As you gather with friends and family under the annual fireworks display every July Fourth, do you or anyone else in your crowd stop to wonder how our Founding Fathers felt about financial independence?
Sure, you all know what they thought about forming an independent nation. That act gave them (and you) the freedom to roam about the countryside without fear of royal reprisal.
But they gave you much more than that. They gave you the opportunity to chart your own destiny. How do you accomplish that?
“America’s Founding Fathers would encourage citizens to be financially independent so that we can live a fulfilled and self-sufficient life,” says Annette Harris, the Owner of Harris Financial Coaching in Jacksonville, Florida.
It wasn’t simply because they wanted to see individual citizens succeed. They knew individual success translated into something greater.
“The Founding Fathers recognized that economic self-sufficiency is crucial for a thriving society,” says Adam Garcia, CEO of The Stock Dork, based in Orlando, Florida. “By fostering individual economic independence, citizens are more likely to create businesses and drive economic growth and innovation, which contributes to the economic strength and stability of the nation.”
Why do we need to be financially free?
Think of what financial independence means to you. It allows you to do anything without worry.
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“Financial independence can be said another way, can’t it? ‘Financial freedom!’” says Eric Mangold, founder of Argosy Wealth Management in Parsippany, New Jersey. “I think our Founding Fathers would certainly encourage all citizens to work towards their own financial freedom.”
There’s no question America’s Founders would want you to know the path to financial freedom. John Adams said, “All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.”
Political freedom implies financial freedom. The two are intertwined. As John Adams suggests, problems within society derive from a lack of financial understanding. He, like the other Founders, saw universal economic prosperity as the path to a nation ruled by the people, not by an elite class.
“The Founding Fathers of America would encourage citizens to be financially independent for multiple reasons,” says Garcia. “They believed in individual liberties and personal freedoms and wanted citizens to have control over their economic lives. Financial independence aligns with this ideology and reduces dependence on external entities like the government.”
Why is being financially independent important to you?
George Washington offered sage advice when he said, “To contract new debts is not the way to pay old ones.” Debt makes achieving financial independence more difficult. When you depend on some other party to provide you with money, you become beholden to that party. As a result, you lose at least a bit of your freedom.
“I believe self-reliance would be a virtue that the Founding Fathers would support and encourage, particularly concerning the financial realm,” says Michael Kazakewich, partner and advisor at Coastal Bridge Advisors in Westport, Connecticut. “Creating and building an asset base that is sustainable and useful is just as relevant today.”
Imagine yourself without the anxiety of where the next dollar will come from. You don’t have to be there right now. You just need to believe you can get there. That’s the American Dream. It’s a dream all the Founders shared with their new nation.
Tom Alessi, President of the ARIES Foundation for Financial Education, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts, says, “Financial stress is the number one concern, especially for younger workers today. The Founding Fathers did not envision a future where our citizens would toil away their lives without the prospect of bettering their lives or those of their families.”
What are the benefits of being financially responsible?
Achieving this dream requires not only the discipline to avoid debt, but the responsibility to use your money wisely. Thomas Jefferson summed this up when he said, “Never spend your money before you have earned it.”
Being self-responsible opens up an array of benefits for both you and your community. Consider how your success and the success of your neighbors radiates throughout your hometown. It creates a prosperous environment that increases the ability of others around you to succeed as well.
“Financial independence enables individuals to have personal liberty and self-governance,” says Garcia. “It grants them the freedom to make choices based on their own values, goals, and aspirations, fostering a sense of self-reliance and self-determination.”
If an entire nation, as well as its smaller components like cities, states, and towns, was to sustain itself through self-rule, it had to empower its citizenry with the benefits of self-responsibility. First, they had to manage the affairs of their homes (including the adjacent farms). Then they had to manage the small businesses that came next. As all this was necessary, people became self-sufficient.
“The Founding Fathers valued economic freedom as an essential aspect of personal liberty,” says Melissa Terry, a CFA
In many ways, the Founding Fathers led by example. But they didn’t expect to remain a class above all others. They wanted everyone to have the opportunity to work their way up. That was the only path to a truly free society.
“America’s Founding Fathers would likely encourage financial independence for citizens because it aligns with the principles of self-reliance and individual liberty,” says Brandon Juodikis of BRJ Wealth Management in Chicago. “Early American society valued independence and self-sufficiency. Being financially independent empowered citizens to make decisions freely without undue influence from others. Today, financial independence remains crucial for personal empowerment, allowing individuals to pursue their dreams and contribute positively to society without being burdened by financial constraints.”
