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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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        Sarah Hansen

        A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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        Last Updated on June 26, 2020

        25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

        25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

        “How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

        If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

        You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

        Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

        As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

        And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

        But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

        • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
          • food
          • rent/mortgage
          • cell phone
          • insurance
          • socializing/entertainment
          • transportation
          • hygiene products
          • household bills
        • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
          • travel
          • clothing
          • medication (*depends)
          • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
          • gifts

        Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

        Save Money on Food

        1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

        Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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        Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

        2. Buy the store-brand version

        Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

        3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

        Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

        4. Have group dinners

        If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

        Save Money in Transport

        5. Get a bicycle

        Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

        6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

        Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

        7. Find the cheapest gas

        Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

        Save Money in General Shopping

        8. Shop online

        Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

        9. Sell your old stuff

        Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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        Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

        10. Bulk buying stores

        For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

        Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

        11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

        You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

        12. Generic brand medication

        More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

        13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

        It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

        Cut Down on Household Expenses

        14. Printing

        Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

        e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

        Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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        15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

        A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

        16. Shop around for insurance

        Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

        Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

        17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

        If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

        18. Don’t get a TV

        Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

        19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

        My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

        Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

        20. Have house parties

        Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

        For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

        21. Open festivals, meetups and events

        It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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        22. Volunteer

        If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

        23. Housesit

        There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

        Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

        24. DIY beauty

        French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

        25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

        If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

        Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

        Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

        • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
        • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
        • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
        • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
        • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
        • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
        • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

        Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

        What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

        Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

        More Tips for Personal Finance Management

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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