Sunday, 5 February 2017

Financial freedom for fortitude

You should be grateful, if you were fortunate to start out in families that instilled integrity, prudence, and hard work. If not, then it's still within your power to cultivate those qualities now. That will create conditions for your own financial success and also benefit everyone around you. The personal and financial decisions that will pay off in the long run require sacrificing a little today. Patience helps you live with the reality that true rewards usually require some short-term discomfort.

Your choice of career is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. You need to love your work if you want to be great and prosper from it. Competence in technology is a first-class ticket to building wealth. Look for mentors and other professional relationships that complement your skills and personality. Be open to wisdom when it's offered. 

It is difficult to define financial freedom as it differs from person to person. Financial freedom is more about your attitude towards money rather than about the amount of money you have. It is also about being debt free and having sufficient money to lead comfortable life. It is like having income flow is higher than expenses and with sufficient reserves to back you up in case of any eventuality.

Money provides a sense of security only. Money is only a means not an end. Money as an end will lead to unethical practices. Unless you live on less than you make, it won't put you any closer to financial freedom. If you develop expensive tastes in houses, cars etc, and need to look as affluent as your neighbors & peers, you could wind up worse off financially, no matter how much you make. You can start by simply tracking your expenses, saving and budgeting. Identify the few areas where money spent truly pays off in better quality of life for your core interests. Spend there, and cut back everywhere else. 

Find a mentor to help you become a confident investor. Start small and carefully, but do start. Abide by bedrock investing principles: diversification, patience, simplicity, low expenses. Buy mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), rather than individual stocks. Investing individual securities requires time and expertise to choose and then monitoring. Don’t hold investments you don’t understand. Choose a bond allocation between 20%-80%. If you’re 40, you’d have 40% in bonds; if you’re 60, you’d have 60% in bonds. Hold as few positions, in as few accounts, as possible. The general rule is that no more than 20 percent of total investment in company stocks. Track your net worth and your overall portfolio return each year, so you know what direction you're going, and why. 

Once your career and finances are on track, you can explore more entrepreneurial paths for wealth building by owning a small business or real estate. These can leverage your time and money, getting you to financial independence years earlier. They can be fun and rewarding too! With financial freedom you will be able to concentrate on creative pursuits. 

Some tips for Financial Freedom:
  • Develop a positive attitude towards money.
  • Minimize spending and maximize savings.
  • Generate multiple sources of income.
  • Don’t save until you clear your debts.
  • Go for cost cutting wherever it is possible. 
  • Buy in cash not on credit, as credit purchases dent your reserves.
  • Be good at accounting and budgeting. 
  • Work hard and work smart as well. 
  • Make sure that your money rotates and make money. 
  • Diversify the risk. 
Make sure to take life one day at a time. The goal is financial independence but don't obsess on it. Don’t sacrifice the present for the future; it won’t turn out as planned anyway. Make time for your loved ones and meaningful activities. As great as it is to achieve financial freedom and retire early, you don't want to arrive there having missed out on life along the way. Financial freedom is fortitude!

“Lack of money is the root of all evil.” - George Bernard Shaw
“Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” - Charles Wesley
“Money isn't everything, but it's a long way ahead of 
what comes next.” - Edmund Stockdale

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