|I never cease to be amazed at what big impact minor changes can make in the life of an individual. In science, this is a well known fact, hence the drive for accuracy and precision in mathematics and the sciences. A less than one degree deviation in the flight path of an airliner taking off from continental United States to Europe can mean landing in another country entirely.“Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things. I am tempted to think there are no little things.” – Barton, Bruce
When it comes to personal finances, the changes a small adjustment will make in the course of a few years can be amazing. The steps to financial freedom and independence can range from 5 to 20 depending on who you are listening to. They are saying the same thing in different ways; some breaking stop steps down into simpler easier to digest steps. These can be condensed into one single step – pay yourself first.
It took me a while and a bit of further study to understand the concept of paying yourself first. Whenever I managed to save, the savings gets spent a couple of months later. I felt trapped in a vicious circle with no discernible way out. I was spending first and saving what was left, and after a while, the savings gets spent when the proverbial rainy day shows up. The rainy day had a knack of showing up at the nick of time, just when I have a bit saved up.
It took listening to Jim Rohn to finally drive the nail home – I needed a minor adjustment in my philosophy. Save first before spending, not spend first and hope there will be something left to save. When the focus is on spending, even your saving becomes a target for further spending. It did not stop with just saving the money. I needed to get the money out of the line of fire by putting it to work – investing it so that:
1) I do not have access to spend it
2) It will earn interest or returns
3) I will be motivated to keep saving and investing as I watched the principal and interest income grew
4) It becomes a habit, so it becomes automatic.
It was so simple I was amazed how I missed it all this while. I came to realize that common sense was not very common. There is a common sense for each level of growth and self awareness and until you get there, it sounds like rocket science. I was so caught up with satisfying my needs and wants that I did not realize that the most sustainable way to do that is by continuously growing my income and that can only happen when I delay gratification, save and invest first before spending.
Now that saving and investing first before spending has become a habit, I no longer struggle in that area. It happens by reflex, automatically. It is the first thing I think about after setting aside an amount for giving, the moment money enters my hands. Because of that small adjustment, my savings, investment, interest and returns grows month by month. I become richer every month. With increased income, I can afford things I really want, and I can make a difference in the lives of other people.
If you desire to attain financial freedom and independence, you may want to win this battle first before you proceed much further, especially if you are an employee or small business owner. Make your money work for you, so that you do not have to work so hard for money. It is a matter of a small adjustment.
– Usiere Uko is editor of www.financialfreedominspiration.com and author of Practical Steps to Financial Freedom and Independence –www.amazon.com/Practical-Steps-Financial-Freedom-Independence/dp/147006832X .