The greatest independence is independence of thought, based in education.
Independence of thought naturally translates into material and economic independence from the tyranny of others.
Independence does not come with wealth if the mind is not independent.
Poverty, in the holistic sense, comes with dependence of the mind on the ideologies of others, especially the purveyors of religion.
Americans, by and large, are no more independent than other human beings. Their contemporary concept of freedom is choosing enslavement to corporate control of their minds through media.
There will soon come a day when human life is so superfluous over every inch of the planet that the only path to any happiness will come from an independent mind.