As I write this blog, we are quickly approaching the end of the year. I love the end of the year, because it always feels so fresh and new. New beginnings bring hope in the future, which boosts motivation. As your personal growth cheerleader, I'm going to capitalize on this time of year, I wanted to write a post I think is SO important for you to read and take action on. Motivation is at it's highest,
so let's channel that into creating your life by design, shall we?
Financial freedom is possible. And it is possible FOR YOU. Yes, you. I don't care where you are financially right now, you can change your financial future. All you have to do is follow these six steps, and you can experience a financial peace.
I didn't come from money. I was never taught how to manage money or budget my money, or invest my money. I had to learn it all on my own. I'm still learning it, if I'm being honest. I have to practice it every day- when I feel like it and when I don't. I had and have to continue to take action to understand how money works, and how to handle it in such a way that I can not just save it, but GROW it.
It's a journey. I am no master, however I can tell you that it is a worthy personal journey and one that brings with it more peace than I knew was possible. You see, I grew up with a hippie Dad who spent every dollar he had, and a stressed the out Stepdad who agonized over every single purchase that had to be made to run a family- from groceries, to utility bills, to taxes, to dance classes, to... you name it, it was a PROBLEM for my Stepdad. I always lived in a state of fear around money and I grew up with extremely limiting beliefs around it. Do you hold any of these beliefs?
People who have money are evil
Money is the root of evil
You have to have money to make money
You either have it or you don't
People who have money are just lucky and I could never be like them
I appreciate things more than people with money because they don't appreciate anything they have
It's never enough for a person with money
(Enter any negative association you have with money or people who have it here)
How would it feel to know that those are all myths that are untrue & that financial freedom is possible for you? Well guess what, I stand by that belief. I believe you are the creator of your future, and your future is dependent upon:
What beliefs you choose to hold around money
How you feel about money & those with it
What actions you take to build your financial future
I'm going to tell you what you NEED to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear. I invite you to lay down judgement, understanding that your judgement comes from limiting beliefs that will self sabotage you every time... Let's create your future together by dropping judgement & getting into action. Let's change your story and get you set on a course toward financial freedom. Here we go...
THE 6 STEPS:
1. read dave ramsey's total money makeover
Early in our marriage, this book helped my husband & I climb out of college & credit card debt in ONE YEAR. Dave provides a practical plan for eliminating debt, called the debt snowball, where you begin with paying off your smallest credit card, then roll each payment into the next, creating a snowball that pays off debt ultra fast. It's not easy. If you want to become financially free, you'll need to make some sacrifices. But, as I say to my team,
CHOOSE YOUR HARD.
Being disciplined with your finances is hard... and so is struggling to pay your bills, living on someone else's money for 22% interest, and worrying about the future endlessly for your entire life. Read the book. Do the things. Start there. If you need accountability, sign up for Dave's course: Financial Peace University. LIFE CHANGING!
2. Get your ass on a budget now. right now.
I used strong language as a tool to get your attention. Do I have it? Okay great. Let's go.
No one else is saying it, so I’m going to say it, because I care about you and I want you to thrive…
If your Christmas tree is stacked from floor to ceiling with every little thing your child put on their list, but you struggle to handle emergencies during the year, or save money, or pay off your mountain of debt, or pay the rent, mortgage, or electric bill on time,
THAT IS A PROBLEM.
You can totally curse me out in your head and say, “But Chris, you don’t understand! I am giving my kids the Christmas I never had!”
That is what I call a YOU problem and that “YOU problem” is holding you and your family back from financial freedom. Therapy is cheaper than the ridiculous amount of gifts that your kids will play with for 4 seconds and never look at again. And also, is life-giving not life-sucking. I'm serious. Your kids absolutely do not need more than you can afford.
You cannot buy their love.
I am not advocating for stealing Christmas from your sweet angels. Let's not be dramatic, Rockstar. If you're honest, you know exactly what I'm talking about... I'm talking about going into debt or spending all of your savings to put an insane amount of gifts under the tree because it makes YOU feel good. Dig deep and see if that is you. No judgement, however self awareness is required in order to make lasting change.
You must start making sacrifices for your future, or you will ALWAYS be where you are now. Stop wasting your money on coffee, fast food, luxuries, & utterly spoiling your kids for Christmas, until you have a well built investment account. And even then- I don't recommend spoiling your kids.
Give your kids the life-changing, future-altering gift of watching you transform your financial future & learning how money works. that is a lifeskill that is truly priceless.
Download the EveryDollar App. It's Dave Ramseys budget app and it's excellent... if you use it. It's free but you can also upgrade to get live coaching and training. Andrew & I personally use this app for our budgeting & we have periodic budget meetings, where we figure out where are, where we want to be, and what habits need to change to get us there. I absolutely hate it (my husband will tell you), but I know it is necessary if we are serious about building our life by design.
