The Journey to Financial Independence
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Is Financial Independence possible?
First, You Need to Really Want It
Your desire to be financially free is important to help you go from zero to hero in less time. You can only do something you really want, right?
Spend a day to really sort things out in your financial life and set your heart, mind and soul to the idea of becoming financially independent.
- Create a personal definition of "financial independence" for you.
- Find out your current financial status through calculating your net worth.
- List your goals that will help you achieve total financial independence.
Next, You Have to Build Your Own System to Success
You have to build you own system to success. No self-help books can build the road for you. If you don't act on it then everything will be put to waste. So try to start and learn how… NOW.
Lastly, You Have To Continuously Work For It
Financial independence is the end-goal and it consists of short-term and long-term goals in between. This means you need to be ready to work hard for it to reach your overall freedom to money issues.
10 Ways You Can Achieve Financial Independence
Here are ways you can achieve financial independence:
Stay on Top of Your Finances
The first sure way you can work on your financial independence is by being on top of how your money moves. From how much income comes to how much money goes out of your system.
Become in a relationship with your finances. Find time to what works and what's not working. Resolve financial issues before it becomes resource. Make it a priority to fix your budget and track your expenses. Commit to your financial goals.
Determine your real earnings
Calculate how much money you really earn on a monthly basis. Most of us only know the salary we have on paper but not the real salary we get after all the taxes and deductions.
Take a closer look at your expenses. Either write down everything in pen and paper or use free spending tracker apps you can find. Should you have other income sources, it's time to take note of them.
Have a list of your monthly expenses
Make a list of the expenses you make on a monthly basis. Just having a breakdown of what you spend your money on is a huge part of proper budgeting.
Be real with with where you really spend your money on no matter how small, huge or insignificant you may think they may be.
Have a Budget
We often take budget for granted. We only create one once we are already running out of money to spend or we feel like something is wrong.
Budgets comes as an option rather than a necessity.
This mindset should be changed.
A good budget can make you rich in the long run. It could give you a blueprint for a stronger financial foundation.
Creating a budget is important for it ensures positive cash flow for you and your family’s needs. Budget also makes you learn to live within your means keeping you out of debt.
Having a budget as a habit will enable you to understand your spending habits or how much you are making and spending. It will also help you stop living from paycheck to paycheck because you have exact allocation of your money.
Lastly, a budget will help you big time in building your savings whether for an emergency fund or retirement fund.
The best time to take budget seriously is now. Do not wait for another end of the month or start of the month to create a spending plan.
It is also important to note that you are technically living on last month’s income every time you budget so you have to be able to control your spending wisely.
Do this every month:
1. At the beginning of the month, make a plan for how you will spend your money that month;
2. Write what your expected income and the usual expenses you have based on the last three months;
3. Write down what you spend. Track every single peso that goes in and out of your pocket;
4. Do this every day until a new month begins;
5. At the end of the month, see if you spent what you are able to follow your budget. Use the information to help you plan the next month’s budget.
Maximize Your Income
Let's face it, more income means more money you can save, invest or use to sustain your living expenses.
Do not be satisfied with a single source of money try your very hard to open other income streams that will help you get to closer to your dream.
I always mention in this blog that we should never settle on just one source of income. Opening more than one income stream is important for the following reasons:
- To prepare yourself for retirement.
- To attend on your financial obligations.
- To protect you and your family for emergency situations.
- To diminish the risks that come from relying on just one source of income say your current job.
- To accomplish your bigger goals in life.
Now that I have enlightened to the need on have other sources of Income, I know that you are pumped up to know how to achieve one.
Having multiple streams of income may be hard at first but I found simple ways that you can do today and will enable you to start increasing your monthly income like magic.
The biggest key when it comes to financial independence will most probably be earning Passive Income.
Passive Income is a type of income wherein the money works for you instead of you working for the money.
You can do this by rental activity like an apartment or room for rent business, dividends through your investments, publishing royalties through ebooks and higher interest rates from stock investments.
Earning passive income is a total hard work so make sure that you strive hard to earn one.
Debt will be a big hindrance for you to achieve financial independence.
As much as possible try to avoid debt or pay it off as early as possible.
There are two ways you can pay off debt – snowball method or focusing on the lowest debt firsts or avalanche method or those that have higher interest rate. Below is a before, during and after debt tip you can use:
Before making a debt
Assess whether it’s a need or a want.
Find possible alternative that can cost you less.
Find possible creditor/loan solution have no/less interest rate.
Create an agreement (possibly written) on the payment method as well asthe deadline.
During the debt
Avoid making additional debt.
Create a good creditor-debtor relationship.
Have an open communication with your creditor.
Pay on time the whole amount with interest(if any).
If you can’t pay the debt on time, let the creditor know as soon as possible. Let him/her know the honest reason why and ask for an allowance.
If it’s a credit card delay then talk to your bank and ask for possible solution that you can pay. I know one who wrote a letter to the leading bank and was given a payment method that is so much easier to do thought takes longer time. Still he is responsible enough to pay.
After the debt
Appreciate your creditor by thanking him/her for the financial help.
Don’t make another debt just when your current debt ended.
Still have an open communication to your creditor.
Start saving money
The earlier you save money the better it would be for your finances. Make sure that you automatically save a portion of your income as cash reserve for future or emergency use.
How do you save money?
Do not over commit on the percentage of your income that goes to saving. If you still can't do the 50% of your salary on savings then don't. It is way better to start with 10% to 20% of your income then go higher as your source increases. What matters most is you save consistently.
Reduce your monthly bills
Now, if you really want to save money each month then you need to reduce your monthly bills. A sudden decrease on your monthly bills give you the means to save automatically.
- Cut back on your energy consumption. Unplug electronics not in use. Spend less time on watching TV or being on the computer. Turn-off the lights especially at night time. Find appliances that have energy-saving features.
- Reduce monthly subscriptions from cable TV, Netflix, magazine, gym membership or beauty box. Just focus on what you truly need.
- Focus in paying your debt. Debt hinders you in saving money each month. Pay-off high interest slowly but surely. Avoid using your credit card and being more in debt. For personal loans try to negotiate with a lower monthly pay so not all your money go in paying.
Think of your goals
I urge you to set your yearly and monthly financial goals now. Goals work as motivational tool that will keep you from building wealth instead of the other way around.
Once you have a set of clear financial goals it will be easier to you to assess your next action list. Here are sample goals that can give you the financial discipline to save each month:
1. Pay-off 50% of my credit card debt before the year ends.
2. Start a side-hustle and generate my first 10,000pesos extra income.
3. Put up an emergency fund with at least 60,000pesos by Month X.
Once you start thinking and remembering your goals you will be encouraged to save more.
Learn to Invest
Saving won't make your money work for you. That's why as early as today you need to learn how to invest.
There are a number of investment vehicles available for you to choose. Be wise on what vehicle will satisfy you as an investor. Why Should You Invest Your Money?
Final Notes from SavingsPinay
So if you ask me if Financial Independence a Realistic Goal for Pinoys, my answer is short and simple — YES!!!
As long as you want it, work for it and build a system that will work for you.
Again as I've always mentioned before it is indeed a life-long journey and everything you do today matter. Every decision you make can contribute to your financial success.
Is Financial Independence Your Goal Too?
What Age Do You Want to Achieve It?