Financial Freedom

My First Steps Toward Financial Freedom

Posted on June 2, 2008. Filed under: Financial Freedom |

In my last post, I talked about how financial freedom can be achieved with certain steps. I thought perhaps I can share with you the steps I am taking. Please excuse me for there are really not any special formula, but they are in fact so simple and have made perfect sense to me. The only requirement, as far as I am concerned, is the willingness to “postpone” the enjoyment later.

I look back all these years, started from an income as little as S$ 1,600 per month back in 1996, with hardly any spare cash to save after deducting the necessary monthly expenses, I would say I have done well by sticking to these steps. Of course having a husband with the same mentality and passion helps 🙂

Basically, to accumulate wealth over time, I merely follow these steps, slowly and steadily:

1.First make it. Before I can begin to save or invest, I surely need to have a long-term source of income that’s sufficient enough to have some left over after I’ve covered my necessities. So if I’m ever stuck in a job that do not provide me sufficient funds, I will do something about it. That explains why I quit my first job. I am not suggesting job hopping here but practically we do need to find a job that pays well enough, even if it means to completely change the job nature. Jumping out of comfort zone is never an easy decision to make, but if the comfort zone is leading us financially no where, how comfortable can it be to us and to our family? Make sense?

2.Save it. Once I have an income that’s enough to cover my basics, I started to develop a proactive savings plan in a disciplinary way. I find having 2 saving accounts helps. One is meant for spending, and the other for saving. For the ‘saving’ account, the ATM card was never with me when I went out so no opportunity when the temptation arises to withdraw from here. I made sure I could perform on-line money transfers from one account to another within minutes to avoid any room of excuses to hinder the saving process. I will leave just enough for each month budgeted spending in the “spending” account. The lesser the amount I see in my bank account, the lesser the desire I have to spend on the unnecessary. It works perfectly for me for the past 12 years.
3.Invest it. Once I was able to set aside 3 months worth of living expenses that could prepare me for financial setbacks, I started to invest it prudently. I can still remember the feeling of joy when I made the little profit (S$ 150+) of my first lot of share back in 1997. I don’t think S$150 will excite me that much now though. 🙂 Till date, we (my husband and I) have our investments spread in share, unit trust, land and properties. Well, the choice of investment is very subjective according to individual risk appetites, time horizon, cash flow/liquidity needs and any other factors that are unique to each individual. By understanding our portfolio needs, we can then determine the appropriate asset allocation.  Whatever choices we choose, it is for sure that we have to invest! I have never seen anyone who achieve financially free without involve in any form of investment.

4.Create stream of passive income. I have talked about passive income in my last post. Since I am made aware of the term passive income, I found myself having little interest in any job that failed to provide me with this income. The idea of passive income is far more exciting over earned income. I was working very hard while I was in Singapore. I was promoted from Financial Manager to the General Manager of the company. The experience gain and the sense of self-achievement is priceless. However, once I quit from the company, the effort that I put in all these years earn me nothing more than what I was paid then. Wouldn’t it make more financial sense if I will be continually paid for the effort that I made then, today. Would it make more financial sense instead of having cash, I have cash flow instead? I can deplete my cash (saving), but I can’t deplete my cash flow because its constantly flowing in even when I stop working.

So, what’s next? I will say applying it – to think about how to first make enough so that you can save enough to invest. If it requires you to do part time job, and if you are able, why not?

How could you create your cash flow by generating passive income. There really are so many ways you can create your own passive income if you look out for it.

The sooner we answer these questions, the sooner we’ll have financial and personal freedom.

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Is Financial Freedom just a dream?

Posted on May 21, 2008. Filed under: Financial Freedom |

No one likes to devote their whole life trying to make a living. Stuck working in a job that they would not want to do if given a choice, missing time with family, and/or with absolutely no flexibility to do what they want to do.

Surely I don’t.

That’s why we often see many valuable articles showing ways to achieve financial freedom. Financial freedom goal, might sound too far to reach at times but the path there surely isn’t a mystery. I believe it can be achieved with certain proven formulas and steps. Good news is, whatever our family background or education level doesn’t play a part.

Almost everyone who starts his or her own journey to financial freedom begins with earned income, i.e. employment salary. However, relying solely on earned income often can’t bring us far no matter how hard we work and how well we can save. The path to financial freedom requires the change from relying on earned income, to passive income.  I did post an animated clip to illustrate the difference between earning an employment income and building a passive income.

Passive income is our key to financial freedom. Passive income are payments that we receive from the assets we have created. The more passive income we generate, the less dependent we are on our job. At one point, when our passive income exceeds our expenses, we can stop working anytime we want and still live the lifestyle we desire. That is financial freedom.

But passive income takes time to build. We can’t expect to start working on it now and be financially-free next year unless we are extremely lucky. Hence, the earlier we start working to build our passive income, the sooner we will reap the results. Take an example of the business I am in now – Unit trust consultant. I see many successful agents enjoying 5 digit passive income per month, and many of them are of my age or younger than I am. Are they a lot smarter or better than I am? Well, I am sure some of them are :). But most of the time, it merely due to the fact that they started in this business 10 years earlier than I had.

Becoming financially free is no an easy task. To become financially free, multiple streams of income need to be created. These streams of income take hard work and time to setup. There is no easy way of becoming financially free (that’s why I find it hard to believe articles that bear title “Simple Steps to achieve financial freedom”), and surely no shortcuts available. If we ever want to start working out the path of financial freedom, start by gaining knowledge on the many different ways where passive income can be created. Learn how to use our money to make more money. Learn about the wonders of compound interest. Learn the cost of procrastination if you have the vision but don’t plan to start your dream anytime sooner.

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