How to Make Financial Independence Easier

I’ve studied a plethora of books on money management and developing financial intelligence in preparation for presentations, workshops, and classes I’ve taught at the university level and in the community over the past several decades.

Beginning Steps

I’ve gathered and integrated best practices into a set of easy-to-follow guidelines and published How to Make Independence Easier last year for those who want to improve their financial situation and eventually become financially independent. This book has three parts:

  1. A look at roadblocks that stop us before we even start on a path toward financial independence,
  2. How to create structure, and practice several basic strategies,
  3. How to develop long-term plans and problem-solve with you’re in the messy middle of achieving our financial goals.

I’m reminded any time I visit with an individual or a couple in financial distress of how easy it to become mindless about spending.

It’s not that we don’t budget for certain monthly expenses and manage those. It’s that if anything else comes up, we get in the habit of spending or charging without considering the consequences, or without thinking about saving for it if we don’t have the money in hand.

Saving for what you want is called delayed gratification. We practiced this with our children, who were frustrated sometimes when insisted at times that they wait until they had saved money for what they wanted. I’ve learned from books, and also from my own unrealistic financial decisions.

Of those listed in the resource section of my book, two others are my favorites and I recommend these to others who want to study and learn more about developing financial resilience, and teach tried and true principles to their children:

Financial Prosperity

The 4 Laws of Financial Prosperity tells a story about a man whose financial situation is a disaster and how following four specific laws transformed his life.

I like the sprinkling of quotes that are part of each chapter. I really believe that when I don’t know where I’m going, I’ll end up in a place I don’t expect—the result of default planning.

It’s always good to be tracking our expenses and see where we can trim things up for the next few months.

Best Quotes

“Progress in our financial lives is directly related to the ability to measure. Smart people find the exact places their cash flow when they thought it was going to flow. They backtrack along the pipeline looking for leaks, knowing that if they can find the leaks, they can fix them. You’ve got to measure it before you can manage it.”

“Once you get out of debt and don’t have to pay all that interest, you don’t stop spending, you just spend differently. You begin to include savings and investments.

“Financial training is critical—learn more about real estate, reading books on stocks, bonds, and securities investments, and find a financial counselor or money manager who is interested in a long-term relationship.

“Most of us need to change the way we acquire and keep track of our money. Most of us need to change the way we budget so we can live on less than we earn. You may carry some emotional baggage—inherited attitudes and behavior patterns from parents.

“The people who understand money spend it on assets that generate wealth. Those who don’t understand money spend it on things that consume wealth, and thus the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

Comparing Two Stories

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki contrasts the stories of two fathers, a rich one and a poor one. Robert writes, “One was highly educated and intelligent, had a Ph.D. and continue his advanced studies, all on full financial scholarships. The other father never finished the eighth grade.

Best Quotes

“Both men were successful in their careers, working hard all their lives. Both earned substantial incomes Yet one struggled financially all his life. The other would become one of the richest men. The other left bills to be paid.

“Both men were strong, charismatic and influential. Both men offered me advise; they did not advise the same things. Both men believed strongly in education but didn’t recommend the same course of study. Instead of simply accepting or rejecting one or the other, I found myself thinking more, comparing and then choosing for myself.”

“Financial intelligence is the mental process via which we solve our financial problems.

“The world has changed, but education has not changed with it. Children spend years in an antiquated educational system, studying subjects they will never use, preparing for a world that no longer exists. Today, the most dangerous advice you can give a child is, “Go to school, get good grades ad look for a safe, secure job.

“Money is not taught in schools. Schools focus on scholastic and professional skills, not on financial skills. This explains how some smart bankers, doctors, and accountants who earned excellent grades in school may still struggle financially all their lives. Our staggering national debt is due in large part to highly educated politicians and government officials making financial decisions with little or no training on the subject of money.

“As I learned from both influential fathers, I gained valuable insight into the power and effect of one’s thoughts on one’s life. For example, one dad had a habit of saying, ‘I can’t afford it.’ The other dad would say, ‘How can I afford it?’ One lets you off the hook, and the other is a question. One lets you off the hook, and the other forces you to think. My soon-to-be-rich dad would explain that by automatically saying the words, ‘I can’t afford it,’ your brain stops working.”

Rich Dad Poor Dad dispels the myth that you need a high income to become rich, defines an asset and a liability, and teaches you what to teach your kids about money for their future financial success. He also has developed a game, Cashflow for kids (about $79) to help you teach your children how to get out of the rat race.

There are critical financial principles we want to live and teach to our children; a way for them to develop delated gratification, learn the importance of earning instead of paying interest, and make plans for the future. These offer individuals and parents peace of mind in an uncertain world.

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