Coming out of college, like everyone else, I dreamed of making it big and hitting an early retirement. The reality was that I was saddled with student debt and struggled to find a well-paid job. These days, though, I’m happy – because I’ve found financial freedom. This is how I got there.
How I Achieved Financial Freedom and Happiness
You either master money, or, on some level, money masters you.
– Tony Robbins (read more quotes)
Work hard – every day
One of the things that I inherited from my parents was a strong sense of work ethic. Looking at my generation and the generation that is currently entering the workforce, it feels like a lot of people are missing that ethic.
My motto is to work hard, every day. What that means is to deliver your daily work as if you were on the line for promotion and today could make that happen. The truth is, this really is the case every day of your working life. Put in enough good days and you get noticed. Drop the ball, and that gets noticed, too.
Don’t slack off on the job or be tempted to turn in projects with the minimum of effort. The more work you put in, the more reward you get. I was able to progress relatively rapidly through my career, which meant my earnings increased over time.
Don’t ever think this is a quick fix until you get that pay raise. This is a lifestyle adjustment that you must be willing to uphold until you retire for good.
Another thing I learned was to take opportunities when they come. More than that, go and look for them.
One such opportunity is overtime. I almost always accept overtime when I can because this means earning extra cash. I also look out for deals, such as free money for opening a new bank account or credit card. Use the opportunity, then don’t be sucked in and end up using the credit card and putting yourself into debt. Understand the difference between an opportunity and a good introduction to a bad idea.
If you get a chance for that great new job with the company car, take it – don’t waste time worrying about the extra responsibility. The responsibility will be balanced out by the fact you don’t have to worry about car payments anymore.
Look for extra savings
A lot of people often complain about not earning enough to get out of debt, or only barely scraping by. If they used that energy to look for ways to save money, they would soon find their problems weren’t so bad.
Cut out things that you don’t need. A little luxury here and there is fine, but never live beyond your means. When you do have extra, find a way to turn it into money.
When my husband and I decided to start a family, we purchased a larger home. But that left us with a room that was empty for the time being. We rented it out on a community sharing site to create a secondary income until we were ready to conceive. That rent covered the cost of the larger home and quite a few baby items when the time came.
While I was on maternity leave, I used my spare time to do surveys, complete online tasks, and earn money in a non-stressful way that kept me busy.
The question you should ask yourself is: if I’m not using it, is there someone who will?
With hard work and good sense, financial freedom is possible for everyone. The sooner you start, the sooner you can get there yourself – and see how joyful it is to be free.