I believe that you have achieved financial independence when you no longer need to dance to anyone else’s tune, unless you choose to. This is a stage you reach in your life where you get to choose what you do, when you do it and you are able to begin making a real difference in the lives of people around you. Is working toward living in a place like that, not worth the short term sacrifice and discipline required?
The first step to begin moving your life toward financial independence is to eliminate all debt from your life. Once you have created a plan to eliminate all debt from your life you must ensure that you never incur any personal debt on credit cards or loans, ever again. If you cannot afford to buy something, have the patience to build your wealth, until you can. Unfortunately, this instant popcorn, microwave society we live in and the easy access to credit makes, getting into debt so simple. Change your mind-set around consumption spending and stop allowing your need for instant gratification to dictate your choices.
Change the picture in your mind and instead of seeing yourself as someone that has all the trappings of success, built in the illusion of affordability. See yourself as a wealth creator, someone that builds financial wealth by investing and saving. This strategy will require you to make some short term sacrifices and forgo that instant gratification you have become so accustomed to expect. Creating financial wealth is about patience, consistency, persistence and planning.
I know this sounds tough, but desperate times call for desperate measures. If you have huge credit card debt or large personal loans, you must eliminate all unnecessary expenditure from your life, beyond your basic survival needs, until you have zero credit card debt. If you do not take these drastic measures and start to fight a battle you can win, your debt will continue to spiral out of control.
You must put yourself on a complete credit freeze. Explore every one of your current expenditures you have and slash everything as deeply as possible. You are effectively on a 100 % spending freeze. This spending freeze must remain in place until you have eliminated all your credit card debt. This is harsh, but unfortunately very necessary, until you have eliminated all your credit card debt. Spending is an addiction, the best way to eliminate debt, is to force yourself to go cold turkey.
Until you take control of your finances and start to make wiser choices, your financial position will just continue to get worse and worse. Five years is going to pass, you can make the choice today, to wrestle back control of your finances and be in a good place financially five years from now. Or you can maintain the status quo and the five years will pass any way, the only difference is that you will just be five years older, more wrinkled, more disillusioned and even further in debt.
Make a few new, better choices and start to direct your finances away from consumption spending, which gives you pleasure in the moment, toward creating wealth building goals. Consumption spending offers fleeting pleasure in the moment, which quickly dissipates. Wealth building offers you the opportunity to begin living a life with time and choice freedom. As you start to make better choices around your finances, within a relatively short space of time, you will see massive improvements and with persistence, you will achieve financial independence.

Author's Bio: 

Andrew is an expert and master teacher that speaks and teaches self-leadership, expanded awareness, effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. He guides individuals and business professionals, to identify, prioritise and carry out the right activities, consistently, so that they can maximise their personal effectiveness and deliver their best; on time, every time. All the tools and techniques Andrew teaches; have been tested in the laboratory of his own life and the many successful businesses he has owned and led, over the past 20 years. These strategies have seen Andrew achieve financial independence and reach a point of harmonious balance in all areas of his life. His purpose is to help as many people as possible, achieve similar or better results and to show them how they can realise their full potential, both personal and professionally and to help them live a meaningful life, where they are fulfilled in all areas. http://www.andrewhorton.co.za