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How to Get Rich and Achieve Financial Independence

How to Get Rich and Achieve Financial Independence

If you’re coming here for another get-rich-quick scheme, this is not the article for you. I’m not about to sell you on a pie-in-the-sky fairytale that will have you driving a Maserati into the driveway of your mansion by next May. But if you’re looking for actionable advice on being smart with money while working hard to achieve financial independence, then let’s explore this concept further together.

First, let’s clarify by what I mean by “rich,” as this is a very nebulous term. The definition of “rich” is as individual as taste preferences of food or fashion. Many times, even when you are considered by others to be rich, you don’t think of yourself that way. After all, it’s all about perspective. In poorer countries, people would consider $20,000 per year to be rich, where in more prosperous countries, it is considered poverty. So, to make this topic much easier to follow, I will leave the number of what you would consider to be rich up to you. Whatever it is, here are some important concepts to ensure success.

Keep Breathing Room in your Budget

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breathing room for wallet

    No matter what your paycheck says, if every bit of that money is allocated to paying someone else, you will never feel rich. Only you can decide what percent of your paycheck you want to live on, but I don’t recommend pushing it to 100%. Keep your expenses down to a level where you aren’t strapped every month. You can have the most amazing home, car, and high-paying job, and still be stressed out and unable to pay your bills. Live within your means and save the rest of your income to build up your long-term economic equity.

    Limit Expenses on Bobbles and Bling

    diamond ring

      Whenever you are about to buy something, consider if that is the best investment for your long-term financial goals. Now, I’m not saying don’t enjoy life, but keep in mind when you buy that boat, that brand-new car, the time-share in Tahiti, the new diamond earrings, or that designer leather jacket, that you are making a purchase where you are most likely losing money. The boat, car, time share, earrings, and leather jacket will not normally gain value over the years. The more you limit these expenses, the more money you can keep for smarter investing.

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      Stop Living to Impress Others

      Sometimes, we can make some very foolish decisions to impress others. The sooner we understand that our self worth is not tied up in our possessions, the more likely we are to achieve financial independence. Keeping up with the Jones’ means a very flashy facade of big-ticket purchases followed by years of financial struggle to pay back the debt with interest accrued. There is no shame in driving a used car with some miles on the engine or finding clothes in thrift stores. You will have much less stress than those working extra hours at jobs that they hate to pay their high credit card payments.

      Avoid Debt, Unless It Makes You Money

      While no debt is necessarily embraceable, there are a few scenarios where debt is often necessary. For example, my husband is in medical school. Since most people right out of college don’t have $250,000 lying around to attend medical school, taking out loans is often the only option. Education loans eventually pay you back much bigger dividends in higher earning potential over the rest of your life. The same goes for real estate. Rather than tie up all of your money by paying off one house, you can use the same amount to put down a deposit to purchase five homes or businesses that you can rehab or rent at a profit, while paying off the remaining loan amount with money from the rent or sale. If the profit gained by utilizing the bank’s money is greater than the interest you are paying to use the money, you come out ahead. You can also utilize credit cards to build up your credit line and get points to reduce other expenses like airline travel. Just make sure you can always pay them off at the end of the month so you don’t waste money on interest.

      Get Out of Bad Debt

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      bad debt

        Think of your financial security like a bucket of water. In order to fill it up, you have to make sure you plug all the holes where it is leaking. Avoid the type of debt that has you paying interest on non-necessary items like the plague. When you carry this debt, you are making someone else richer while you stay poorer. If you already have this debt, make it a priority to pay it off as quickly as possible. Pay the highest-interest balances off first and make minimum payments on the rest of the cards. Then, when the worst offender is paid off, take the exact amount you were paying on the card you have paid off and roll it into the minimum payment of the next card. Continue doing this until you are out of bad debt.

