Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Six Pillars of Financial Independence

Hey everyone.
In my last post, I spoke about limiting beliefs and how they restrict us, especially when it comes to money. Removal of limiting beliefs is actually one of the pillars of financial independence I have developed, but I will discuss all six today. Let's get started.



In order to achieve financial independence, which means being able to live without financial worries, debt, or wondering about the stability of your income source, you must abide by these six precepts. They follow an order and the higher up on the list a pillar is, the more important it is. They are as follows:

1) Accepting responsibility for your financial situation.

2) Acknowledging and removing limiting beliefs regarding money from your life.

3) Identification of goals for your money.

4) Saving.

5) Investing.

6) Patience.

ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION
Look, all of us make mistakes. Some of us have made more than others, but no one gets off the spinning dirt ball without making mistakes. This includes financial ones. Financial mistakes include taking on too much student loan debt, using credit cards to buy stuff we don't need, not paying attention to our credit score and making late payments when paying bills, and the list goes on and on.

As we get older and wiser, hopefully we stop making these mistakes. But it's easy to look back on your life and beat yourself up about how much money you wasted making imprudent financial decisions. Forgive yourself and move forward. Forgiving yourself doesn't mean you are letting yourself off the hook for your poor financial decisions. In fact, it's quite the opposite - it means that you are aware that YOU are the only one who made you make those financial decisions in the past.

Until you accept that you are in control of your decisions, and not someone else or some outside force, you will never be in control of your money.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND REMOVAL OF LIMITING BELIEFS
Check out my last post on limiting beliefs regarding money. It provides insight on what a limiting belief is and what you can do to get rid of it.

IDENTIFICATION OF GOALS FOR YOUR MONEY
Money should be a 'means' in your life, and not an 'end' in itself. A lot of people want to amass money so they can see it sit in a bank account, as if that would bring them tremendous joy. The thought of having enough money to do whatever is necessary might be comforting, but eventually you would use that money in that bank account to enjoy yourself along with family and friends. Working toward a goal is that much more fun when you know specifically what your goal is.

Do you want to travel the world and stay in five star hotels the whole way? Do you want to open a bakery and paint on the side? Money can help you do all of these things, but when you know what you are working for, making tough decisions becomes easier for you than if you have an amorphous goal of 'having a lot of money'.

SAVING 
Trying to achieve financial independence without saving is like trying to cook without ingredients - you can't do it! Saving money allows you to have capital that can work for you, even when you are not working. I know that it takes discipline, but you have to ask yourself if that new iPad or having cable tv is more important to you than achieving your dream some day.

INVESTING
Investing allows your money to make money for you. Just look at the fact that even in these economic times, the U.S. has a record number of millionaires. Why? Because the rich don't get most of their income from their paychecks - they get it from investing in assets. There are lots of posts on this blog about getting started with investing (particularly in stocks). I recommend that you check them out.

PATIENCE
In most aspects of life, patience is a virtue. It is no different with regard to becoming wealthy. Patience will keep a saver from getting frustrated and abandoning her savings plan. It will keep an investor from trading too much in his account because he thinks he can 'time' the market. Most importantly, it will allow investors to take advantage of the power of compound interest and tax-deferral if s/he is using a Roth IRA, traditional IRA, or 401(k).

It takes time to implement all of these pillars into your life. But if you make a commitment to do so, bit by bit, your financial 'house' will be in order. Until next time...


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