Why is Finance Independence important?
The right to financial independence became another American cornerstone alongside the right to vote. By envisioning a better life for you, you automatically envision a better America. This is why financial independence is vitally important.
“The nation was founded on a person’s ability to pursue their dreams,” says Jeffrey Mellone, executive wealth management advisor at TIAA in Long Island, New York. “To a certain extent, financial independence is a prerequisite. If a person does not have financial independence, they have far less ability to live out their goals.”
John Adams made this plainly clear when he said, “An honest, sensible, humane man... laboring to do good rather than be rich, to be useful rather than make a show, living in modest simplicity... is really the most respectable man in society, [and] makes himself and all about him most happy.”
George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson all came from different industries and from different ways of life. Their experience in establishing the United States of America complimented one another. And while they may not have agreed on all policies and actions, they did agree on one thing: every citizen had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
“America’s Founding Fathers championed ideals like independence, self-reliance, and personal freedom—all values at the heart of financial independence,” says Eliza Arnold, Co-Founder & CEO of Arnie.co in San Francisco. “They would likely encourage citizens to be financially independent as a way to secure personal liberty and resilience. Today, these principles are just as important, and in fact, they can be powerfully extended through sustainable investing and investing for good. By choosing investments that align with their values, citizens can contribute to positive social and environmental change, all while building their own financial independence. This way, they’re not just securing their own future, but also helping shape a better world. This is an embodiment of the freedom and agency that the Founding Fathers envisaged for every citizen.”
And just like America boldly declared its independence over two hundred years ago, so, too, should you seek to one day declare your financial independence. There are many paths to this worthy goal, and no one path fits all people. Instead, they each have their own road to financial freedom. Which one is yours?
I'm an enthusiast with a deep understanding of the principles and values upheld by America's Founding Fathers, particularly in the context of financial independence. My knowledge extends to their views on individual liberties, economic self-sufficiency, and the interconnectedness of political and financial freedom.
The article you shared discusses the Founding Fathers' perspective on financial independence and its significance. Let's break down the key concepts presented:
Financial Independence and Self-Sufficiency: The article emphasizes that America's Founding Fathers believed in the importance of citizens achieving financial independence. Annette Harris and Adam Garcia express that financial independence leads to a fulfilled and self-sufficient life, contributing to the overall prosperity of society.
Economic Prosperity for a Thriving Society: Adam Garcia mentions that the Founding Fathers recognized economic self-sufficiency as crucial for a thriving society. They believed that individual economic independence fosters the creation of businesses, drives economic growth, and contributes to the strength and stability of the nation.
Political and Financial Freedom: The article argues that political freedom is closely intertwined with financial freedom. The Founding Fathers, as mentioned by John Adams, believed that societal problems arise from a lack of understanding about currency, credit, and circulation. Financial independence reduces dependence on external entities, aligning with the principles of individual liberties and personal freedoms.
Avoiding Debt for Financial Independence: The article quotes George Washington, advising against contracting new debts as a way to achieve financial independence. It emphasizes the importance of self-reliance and creating a sustainable asset base, aligning with the virtue of avoiding debt.
Benefits of Financial Responsibility: Thomas Jefferson's advice to "Never spend your money before you have earned it" underscores the importance of being financially responsible. The article suggests that being self-responsible not only benefits individuals but also radiates throughout the community, creating a prosperous environment for others to succeed.
Empowering Citizens through Financial Independence: The Founding Fathers valued economic freedom as essential for personal liberty. Financial independence enables individuals to control their financial destinies, make choices based on their values, and reduces dependence on others or government assistance.
The American Dream and Financial Independence: The article connects the concept of financial independence with the American Dream, emphasizing the Founders' shared vision of providing opportunities for all citizens to work their way up and contribute to a truly free society.
Declaration of Financial Independence: The article concludes by drawing a parallel between America's bold declaration of independence over two hundred years ago and the idea that individuals should strive to declare their financial independence. It highlights the diverse paths individuals can take to achieve this goal.
In summary, the Founding Fathers valued financial independence as a cornerstone of personal liberty and believed it was crucial for the prosperity and stability of the nation. The principles they championed are seen as relevant today, encouraging citizens to pursue financial independence as a means of securing personal liberty and resilience.