Financial freedom has become like the holy grail. According to Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 21% of workers are very confident they’ll have enough money for retirement. Achieving financial freedom is a big issue for all demographics, but especially if you’re 50+ and running out of time. As a financial advisor, here’s what I think the 3 keys to achieving financial freedom are, no matter your age.
Change Your Mindset
I see so many people in my work and personal life — in fact, nearly everyone I know — who rely on their employer for everything in life. Their salary is their only asset, and if it disappears, they’ll have nothing to fall back on.
That’s a mindset that needs to change. It’s okay to have a salaried job, but it shouldn’t be 100% of your bread and butter. Give your boss the effort they expect and deserve, but use your extra time and energy to build up other streams of income.
This is the only way to really make your income durable and stable. But how?
I recommend making smart investments and starting your own business on the side. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to become an evening and weekend entrepreneur to grow extra income. You don’t have to quit your corporate job, and you’ll have a new financial asset your current employer can’t take away from you.
Rethink Your Lifestyle Choices
What’s the overwhelming reason people save less than they need for retirement?
Cost of living. That’s what 40% of people reported in the Retirement Confidence Survey.
In my work as a financial advisor, I see lifestyle choices is the biggest factor that prevents people from saving. And the funny thing is, a lot about cost of living doesn’t seem like a lifestyle choice.
You have your basic housing expenses, but where you choose to live can actually directly affect a lot of other costs, like public or private school choice, vacation expectations, or automobile purchases.
You can get a lot done to achieve financial freedom without moving to a cheaper place. But if you want to be serious about success, take the time to rethink your housing decisions. How much would you save if you lived somewhere cheaper?
Eliminate Negative Cash Flow
Any financial advisor worth their cost will illustrate how important eliminating negative cash flow is for success.
Many people are under the delusion that they will always out-earn their expenses. They let debt built up around them and assume that some day, eventually, they’ll have it all paid off.
If you ever want to achieve financial freedom, you need to be much less optimistic. Assume that any more debt you incur is something you may never be able to pay off. This will get you thinking twice about whether you really need to spend that money in the first place.
Make it a goal to always earn substantially more than what you spend, and don’t assume this will come from salary increases. It will come from you cutting back on unnecessary spending.
I already mentioned the idea of relocating above, but that’s far from all of it. You can get rid of your gas guzzling car, cancel cable, eat out less, skip that two week vacation, and more. Any expenses you charge to your credit card will start sounding ridiculous if you think of them as near-permanent debt.
The keys to financial freedom sound easy when you break them down into a short list. But they require real will and discipline to achieve. If you’re already a late-career worker, talk with a financial advisor to make a plan for success.
Related posts on earning more income to fund your retirement:
Sign-up below to get the exclusive information our subscribers get.