Far too many people are content to move forward in their daily lives, completely unaware that they are imprisoned by a variety of financial institutions. They can feel the impact of their servitude including the sensation of drowning in debt, feeling like they will never get ahead, the idea of retirement seeming to be folly, but they have not quite put their finger on why. Once they do – once people realize the hold these institutions have on them and make the life-changing decision to change that, they will never look at money the same way. I always assure people it doesn’t matter how old you are. Perhaps you are a twenty-year-old who is trying to make decisions about managing your money. Or maybe you are fifty years old and having an “Uh oh!” moment, realizing that you need to make financial changes for your immediate future.
Regardless of where you find yourself, there are proven strategies available to get ahead financially. None of which are get rich quick schemes. The strategies that work are more “get rich slow” approaches and I narrowed down the best based on data that I have collected from working with thousands of wealthy clients over the course of my career as an attorney, entrepreneur, and investor. What was most eye-opening for me in my research was that there are specific, repeated factors that differentiated people who became wealthy from those who did not—and those factors are almost certainly not what you think. It ultimately nothing to do with how well you did in college or where you grew up. Wealth almost entirely comes down to mindset. Specifically, it comes down to your belief system and the degree to which you believe you can control outcomes in your life.
Wealthy people seem to have a belief that they can create their own outcomes. Whether it is a business, a money-saving goal, or a lifestyle, they can envision what they want and have a belief that they can achieve it. So, it should not be a shock that if you want financial freedom, you must define what financial freedom means to you and understand why that is important to you. It seems almost mystical, but you must do some digging here to plan the right seed to ensure the proper crop grows in your mind.
Consider the following questions and the answers that come to your mind. “What does financial freedom mean to you?” To help you answer this question, just stop, close your eyes, and consider that question, then write your answer down. Let me offer my own reaction to that question as an example. For me, one thing financial freedom means is that I get to travel. So, for the purpose of this exercise, I would write that down.
The next step is to answer the following question: “Why is this important to me?”
So, I would ask myself, “Why is it important to me to travel?” And I might write down that I want to experience the culture of my ancestors. You would continue repeating that same step until you arrived at the core of what it is that is motivating you—what it is that financial freedom really means to you, individually.
Using my example, I would ask myself, “Why is wanting to travel and experience the culture of my ancestors that important to me?” Then I write down that it would help me better understand my own values and family background. Then I just keep going deeper by asking myself that question— “Why is it important to me?”
The idea here is to use this process to go deep to get clarity. Each time you ask yourself that question, it helps you get clearer and closer to the core values that will help you sustain your plan. Some people call this getting clear on your “big why.” Being intentional about why something is important to you is half the battle. You can focus in on it. You can write it on a piece of paper and say, “This is why this is important to me.” Studies have shown your chances of achieving a goal go up 300 percent by this simple step of writing down the ultimate goal.
Once you have established the importance of financial freedom to you, the rest is quite easy. Spend less than what you make and invest the rest in simple strategies that have been working for ages. Yes, there are plenty of strategies that will get you there, but the hard part is having the discipline to consistently invest, which become much easier once to focus on your why. It is the mindset that repeatedly has proven to be the key and you, my friend, are in complete control of how you think.