The Road to Financial Freedom
The road to financial freedom is a lot shorter than you may think. For those of us who did not start our lives wealthy because of our family, we only have 46 to 49 years of income producing – more if you want to work into your “retirement” years. During that time, we must complete our education or training, get a job or open a business, while meeting the many demands on what income we have left after taxes. We have to provide for food and shelter, clothes and transportation, child rearing expenses, college tuition, vacations, Christmas presents, insurance premiums and more. The list never seems to end. How is it that some people can retire at age 50 in spite of all this while others will never retire at all.
If you read the article, Get Rich Slowly - http://www.credit-yourself.com/get-rich.html - you can see how you can use the power of compound growth to amass millions if you start young. However, this is the period in most people’s lives where the greatest demands seem to be made on their income.
First of all, you’re just starting out and are nowhere near your peak earning power. You might have just married and need a home and furnishings. You might have to buy your first suits or business dresses for your new job. And you want to enjoy life, so you vacation, buy or lease new cars frequently and just basically run up debt, many times to be piled on top of your existing student loans. But some people manage. First they live within their means and save as much as possible. They take advantage of all the tax shelters the government allows and if possible, save even more. They invest in or start a part time business, rental properties or learn to increase their returns by smart investing. They insure against potential risks that could ruin them financially. They use debt wisely.
They don’t necessarily shun debt, but use it as a tool to grow wealth. For example, they can leverage one 20% down payment into a string of houses using mortgages. They can use margin debt to double the amount of their investment funds. They can take advantage of tax credits, government guaranteed loans or grants offered to small businessmen or to certain minorities to fund multiple streams of income. But they don’t use debt to fill the house with things. They pay cash for their new TV’s and stereos. They take taxes into account when planning their lifestyle and investments and use all the tricks the IRS lets them get away with. For a little over $3.00 a day, starting at age 22, you can amass over $850,000 in an IRA. The difference between the financially independent and most of the rest of us is that they can find that $100 a month and don’t consider it some kind of sacrifice to invest it rather than spend it.
Most people will complain they have no money left over and that they live from paycheck to paycheck. But in almost all cases this is a lifestyle choice. There are many stories of very low income people managing to put multiple children not only through college, but also graduate school or leaving millions to a favorite charity. These people are special in the sense that they had a goal and stuck to it no matter what. They worked hard, saved their money and achieved what they wanted to achieve. Everyone can do this. You just have to ignore the siren song of commercialism, and decide whether a secure future for yourself, a college education for your children or a large bequest to your favorite charity is worth skipping the daily double latte at Starbucks. That about all it takes to get you well down the road to financial freedom. The road to financial freedom is literally paved with gold, yours for the taking.
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