountability.

When it comes to finances, financial freedom is not free. It will cost you time and possibly some short-term enjoyment. But, in the long run, financial freedom may be the most liberating freedom you ever enjoy.

You see, like it or not, your financial footing will direct your path. If you are financially free, you will have more time to do the things you really desire (ministry; spend time with family and friends; etc...). When you are financially strapped, most other areas of your life suffer as well.

Declare your financial independence

The founding fathers of our great nation knew they could not continue to live under the tyranny of the British government. They knew they had to become independent. The Declaration of Independence is the document in which the Thirteen Colonies declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so. It was ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

The independence of the American colonies was finally recognized by Great Britain on September 3, 1783, by the Treaty of Paris.

Notice that official independence did not happen for seven years. Whenever I talk to someone about becoming financially free, one of the most important things I tell them is it doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. It took time for you to get into the mess you are in, and it will take more time to get out.

We have a seminar called "Five Years to Freedom" where we show people how to become financially free in five years. We show the attendees how to pay off all non-mortgage debt within five years and how to pay off all debt, including their mortgage, within ten years.

Where do I start?

Here are four keys to becoming financially free:

1. Set goals.

2. Track your expenses.

3. Trim your expenses.

4. Be generous.

Set goals

It's been said before that if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.

Goals give you something to aim for. Jesus said this in Luke 14:28 - "But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first getting estimates and then checking to see if there is enough money to pay the bills?"

There are two keys to your goal setting. First, your goals must be in writing because goals that aren't written down for your review are simply a philosophical statement.