Achieving a point of financial freedom, where you no longer need to rely on others or trade your time in order to pay for your desired lifestyle, is easier to do today than in any other period of history. However, there is a catch and that proviso is that you must take full responsibility for your life and be willing to change and let go of those things that are holding you back. Those individuals who are motivated to invest both their time and energy into improving themselves and are committed to growing to their full potential have the greatest chance of realizing their dreams.
So how does one become financially free? Many financial planners, wealth creation gurus and even your next door neighbor have their take on what one needs to do in order to build wealth. Let me share ten specific time-tested strategies as to how you might work towards attaining a point of financial freedom within a five-year period of time.
Your first order of business is to take an in-depth look at your financial affairs. This entails examining your current cash flow, monthly expenses, returns from your investments, monthly credit card debt, loan payments, etc. This will give you a good picture as to where you are at with your financial obligations. Your next task is to start to dream big as to where you want to be with you life once you reach a point of financial freedom. Being financially free means different things to different people. For one individual it could be maintaining their current lifestyle. For others it may mean having a passive income of $10,000 per month. Whatever your dream might be, the key at this point is to determine how big of a gap exists between your current reality and your dream lifestyle. Once you have this clear picture in your mind, the next order of business would be to establish your plan of attack as to how you could arrive at bridging this gap within five years.
Here are ten strategies that will enable you to close the gap and realize some of your wildest dreams:
1. Choose to be financially free in five years. As simple as it may seem, you must take full responsibility for your choices and life right now. Stop making excuses or justifying your actions. Successful people avoid making excuses. In order to become financially free you must make a commitment to do whatever it takes to become more and more successful.
2. Build your success team. Not only should you look for individuals who are actively engaged in adding value to other peoples lives, you must also learn how to be a leader. Your success team could be made up of business associates, a specific mentor, an accountant, a community leader, a spiritual leader or a health care professional, to name a few. Seek out other leaders, individuals who know where they are going and are able to persuade others to go with them.
3. Associate with positive successful people. Dissociate yourself from negative individuals who drag you down. Especially avoid those dream stealers who are constantly questioning your ability. As well, make a point of removing yourself from toxic situations, such as: arguing, gossiping, backstabbing and mocking.
4. Find a wealth creation mentor. Whether you choose to go see someone, read about that individual or purchase programs developed by that individual, it is imperative that you learn from those who have been successful at creating and holding onto their wealth. Dedicate the time and energy to become financially free by first focusing on your business and financial education.
5. Focus on making money right away. Everyone has skills and talents that they can put to work right away in order to create an income stream within the next four weeks. After having made a list of your strengths, skills and passions look for a business opportunity in which you would enjoy using your skill set. You are not looking for a second job; rather you are exploring how you could create your own business from scratch or partner with someone in creating a business.
6. Learn to market and sell what you have to offer. All excellent leaders and successful entrepreneurs have learned the skills of presenting their value in a way that is very enticing. You need to learn how to promote yourself and your value to others with passion and enthusiasm. You may wish to attend a marketing or sales seminar where you can put the theory into practice. A realistic goal to shoot for is that you should be able to draw customers to you within four weeks of starting your new money-making venture.
7. Maximize your tax benefits by incorporating. At some point in time you will want to incorporate your newly created cash creation business. Being a business owner gives you the best chance of attaining wealth. Owning a corporation enables you to legally take advantage of more tax advantages. As well, being a business owner enables you to use pre-tax dollars for investment purposes. Unfortunately, employees are placed in a situation where taxes are withheld from their total income, thereby reducing the amount of money they are able to invest up front.
8. Regularly place money into a financial freedom account. Set up a savings account that is used strictly for funding investment opportunities. At no point in time should you spend these savings. You may reallocate capital to finance a project that is going to create wealth, but avoid the temptation to pay off any expenses. Your focus should be on making and investing your money, rather than paying down your debt first. Eventually over time you will reduce your debt load while building equity for your financial freedom.
9. Learn to invest like the wealthy do. Set up an ongoing, active investment plan. Learn how to keep your money moving in and out of better and better investments, rather than just parking your money and forgetting about it. To maximize your return on your investments, use direct investments such as owning real estate or providing capital for a business partnership, rather than investing in a real estate trust fund or in mutual funds. Include investments in oil, gas and renewable energy sources, as well as precious metals, especially gold, in your investment portfolio.
10. Give more in order to receive. We have all heard the expression that whoever sows generously will reap generously. Giving a portion of your financial blessings to help those less fortunate than you is a true measure of your success as a human being. Get into the habit of setting aside 10% of your income to help others, whether it is at your local place of worship, a philanthropic cause, or even creating jobs for others.
A key ingredient in this whole process of wealth creation is being organized. It is imperative that you put into place systems that enable you to organize your paperwork and keep track of your progress at the flick of a switch.
As a final note, be open to challenging your present notions and ideas about creating wealth, since what may have been right for you yesterday may not be so tomorrow.