3 Keys to Financial Freedom

financial-freedom

I find it interesting that in looking for a graphic for ‘financial freedom’ all that seemed to come up were pictures of chairs facing the water. C’mon… is THAT what we are really longing for in our financial freedom?

If you are like me, facing a lake for the rest of my life is NOT why I want to seek financial freedom. I want financial freedom to give myself the ability to CHOOSE what I want to do with my resources; not the prospect of doing nothing for the rest of my life.

That said, if you are like many other people, you are restricted on what you can do and where you can spend your money.

So, in order to save time, brain cells, and discussions on the cacophony of financial counsel, I’m going to boil it down to three SIMPLE rules of what to do with your money to make the biggest difference in how you get to choose how to live your life.

SAVE more than you SPEND – I know that it doesn’t take much calculus to put this together but… if your income is always greater than your expenses, you will SAVE MONEY. It seems trite… but this common sense is unfortunately not so common with people’s current spending habits. Credit cards, pay it later, impulse buyers, ‘sales’ (don’t get me started on THAT fallacy) all breed into the desire to forego keeping spending within one’s means. Keep your spending aligned with your income and you will launch ahead of the pack like Usain Bolt!

OWN more than you OWE – This needs to be looked at as a sliding scale. Understandably there are mortgages, car payments, etc. that can mix up someone’s “net worth” but to dumb this down for this blog, what I am getting at is that every month you should have less debt, and more assets (including cash, savings, emergency money… yada yada yada – I’m trying to keep this simple for ‘this’ version of the blog). If you have less bills, less overdue payments, less overdraft… and/or more savings, more RRSP’s (401K’s for the ‘Mericans who read this), more cash on hand, then you are getting ahead of the game. Make a goal to make each month (or pay) less indebted to others and more financially prosperous for yourself (yourselves) and you will feel the stress roll off your shoulders.

BLESS more than you BURDEN – This is the power of charity. Financial freedom is not designed to make you more charitable… as much as it is designed to make you more available to BE charitable. How many times are you ‘wanting’ to support a cause yet ‘unable’ to simply because of your financial bondage. The quicker that you free up your finances, the quicker you will experience the joy of being able to come alongside a cause and support it without the pain of wondering what you are going to have to cut out of your spending. Charity truly builds character.

Follow these three rules of financial freedom and I cannot promise you two Adirondack chairs at the end of a dock… but I can assure you that your future will look a whole lot better than it will if you continue to be shackled by spending too much, owing beyond your limit, and scraping by to take care of yourself, instead of the possibility of blessing others.

Onward… to thicker wallets and bigger hearts.

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The New Year’s Resolution Fatal Flaw

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This year I am going to lose weight, read more books, finish the Bible, and love on my family more.

No joking. Those are my goals… but NOT my New Year’s Resolutions. I won’t make any New Year’s Resolutions… because they are fixed to fail from the beginning; at least that’s how I see them.

For years I used to take some time and write down all of the things that I planned on doing the next year effective January 1. Make more money. Travel. Solve world hunger. Bend time and space. But all of my ideas and aspirations hinged on coming out of the gate like a rocket after that ball dropped on New Year’s Eve. Come January 1, things were going to CHANGE!!!!

And they did. Sometimes even for the rest of that day!

If you look here at statisticbrain.com they looked at people’s resolutions from last year and how well people did.

Top three… Lose weight. Get organized. Spend less / save more.

45% of Americans make NY’s resolutions. Percentage that make it… 8%.

So your odds of actually accomplishing your resolution is 1:12. Not bad odds if you were buying a lottery ticket. I think you’d be inclined to try it out if a million dollars was on the line; but it still constiutes a 92% chance of failure.

But what if we are doing it all wrong?!?!?! What if the problem isn’t that we WANT to change, but rather we don’t know WHAT IT TAKES to change?

Let me explain…

Google “fastest man on the earth” and what will you find? Usain Bolt… clocking in at an incredible 9.58 seconds. Florence Griffin-Joyner holds the record at 10.49 seconds. That’s amazing!! Here’s the problem… Google ASSUMES ‘we’ are judging speed on only 100 metres.

Who made that decision?!? Why 100 metres? Why isn’t it Dennis Kimetto from Kenya clocking in at an incredible 2:02:57… for 26.2 MILES (42.2km). Or Yiannis Kouros who ran 188.59 miles (303.506km) within 24 hours!!!!!! No one knows Yiannis’ name (he doesn’t make a lightning bolt move at the end of his race as far as I know)… yet no one has beat Yiannis or Dennis in their respective races.

So… I think NY Resolutions fail because too many people run the 100m dash instead of the marathon. New Year’s Resolutions are more about what you are going to DO come January 1 rather than where do you want to BE come December 31.

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So I have goals that I want to accomplish in 2016. And I hope that I do better than an 8% chance of success. But I won’t succeed by putting all the pressure on the start… but rather by focusing on crossing the line, thinner, more knowledgeable, more grounded in God’s Word, and hopefully a husband and father that my family can be proud of.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C