How To Become Financially Free
I’ve been a HR practitioner for over 20 years. Hiring and firing is what I do as part of my job. I love the part about hiring. But I always hate the firing part.
Behind each person I let go, I know it has ripple effects on not just that person financially and psychologically, but also on their families.
Over time, firing people has started to really grate on me.
It forced me to reflect if I really wanted to live my life at the mercy of another person and company. After all, I could be one of those who got fired.
I decided no.
I decided I never want to be completely dependent on one source of income. In April 2016, I made the decision that I would start working on creating multiple streams of income.
I still love being in a corporate job. I like the idea of having a regular paycheck and working with colleagues. But I also knew that I never wanted to place my entire family’s lives and well-being in the hands of another person or company.
To do this, I had to become financially free.
But first, let’s understand what financial freedom means.
The Definition of Financial Freedom
Everyone’s definition of financial freedom is different.
Some want to work like they don’t need a job, others want to travel frequently, some want to be able to finance their children’s education, still, others want to retire by 30 or be in a position to provide for their loved ones generously.
One thing’s for sure however, becoming financially free is not about having an unlimited supply of money. Anyone who harbors that hope will never see it materialize, no matter how rich you are.
Even if you made more money than you know how to spend it, you’ll lose it in a heartbeat if you don’t know how to handle it. Just take a look at these 18 celebrities who were rich and famous once but lost it all.
So I started on my journey to figure out what this financial freedom business was all about. What I found were other like-minded people living financially free lives. They weren’t necessarily the richest people materially, but they sure were living a rich life.
And I noticed 3 things they did differently.
How to Become Financially Free
#1. Get the Right Mindset
What I learned from people who were financially free was their mindset and their relationship with money.
The number of personal finance blogs on the internet is between a few thousand to tens of thousands — depending on which statistic you look at. The fact is, there are A LOT of personal finance blogs and columns out there.
But, the fact remains — money is one of the top 3 topics, next to sex and weight loss, that people continue to be fascinated about.
I like Brad and Ted Klontz’s explanation on the topic of money. They call it financial psychology.
The idea behind financial psychology is that financial advice alone is not enough to change destructive financial behaviour. If it were, more people would be debt free and have happy marriages.
Brad and Ted Klontz talk about financial flashpoints and money scripts playing a key role in our relationship with money in their book Mind Over Money. It’s these money scripts that cause us to have unhealthy behaviours towards money which prevent us from achieving financial freedom.
Financial Flashpoints, Money Scripts & Money Disorders
Financial flashpoints are critical experiences or influences related to money, like our family. Our family pass on messages, intended or unintended, about money. Our impressions about money are also influenced by economic events and our culture.
These financial flashpoints shape our assumptions and beliefs about money, what money means and how it works, which become our money scripts — the self-talk we have in our heads about money.
The result is, some of us develop money disorders, or unhealthy behaviours towards money.
People who are financially free have managed to identify their financial flashpoints, money scripts and address the unhealthy behaviours they have towards money.
In their book, Brad and Ted Klontz go through exercises to help you identify and deal with your money scripts and destructive financial behaviours.
In a nutshell, the key steps are first to have an awareness of your money scripts and money disorders. Then rewrite your money scripts and gradually change your unhealthy money behaviours. To do this, you need to develop strategies to rewrite your reality.
A Personal Example To Illustrate
I grew up with the money script that men were supposed to provide for their wives. Being a stay at home mom was the ultimate status symbol for the man and herself as the woman.
What this meant also was that the women were completely dependent on their husbands. It meant that they could also be trapped in an unhappy marriage since they did not have financial independence.
While I broke free from being financially dependent on my husband, I still held on to the money script where I expected him to provide fully or at least more than I did, for the family. When I started earning more than my husband, I resented him and this put strain on our marriage.
It wasn’t until I had an awareness of my money script and reframed my concept of what was really important to me in a husband that we managed to work on making our marriage stronger.
Ironically, he now makes more than me in his second career as a financial advisor!
#2. Put In The Hard Work
I’ve been following and studying successful people for some time now.
People who have achieved success did not get there overnight.
Besides learning about the fundamentals of finance, investing and savings, I also explored how to create other streams of income that went beyond my 9 to 5 job.
To earn multiple income streams, I had to offer value to people to the extent that they would gladly and willingly part with their hard-earned money to pay me for my products and services.
To do that, I needed to research and learn about the people I serve, speak to and reach out to them, develop relationships with influencers, ensure whatever I put out is of the highest quality and continuously think of how else I can serve my target audience, etc.
In other words, lots and lots of hard work.
Hard Work Beats Lazy Talent Any Day
Alex Kout’s Rudy Chart from The Jordan Harbinger Show
Those of you who are put off by the amount of intense, hard work it takes to succeed in whatever you choose to do, probably should stop reading now.
The good news for those of us willing to put in the hard work is, even if you have little talent, you still significantly outrank those with talent but who are lazy.
#3. Understand there are ‘Trade-Offs’, Also Known As ‘Choices’
Some people say you can have anything you want in life. Others say you can’t have everything you want in life.
To live a financially free life, I start from a position of abundance and choice instead of scarcity and victim thinking — that life ‘happens’ to me rather than me ‘making’ out my life as I want it to be.
It’s a matter of perspective rather than a question of glass half empty or half full. ‘Half’ doesn’t even factor into my equation as I’d rather think of my glass as completely full.
That’s the abundance mindset that I’ve chosen to adopt. To start cultivating such as mindset, I practice mindful gratitude journaling.
Having a regular paycheck is important for me now as I work towards paying off my debts. But that doesn’t stop me from working on my multiple streams of income on the side.
Start my day at 4am to work on my side business before starting my day job at 6.30am.
I make time to put in the hard work, research and validate ideas, build up my credibility and social proof through writing, meeting and speaking to people. This is hard for me as I’m more introverted.
Like many other people, I’m also pressed for time as a full-time working wife and mother to 2 young children.
But I eek out whatever time I can find — early mornings, lunch breaks, my daily commute, etc. to do what I can to work on my other income streams.
I continuously push myself out of my own comfort zone. These are the choices I make to create the lifestyle I want.
Most of us forget the privilege and freedom we have to make choices. Instead, we give this power away when we adopt a victim mindset and say we have ‘no choice but to…’. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that, it would create another income stream in and of itself!
Financial freedom is about having the lifestyle you want.
This doesn’t happen from wishing or hoping for it, but getting into the right mindset, putting in the hard work (LOTS of it), and making the choices that will get you to where you want.
These choices may involve trade-offs in the short term so that you can achieve that lifestyle you seek in the long run.
Patience and hard work are basic requirements since there really is no such thing as overnight get-rich-quick success and wealth, unless you inherit, which most of us don’t.
So do you want to live a financially free life or spend the rest of your life telling yourself you have ‘no choice’ but be stuck in the rut of the daily grind that you’re in?
The choice is yours.
Originally published at www.speakupwoman.com on September 2, 2018.