Follow these guidelines to boost your financial flexibility
Financial independence, like other meaningful goals, requires a long-term focus. Some people launch successful startups that make millions of dollars, but this is not how most people end up retiring.
You don’t need a big salary either. While a high paying job helps, it’s not a matter of how much you make but how much you keep. Financial independence isn’t a number. It’s a mindset.
This is why some rich people become broke and some people on making minimum wage end up rich.
In an earlier article, I highlighted how a custodian, secretary, and special education teacher all became millionaires.
Financial freedom is a mindset, and if you want to tap into that mindset, incorporate these 3 habits into your every day life.
Habit #1: Invest Early And Often
The earlier you invest, the more time you have for the compound effect to take its course. I bought my first shares of stock at 19 and continue to invest every month.
If you are in your 20s, this is the best time to start building wealth since expenses are relatively low.
If you already have a family, invest what you can. The more you invest, the more your nest egg will grow over time.
For most people, it will take several years if not decades to achieve financial freedom. Long-term goals like financial freedom are well worth the wait and the discipline required to attain it.
Habit #2: Conscious Spending
A dollar saved is a dollar earned. Conscious spending is the most important piece to this puzzle. All of the individuals I mentioned in the “3 Frugal Millionaires You’ve Never Heard Of” article lived extremely frugal lives.
You don’t have to live as frugally as these millionaires, but it’s important to remain conscious about every dollar you spend. Pay attention to what you’re buying and if it was truly worth the money.
Ask yourself on every purchase, “Is this purchase worth me taking a detour from financial freedom?”
In reality, every purchase you make is a detour that takes you away from financial freedom. Purchases require that you give someone else your money…the same money that you can’t put into your investments.
Some purchases are worth it. Beyond the essentials, it’s good to have some fun every once in a while. It’s good to buy a nice looking and affordable shirt every once in a while that’s on sale.
However, there is a difference between spending to enhance your life versus spending foolishly.
For example, I have a bunch of used golf clubs that still work and feel great. A newer set of golf clubs would probably feel better and score some brownie points when I play golf with people.
New sets of golf clubs eventually become old sets of golf clubs, and I’ll only swap my old clubs out when they become unusable.
Similarly, I’ll eventually have to buy a car…but it’s not going to be a new one. It’s going to be an old car that has already lost a ton of value. A car is essential to get from Point A to Point B, but that doesn’t mean you should aim to drop a fortune to get the newest model of the hottest car brand.
Never make a purchases fueled by societal expectations or what your friends and family will think about you. If people judge you differently because you have an old set of clubs or a used car, should those people really be a part of your life?
Habit #3: Know What You Want In Life
What does financial freedom look like? Earlier, I mentioned that financial freedom is a mindset rather than a number. However, it is still important to keep certain numbers in mind.
The key number is your cost of living. How much does your food, property, and every other necessity cost? Then, figure out how much you want to spend on other areas such as experiences.
The more money you spend each month on all of those areas, the more time it will take to achieve financial independence. Rather than live in a big house, downsize so your mortgage is less and you have fewer rooms to clean. Trim down the big expenses in life and you’ll reduce your cost of living.
I’m not suggesting you eat bowls of ramen noodles if you don’t like them, but I am suggesting that you make your food at home rather than eat at an over priced restaurant.
The key to making any financial freedom plan work is to cater it to your objectives and what you want in life. You don’t want to look back and wish you went on more vacations or feel like you were too tight on your money.
Everyone has a fine line between being too frugal and maxing out every credit card. You should gravitate closer to frugality because that’s an issue you can more easily fix later on.
Maxing out every credit card is also a problem that can be fixed, but it takes considerably longer to fix that problem.
Get clear on what you want, spend with that in mind, and invest every dollar you can. That is the path to financial freedom.