“I’m going to be a professional surfer!” was the quote of my recent Hawaiian trip. As non-sensical as it sounded, here I was, first time out there.

Look how professional I look!

I befriended a girl named Sam at one of the AirBnB’s I was staying at, and she, too, said she moved to Hawaii so she can be a surfer. See, I’m not the only one that wants to be a professional surfer.

I was staying in one of the rooms in the house and Sam was camping out in a tent in the backyard. Sam was saving up money for an apartment rental, and if you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you and I know that it’s not a cheap place to live.  In addition, the full-time job Sam thought she had secured fell through shortly after she landed in Hawaii – so she hustled and managed to find herself two part-time jobs in retail. She took any job and any hours that were offered to her.

Then there was that one day when Sam came back to the house and was like “Yes! I finally went grocery shopping, I saved $11 on my groceries, and I don’t have to eat grilled cheese anymore! I get to eat pasta!”

I go, “Oh yeah! Living large! Eating pasta! Such a high roller!”

Some parents may be a bit concerned about her situation, but Sam wasn’t concerned at all.

Later that evening, as we were sitting on the beach and watching the sunset, I was telling Sam what I do for a living and how I teach women how to invest.

She turns to me and says:

Can you teach me how to invest? One of the things I am so grateful that my parents did for me was invest my allowance, from when I was very young. I had to invest 1/3 of it, give 1/3 of it to charity, and the rest was mine to spend. I have about $10,000 right now, all in stocks, although I don’t know much about them and I’m not sure what exactly it’s doing except growing. But because I have that, I was able to move to Hawaii. I have that security and peace of mind knowing that it’s there. I have never touched it, nor do I plan on dipping into it, I just know it’s there and it’s my safety net.”

My reaction.

So, I responded, “Wow. Sure, I can teach you how to invest. You can buy my book when it comes out!”

Obviously, that wasn’t my only response. I tell her how impressed I am, that I am proud of her and her parents – because that is exactly what I preach to people, and for those reasons.

Now, $10,000 may not seem like an extravagant amount of money – it’s not $1 million or even $100,000. But for a 25-year-old that just moved to Hawaii, that’s camping out in a tent in the backyard of a shared house, eating grilled cheese and pasta, and working two part-time jobs – it was everything for her. But it was all she needed. That is Sam’s freedom. How would you define yours?