How you manage, spend, and invest your money can have a profound impact on your life, yet very few people take the time to learn these important skills. Learning financial savvy can take a while, but the basics are fairly simple and never change. While many want to focus on the sexy ways to get rich, it’s these often-ignored basics that take a person to wealth.
In today’s essay, I offer three very basic factors to becoming financially independent. Master just these three and you’ll be on your way to becoming financially free!
Here are 3 key success factors to becoming financially independent:
1. Accept responsibility for your current financial situation
Before you react defensively, please hear that again… You must accept responsibility for your current financial situation. I didn’t say you are necessarily the cause of your situation. I said you are responsible for it. Here’s why: (key point), by taking responsibility for your current condition, you also assume responsibility for your future. Nobody can change your fortune but you. And nobody else will. The sooner you accept that reality, the sooner you will shed the anger and blame and begin to feel financially powerful.
Friends, revolutions always happen on the inside first, before changes show-up on the outside. Here’s a new slogan to adopt – “If it’s got to be, it’s got to be me.” Jim Rohn use to say that a lot of people want to complain about the direction of the wind, but he reminded us that “It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.” You are the captain of your ship. How have you set your sails?
2. Stop fantasizing and start building
I’ve had people tell me that they don’t want to make 10% or 15% per year on their money. They think returns like that are “ho-hum.” They want some incredible stock tip or some secret get-rich-quick technique.
When I hear people say that, I think, “This person will never become wealthy.” You can’t backwards engineer a rate of return you need based on your own circumstances. These people realize late in life that they’ve screwed-up and now want the stock market to magically make it all better for them. LOL.
It’s important to realize that 10%-15% is a high rate of return. Warren Buffett –the most
successful investor of all time and the third-richest person on the planet – has averaged 19% on his investments over his entire career.
Also realize that the journey to millions of dollars is earned $1 at a time. You must be willing to accept this fact to move your financial life forward. Your financial life may be like a train that has stalled. And right now, you want to be driving it at 100 miles but you need to get comfortable with it moving at 10 miles an hour at first.
The good news is that wealth grows exponentially. Gradually at first, but eventually at lightning speed. Buffett’s biography wasn’t named “Snowball” by accident. It takes time.
Look, it’s not fun to realize, in the midst of your life, that you haven’t acquired the wealth you want. But the good news is your past doesn’t have to be a prologue… unless you allow it to. You can change your fortunes today. All you have to do is start.
3. Have a purpose for every dollar
With every paycheck you get, cover your necessary expenses first (bills, mortgage, etc.). Then put some money toward saving. And then put some money toward investing. Then and only then – after you have “paid yourself ” – should you add to your “spending” account.
Here’s the key point-recognize that your net investable income (the amount of cash you have after spending and saving) is the single most important factor in determining how quickly you will become wealthy.
Nearly everyone I speak to that is struggling financially co-mingles their money. They have one account and it’s labeled “spending account”! Friends, you’ll never become financially free like that. Each of your dollars should have a purpose, because money without a purpose will find it’s way into the wallet of someone who has a purpose, like the owner of the shopping mall and the car dealership.
The mark of the successful is that they have the discipline to earmark funds for their future, not just think of money as a “fun ticket” to be spent today. Do you have separate accounts for your bills, saving and investments? If not, start organizing your money this way today so that you build the framework for a successful financial future.
4. BONUS. Pay attention to what you pay attention to
Here’s a fourth, bonus tip: Make an honest count of the number of hours each month you devote to non-productive activities such as TV and social media. You may be surprised at what you’ll find.
While there’s nothing wrong with taking a break or having some leisure time, it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending your best free time doing things that really aren’t that important, such as running errands. My encouragement to you is to start devoting those prime hours to wealth-building instead. Rather than waste your morning time going to the grocery store, read a book on self-improvement or investing instead. Use those prime hours to work on you and leave the mindless tasks to the evening or night when your energy is lower.
Have you ever noticed that the sporting goods stores separate their shoe aisles – there are aisles for casual shoes and aisles for working boots. For those that are not financially free yet, my advice is to cast aside the comfortable shoes of financial mediocrity. Put on the working boots of financial independence instead and start your journey to financial freedom.
Friends, you don’t need sexy ways to get rich. The basics have worked for generations to bring people out of mediocrity and into wealth. The question is will you use them, or cast them aside because they are too simple and boring? Your financial future depends on your answer.
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.
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P.S.S. What’s this got to do with you? If you don’t take action, absolutely nothing. But remember this – most people fail to achieve what they want in life simply because they never start. There’s nothing for sale on this blog or in my newsletter. I just provide actionable advice for free. Lastly, if your definition of achieving success cannot tolerate even the slightest inconvenience, then you are not cut-out for success. What do you have to lose? Subscribe today.
Ready for more tips on how to achieve the free life? Check-out more articles from the blog archives below: