Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Costs of Financial Freedom

You might be wondering how financial freedom could possibly be a bad thing. Well, in many ways it’s not, and I certainly wouldn’t trade financial freedom just because of the negative aspects associated with it. Nonetheless, there are certain things about financial freedom that might be considered downsides and can end up costing you money.

While I find that I’m far from wealthy enough to consider myself completely freed from financial woes, my wife and I are lucky enough to have the freedom of employment options (since I work from home and my wife works in the health care industry) to have a great deal of control over where and how we decide to live. This freedom to explore in an effort to find the ideal location to settle however, can lead to several issues.

If You Could go Anywhere, Where Would You go?
With the current boom in health care and health care related roles, my wife can find a job in just about any and every state. And with me being a freelance writer, I can work from just about anywhere.

You would think that this would be a good thing; and in some ways it is, however, having the option to live almost anywhere we’d like, actually presents a problem. This problem is deciding where, out of all our available options, we’d like to live. It’s a great problem to have, but at the same time it causes some real issues. Freedom to live just about anywhere in the United States presents an almost unlimited number of options and with it can come some indecision regarding whether or not a place is the right spot for us to settle.

Many people are attached to an area not because they love it, but because it’s where they work, but when you can work wherever you’d like, it makes it tough to pinpoint any one place specifically. We like the Pacific Northwest during the summer but not the winter. We like Florida during the winter but not the summer. We like the Midwest but it’s not perfect either. The southwest is beautiful but hot. New England is beautiful but cold. California is beautiful but expensive.

As we try various places, we begin to realize there is no one “perfect” place…or if there is, we’ve yet to find it.

Indecision Leads to Increased Costs
Our financial freedom indecision leads us to see a variety of new places, but this in turn leads to a lot of additional costs in the process. Moving from one place to another can get costly, and having to pick up and hit the road again, switch driver’s licenses, change addresses, find places to live, open new bank accounts, order new checks, and a litany of other moving-related chores can add costs to our budget.

Travel Costs and Moving Expenses
We recently moved from the Chicago area to the state of Washington for several months to explore the Pacific Northwest. It was a great opportunity, furthered by my ability to work while on the go. However, it cost us money to pack up all our stuff, put a large portion of it into a rented storage locker, and drive 2000 miles out to Washington.

We’re now preparing to head back to Chicago, and are looking at another 2000 mile trip back. With gas, hotel costs, food, wear and tear on the car, and similar expenses, such trips can get expensive.

Start up Costs
Startup costs between our moves in an effort to figure out where the heck we want to be have started adding up. Having to pay for new licenses, pet and apartment security deposits, utility connection fees, and similar items each time we move, gets costly. And considering we don’t typically meet the “time and distance requirements” for most of these moves, we don’t even get to take many of our travel and moving costs as write-offs on our annual income taxes.

Increased Stress
Again, you might be wondering how financial freedom could possibly lead to increased stress. Well I’ll tell you. Moving to various locations to determine if they are the right places for us to settle is certainly interesting; however, I wouldn’t say it’s easy. Living out of suitcases or off the bare minimum of clothing and furnishings is nice in some ways but stressful in others. Having to pack up everything when we’ve decided a location isn’t right, change addresses with friends, family, work, etc., find new work (for my wife), and travel to and settle into our new location is exciting, yet stressful at the same time.

This is why we’re looking forward to being back in the Chicago area and hopefully being able to cool our heels for a little while.


  1. My husband and I would love to move elsewhere perhaps to a state that is not so broke and corrupt like Illinois. But two states like California and New York really send shudders. They're about at par with Illinois. You and your wife are indeed brave to check out other places. I suppose like they say home is where the heart is. Anyway if you are in Chicago, I am your neighbor :)

  2. Travelling from one place to another and finding the right place where you’ll feel at home is indeed a luxury. Though it’s an adventure, you still can’t do this throughout your entire life. Like what you noticed, it will lead you nowhere and you will end up just spending all your money. Use your money wisely and plan ahead.