The financial crisis has impacted the lives of millions of people. Therefore, there has never been a more important time than now to educate and empower yourself to take control of your own personal finances. Here are some ideas and proven financial concepts that can dramatically impact your personal life and finances. I hope you will take the time to read through them. More importantly, I hope you will take the time to implement some of these ideas into your own personal finances.
1. Our Choices, Have Consequences – We must accept full responsibility for our own financial futures. We must understand that our financial decisions and choices today will impact our lives tomorrow. Therefore, we must evaluate all of our financial choices, expenses, purchases within the context of our overall long term financial goals and objectives.
2. Stop Consuming Your Future – Control Your Spending When was the last time you reconciled every dollar you spent for the last 30 days? When was the last time you looked at every charge on your credit card statement? I challenge you to track every expense for a minimum of 30 days to see where all the money goes every month. Use this exercise to look for ways to reduce unnecessary expenses, save money, etc. We live in a consumer driven world. Our spending habits are consuming our future. We must take control of our spending habits to start moving towards achieving financial freedom.
3. Create & Live Within A Budget A budget is absolutely critical for anyone that is committed to achieving financial freedom in their lives. A budget provides us the input we need to manage our income and our expenses. A budget provides us accountability. A budget provides us a tool to work on achieving our financial goals. A budget will dramatically impact your personal finances. It will provide you the roadmap to achieve your financial goals.
4. Pay Yourself First – This is not a suggestion, but a key fundamental rule for anyone that has achieved financial freedom. Have you ever stopped to ask consider how hard you work for your money? Who are you really working for the bank, the mortgage company, the credit card company? Stop making someone else rich! You must always pay yourself first. Start saving today and learn how to put your money to work for you.
5. Become Debt Free – Debt is consuming the lives of millions of people. Debt is what keeps us from pursuing our hopes, goals and dreams for our lives. Debt robs us of our future. The only way we can take control of our financial lives and our future is by becoming debt free and never going back into debt. Debt free living must become your passion and your unrelenting goal. Debt free living can be a reality for anyone that is willing to commit to the goal. What if you were debt free? How would it change your life? What could you do or pursue if you were debt free?
6. Establish Cash Cushion A cash cushion is an emergency fund that is created to cover your living expenses for 3-6 months. It is also used to cover unforeseen expenses, repairs, etc. that come up in everyday life. The purpose of a cash cushion is to keep you from incurring expenses on your credit card when emergencies arise. A cash cushion will also provide you peace of mind that you have 3-6 months living expenses in the bank at any time. I encourage you today to set up a separate bank account and start funding your cash cushion account.
7. Commit Time Everyday to Improving Your Financial Literacy. How much time will you spend on the internet and watching TV today, this week or this year? How much time have you invested today, this week or this year improving your financial literacy? What is more important? There are countless free resources available on the subject of Financial Literacy. Remember, we must take full responsibility for our own financial lives. Simplify this task by working on one subject at a time. Pick something basic like home budgets, etc. and get started today. Work on this with your spouse, family, friends etc. Together you will learn more and encourage one another.
8. Create Clear, Concise Financial Goals – This is one of the most important steps in achieving financial freedom. It is our clearly stated goals that we have committed to writing that will compel us to take action to achieve financial freedom. Without clearly stated goals we will abandon our financial commitments for the future and only think of our immediate wants and needs. We cannot afford to waste our precious time, money and resources consuming our future by our lifestyle choices today. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that you take some time and write out your vision and goals for your finances and life. You want goals that will inspire you. Goals that motivate you to achieve financial freedom and live the life you have always imagined living. For more information on this subject see my previous post.
9. Simplify Your Life – Our worlds are becoming more complex with every passing day. What is consuming your life, your money and your attention and distracting you from the real things in life that are truly important in your life? What can you eliminate or give away that will cut your expenses, free up your mind and simplify your life?
10. Practice Generosity – Our lives will not be remembered for how much we earned or how hard we worked. Our lives will be remembered for how we touched and impacted the lives of others. Therefore, we should look for more meaningful ways to use our money, time and talents to impact others less fortunate than us. Generosity creates wealth when we take the focus off our own selfish desires. It provides us a bigger meaning for our money. It provides us a purpose that empowers us to take action. We don’t have to wait to become millionaires to start practicing the concept of generosity. We can start today. There is always someone less fortunate that us and we can impact their lives.
I hope you have benefited from this post on Financial Literacy. If so, leave a comment. In addition, please forward this to anyone you think might benefit from this short lesson on the 10 Keys to Financial Freedom.
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