I was taught fairly early on by my mentors that if I couldn’t afford something in cash, I shouldn’t have it, period. I didn’t always follow that advice and typically didn’t fare well when I strayed from it. For the most part, it is advice worth following, especially if your desire is to become financially independent.
As ideal as that advice may seem, however, I realize it is not always practical. Look, I’m a realist. That said, the best way to ensure we never reach a state of financial independence is through an accumulation of debt. In other words…
Where debt resides, financial freedom cannot.
So, if you need a car, find one you can pay cash for or choose one that allows you to structure the shortest terms of repayment at the lowest rate. Your choices will clearly define your ultimate financial destination and circumstances.
Financial independence requires a determined mindset that calls upon your ability to exercise disciplined decision-making. If you desire to be financially independent and are of the mindset to walk away from immediate gratification, make a decision to get there quickly. Make it your first and foremost priority to reprogram your thinking that addresses your basic needs while keeping in mind your overall objective to escape the stress of not having enough money at the end of the day, week, or month.
The real truth is, ANYONE can be financially independent. Contrary to traditional beliefs, income is not a factor.
The right state of mind is the only factor.
Case in point – how many of you know someone who has received a pay raise only to increase their standard of living right along with their increase in pay? Instead of allowing the new pay raise to provide financial relief, these people choose instead to buy a new car, a bigger house, or a new flat-screen TV. More often than not, they use the pay raise to allow themselves to go beyond their standard of living, extending themselves into credit card and loan debt, thinking they can easily justify it by the pay raise they just received.
I’m still amazed by some of the people I know who have thousands of dollars in credit card debt as they continually make conscious choices to go out to dinner, take vacations, shop for expensive new clothes, and overextend themselves at Christmastime.
Am I saying that if you’re in debt you shouldn’t go out to eat, shop, take a vacation, and have a good time? Yup, that’s exactly what I’m saying.
Look, the formula is fairly simple. If it costs money you don’t have then don’t do it…especially if your desire is to be financially free.
If it’s not your desire to be financially free, then you’ve probably stopped reading this article by now anyway. Those of you who are still reading are to be congratulated on taking the initiative to discover just what it takes to be finically free and maybe even find the keys to great wealth and prosperity along the way.
OK, assuming you’re at least good with the sentiment of what I’m saying, and you’re serious about breaking the bonds that bind you, here are some things you can do about it.
1. Cut it out!
Go through every single expenditure you have and determine if it’s essential to your basic needs. If not, eliminate it…cut it out…especially if it’s financed or attached to some kind of “easy payment plan.” If you have an extended warranty, drop it. If you have full coverage insurance on a used car that’s paid in full, drop it to liability only. Why drive a new car if you can’t afford it? Chances are, it’s not the car you want anyway.
Imagine how you’ll feel when you can drive the car you really want once you’re financially free. Now imagine having no monthly payment. It’s OK, you can smile as you imagine that.
By following some very simple steps – the fundamental principles of money – you can in fact be financially free. Would it be worth sacrificing a bit today so you can drive your dream car in the future, where you don’t have to carry debt so you can be prepared for an unforeseen emergency situation, so you can take paid-up vacations? It’s a decision you have to make in order to realize. But that decision is yours to make and no one else. I’m here to tell you it can be done. You just have to want it bad enough to change your habits.
2. Live Below Your Means
This step could actually have been placed as the number one step because of its importance and relative impact to the results you can achieve. If there’s nothing else you get from this article, remember this – if you live below your means you will always have room to accumulate wealth through savings and debt reduction. It makes so much sense if you think about it. If you can afford $1,000 per month in rent, yet elect to live somewhere for less, you can (and should) save and invest the difference.
We’re consumers by nature. Saving and investing money is of such low importance to people these days that it has become an afterthought or a topic that most people think they have time to do when they “make more money.” Don’t adopt that mindset or you will never ever be free from the stressors and frustrations of living under the oppression of financial strain.
3. Save and Invest
There is no higher financial obligation priority than paying yourself, yet most people—if they save anything at all—place this obligation at the end of the list. This is precisely where a new financial mindset is of paramount importance.
A financially determined mindset empowers you to save first and THEN to distribute the rest to your “other bills.” This mindset does so many wonderful things for you. First, it changes the internal programming of your mind from one of insufficiency to one of abundance. The second thing it does is to force you to live within your means. You also begin to develop the disciplined mindset of someone who is in control of their finances and their financial destiny. Oh, and there’s that accumulation of wealth thing that begins to happen as well.
~ Bonus Tip ~
If you have life insurance (and most of you should have it, especially if you have a family), take a close look at exactly the type of insurance you have (yes, there are different types). If yours is anything aside from a “Term” policy, chances are, you’re getting ripped off!
You can save a TON of money by starting right here with a close examination of your life insurance and a simple re-structuring of this expense.
The various forms of life insurance that are beneficial to insurance agents (not you) are Whole Life, Universal, Variable Life, Index, etc. Avoid them all except for the Term policy. For more insight on this, send me a note or contact your insurance agent. Chances are, if you have anything besides Term, your agent will get defensive with you if you give them any indication you are thinking of converting to the (financially) smarter option of a Term policy.
Financial freedom is liberating! Having the peace of mind of knowing there is little that can happen to disrupt you in terms of money is a huge boost to your confidence and peace of mind, not to mention to your relationships. In fact, money issues are the number one reason for relationship stress between couples. Why not eliminate this and take it off the table right now by reprogramming your mind to one of prosperity, abundance, and sufficiency? It is not only possible, but it’s also guaranteed…if you begin with a determination to adjust your thinking.
May you experience the joys of abundance through a renewed mindset of financial independence.
Until Next time…
“A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the ‘what if’s’ of life.” ~ Suze Orman
Until next time…