Steps to financial freedom

English: Tax rates for the highest (red) and l...

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It is well known that there are many more poor and middle class people in the world, than there are rich people. So it would be logical to deduce that the majority of the population is worried about the economy. When the economy goes down, most people’s standards of living go down with it. When it goes up, their standards of living go up. Of course, it doesn’t help that this “wonderful” government of ours seem to think they can control every single person’s standards of living�and for the majority of the population, they can. But think about this: what if no one can control your own personal standard of living?? What if you had perfect control over your future regardless of what the “feds” did or didn’t do? If the economy recedes even further, how would you survive??
Think I am too optimistic? Actually, I am the opposite. I prefer to think of myself as a realist, and because I think that way, I prefer to not let the government or the economy control my financial future. If I did, where would I be when I’m an elderly woman: living in a run down shack, trying to keep warm and fed on the pittance the government gives me?? I prefer to make a better future for myself than that, and here is how I propose to do it.

Right now, I am in my early 30’s, mother of three children and a freelance writer. We live on my husband’s salary, and whatever I make goes into a savings account. Granted, most people are not this “lucky”, but the principles I am about to show you can work for anyone! The following is something I learned not too long ago that changed the way I view money and budgeting. Something that showed me so many more possibilities! There are five principles I want to share with you, and then in the next section, I will give you an example of those principles at work.

1.Pay yourself first. (10% of your income, if possible. If not possible, work your way up to it.)
2.Pay your debts off next. (20% of your income, if possible.)
3.Live on the rest, within your means. (70% of your income.)
4.Learn the difference between assets and liabilities.
5.Investing is not speculating and speculating is not investing.

Now, I realize you may be saying, “That is an impossible goal, and I can never do that. You don’t know my situation!” Well, I may not know your personal situation, but I do know that these principles have been tested by the standards of time, and by the many, many people who were so broke, yet used these principles, became some of the wealthiest people of their time!

Number one deals with keeping 10% of your income to yourself. This may be through a savings account or investing in assets that make you money. (Or both.) If you are not able to put away 10% of your income each month, make it 1%, or 2% or 5% at first and learn how to live without, up to 10%.

Consumer debt is at an all time high, and it is a very poor choice to make. Interest rates make things more expensive than they need to be, and the sooner you get those paid off, the better. Use 20% of your monthly income to pay this off, and in no time, you will be out of debt! This is not negotiable. The sooner you pay off consumer debt, the more money you will have to put towards your savings or investments.

Live within your means on the remaining 70% of your income. That means that maybe you don’t need that big expensive house or your brand new car�you don’t need the fanciest or best of anything if you really cannot afford it without going into debt, pure and simple.

Assets are something that make money for you, and liabilities are something that loses money for you. Think of it this way: assets put money into your bank account and liabilities take money out of your bank account. Think about your house, for example. Does your house make you money or lose money? If you do not get a passive income without having to work for it, then it is a liability. Reduce the amount of liabilities you have, and you will increase your income.

When it comes to investing, people tend to have the principles all wrong. Most people want to figure out the best time to buy, whether it is real estate or stocks, then figure out when to sell to make the most profit. Two problems with that mind set-one, if everyone is doing that, then how are you going to be able to sell and make a profit, and two, how are you going to know what the future holds? This is speculation. It is a legal form of gambling�the odds are stacked against you.

Investing, simply put, is putting your money to work for you. Speculating is not going to make you rich in the long term�investing will. When you invest in either the stock market, or in real estate, you must think of it as a long term goal. Buy shares only in companies you are willing to support and see major growth potential, and buy real estate that you see could make you the largest positive cash flow.

How do you get started? Well�I have set up a sample budget for you to follow, so that you can go from where you are to where you want to be. Just remember these five principles and you will succeed. Remember, the budget is only a sample, and you should work the numbers to your specific situation.

Sample Budget

Monthly Income$2,600.00

Savings $260.00

Debts $520.00

Housing $800.00
Utilities (Phone, water, gas, electricity, etc)
$240.00
Cable and Internet $100.00
Food $500.00
Gas (Auto) $ 50.00

Miscellaneous $130.00

This is just a sample of what could happen in a simple budget. This is also assuming the individual is working for someone else, and taxes are already taken out of their checks. The miscellaneous category might be for clothing, insurance, or other things. The food budget also takes care of household necessities, such as dish soap, laundry soap, etc. The housing category can be rent or a mortgage payment. Remember though-your principal residence is a liability, simply because it loses money from your checking account. It doesn’t earn you a passive income. Only assets earn you a passive income�

If you increase the amount of income you receive and keep your living expenses the same, you will be able to “stay afloat” and create wealth. As you learn to invest and save, you will create and control your own financial future. Don’t rely on the government or any other entity to keep your finances going. They will not take care of you�only you can take care of you. Stop playing the victim role and become responsible for your own future!

Remember, this is an inverse budget of what most people have learned�but if you go with what you have learned all of your life, how will you create wealth?? How are you going to make your dreams come true?

 

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