Financial independence is the ability to live comfortably on one’s savings without having any debt. One may raise his eyebrows and just shrug off the idea of financial freedom as something unattainable.
What makes it difficult for an individual to become free financially depends on several factors. If you would like to live comfortably and provide everything that your family needs, you must learn how to make things work for you.
- Create a plan.
This means being able to visualize what you want to achieve. Financial experts can help you determine how much you need to achieve financial independence. The plan differs with every individual. But what is certain is that when you make your plan early on in life, it will produce a better outcome.
- Learn how to budget your expenses.
Set a certain amount for the things that you need to spend on monthly. Then save the money that is left. There should be no thinking of “having some cash to spend on beer or for a night out.” Think of it as your way of abstaining yourself from every little “money-sucking” activity.
- Use plastic wisely.
When credit cards were first introduced, it was meant to be a way of helping out consumers buy things that are necessary when they do not have enough money to spend on. However, the evil minds started to use it as a means of acquiring things more than they can actually afford. Save money on credit cards by paying your dues on time.
- Provide safety nets.
Set an amount that will serve as part of your emergency fund or for insurance. It may be best to open up an account for that. You should be able to have the amount of money needed if you suddenly need to have an appliance fixed or other unexpected expenses.
- Eliminate debt.
More than having housing loans or car loans, people have just gotten into this hype of acquiring so many things without realizing that the things that they have bought may not have any use to them at all. Imagine how malls would encourage their customers to buy things at a discounted price.
- Consider your career choice.
Any form of additional income should be taken as an opportunity to increase your stakes at financial independence. Of course, choosing to put up your own business may have risks, but if your heart is it, there should be no stopping you from taking that step.
- Consider your living space.
You may be living in a huge apartment where half of your salary goes to every month. You may want to consider moving into a small, inexpensive one so you can save a few hundred pesos to add to your emergency funds.
- Consider investing in stocks, bonds or real estate.
Let experts tell you how things work and be diligent enough to do your homework. Remember to deal with credible people so you will not fall for investment scams.
To become financially independent means you have to be careful with every step you take. There is always a bit of sacrifice on matters that we want to achieve. But with these little sacrifices come big outcomes.
(Armando Bartolome is known as the Philippines’ Franchise Guru, a business mentor to numerous micro entrepreneurs who are now themselves big names in the industry. This article is reposted with the author’s permission and was previously published on The Business Mentor column posted by ABSCBN News. For questions and more information, you may contact Armando "Butz" Bartolome by email:firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @philfranguru. His website is www.gmb.com.ph)