Dreams are funny. Wanting to be a pilot, a famous businessperson, or movie star plants itself somewhere deep inside of us very early on. Dreams are shrewd. They don’t care if you’re rich, poor, educated or not, they will not be satisfied until you reach them. Chasing your dream won’t satisfy the longing, dreams want to be caught.

But the greatest enemy of dream is life itself. Over time, we begin to lose sight of our true passions as the daily responsibilities dominate our time. But dreams are resilient. And like a polar bear, your dream will tuck itself down in a safe place during the winter of your life only to resurface once the sun returns.

A critical element of dream catching is financial independence. For many of my clients, the point at which their dreams begin to take shape is when they are free to do with their time as they please. That is what I call your point of independence. Simply defined, the point of independence is where the money to do what you want in life is funded without your labor.

A former client of mine, who was in her late thirties at the time, was both very frugal and very well paid by a large corporation. After accumulating a nice nest egg, we began to eliminate every expense that did not add to happiness to her life. We then saved up to a certain level so that her deferred compensation plan would provide ten years of cash flow. Although her company paid well, she simply was not happy there and wanted to allow herself enough financial freedom to discover what truly made her happy.

With that in mind, we calculated how much monthly income her assets would need to provide for her by retirement age and mapped out a plan to reach that point. By sitting down and discussing her hopes and desires along with her financial picture, we were able to pinpoint her financial point of independence and plan accordingly.

Although most people are not in a position to walk away from their jobs, the important takeaway from my client’s experience is the necessity of having a defined goal and point of independence in your own financial life.

In my experience, most people simply have no idea of what amount of money they need to accumulate for a comfortable retirement and a point in their life in which they are able to do many things they have always wanted. With that in mind, I encourage anyone, no matter their net worth or age to sit down and think amount of money they will need to live a rewarding and fulfilling life during their retirement and begin to work towards that goal. Everyone’s financial picture is unique and it is up to the individual to determine what their independence looks like and begin setting goals to reach it. Dream.

Rusty Holcombe is a financial advisor and founder of Holcombe Financial. He has recently published his first book, You Should Only Have to Get Rich Once, designed to educate people about how to preserve their nest egg and make it work for them during retirement.

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