4 Steps to Financial Freedom (For Everyone!)

Have you noticed that the news is often filled with economic doom and gloom?

Well, it just does NOT have to be this way for you and me – if we decide!

During my daily check-in to Yahoo! Finance I came across another great / short article that I thought was worthwhile sharing. It is: 4 Steps to Financial Freedom.

As stated in the beginning of the article:

The American Dream is endangered, doomed or already dead, depending on which economic pessimist you listen to. But prosperity remains very much in reach for people willing to revamp their expectations and adapt to the changing demands of an unruly but still-rewarding economy. ~ Rick Newman

In this article Rick Newman outlines 4 simple steps ordinary people can take to improve their future at a time when many of the old rules about success no longer apply.

In summary, those 4 steps are:

  1. Stay Mobile
  2. Know Your Vulnerabilities
  3. Under-consume and Overproduce
  4. Start Winning the Information War

While Rick covers these 4 points I’ll put some of my own spin on each. Here we go…

I grew up in a small mill-town in Maine, called Millinocket. You can imagine that upon moving there, as a child of 8, it was a challenge to learn how to spell that one 🙂

Even so, it was an absolutely GREAT place to grow up. I could literally walk, ride my bike or snowmobile down our street and, in less than 100 yards, enter the endless wilderness! We only got lost (really good) once, the potential topic of a future post.

I remember one day, as a teenager, my friends and I were loitering at our favorite hang-out spot (the rock at the beginning of the gravel pit road) talking about our future.

The typical dream of a mill-town boy was to get a job at the mill, straight out of high school, like everyone else. And, shortly after, you’d have a nice house, a 4×4 pickup, sports car, dirt bike, snowmobile, a camp on one of the many nearby lakes, and a boat. Who would NOT want that?!?

I wasn’t overly brilliant as a teenager (plenty of people can attest to that 🙂 ) but I did respond to my friends indicating that I was going to take a different route. Ultimately, “many” of them did as well…

Fast forward to 2015…I recently came across An Open Letter to the Citizens of Millinocket, Maine. This letter, which I imagine is a bitter pill to swallow, clearly articulates what the town’s challenges are (now that the mill has closed, yet again) and what needs to be done to revitalize the area to attract investors, jobs and the people to fill them.

Whether the townspeople respond per the crystal clear recommendations, or not, remains to be seen. And, my heart goes out to those who still live there, and are struggling. I truly wish the best for anyone residing in a town or area going through such challenges.

That said, each and every person has a choice.

Stay Mobile

As individuals, in today’s world, we must be willing to move about: to go where the jobs are, if we wish to realize our goals and dreams, and we aren’t able to achieve them where we are – presently.

One of my major goals in life is that of living in a house on a crystal clear lake – in the wilderness. Prior to realizing this goal, we’ve had to live outside of Maine (temporarily 🙂 ), to be where the work is…

Don’t be afraid to move if the future looks bleak, where you are now.

Know Your Vulnerabilities

Can your job or industry be replaced, or significantly changed, by advancing technology?

Consider the question carefully. Many carburetor technicians, factory workers, travel agents, Blockbuster video clerks, vinyl record manufacturers, and so on, thought that would never happen to them.

Make no mistake. EVERY job, in EVERY industry on this planet, will be impacted in some way by advancing technology. We either need to be on top of this, or be run over by it. It is our choice!

The GREAT news is that if you are reading this you have access to the unlimited resources available on the Internet. As such, you have the opportunity to learn new skills, languages, tools and techniques online, and in many cases – ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Lest I leave you hanging, here are just a few concrete examples:

  • I am presently brushing up on my Spanish skills (for our next trip) using Duolingo, a free website (and smartphone app) that provides excellent training on several languages! Much better training than I ever received in school, or via book / audio programs that I’ve paid for.
  • My youngest son built a high-powered gaming computer, from scratch, based on videos available on YouTube and other sites.
  • My oldest son honed his web development skills online at Code Academy. As it’s tagline so clearly states: Learn to code interactively, for free.

Make no mistake, you can find these kinds of resources online for just about anything imaginable.

So, what are you doing today? Lamenting the plight of your town, career or current situation, or are you investing in your future, and that of your family’s?

Under-consume and Overproduce

This site contains a number of articles covering the topic, under the theme: “Raise the Bridge and Lower the Water“.

For the purpose of brevity, I’ll simply reinforce the basic principles to financial freedom:

  • Our net worth does NOT relate to how much we earn. Or, how much we spend. It relates to how much we keep.
    • Net worth = Assets (all the stuff we own, our bank accounts, etc.) – Liabilities (loans/debt)
  • To increase our net worth we must:
    • Spend MUCH less than we earn
    • Carefully invest the surplus
    • Continuously invest in ourselves to increase our value to our current and prospective employers
    • Do more work / provide more service than we are asked (thus, increasing our income)

Start Winning the Information War

My very simple advice here is to IMMEDIATELY CEASE THE INTAKE OF GARBAGE dumped from the media (newspapers, news programs and online). Just don’t read or watch it – period!

The media’s one and only goal is to attract viewers to their eye-candy (or poison) as the case may be. By doing so, they generate advertising dollars. The sweeter they can make the story (also known as sensationalizing) the better.

Instead, focus on (carefully select) positive and constructive content, input and training that serves to propel you along YOUR path to financial freedom and the other goals you have for your life.

I am not, in any way, being facetious about this.

To create and protect our future we must protect our mind from negative influences (garbage) and focus on what we want to bring about in our lives.

In closing, only YOU can create the future YOU desire. But, you must take charge and not follow the crowd.

To do so, ask the question shared in the prior post:

In light of my past experiences, current circumstances, future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for me to do? – Andy Stanley

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