There was a time when model and actor Anushka Sharma entered Bollywood with the aim of Financial Freedom living life and spending her income on her own terms, without any debt, and enough to cover essentials as well as frills. Fifteen years later, Anushka Sharma has surpassed Financial Freedom and achieved Financial Independence. Her films and endorsement deals offer one stream of income, but Anushka also has assets and passive income to cover her lifestyle without the need for a job or a salary. She has her own clothing line called Nush and is an also investor in the kids food brand Slurrp Farm. Along with her brother, she launched a production company called Clean Slate Filmz, which has signed multi-crore deals with OTT giants Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. What then is the difference between Financial Independence and Financial Freedom? The former means that you are not dependant on anyone or anything else for your regular livelihood. You have investments that automatically generate income. So how does one achieve Financial Independence?Meet Your Retirement Goals EarlyThe concept of FIRE is catching up. This is an acronym for Financial Independence Retire Early, says Bengaluru-based Chandralekha Rao, who works in a public sector bank. FIRE doesnt mean that you need to stop working; on the contrary, it is about achieving enough independence so that you can either choose to work or not. For starters, you have to assign a number for your retirement savings and work towards it every year. This should include real estate, investments, monthly income to support your lifestyle post-retirement, and a fund for medical expenses and other unforeseen emergencies. The FIRE concept states that you save 70 per cent of your annual income and live frugally. If your goal is to retire in your 40s, you may have to save even more. A rule of thumb is to calculate your annual expenses and needs, and multiply that by 30. Do not spend more than three to four per cent of your savings annually post-retirement.Generate Passive IncomeAccording to survey findings published by Fidelity last year, only 33 per cent of women saw themselves as investors. Just nine per cent among these thought that they could outdo men at it. Passive income involves some kind of investment and it is important for women to get onboard the movement, says Chandralekha. Real estate is a surefire way to collect regular rental income. If you have any excess income, it is worthwhile parking it there. Secondly, diversify your financial portfolio and invest in a cross-section of products, including stocks and shares, and FD (fixed deposit) returns, depending on your earnings and appetite for risk. If youre artistic, create content such as music, writing or videos that require one-time effort and can generate revenue through royalties or views. Consider tax implications and your primary employers rules about other income streams as well.Analytics platform IndiaLends conducted a survey among over 10,000 working women in metros, tier I and tier 2 cities. Even now, over 67 per cent of working women are dependent on male members of the family to make financial decisions. Only 22 per cent claimed that they made their own financial decisions. Financial freedom means paying for yourself first, and ensuring that you are not dependent on anyone to spend your money. Heres what it takes to get there.Think SMART Financial GoalsSMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Realistic and Time-Bound, says hedge fund manager Hemang P Shah. The idea is to set realistic goals and work towards them with a fixed timeline in mind. However, this is not to say that you cannot stay flexible while making choices. Women can invest their funds however they like equities, gold, SIPs or securities. Hire a financial consultant to help you with your income and savings. Factor in all your big expenses. These could include your childrens education and extra-curriculars, a new car or even vacations.Get InsuranceInsurance cover is vital since it alleviates the risk of wealth erosion. Life insurance is a must, especially if you have children, says Shah. Healthcare costs can also catch you unawares, so medical insurance for you and your dependents is also important. Do your research on the various kinds of insurance schemes and what each of them cover. If you can afford a higher health insurance coverage, it is likely to cover more. There is no point trying to cut corners with an insurance policy and ending up with a whopping hospital bill.Along with Financial Independence and Financial Freedom, there is a third aspect to the economic empowerment of women. This is Financial Stability. It doesnt allow for too many extras, but covers the basics comfortably. To achieve Financial Stability, heres what you can do:1. Set up a fixed budget and live within that.2. Spend less than you make, and try and put some of your earnings into conservative savings.3. Avoid debt and pay off any bills or outstandings as soon as possible.4. This may be enough for now, but your eventual goal should be Financial Independence take baby steps towards this.5. Dont spend to impress others. The only person who needs to be satisfied is you.6. Take care of your health.It may take some time, effort and even the element of luck to work your way up from financial stability to freedom and finally, independence. However, staying on course can be rewarding. Financially independent women are more confident, aware, and in control of their own lives and destinies. This applies to all women, regardless of socioeconomic demographics. They are also role models for their children, for women who want to follow in their footsteps and for their communities as a whole. Priyanka Chopra summed it up aptly when she said, Financial independence is paramount. My mom always says that when a woman is financially independent, she has the ability to live life on her own terms. I think that was the soundest advice that I ever got.