Financial independence is a fancy phrase that essentially boils down to "Money doesn't rule my life." While some might interpret that as being rich, it can also be as simple as living within the means that could allow you to take any job. Even flipping burgers.
Picture: Andrew Malone/Flickr
As life blog Free to Pursue explains, the "burger flipping" rule simply asks "If you had to quit your job and flip burgers today, could you still survive?" This is necessarily difficult as it means that you might be led to not buy a house just because you "can afford it". However, it also means you have the freedom to do what you want:
Anytime we wanted to make a change to our lifestyle, we looked at what it meant, how much we would need to borrow (such as buying a home) and ensured that, even with a job loss, no one would have our necks in a noose. I guess you could say that our jobs were to maximise our happiness by maximizing personal security as opposed to maximizing our status-enhancing possessions...
The rule has served its purpose a number of times over the more than 13 years it's been in effect. It has allowed my husband to change careers three times and enabled me to resign from a high-paying but soul-sucking position 18 months ago without wondering how we would manage without the income.
This concept differs slightly from living frugally. It's not about clipping vouchers or buying something just because it's the cheapest, but rather to avoid lifestyle inflation. Your definition of "flipping burgers" may differ (perhaps you'd rather work retail than fast food) but the point remains: if you couldn't change jobs and start from the bottom if you had to, you risk turning your high-priced home into a burden.