        Revisit the Time = Money Concept

        Most people understand the thought process that when they give their time, they get a certain amount of money back. Unfortunately, there is a limit to this, as there is a limit to how much time you can give. The financially free people often learn to create multiple streams of income and get mailbox money. Think about someone who owns real estate. They do not put any time or effort into your rent check, they just collect the mailbox money every month for allowing you to live there. Or, think about when someone creates a new invention or writes a book. Even if they sell the product to others to market, if they are smart they will set up the contract to continue to collect royalties for the life of the invention. This is mailbox money. After the initial work launching or selling the product, they simply sit back and collect the checks. Or, consider those who invest in the stock market. Once they go through the up-front work to become educated on market trends and how to invest wisely, they put their money in a company and simply ride the market up or short-sell the market and make money as the market goes down. When you realize that you can make money beyond the typical hourly rate, your financial horizons expand exponentially. Most people feel intimidated by this initially. After all, this can push people outside of their comfort zone. But, this is where the truly rich play. They are no different that anyone else, they just learned to invest their time in educating themselves in these concepts.

        Follow a Budget and Set Aside Money for Saving and Investing

        Most people are shocked when they document where their money goes each month. There are so many online tools now that link with your bank account and help with budgeting. It makes it very easy to analyze your spending habits. Try to limit your purchases on frivolous items and learn to set aside a certain percent of your income for saving and investing. Take advantage of company-sponsored 401Ks, set up tax-sheltered retirement accounts, and learn about investing in the stock market or real estate. All of this can be done while still working your day job.

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        Budget Your Time Wisely

        Many people in America watch four or more hours of television per day. Now, if you’re watching the latest investment news, I will give you a pass. But, if your filling up that time with Honey Boo Boo episodes, then it’s time to revisit your priorities. I would challenge you to take just one hour per day you normally watch T. V. and read a book on investing. Or, start a business out of your home in the evening and enjoy additional tax breaks offered to business owners while making money on the side. Or, find other people who are financially free and ask them their advice. If you follow people who are successful, you find they are always learning and broadening their minds on new ways to improve their financial status. And, in my experience, they don’t mind giving advice or helping others along the way. Being rich is not a golden ticket only offered to the fortunate. While some wealth is certainly inherited, there are enough rags-to-riches stories out there to inspire us. It’s simply that few people are willing to change their lifestyle and achieve their financial dreams, because, frankly, it takes hard work and reality shows are just so much more intriguing.

        While this is not a get-rich-quick article, if you apply all of these concepts, you will find that you are well on your way to financial success, whatever your definition. With the right amount of passion, education, and hard work, anyone can achieve their financial dreams. Like most adventures, the length of time to get to the finish is different for everyone. But, like all great journeys, with each step taken, you are that much closer to freedom.

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        Published on July 4, 2018

        Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

        Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

        Don’t want to overspend your budget, swipe your credit card too many times, and feel like a financial mess? Instead of beating yourself up for the bad financial decisions you’ve ever made, create a new plan!

        The solution is simple, save more and spend less. But, we all know it’s easier said than done.

        One problem is finding quality apps that save you time and money, and aren’t just hype.

        Luckily, there’re many great money management apps available at your fingertips. Here are 10 reliable money management apps that can help you save money, and crush debt.

        1. Personal Capital

          When was the last time you’ve tracked your net worth? Probably months ago or maybe never. Personal Capital allows you to easily track your net worth and plan for retirement.

          Here are some of its main features:

          • Sync many investment accounts, and expenses (mortgage, credit cards, etc.) in one place
          • Discover hidden fees and how much they’re affecting your retirement plan
          • Wealth management for investors requiring a long-term strategy

          With Personal you’re free to track your expenses and net worth.

          Available for: iOS and Android

          2. Mint

            If your smartphone could only install a few apps, Mint would be one of them. Why? Because Mint tracks all your balances and bills in one place.

            Here are some of its main features:

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            • Effortlessly track all your bills and balances in one dashboard
            • Categorized expenses to understand where you spend your money
            • Uncover hidden fees, and determine your investment style with sophisticated retirement tools.

            Feel at ease with managing your money by a reputable company that isn’t going anywhere.

            Available for: iOS and Android

            3. YNAB

              Everyone needs a budget, there’s no way around it. YNAB (You Need A Budget) is an easy to use app that will change the way you think about money. Their motto is to “give every dollar a job”, and you’ll quickly discover why.

