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Is Financial Freedom Worth It?

July 22, 2017 by  
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Many of us want to achieve something big or great, but before you can do this you must have a dream. Your starting point is a vision, a goal, whether you want to be a great artist or a great athlete or a great statesman. The same principal applies to financial success. One doesn’t just wake up one day and find oneself the richest person in the world. Success must be earned, which to most of us seems obvious but some folks just don’t get it.

The good news is that it can be earned and in a relatively short period of time. Knowing that makes the effort much more worthwhile and should encourage more people to dream big and set big goals.

HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?

We all have difference wants and needs requiring different levels of income to feel financially free. Some people would require $10 or $20 million or more before they would consider themselves financially independent. Others would need only $500,00 or a million. Still others may need only $2,000 or $3000 more a month to be able to live as they wish.

What is financial freedom to you? How much income or net worth would you need before you would consider yourself financially free, having income that comes to you without much or any effort on your part? How much is enough to allow you to do exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it?

Finding that figure should be the first step toward reaching your new goal so set your goal and make it specific and, of course, write it down with a time frame or deadline.

IS IT REALLY WORTH THE EFFORT?

The next step is to decide whether or not the effort it will take to reach financial freedom will be worth it to you. You not only may have to work very hard and long but you may have to constantly defend, or chose not to defend, yourself against those who consider money to be bad and think you are just being greedy.

Of course, making lots of money can be either a good or bad thing, depending on what you do with it. Money has many powers. Money can free someone from drudgery and from feeling trapped doing a job that they hate. It can be, and usually is, a measuring stick, an indication of progress. It’s stored up industry. It is achievement and accomplishment made negotiable.

Aside from all the hard work and how having money is perceived, the most important consideration of all is the journey itself. At the very beginning you must ask yourself, “Am I willing to make the necessary sacrifices and take the necessary risks on the journey?” If the answer is no, you should reevaluate your reasons for wanting to make the journey in the first place.

Personally, I had many reasons as I set out on my journey to make many millions of dollars. I highly valued the great freedom of traveling the world and helping other people along the way and trying to truly make a difference. For me, the hard road that I had to go down was well worth all my efforts. But only you can decide for yourself if it’s worth the sacrifice and energy you’ll need to put into it.

A little footnote … if you already arrived at your financial goal, I would suggest you send this blog on to your kids or grandkids or someone that you think would really like to hit it big. Being an example and encouraging others is just one more thing that reaching your financial goals can do for yourself and others.

 

Risk is Not for Herds

June 10, 2016 by  
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Last week I talked about risk taking and how the willingness to take risk when it comes to investing is critical.  Those people who really want to attain Financial Freedom or FF need to look at themselves to determine their tolerance for risk.

As a real estate investor working towards achieving FF, it’s important to understand your own temperament, and your ability to assume that element of risk.  It’s important to know your limitations and not torment yourself with sleepless nights by taking unnecessary risks in trying to keep up with others whose capacity to assume risk might be much greater than yours.  This decision may slow you down on the road to FF, but what is FF without some enjoyment, comfort and happiness along the way?

Everyone has a level and a threshold for tolerance and excessive and unnecessary risk will only create anxiety and tension and may well shorten your life.  So take a hard look at yourself and measure how much risk are you willing to take that doesn’t make you worry you to the point of causing pain, anxiety and suffering in your life.

But keeping in mind our objective, achieving FF, it is important to remember that the greater the potential risk the greater the inherent reward will be. It is also almost impossible to avoid every risk at any one time in selecting an investment. In order to achieve and maintain high rates of return, which are critical for achieving total FF, one must be prepared both mentally and emotionally to incur a higher than average risk. So look hard at yourself and measure how much risk you can handle.

Remember that “eagles don’t fly together in flocks.”  So if you are going to make it big you can’t just go along with the flock or the herd.  If you earnestly desire to achieve FF today, you must learn to assemble all the facts, calculate the risks, be decisive, and then act accordingly.  Statistics and history prove that the majority of people fail to ever become FF because they do not have a specific plan. They are content and willing to wait patiently throughout their lifetime for Social Security or they are looking for that one super great investment or the lucky lottery number to suddenly become super rich.  Don’t follow those kinds of people. Work on your plan that will take you to total FF over a reasonable period of time and you will reach the level of Financial Freedom that you set as your goal.

Avoiding Your Own Loss Aversion

June 3, 2016 by  
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Statistics indicate that the majority of people are security conscious. This fact has been verified in a number of studies which concluded that many people people’s fear of failure is twice as great as their desire to succeed. Some of these studies also noted that in general, there will be up to 5 times as many people choosing a stable situation than people choosing an option with recognized risk. In order to achieve FF (Financial Freedom) you cannot be afraid to fail or take a risk.

Our tendency to avoid risk is known as loss aversion. It means a person believes that if they lose something, say $50, their level of unhappiness with that loss will be significantly greater than the potential increase in happiness if they gain $50.  Its apparent in our everyday lives. People will order the same thing off the menu every time simply because they are afraid they might not like what they order if they try something new, even when there is a good chance they could find a new favorite. Similarly, people put their money in low interest bearing savings accounts rather than put any of it some kind of investment account that will most likely make them significantly more in interest, primarily because there is some chance of loss. So it sits in the banks making next to nothing.

The problem may come down to a belief that one has no control over the outcome of their circumstances, be it their food or their investments. A class of Harvard graduates was asked what they believed were the necessary ingredients to become financially successful.  Their conclusion was summed up in two words, “Greed, and Luck.” I couldn’t disagree more.

If you consider the statistics I mentioned, you might very well conclude that only one out of five people will ever have FF. But that is just a statistic and has no bearing on what YOU will achieve. You can decide to take the risk and be that much closer to FF. Next week I will talk more about risk taking and what you as an investor need to understand about yourself.

The Risk Hurdle

May 27, 2016 by  
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Financial independence or Financial Freedom (let’s call it ‘FF’ for short) carries many connotations. Ask ten people what these terms mean to them and you will probably get ten different answers.  Many people today have dreams of becoming financially independent, however only a small percentage of the population actually achieves this envied position in life.

FF does not necessarily mean being rich or having a million-dollar bank account.  It simply means having enough money to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. It means you are free from money worries, so you can pursue the things that interest you most in life.  Having FF doesn’t necessarily mean retiring and giving up all your ambitions and goals in life to just grow old.  Actually, quite the opposite is true. It allows you the freedom to put more time and effort into your work or hobbies than ever before, but from a new perspective–that of personal fulfillment and enjoyment from doing work because you want to and not because you have to.  This is true Financial Freedom!

A rather fatalistic poet once wrote, “Life to many is but a constant struggle for a mere existence, with the assurance of losing it at the last.” This is a sobering thought when you consider the United States to be probably the wealthiest country and one of the most productive in the world.

FF does not come easy. Achieving it does require some sacrifices and an element of risk.  It’s human nature to avoid taking risks and who likes to make sacrifices? After all it’s easier to spend your earnings or maybe put some money away in a safe and insured account where your hard earned money is guaranteed a fixed, albeit a very low but stable return. This then, is the great paradox in achieving FF in today’s world.

It is virtually impossible to avoid all risks at one given time, because no matter what course is taken with investment dollars, there will always be a certain degree of risk involved. The real estate investor has to be prepared to take calculated risks and be willing to enter into the unknown, if they truly want to achieve FF.

To state the problem without at least suggesting an answer is unfair. Next week we’ll talk a bit more about this, about why we are averse to taking risks even when FF is our highest desire. Understanding why can be key to recognizing where your hesitation comes from and gives you a chance to conquer it!