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#FreeBritney Part 1: Life-Changing Benefits of Financial Independence

Britney Spears’ 13-year struggle to break her conservatorship and achieve financial independence recently swept back through the social media spotlight. Fueled by her fans’ support, the #FreeBritney campaign called for an end to the pop superstar’s fight for financial and personal freedom.

Following a series of very public mental health episodes in 2008, courts placed the then 26-year-old Spears under the temporary conservatorship of her father, Jamie Spears. The order was gradually extended for over a decade, despite Britney’s objections and desire to regain her personal autonomy.

During this time, Spears’ put in the work releasing successful albums, going on worldwide tours, and growing her wealth to over $60 million. Despite this incredible display of competency, Spears was still unable to make any decisions about how her money is spent or invested.

Spears’ fierce battle for financial independence may sound like the stuff of tabloid drama, but it’s a struggle many of us can relate to. The stress of feeling like you don’t have direct control over your finances can come in many forms. For Britney, it’s a conservatorship. Others may be trying just as hard to get out from under the crippling weight of student loan debt. Many of us are fighting for the day we don’t have to worry about a $1k emergency destroying our entire budget.

Britney Spears is working toward the same long-term goal that many of us are striving for—financial independence.

Here are the top four benefits of achieving financial autonomy.

Benefit #1: Less Stress

Worrying about how you’re going to make it to the next paycheck or how long it will take you to have enough money to make a down payment on a home can take up a lot of headspace, and stressing about your finances can negatively impact your mental health. Consider the following statistics:

  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Americans rank their finances as the most significant source of stress in their life.
  • The vast majority—82% of Gen Z respondents and 81% of millennial respondents—noted that their finances are at least somewhat stressful.
  • A staggering 86% of people with mental health issues and debt say that their debt makes their mental health issues worse.

Constant financial stress can be a huge detriment to one’s mental health.

Benefit #2: Security for the Future and the Unexpected

What does your ideal financial future look like? For Britney, it’s being able to make her own decisions about how she spends her money. For you, it might look like making that last student loan payment and living debt-free. For others, it’s about having enough money in retirement to pay for the high cost of medical expenses later in life.

For more than half of us, it’s about having enough financial security that an unexpected expense doesn’t destroy our financial plans. A recent survey found that less than half (41%) of American adults have enough savings to pay for a $1,000 emergency room trip or car repair. Another 37% of respondents said they would need to borrow money to cover the cost.

Benefit #3: More Personal Independence

Britney’s court battle is not just about money—it’s about the personal freedom that comes with having the autonomy to make her own financial decisions. Put simply, having financial independence and security gives you a lot more options in life. If you want to move to a different state, that’s going to require having some money in savings. If your goal is to retire and travel the country, you’ll need to factor that into your retirement planning.

Benefit #4: It’s Just More Fun

They say that money can’t buy happiness, but it can absolutely fund a week-long vacation that will result in happiness. Being able to splurge on the wedding dress of your dreams for an unforgettable day is invaluable. Owning a home and being debt-free is an accomplishment worth jumping for joy over! Setting your kids up for success by being able to contribute to a college savings account can give you the intense satisfaction of investing in their future. Living the high life in retirement—whether that means buying an RV and hitting the road or being able to spend more time with the grandkids—is the lifelong goal of many Americans. All these goals are attainable with financial independence and stability.

Now that you know the benefits of financial independence, the next step is making it happen! In part two, we’ll give you tips for creating and implementing an actionable plan to help you achieve your financial goals.

(Partially reprinted from cuinsight.com and blog.swbc.com by Amanda Harr)

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