6 Steps To Achieving Financial Freedom

Stepping on the path to financial freedom is not as quick as in Google Maps, where you can plan your route and account for any traffic on the way.

Unless you’re a lottery winner, you have to exert time, hard work and sacrifice to be financially independent. Perhaps that doesn’t sound fun, but even lottery winners had to buy the ticket first. Set yourself on the right financial path to achieving financial freedom with these crucial steps to financial freedom.

Step 1: Define Your Own Financial Freedom & Set Your Own Goals

Financial freedom has a different meaning to different people. Yours should be unique, and it should fit your lifestyle.

Choose how much you want to save, and see if you want to increase from there. Saving up enough cash as a safety net and not stress over money in case of an emergency can be a start. Making enough income to afford a certain lifestyle is doable. Never having to work again for the rest of your life and still live comfortably might be the ultimate goal.

Wherever you are on the financial and lifestyle health scale, having a clear idea of what it means to be financially independent will help you create a blueprint for achieving it.

Step 2: Educate Yourself

How much do you know about your own finances? It’s easier to manage your money if you are financially literate. The more you know, the better equipped and confident you’ll be to handle your finances.

Don’t let those bank account and savings terms confuse you. Financial literacy is a learned skill and not commonly taught in schools.

You can go and learn from financial wellness blogs that don’t make saving complicated. Listen to podcasts, attend local seminars, or just make yourself familiar with financial terms you don’t know. A little research goes a long way.

Stepping up into financial freedom

Step 3: Pay off Debt

Carry as little debt as possible. Check how much debt you’re carrying, and what sort of debt it is.

You should try to pay off any high-interest debt before addressing low-interest or no-interest debt. High-interest debt is costing you the most right now, once you can pay it off, you’ll have an easier time saving up more and paying off any other debts.

Credit cards, cash advance loans, auto loans and store cards are examples of high-interest debts. Student loans, home equity loans and mortgages are some common low-interest debts.

Step 4: Start Investing

Investing can be a good way to let your money grow on its own, and in most cases, the early you invest, the better. To help you decide which ones are right for your investing goals, here are some investment examples.

  • Bank and term deposits – Investing an amount of money with your bank for a fixed period, and then you earn interest. Interest can be paid monthly, quarterly or annually.
  • Bonds – Loaning your money to a company or the government, which will provide you with a fixed return that’s usually higher than what a typical bank offers.
  • Shares – Buying a piece of a company. The more you buy is how much you own the company. Your return depends on how that company performs financially.
  • Managed funds – A managed fund can consist of multiple shares, which your investment is spread over. The performance of the managed fund depends on all the investments that comprise your fund.
  • Property – Buying a property that you believe will increase in value over time.
  • A business – Buying into an existing operation or starting your own business. This is a high-risk investment, and it’s vital that you understand all the details about the business before you invest in it.

Talk to a broker or financial adviser to walk you through these investment options.

Use the finance tracking method that works best for you

Step 5: Track Your Spending

You don’t need to painstakingly write down or input every expense and purchase you make into a spreadsheet, though you certainly can if you prefer that method. There are budget apps and online platforms that track every transaction going in and out of your account. You can categorise your spending and get an overview in simple graphs and diagrams.

Set budgets for each category and get real-time updates on whether you’re going to stay within your monthly budget or not.

Step 6: Evaluate & Make Changes

Monitor your progress as you work through the previous steps to financial freedom and make changes if necessary.

Building a life of financial freedom requires discipline and delayed gratification — sacrifice now in return for more choices later in life.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Cigno Loans’ articles do not replace advice from an accountant or financial advisor. All information provided is intended to be used as a guide only, as it does not take into account your personal financial situation or needs. If you require assistance, it is recommended that you consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.


Ordered by the Federal Court of Australia

The Federal Court of Australia has found that Cigno Australia Pty Ltd (Cigno Australia) and BSF Solutions Pty Ltd (BSF Solutions) have breached the law by engaging in unlicensed credit activity and charging prohibited fees.

In the period from July 2022 to 3 October 2023, over 100,000 consumers have been lent a total of $34 million, and charged fees of over $70 million, under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’ operated by BSF Solutions and Cigno Australia. At no time has either BSF Solutions or Cigno Australia held an Australian Credit Licence.

The Court also found that Mark Swanepoel (director of Cigno Australia) and Brenton James Harrison (director of BSF Solutions) were involved in these breaches of the law.

With effect from 24 May 2024, the Court has granted permanent injunctions preventing Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions from:

  • demanding, receiving or accepting fees or charges, including amounts of loan principal, from consumers in relation to credit provided under the ‘No Upfront Charge Model’; and
  • engaging in further credit activity pursuant to the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’, including by entering into new agreements with consumers, for so long as they do not hold an Australian Credit Licence.

Cigno Australia was ordered by the Court to, by 5th July 2024, send written communications to consumers who between July 2022 and December 2022 entered into agreements with Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’.

The Court will later determine whether (among other things) Cigno Australia and Mark Swanepoel ought to pay a pecuniary penalty in respect of this conduct, and whether Mark Swanepoel should be restrained from carrying on a business engaging in credit activity.

Cigno Australia, BSF Solutions, Mr Swanepoel and Mr Harrison intend to appeal the decision of the Court and have filed an application for leave to appeal. If the appeal is successful, some or all of the orders of the Federal Court of Australia may be set aside.

Where can you get more information?

Where to go for further support

You can access legal advice in your state at: Free legal advice – Moneysmart.gov.au.

If you are experiencing trouble with debt, or money worries in general, contact:

  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or online chat (9:30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday).

If you need someone to talk to, contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours) or their crisis support online chat or
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 (24 hours) or their webchat