Over the past few months, since I’ve created this site I’ve talked about various things about budgeting, traveling, life tips and overall smartness to creating a secure financial future.
In order to do that I’ve held on to a few key ideas as to how I believe we can achieve this.
- You can create financial independence: the ability to quit trading your time for money because your investments cover all your necessary expenses.
- Your financial independence comes from your passive income.
- To build this passive income you first need to create a gap of what your earn and what you spend. Your job is straightforward: build the gap, invest it, repeat.
Once you reach financial independence, your options are endless. No more working in a crappy cubicle, punching a time clock or spending time with irritating clients. You can spend more time with family, friends and have an ability to run your own life.
Below you will find a list of 7 things that I believe will help you step closer to financial independence.
1. The Best Thing Money Buys is Time
You can choose to spend your money however you’d like, however, I recommend you spend money buying our most precious asset: Time.
Time is our equalizer. Everyone gets 168 hours per week. Nobody (besides maybe Hermione and her time-tuner pendant) can change this. Our time no matter how far away it may seem has an expiration date.
Money, on the other hand, is essentially unlimited. If we lose it, spend it, or let it slip away, we can always make more.
To put this simply, this means you shouldn’t be an extreme cheapskate unless it’s absolutely necessary. Don’t waste your Saturday visiting multiple malls or grocery stores just to get those special buy-one-get-one deals. Spend that extra $30 buying all your gifts and food in one spot so you can devote those extra two hours to enjoying a nice lunch or dinner with your friends and family. Don’t waste hours clipping coupons or washing reusable Ziploc bags when you can put that time towards spending an hour playing football with your kids.
2. Rebel Against The Norm
It’s interesting how our society works and their expectations on how we should spend our money.
If we spend $10,000 on a brand new car, nobody asks how you could afford it or tell you how lucky you are.
However, if we flip this around and say we spent the same $10,000 taking a trip across Europe eating amazing food and taking in scenic sites they look at us with raised eyebrows. They suddenly assume you’re filthy rich or are now up to our eyeballs in credit card debt. Nobody seems quite content with simply saying you hustled hard and spent wayyyy less than I earned.
If we buy a house for ourselves, nobody questions our purchase or automatically assumes we’re loaded. Switch this around and say we bought an investment property, this will raise more eyebrows.
“Where did you get that kind of money?” ” Are you some fancy investor?”
We’re spending the same amount of money but we’re buying different things. They bought a nice house, we bought a nice investment.
Society deems this weird. They’ll raise eyebrows, question you and make assumptions.
But it’s okay! You’re part of a rebellion remember? Your goal is to separate yourself from the pack. Otherwise, you’ll spend the same way everyone else does, carry the same debt they do and work til they’re 70 wondering where life went. Is this all there is?
You deserve better!
3. Money Buys Choices, Not Stuff
It’s easy to make statements like “money doesn’t matter”, “money isn’t everything”, or “I’d rather be happy than rich.”
Those sentiments, however, are quite frankly baffling. Why do most people work 8+ hours a day only to claim money doesn’t matter? Clearly, it does, which is why most people wake up every day to an alarm.
Want to switch jobs? Let one parent stay-at-home? Move to the beach? You’ll need cash.
I’m not saying you need millions. But you’ll need some money. Money brings you mobility and opportunity – which are far more valuable than big-screen TVs and random gadgets.
Money (in sufficient quantity) gives you the freedom to quit your job if you choose. Once you have enough investments, you’ll decide exactly how you spend each day. You can choose to keep working if that’s your calling. Or you could choose to stop. Your decision is entirely in your hands, and “How can I buy groceries?” isn’t a question that enters the picture. You’ve already conquered that part. You’re exercising choice.
That’s why money matters.
4. You Can Afford Anything, Just Not Everything
Don’t tell me what your values are. Show me how you spend your money, and I’ll know what you value.
I don’t want to hear you “can’t afford to save money, travel or invest if you’re simultaneously buying nice clothes and eating out every night.
Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this, but don’t claim that bigger goals are out of reach. Don’t utter the self-defeating phrase of “I can’t afford it”. It sounds weak. It’s disempowering. It’s a limiting belief.
Instead ask yourself how you can afford everything in your life whether it be your new iPad, your new-ish car or restaurant habit.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these things, the problem only emerges when you adopt these values and tell me at the same time you can’t afford something else.
5. Try to Have No Budget
Even though I blog about finance, I don’t have a detailed budget. In fact, I think budgets are boring, restrictive and tedious. And that’s okay, I can with this tendency.
That’s why I practice having no budget and follow this one simple concept.
- Pick a savings rate
- Save said savings rate first
- Relax about the rest
With this ideology, you don’t need to worry about how much you’re spending on your toilet paper or shampoo. Just pull your savings from your earnings first and live on whatever is leftover guilt-free.
How do you handle the leftovers? First, pay your essentials like bills and then treat yourself to whatever luxury you want. You saved first. The rest is yours to enjoy.
6. Retire Early and Often
Whoever came up with the work then retire model clearly didn’t think things through very well. Workers feel tired and frazzled and retirees can often feel restless and bored.
We all know what the traditional retirement looks like.
Early retirement as seen below is better, but it also has flaws.
I think a different approach is necessary and that it’s better to sprinkle mini-retirements throughout your life, while on the road to an early retirement.
Work/life isn’t a marathon. It’s a series of sprints. I believe in creating a model where life is based around sprinting, strolling, rinsing and repeat. Work hard for awhile, then rest and repeat.
Don’t just retire once, Retire constantly. These mini-retirements can last from as little as two weeks to a couple years.
By taking these mini-retirements it allows us to relax, rejuvenate and truly enjoy our time as we age. Life shouldn’t be a rat race to get to the finish. Our time will come faster than we know it. Understand that saving for retirement is no easy task. It is easily a decade+ long project and you’ll need to break for some mini-vacations along the way.
7. Press the Start Button
My final thought for today? Start. Choose an action, no matter how small that you can start today. Great accomplishments and victories are the result of marginal gains compounding over time.
Good Luck, Newbies