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The Only Route to Financial Freedom – Entrepreneurial Mind

The Only Route to Financial Freedom – Entrepreneurial Mind

We are all familiar with the old adage,  “The rich get richer while the poor get poorer,” but why is this so? Let’s actually take a moment and try to break it down.  Is there something the rich have, inherently know or do that the poor and the stagnating mediocrity dwellers don’t? I believe there is, and here’s why.

The Education System

We have all grown up being taught that higher education is the most stable, feasible and surest way to success. While the people who follow the rules go on to realize higher academic achievements, the majority of them never spend time outside of school learning about the rules of money. Unfortunately, our educational system was designed to produce hard-working perpetual employees rather than self-sufficient millionaires.

 “ The purpose of foundation (the general education board) was to use the power of money, not to raise the level of education in America, as was widely believed at the time, but to influence the direction of that education…The object was to use the classroom to teach attitudes that encourage people to be passive and submissive to their rules.

The goal was-and is- to create citizens who were educated enough for productive work under supervision but not enough to question authority or seek to rise above their class. True education was to be restricted to the sons and daughters of the elite. For the rest, it would be better to produce skills workers with no particular aspiration other than to enjoy life.”

-G.Edward Griffin in The Creature from Jekyll Island, on Rockerfeller’s General Education Board, found in 1903.

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If you have or plan on choosing a professional career you might live to be comfortable. But without the applied knowledge of business and investments, you will find it extremely difficult to live the life you had once dreamed of as a kid.

Debt            

What’s your initial reaction when you hear the word debt? Nine out of 10 people would probably experience a less than positive one.

Most people take out loans or use their credit cards to pay for things they cannot afford. Most of those things become liabilities. Meaning they suck the money out of your pockets to a place where it will never be seen again.

For you to fully understand debt and how to deal with it, you must open your mind to its uses and possibilities. If you didn’t already know, there is actually debt that is considered good.

Good debt can make you more money than you have.

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Let’s say you take out a loan and invest it into a rental property. This would be considered good debt because it’s actually putting money back into your pocket. On the contrary taking out a loan to buy that Mercedes C Class you can by no means afford while living in your mom’s basement, would be considered bad debt.

Utilizing and understanding the concept of good debt will actually increase your financial stability not diminish it.

Save Your Money

Most common mantra #2: Go to school get a high-paying job and save your money. Yea,yea,yea we’ve heard it all before.

If we Gen Y’ers are actually planning on building our own wealth, working our asses off just to stack it up in the bank will not cut it.  Just like with good debt, knowing how to spend your money is just as important as making and saving it. Educate your self on investment options that interest you and spend that money. Work for your money and then make it work for you. Otherwise you’ll be stuck on the perpetual hamster wheel with the rest of them. 

Get a Job at a Big Corporation and Work Your Way up the Organizational Ladder

We all go through that pressing brain-crushing moment when we realize that we need to make a serious decision about the direction we want to go in life. You’re sick of your parents “helping you out” and you feel an overwhelming need to break through into your own independence. But now what? When your age has caught up to society’s standards of where you’re supposed to be in life I’ve seen people take one of these few directions:

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A) Blind themselves with their social life (friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, I like to party all the time etc.)

B) Settle into a job doing something they love (or sadly not even that,) which doesn’t provide any real growth or opportunity but is stable enough to make them feel comfortable.

C) Get a job at a big corporation and spend the majority of their years putting their blood, sweat, and tears into working their way up the corporate ladder.

D) Or you can go against the grain of it all and become an entrepreneur by starting at the bottom with the goal to make it to the top on his or her own terms.

As for options A and B, I don’t think people who pursue them are too concerned with the prospect of becoming wealthy. Option C is where life gets tough. These people want success and they’re willing to work for it. The problem is after all the time spent killing themselves in school in hopes of landing a job at a top corporation; these people spend the best years of their lives working over 60 hours a week for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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The worst part is that these people spend their lives making someone else’s business prosper, and do not work to help themselves. They are constantly depending on getting raises, bonuses and promotions, and put all of their energy into their next paycheck.

For all of the D’s out there, you realize the importance of owning the ladder instead of climbing someone else’s. You would rather put your blood and sweat into your own business to create real wealth and financial freedom for yourself.

You Need Money to Make Money

If you didn’t have the pleasure of being born into a rich family, or have access to daddy’s Rolodex it probably seemed at one point or another that making millions on your own was a long way away. I remember growing up and wishing my parents were rich, wishing I had more connections and that someone would be able to pass me over something instead of starting at square one. But if you look closely you’ll realize that because information and resources are easy access, riches can be and are made through innovation and knowledge more so than through having money alone.

Live Below Your Means

It’s all about your mind set. If you’re focusing on staying below your established means how can you ever grow and surpass your current financial standing?

It is said that the person who lives below their means suffers from a lack of imagination. I say, if you can’t afford it innovate ways to make it possible!

Original Source – Elite Daily

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Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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6. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

7. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

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So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding,

Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

11. Measure, Measure, Measure

All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

The Bottom Line

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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