3. Build your emergency fund
Emergencies happen & you're ill prepared, it can set you back from achieving financial freedom. An emergency fund is a separate account that is only for real emergencies. You feed that account regularly and ideally build it to enough to cover 3-6 months of expenses. If you encounter an emergency and have to use money from your emergency fund, build the account back up as quickly as possible.
If you don't yet have an emergency fund yet, start one NOW! Build it up to $1,000 before you do anything else. That's a huge milestone, so when you get to $1,000, high five your damn self and be proud, because if you're just beginning, this means you have what it takes to break through.
4. Pay down your debt or eliminate it all together
I personally disagree with being totally debt free, however debt is a monster for many, so you must learn how to use it responsibly, NOT for spending money you do not have on things that you do not need. This is key. While the right debt (Dave Ramsey would cringe at me saying it, but whatever I said what i said) can be awesome leverage in certain circumstances, the wrong debt and too much of ANY debt can be a major block to financial freedom.
This is a true asf story...
I once had someone come to me extremely stressed that they had hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt that they were drowning in, and the husband was about to lose his job. We talked about the steps to financial freedom, to which this person actually responded
"OH YES! I LOVE DAVE RAMSEY! I'VE READ HIS BOOKS MANY TIMES! I WANT TO BECOME A FINANCIAL COACH SO BAD!"
Confused on how one could have the clearest map to financial freedom, totally disregard it as well as their self awareness, and yet have a audacity to want to teach others the principles they themselves weren't even practicing, let alone mastering, I pressed in. It got better.. I dug in and tried to help her find some ways to cut the budget. I touched on the wronnggggg subject: private school.
"OMG I COULD NEVERRRR TAKE MY KIDS OUT OF. PRIVATE SCHOOL. I WILL NOT SACRIFICE THEIR EDUCATION FOR MY OWN GAIN! NO WAY. THAT IS A NON-NEGOTIABLE."
I nearly died... we had an excellent public school system, and my kids were (are currently) thriving in it. The harshness of her language and her offense that I would suggest that she give up such a luxury spoke volumes. Not 2 weeks later, I saw a social media vid of the husband... the very same husband who was set to lose his job... pulling up in a brand new convertible. My eyes were as big as quarters.
The next week, they decided to get a dog. Weeks later, another.
The next week, they announced that they were going to Disney for the 5th or 10th time.
The next week, they hired a limo for their child's birthday with 10 friends (a total of 15 people w family) rented out an entire nail salon, then limo-ed on over to the casino where they ate at a restaurant which was easily $75-100/ person.
THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on extravagant luxuries...
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN DEBT. BARELY SURVIVING.
Yall!!! If I'm lying, I'm dying.... months later, she came to me freaking out that the car company wouldn't stop calling and the convertible was about to be re-possessed, because they hadn't made any of the payments on it.
And the cherry on top.... this very person asked to TEACH a budgeting class for Rockstar Moms. That's literally my favorite part of the entire story. 😂
I won't even get into my response (it was a hardddd hard hard no), but it was at that point, I accepted that some people can be given all the wisdom & support, & still choose to dig their financial hole deeper and deeper, just to play a part in their own show.
Those are the people you want to stay away from, because you become like the 5 people you surround yourself with, and you spend your life with a basket case, trying to keep up with the Jones', you can bet your ass, you'll become one... a basket case... not a Jones.
The other lesson I learned was to really be careful about who I take advice from, because there are other people out there teaching financial principles who have never lived it out. It's positively wild.
5. build your investment account
Make cuts in your budget wherever possible to store away for investment. This is. how you build wealth & change your financial future, Rockstar. Try setting aside 15% of your income for investment. Is that too easy? Double it! Build the habit of setting aside money on a regular basis into an investment account.
6. Choose your investment plan
There are so many ways to invest your capital, and of course my favorite is real estate! I recommend reading the Millionaire Real Estate Investor & Rich Dad Poor Dad before you begin investing. They're roadmaps to financial freedom and are full of truth and wisdom presented in easy to understand ways.
Listen, you can choose to do whatever you want to do at the end of the day, but if you’re sick and tired of living paycheck to paycheck, or freaking out whenever there’s an emergency, or stressing over the debt you have, or wanting to buy a house, but having zero dollars to do so, then there’s only one way to change your situation. And it’s not complaining about it. It’s getting into action. It's also not living like a Rockstar for your own ego and image when you can't sleep at night thinking of the debt you're in.
No one taught me how to build wealth. No one taught me how to buy 6 houses. No one taught me how to put a little bit of money into something and get a lot of money out. No one did that. I had/have to LEARN it, and I have to PRACTICE it, and I have to TAKE ACTION.
And I want you to do the same because I care about you and I care about your financial future. If I can do it, I promise, you can too. Let’s change your story, shall we?
Until next time, I'm sending you peace, love, & good wealth building vibes!