Setting the Stage for Financial Independence: Laying the Foundation

Setting the Stage for Financial Independence: Laying the Foundation

Are you living your best life? If not, do you know why? What does your best life look like, and how do you plan on getting there?

Financial independence can mean different things for different people. For you, it might mean having enough money to comfortably cover your expenses. Or it might mean you don’t have to work to do the things you want to do in life. Maybe it’s something in between.

However you define it for yourself, the road to financial independence is built on knowing what you want out of life and making the right decisions to improve the likelihood of getting it. For many, it also includes seeking guidance along the way as you strive to live a more worthwhile life.

We hope this article helps you understand how to build a foundation for financial independence by clarifying your goals and creating multiple streams of income.

Defining Financial Independence

While different people might view financial independence differently, it can generally be defined as having enough money to enjoy your desired lifestyle without the need to work. It’s about having the financial stability to travel, spend time with family, take up hobbies, or do nothing at all if that’s your preference.

However you define living your best life, if you can do it independently (without someone else supplying the money), that is financial independence. If you work, it’s because you want to—not because you have to.

Clarify Why You Want Financial Independence

Financial independence isn’t just about money; it’s also about your values. While having the means to do what you want is essential to financial independence, the first step along the journey is clarifying exactly what it is you want.

Do you want to support a special cause that’s dear to you? Is it important for you to take care of your loved ones, making sure their needs are met and they’re comfortable? Have you always wanted to make a large donation to a pet charity? Only you can decide.

Create Multiple Streams of Income

While not having to work is certainly a big part of financial independence, it doesn’t mean you can’t work if you want to. You might enjoy a job you’ve held for some time, or maybe there’s a business you’ve always wanted to start and you finally have the time and financial independence to do so.

Go ahead and follow your heart. Continuing to work can be a good way to create an additional source of money along with the passive income from your investments.

Let My List Inspire You

The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to write down what you want to accomplish with your financial independence. Note what you want to do and give yourself a timeline for when you want to get it done. Once you have a written plan to work with, set clear, realistic goals for making your vision a reality. 

To encourage you, here are my personal resolutions for 2024:

  • Paying myself first: I will update automatic contributions to ensure my wife and I continue maximizing tax-advantaged accounts, like our 401(k)s, IRAs, and 529s.
  • Learning Spanish: I have two trips to Spanish-speaking countries planned, so I’m taking steps to learn the language.
  • Improving my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: I just earned my purple belt (which took me a decade to achieve!), and am excited to continue this journey into 2024.
  • Spending time with my wife: We will carve out a date night once a month and one getaway for just the two of us.

As you dream of the future, be sure to write your goals down and work toward them in the coming year! I look forward to seeing your plans for a worthwhile life in 2024. 

Get Reliable Guidance

No matter where you are on your journey, we at Deerfield Financial Advisors can help. We have a unique three-step process to help you use your wealth to enjoy more of what’s worthwhile in your life. To learn more about how to live your WealthwhileSM, schedule a meeting (virtual or in person), call (317) 469-2459 or email

About Marcus

Marcus Miller is Wealth Manager and Shareholder at Deerfield Financial Advisors, a fee-only financial services and wealth management firm with offices in Indianapolis and Chicago. His role includes strategic planning, income tax optimization, insurance and estate planning, and investment management for a diverse group of clients. Implementing Deerfield’s unique financial planning approach called WealthwhileSM, Marcus helps clients live their best lives and focus on their most worthwhile passions. He is passionate about helping them pursue, experience, and maintain true financial independence for their families—without the sales pitch. He truly enjoys helping people and developing deep, meaningful relationships with clients.

Prior to joining Deerfield in 2012, Marcus gained valuable experience at a Big Four accounting firm, a nationally recognized brokerage house, and a distinguished independent advisory firm. He holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Accounting from Ball State University, the Certified Public Accountant and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designations, and is a NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor. Marcus is a member of the Professional Advisor Leadership Council at the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), is involved with the Planned Giving Committee at the Indianapolis Zoo, and holds a board position at Happy Hollow Children’s Camp, as well as his daughters’ school.

Marcus resides in Carmel, IN, with his wife, Andrea, and their two daughters. They love spending time outdoors hiking, bicycling, camping, and traveling to national parks. (They have a goal to visit all 63 national parks; Yosemite is the current favorite.) An avid reader, especially of non-fiction, history, and finance books, Marcus also trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, likening it to a physical chess match that involves problem-solving and mental strengthening with physical consequences. To learn more about Marcus, connect with him on LinkedIn.


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