What Being Financially Free Actually Means

1 April 2020 By Oliver Maher
Oliver Maher

Oliver Maher is a director at United Advisers Marine. Disclaimer: UA/BFMI is a member of Nexus Global and an appointed Representative of Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited (BFMI). BFMI is licensed and regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (FSC). UA/BFMI are not tax advisers and clients should always seek independent tax advice for their individual circumstances. +34 871 115 928;

Financial freedom means different things to different people. For some, it means having all their bills covered and a roof over their head, while others see it as having all of that, plus a decent emergency fund and a solid savings plan set aside.  

For a small percentage of the population, including the superyacht industry, financial freedom means being able to retire early and not be dependent on anyone for anything, and to live out their golden years well before typical retirement age. But what does financial freedom mean to you? Not living paycheck to paycheck every month or having enough money to leave your job, even temporarily? Do you have the freedom to leave yachting when it suits you? 

...Only 30 percent of the crew surveyed feel as though they have enough financial independence to choose to leave yachting. 

In our first-ever UAM Superyacht Crew Financial Wellbeing Survey, we asked that very question. The result? Nearly 70 percent of participants responded “No.” Amongst the responses to all 10 survey questions, this one in particular stood out to us — only 30 percent of the crew surveyed feel as though they have enough financial independence to choose to leave yachting. 

So, how can you achieve financial freedom, especially if you don’t have any savings? It sounds obvious but start with learning how to manage money. If you don’t understand where all of your money is going or if you have trouble controlling your spending, you will find that financial freedom is almost impossible. The good news is that you can turn things around. It won’t happen overnight, but you can make it happen. 

After learning how to manage your money, set some financial goals. For some of you — especially the 25 percent who are worried about not having any savings — it starts with a savings plan. Think about setting financial goals specifically related to your personal circumstances. This is our bread and butter: helping yacht crew to plan.

The sooner you learn to be disciplined about your spending habits and commit to saving, the sooner you will have the financial freedom to make decisions about your future, whether that’s taking the next step in your yachting career or retiring early. We want to help change the number of people worried about their savings plans, their financial goals, and whether or not they have the freedom to leave yachting at a time of their choosing. 

We know that setting budgets and talking about financial goals isn’t always the most exciting discussion. But the idea of being financially free definitely is exciting. It can mean the difference between feeling stuck in your situation and stressing about when, or even if, you can retire, to choosing what you want to do and when.  

The column originally ran in the April 2020 issue of Dockwalk.


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