I was laying in bed on Sunday morning, doing utterly nothing but sitting there and looking out the window on the sunny day I would not be taking part in due to a hangover and recovering broken ankle. I don’t know if it’s Korea or I’m just getting older, but the hangovers are horrendous these days.
Anyway, I checked my wallet to see the damage from the previous night.
I had managed to have a great night out on only $25. Cheap drinks at the bars, and even cheaper from the convenience stores. You can drink freely in public in this wondrous land.
I got thinking more about money while laying in bed at that moment. Since I’ve become interested in finances, investing and financial freedom, money is now one of the main things I think about. I’m always running scenarios for early retirement. Sizing up potential benefits and costs of various opportunities. And always reading about money related topics.
But despite thinking so often of money. I am never worried about money anymore.
I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. Sure I have a decent portfolio together, and my only debt is marginal sum owing on a car – I like to not think about that as much. As there will be a loss taken on that when I finally sell it. But I am definitely not rich or financially free – yet.
Nevertheless, I am not worried about money – nor do I think I ever will be – because I’ve developed habits which – save utter chaos and apocalyptic circumstances – will allow me to with almost certainty, reach financial freedom one day. Hopefully sooner than later if I continue to focus on these habits and abide by them diligently.
Feats of fortunes..
Again, I’m not bragging. I am saying this to share with you some of the habits that have and will continue to benefit me, so that you can apply some of these to your own life if you see fit.
I don’t worry about money anymore, but I used to. I’ve been so broke before I’ve put $4 worth of gas in my car because that’s all I could afford. I didn’t go on vacation for 5 years because I never had enough money and was fighting with debt.
The funny thing about being broke is it teaches you some skills. Once you apply some knowledge on the subject of money, some hard work, and add in those experiences of being broke.. you’ve got a strong foundation for building wealth.
Being broke allows you to see money as crucial and finite. That might sound like its operating from a scarcity mindset, but it’s not. You need to treat your money with respect and diligence.
There is a time and place to be extravagant with your money, but it should only be under considered or strategic circumstances (something that will improve your life like travel, good food, quality items, etc. And assets or income producing opportunities, respectively)
Now without further ado, let’s get on with what’s going to create self made millionaires of us.
Live below your means..
This is the first point because it’s so vitally important. It’s probably touted as the top piece of advice for creating wealth; living below your means. I would be taken aback if this is the first time you’re coming across this advice to be honest.
If you only abide by this simple rule and do nothing else I am confident you would never have money issues ever again. You may not make millions, but bills would certainly not keep you up at night again.
This is the simplest piece of advice. But in reality it can be one of the hardest concepts to implement.
Spending less than you make, and avoiding lifestyle inflation can be incredibly trying. You see, spending less than you make and living modestly is a test of one’s ego. In most cases it means foregoing the huge house, the shiny new car and various other spoils easily acquired via debt.
That’s not an easy feat in today’s society.
In fact, I think there’s a good percentage of people whom, even after gaining the knowledge of what it takes to build wealth and have a decent understanding of how finances work, would still rather the toys than the freedom.
There’s nothing wrong with having nice stuff if you can afford it. And there’s not anything morally wrong with placing yourself in debt to have the nice stuff if you understand what that means to you and your responsibilities / freedom / bank account.
But if you are interested in financial freedom – which I would assume you are, as you’re reading this. Then by living below your means, how much money you make begins to matter a lot less. You can be making millions of dollars a year, if you spend more than you make you’ll never get ahead.
Take celebrities, professional athletes and lottery winners who file for bankruptcy for example.
Knowledge is power. No doubt, another cliche that’s earned it’s title.
A huge percentage of people will never build any reasonable wealth because they’ve never been taught the principles. Why that is and whether it’s wrong is another matter. But this is a fact. School doesn’t teach it, a majority of parents were never taught it and won’t teach it.