              Here are some of its main features:

              • Easily sync all bank accounts in one place
              • Visually see your debt paying progress with eye-catching charts and notifications
              • Customized categories setting saving goals

              The best part about YNAB is the community that comes along with it. You can hop on the YNAB forum to receive support, listen to the YNAB Podcast or stay tuned for their weekly videos.

              Available for: iOS and Android

              4. Wealthfront

                Albert Einstein once said “compound interest is the eight wonder in the world”, and for a very good reason. The problem is, most people are scared or unwilling to learn the basics of investing. This is why Wealthfront is the perfect solution for the hands-off investors.

                Here are some of its main features:

                • Variety of investment account options including IRA, Roth IRA, and more
                • Your portfolio composed of 7 different asset classes
                • Automatically rebalanced portfolio
                • Daily tax loss harvesting

                Wealthfront is perfect for people requiring investment guidance, or prefer a hands-off solution.

                Available for: iOS and Android

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                5. Clarity Money

                  If you’re staying on top of your budget but want to take your finances to the next level, Clarity Money can help you. Clarity Money helps you stay under budget and build a personalized savings plan.

                  Here are some of its main features:

                  • Easily cancel subscriptions with one click
                  • Synchronize bank accounts fast
                  • Transfer money effortlessly between different accounts

                  Clarity Money isn’t an app that does it all. But, it does make transferring money and canceling subscriptions fast and efficient.

                  Available for: iOS and Android

                  6. Acorns

                    What if there was a way to quickly gain confidence in investing your money, without too much risk? There is, and Acorns is your solution. With Acorns’s technology, you’re able to make investments as small as $5.

                    Here are some of its main features:

                    • Automatic contribution option
                    • Customized portfolio tailored to your needs
                    • Low management fees ranging from $1-$2 per month

                    Stop wasting dollars on expensive coffee. Instead, invest them towards a brighter financial future.

                    Available for: iOS and Android

                    7. Albert

                      Do you budget by only subtracting your expenses from your income? If so, how would you discover any overpayments or extra money you could save? This is where Albert shines, and it does it all free.

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                      Here are some of its main features:

                      • Receive notifications for overpayments, hidden fees, and low balances
                      • An Automatic budget that’s built around your spending and income
                      • Easily track debt and set new financial goals

                      While Albert does offer a paid option, most of its core features are FREE. So, what better option to save?

                      Available for: iOS

                      8. Prism

                        Have you recently forgot to pay a bill because life got in the way? Prism automatically tracks your bills and syncs your bank accounts in one place.

                        Here are some of its main features:

                        • View all your account balances in one glance
                        • Bill due dates are automatically pulled and tracked
                        • Receive early reminders for upcoming bills

                        If your budget is on “fleek” but can’t seem to stay on top of your bills, Prism is your go-to app.

                        Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Amazon

                        9. Mvelopes

                          Remember hearing about people using envelopes to budget their money? Well, Mvelopes is the new envelope system for this generation. Easily create monthly budgets and track your saving goals.

                          Here are some of its main features:

                          • Connect unlimited bank accounts
                          • Real-time budgeting with auto transaction syncing
                          • Low monthly $4 fee or $40 annual

                          Mvelopes can help you crush debt, save more, and help you stop overspending. With its low monthly fee, it’s worth a try.

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                          Available for: iOS and Android

                          10. Wallaby

                            Most people don’t have time to track their credit card’s changing rewards and interest rates. Because of this, you need help reaping the most of your credit card’s rewards. Wallaby is the app that will help you do just that.

                            Here are some of its main features:

                            • Automatic recommendations for the best credit card to use for each transaction
                            • A friendly user interface, displaying credit cards with their corresponding images
                            • Free to use

                            If you’re using the same credit card to make your purchases, you may be leaving money on the table. Give Wallaby a try if you’re ready to maximize your credit card’s rewards.

                            Available for: iOS and Android

                            Take control of your finances and experience financial freedom

                            Picture yourself staying on budget and saving more money than you’d ever imagined.

                            It took hard work and dedication but you’d finally learned how to manage your money. You have to start taking control of your spending and saving habits.

                            You now have a list of reliable apps that can help you build better money habits, what are you waiting for?

                            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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