Is your goal to get out of debt? Build a six month emergency fund? Become financially independent? The journey to financial freedom takes small but consistent effort. Not sure if you can ever reach your goal? Nonsense. Allow me to share a little about my financial background.
My financial history is far from perfect.
There are many things I wish I did differently with my money in my 20’s and early 30’s. I made a lot of financial mistakes from not investing early to overspending on things I didn’t need.
Even as a business major in college, one would think I’d be better with my personal finances. I figured, all I had to do was make more than I spend.
Enough was enough.
It wasn’t until I realized how much I craved freedom from an office cubicle that I started waking up to my beliefs and habits around money. And when I really couldn’t stand my job, I knew I needed to have an exit strategy.
Sometimes I stuck to this plan. Other times, I would just quit the next day without a Plan B. Not my best moment.
Once, I ended up going back to the employer asking for my job back.
Since I was so frustrated with the 9-5 rat race, I wanted to achieve financial freedom earlier than the average retirement age. I knew I had more to contribute to society than what I was doing at my cubicle all day.
Through years of trial and error, I learned what worked for me and what didn’t. Here are three lessons learned what helped speed up my journey to financial freedom...
1. Spending money is ok!
The key is to spend mindfully. Money is emotional for many people. It’s not easy to stay on track with our financial goals when we allow our emotions to get the best of us. Sometimes, unexpected emergencies happen too.
Looking back at my financial history, I was constantly on the pendulum of overspending and underspending. These days I’m a more disciplined spender and an overall minimalist.
There’s a fine balance between living frugally at the expense of health and happiness. When it comes to spending, I realized there were still material things that I was purchasing that was bringing on more stress in my life.
For instance, I wasted a lot of time, money and energy stocking up on grocery and household items that was on sale. I ended up spending much more on food that I didn’t consume in time. Food items constantly expired so I felt guilty for wasting.
Batteries, makeup products, and other items that expired without being touched also added to the guilt. I thought I was saving but in reality, I was doing the opposite.
The solution: Track your net worth.
I made a conscious effort to spend mindfully. This took some effort on my part to shift my scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. But I was able to stay on target with the help of some online tools to help me spend mindfully and track my net worth.
If you are trying to achieve financial independence and early retirement, knowing your net worth matters.According to financial advisory firm Personal Capital, the median US household net worth is not sufficient for most investors to realize a comfortable retirement.
Net worth peaks at retirement age for those 65 years and up. House and property values may account for the majority of the net worth calculation.
For younger age brackets, net worth is impacted by holding significant debt such as a mortgage and student loans. In addition, the younger generations typically have lower salaries and less assets. But over time, these investments may result in higher net worth households.
Through Personal Capital, you can also securely link all your financial accounts to get a complete picture of your net worth. Over time, you’ll see if your net worth is trending positively. Then, take steps to make adjustments in your spending and savings habits.
About 1 million people use the Personal Capital app to track and manage their net worth.
2. Create multiple income streams.
There are many ways to have a side hustle these days. You don’t even have to start a business to do so. This includes freelance writing to renting out your car. I did both!
During my weekends, I taught yoga and wellness workshops at the local hospital. I also worked the front desk of a yoga studio at one point too!
There are also different ways to make money by answering surveys and testing products. The more you sign up with the various survey companies out there, the more surveys you receive to earn money.
The following survey companies are free to join, free to use:
Bottom line: Having multiple investments and income streams is important to achieve financial freedom.
Though keeping track of different checks in the mail to PayPal invoices can be a major pain. I can barely remember my passwords to my social media accounts let alone all the other online accounts I have.
Through Personal Capital, you can also conveniently link all your financial accounts to keep track of all your income streams. It’s securely linked in one place rather than spread across multiple accounts.
About 1 million people use the Personal Capital app to track and manage their income. Ready to make things a little easier for yourself?
3. Surround yourself with great financial resources.
There are a plethora of great personal finance podcasts, books, and blogs out there. Think you got a really unique financial situation? There’s probably a book or blog written on it! If not, there are a number of knowledgeable financial gurus that are available to help.
I love learning about different personal finance strategies. To stay up-to-date, I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and reading books on financial planning and investing. I’ve even called and written in with some of my finance questions! Here is a list of my favs:
1. So Money by Farnoosh Torabi
2. Afford Anything by Paula Pant
3. Financial Independence by The Mad Fientist
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Getting the biggest tax refund possible?
Tax prep? Bookkeeping? When April approaches each year, I sleep easily knowing that my CPA Amy Northard has already ensured I received the biggest tax refund possible.
Her prices are great for the amount of time and money I save each year! You can check out her latest tax and bookkeeping tips or get in touch with Amy herself here!
Financial independence retire early (FIRE) like a boss!
Get FIRE’d up about financial freedom.
There are a endless ways to create side hustle income and reach FIRE. Investing in stocks, owning rental property, creating your own online biz, and so forth.
But it doesn’t mean you need to do it all. Just pick 1 or 2 that gets you excited.
Everyone's financial situation and personal interests is unique. It’s important to try out different side hustles to see what works best for you.
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