The argument most people aren’t given the same environment to succeed to riches holds some truth. But in a lot of cases it’s an excuse. If you’re making $50,000 a year you can build wealth over the long term. If you don’t it’s simply a situation of living outside your means.
Yes I mentioned the ego issue above. But I also think it has to do with a lack of knowledge of what’s possible. Having someone save and invest $500/month is not necessarily a drastic request. It probably isn’t out of the question for many people.
But the issue is people don’t know WHY they are saving and investing that. They don’t know the potential that money over a few decades can create.
Scenario.. because I love these.
If a 20 year old can save and invest [using 7% rate of return] $500/month for 35 years. When they are 55 years old, they will have over..
Awareness of what’s possible is hella’ motivation for me. Skipping a weekend a month of partying, cooking the majority of my meals at home, and being vigilant of my spending is definitely worth comfortable golden years. Or retiring at 40.
This particular strategy ties in nicely with living below your means. Minimalism, for the muggles in the room, is consciously living with less to maximize what matters and remove the fat from our lives. The minimalist answer is probably; less is more.
Minimalism means different things to different people. To some it means only 100 pieces of possession in total. And to others it means thinking before making purchases. It could mean selling things in your house that you haven’t used in years or downsizing from a large house to a more modest apartment.
I don’t really want to get too caught up in the definition of minimalism and every different interpretation of the concept. That’s too exhaustive of a task for this post.
For me, minimalism is piece of mind, and flexibility. I strive to own lesser amounts of things so that I am able to live more agile. I’ve moved multiple times and it sucks. After the first move I got into minimalism. I also hate clutter, so only having the essential allows me to focus on what’s important.
These reasons and others that inspire me to live more minimalistic, perfectly compliment my aspirations to build wealth. Less things, means less spending, more saving and investing. This all brings financial freedom sooner, and staves off the money blues.
Willingness to bleed a bit..
Above, I mentioned that living below your means is a exercise in ego taming. It’s also an exercise in testing your comfort levels.
Comfort and wealth building DO NOT go hand in hand, generally. Comfort costs.
The things that make life easier and more comfortable, you usually have to pay extra for. Again, there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable. Especially if you can afford it. But know that if you’re not where you want to be financially. You should re-evaluate if you need/deserve the luxury.
I’ve never been too touchy about having the most comfortable option. Growing up I never had a dishwasher, nor did my family have Air Conditioning. No, we didn’t live in a igloo. Neither were we living hard or poorly by any means. My father is just the same way as I am now in that regards, he’d rather save and invest than spend on the creature comforts.
That particular upbringing and then getting onto the path of self development and progression, I almost find strength in the little struggles or taking the harder road when approaching various aspects of life. They say there’s no honor in being poor, but I guess there’s satisfaction in living meagerly
Whether it’s putting in some extra hours, cooking your own lunches instead of hitting the restaurant, walking or taking the bus instead of driving, walking past the retail temptations, living without the bells and whistles for now, etc. It all adds up.
It’s all great and fine to understand how to build wealth and avoid money problems. But if you aren’t committed to internalizing anything and sticking to it. You won’t get anywhere.
Just like anything in life you’ve got to visualize it, and commit to it if you want to see any results. This means educating yourself a bit on subjects of money. Sticking to the plan of saving and investing, consistently. Putting in some extra effort to build up your income and taking advantages of opportunities when they arise.
This is easy for me. I love reading about this money stuff. I don’t mind putting in some extra time if the juice is worth the squeeze, and I am always drawn to money making opportunities.
You don’t have to be as obsessive as me. Simply making an effort to educate yourself and committing to a plan that will benefit you long term is enough to get you ahead of the pack.
I’ve built some habits that I’m confident will allow me to avoid any worries about bills or getting by. If you can live below your means, open your eyes to what’s possible with positive money habits, avoid clutter and unimportant material possessions, take the path with less cushion, and take some initiative into your financial future..
You shouldn’t ever have money issues ever again, either.
Dolla’ dolla’ bills y’all. Get the money.
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