This is a guest post from Tegan, the founder and author of the website The Blissful Budget, a about helping you save more money, make more money, and reach financial freedom. Find more information on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Let me know if you would like to guest post on RFI.
Financial independence is becoming a more popular term to describe those who no longer need to work for their money, which may seem like an impossible task for the average Joe.
Well I am here to tell you that reaching financial independence is neither difficult nor impossible.
It takes is some education and patience to start reaching financial goals, but anyone can do it with enough determination.
Keep in mind, the definition of financial independence is different for everyone. Maybe for some it means being able to live off their dividends and not work. For others it might mean having enough money to retire early and travel the world.
Whatever this concept means for you, make sure to stick with your goals and don’t give up!
Here are 6 important things I wish I knew at the start of my own financial independence journey.
1. You will never be able to follow someone else’s success plan to a “T”
Personal finance has its name for a reason. It’s personal. It’s yours. You get to choose your own financial path and will learn your own strategies along the way.
Trying to follow in someone else’s financial footsteps is a sure way to get discouraged along your journey.
When I first got started with personal finance, I read every single book, watched every single YouTube video and bought as many online courses as I possibly could. I wanted to reach financial independence so badly that I studied successful people day and night to learn their financial habits.
I was obsessed with trying to figure out the “secret sauce” to becoming wealthy and retiring early. I later realized that there really is no one way to become successful and it would never happen if I tried to clone someone else’s success.
2. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses
One of the best tips I can give you when it comes to reaching financial independence is to ignore your urge to impress people with materialistic items.
When you do this, you start to lose focus on the things that really matter in life. You might even find yourself spending money that you don’t have to impress people you don’t even like. I know I did at one point in my life.
This was a tough pill for me to swallow as I began learning more about financial independence. I consistently had the longing to have nice things and to show everyone what I was able to buy, only to find out a few years later that no one really cares.
If your goal is to reach financial independence, spend your money sparingly and remember to spend way less than you earn. Your aim should not be to impress other people.
No one likes the Joneses anyway.
3. Consistently increase your income
When I first started on the path to financial independence, I was trying to budget, cut costs, and live the extreme cheapskate lifestyle in order to grow my wealth. It took me awhile to figure out that I could only save so much money each month.
It’s important to realize that you can build your wealth much quicker when you have extra income coming in each month on top of what you are already saving or investing.
4. Step outside your comfort zone
When you step outside of your comfort zone, there is a potential for amazing things to happen.
Most people choose to get a steady 9-5 job just to work for their entire lives and then retire when they are old and tired. Why? Because it’s comfortable.
If you want to reach financial independence and stop trading your precious time for money each and every day, you may need to step out of your comfy bubble and do things that might scare you.
Doing this can lead you to reach more goals, find new opportunities and embrace tough challenges. Taking risks is what helps us all grow.
5. Take baby steps
Trying to reach your financial goals overnight is only going to make you feel overwhelmed and anxious.
I’ve learned that reaching financial independence takes time and there is no “get rich quick” solution. It’s easy to hear about the financial independence benefits and immediately want to learn every term and study every concept.
But remember to take it slow and to set simple, achievable goals to start.
When it comes to finances, it’s important to learn how to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.
6. You are not alone
Being a part of the financial independence club can be lonely, especially if you enjoy working 12 hours a day to make money. You may not have as much time for a social life or building relationships.
When my financial goals shifted towards wanting financial freedom, I realized some other aspects of my life suffered as well. I looked at all my friends and family who went to college for a few years just to join the rat race and work for the rest of their lives. I couldn’t believe someone would want to live like that.
So, I changed most of my priorities and lost some friendships along the way. I wanted to be around people who shared similar interests and challenged me to be better.
I even stared to think that I was the only one with strong financial goals and aspirations.
But that simply wasn’t true.
I later found the personal finance community and made friends with lots of individuals who were on the same path to financial independence as well.
There are many others out there who aspire to reach financial independence and retire early. It’s important to get connected with people who share your same outlook on finances and surround yourself with those who aspire to reach similar goals.
You are not alone, I promise!
Whether your goal is to spend more time with your kids or travel the world in a sailboat, financial independence is a great goal to aim for.
With so many steps to learn during this journey, it’s important to keep your eye on the prize and continue to make strides towards your financial goals.
There are many lessons to learn along the way, but I guarantee that the end goal is worth the effort.