Often, as we strive to keep our heads above water in these financially crazy times, it’s easy to lose sight of why we’re doing this.

1874 USA 3 dollars coin.

1874 USA 3 dollars coin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is the goal? What is it we’re trying to accomplish by earning wealth?

For us — and for many others — the answer is Financial Independence.

We would define this as “having an income sufficient for your basic needs and comforts from sources other than paid employment”.

Financial independence implies freedom.

It’s the condition of having saved enough money that you can do whatever you choose. Whether you elect to keep working doesn’t matter — you have enough saved and invested to follow your dreams.

But is financial independence just a pipe dream? Is it something only for the lucky and the strong? No, it’s a goal that anyone can fulfill, as long as they’re armed with some basic knowledge, and make some smart choices.

As we see it, there are four keys to accumulating wealth:

1. Start investing as early as possible. It takes significantly less money to accomplish what you want, and you have more time working for you.

2. Be determined to save on a regular basis. It is an easy way to accumulate wealth — especially when it becomes an automated component of your monthly plan.

3. Begin investing with the largest possible sum you can. You will have more money working for you over a longer period of time. We can show you how you can use the benefits of tax-free compounding to help.

4. Reach for the highest rate of return you believe you can safely receive on your money over time. Each additional percent is important but it is more important to avoid the losses than to hit those home runs.

Financial independence is built upon these four guidelines. We help you to find money that you are currently losing unknowingly and unnecessarily and use those funds to help you accumulate wealth.

What Holds Many People Back    In order to save money, you must fight to keep from spending it. We encourage you to set goals, to prioritize wants. Since money can be spent only once, you need to decide which wants are most important. To do this, it may be helpful to place a value on each of your wants.

So … here’s an exercise for the time:

Pull out a piece of paper and list your wants.

These can range from a new house to a hot tub to a trip to London to a new blender for the kitchen. Next to each item, write why you want it. (You might want a hot tub, for example, because it would allow you to relax with family and friends.)

When you’ve finished, take another piece of paper and re-order the list based on how important each want is to you. If a trip to London tops the list, are you still willing to delay it by spending $40/month for that gym membership you rarely use?

Confront this issue first (keeping in mind those four keys mentioned above), and we’ll be back with more thoughts for you next time.

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