Society struggles with money. Statistics show that half of Americans have less than $1000 in savings. And 39% have absolutely nothing saved. Millennials, the youngest generation of adults, face unheard-of sums of student loan debt. So you may be wondering how to achieve Financial Freedom when everyone around you is spending?
I graduated from law school 6 years ago with $250,000 of student loan debt. But after years of hard work and tens of thousands of dollars of payments, I can officially say that I now owe $315,000.
— Optimize Your Life (@MattLaneWrites) September 18, 2018
With so many people living paycheck-to-paycheck, is Financial Freedom really an option?
Yes, absolutely. But only if you’re willing to make a radical MindShift. If you’re willing to go against the grain and buck the financial values of the world at large, Financial Freedom is possible. Are you ready to make the transformation?
Prioritize what’s already yours
An essential component of earning your Financial Freedom is recognizing that your money actually belongs to you. After all, the primary reason that you work for and manage money isn’t so you can give it away to everyone else. Your money exists to help fund your financial goals.
Of course, there’s no escaping the bills for life’s necessities. Like it or not, the government will take its cut. If you’re working toward paying off your house, your lender will insist on a mortgage payment. And you’ll need to pay up for food, clothes, doctors and more.
But here’s where it all goes off the rails: Most people forget their financial health is one of life’s necessities as well.
So they upgrade their lifestyles to match — or exceed — their disposable income. They tap into their remaining cash and their lines of credit to buy the biggest house, the swankiest clothes, the most luxurious vacations. And then they shrug their shoulders at their empty pockets when the time comes to put money toward financial security.
When you flip that approach on its head — when you Pay Yourself First instead of last — you find money you didn’t realize you had. Instead of saving what’s left over at month’s end, you invest purposely in yourself. You consciously choose to protect your family, save for emergencies and set yourself up for Financial Freedom. And you free yourself from succumbing to the never-ending, all-consuming cost of wants.
Take pleasure in your path to Freedom
Planning and saving for the future get a bad rap. Your spendthrift friends roll their eyes when you say you’re investing your bonus instead of blowing it on a night on the town. After all, life is unpredictable. Why not enjoy it now?
But expecting the unexpected is precisely why you prioritize your investments in yourself. It’s why you pay annual premiums on life insurance you may never need … but that you might. It’s why you build up a strong emergency fund that you might never tap … but that you might. And it’s why you build a Freedom Fund even if you plan now to work forever … which you might not.
Saving and planning are their own reward.
Surprise bills, medical issues and lost jobs are inherently stressful. But having the money in place to carry you through those periods — to keep your family afloat and safe — is a priceless asset. And knowing that your livelihood isn’t subject to the whim of an employer or lender creates an unbuyable peace of mind.
So cultivate pride in your efforts to protect and secure your family’s future!
Of course, while you’re focused on the future, grumbling about the present is easy. Your wealthy neighbors just bought a new car. Your coworker is raving about his Mediterranean cruise. Your kids’ friends have all the latest gadgets and tech.
If you struggle to stay positive on the path to Freedom, adjust the lens through which you view your life:
- Are you on your way to building an emergency fund to protect your family?
- Have you established a safety net of necessary insurance coverages?
- Are you paying down your mortgage, your car loan and your other debts?
- What about investing in income-producing assets that will compound in value over time?
- Do you have everything you truly need to live — a roof over your head, access to medical care, healthy food for your kids, etc.?
If so, you’re actually better off than your peers who are drowning in debt and a breath away from financial disaster.
Encourage yourself to embrace gratitude. Remind yourself — daily if you need to — how lucky you are to have a clear vision of how to transform your life of financial dependence and uncertainty into one of Financial Freedom.
image credit: Bigstock/Maridav
Dr. Tony is the co-founder of MindShift.money and the best-selling author of three books on personal and business finances. Having achieved Financial Freedom at 27, Dr. Tony believes that through Financially Fit Bootcamp and Cash Flow Cure everyone can get there. He has made it his life’s mission to help others live a life where their money works for them—not the other way around.