Whether you are a recent college graduate, a spouse helping to raise three kids, or someone gearing up for retirement, financial freedom is probably a goal for you. Yet, with student loans, a mortgage, and an endless list of other expenses, financial independence isn't easy to establish, and it's harder yet to maintain. One's passion and current livelihood is sometimes not enough to pay the bills and make ends meet. In a world that is constantly becoming more expensive, and more competitive, having as much money as you want is not a cake-walk. Here are three strategies to help you achieve financial independence:
1. Save money.
It's easier said than done. Putting cash in the bank for your rainy day fund isn't nearly as fun as taking a trip to the beach for the weekend. Yet there are many ways to make use of your money today to provide more for tomorrow. Assuming your company offers it, try to match your employer's 401(k) contribution. Many companies offer a 3-5 percent match, which can accumulate to hundreds or thousands of dollars in the short term. In the long run, the savings from these contributions will add up to much more. This is the single most reliable way to save money for retirement, dollar-for-dollar. The next best way is with an IRA -- whether it be a ROTH or traditional contribution -- which many retirement plan participants overlook. If you put even a modest amount into these funds every year, you will be living much more comfortably during retirement. The further you are from your retirement, the more risk you can assume, and thus the greater amount of stock indexes your portfolio should contain. As you get closer to retirement, you will want to roll over many of those stock investments into bonds and more secure forms of equity.
2. Invest in a mentor.
Working with an experienced financier is one of the best ways to ensure your own financial success. Real estate rock star Phil Pustejovsky reveals that his secret to success was finding a mentor. Years ago, Pustejovsky was poor. So poor, in fact, that he was living out of his truck in Nashville. Luckily, Phil found a mentor who helped him find his way. Today, Phil is known as a leader in the real-estate investing industry, and his is a true-life rags-to-riches story. Because his own success was brought about through mentorship, Phil wants people everywhere to have the same advantage. In his current business, FreedomMentor, Phil is offering mentorship to people of all different economic statuses. In his mentoring, Phil coaches people and works to help them achieve their own financial freedom, just as was once done for him.
3. Work hard.
The factor that will ultimately enable you to achieve financial freedom is yourself. By working hard to improve yourself and your career, day after day, you maximize your potential to increase income and your savings. For many people, the lack of financial independence is a de-motivator. The hard part is staying positive, and using your current situation as fuel to help you reach your goals.