Several years ago, in the best-selling book The Millionaire NextDoor, the authors described the day-to-day lives of contemporary millionaires: what they think, what they buy, their daily habits, and so on. What came through loud and clear was a mindset of success.
Those millionaires next door were recognizable—in other words, in lots of ways, they weren’t all that different from you and me. But they were distinctive in the way they thought about the world, and about their wealth. Not that they were all the same—far from it. But they shared certain kinds of discipline in the way they dealt with the world.
My goal is to help you achieve that kind of discipline, so that you can move from where you are to where you want to be. That means slightly different things for different people—there’s no “one size fits all”—but that is the fun and beauty of financial independence.
Very few things that are of value come easily. But it will be fun—like learning a new sport, taking up a new instrument, or learning a new language—and that is the exciting part. Planning for your financial goals, and then getting there, can be among life’s most rewarding experiences.
The definition of financial independence is different for everyone. For some, it is a substantial net worth, consisting of reasonably liquid assets—say, a million bucks cash in the bank. (Liquid simply means that it’s available to you on short notice. Cash is liquid; real estate is not.) Others tie financial freedom to some level of annual income, like, a million dollars in cash, gross. Still others would raise the bar and say, “a million a year after taxes.” But everything’s relative, and people’s expectations vary widely.
To you and me, a million dollars (in any of these flavors) is a whole lot of money. But to Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, or Donald Trump, a million dollars probably wouldn’t mean all that much.
The moment you start trying to live by someone else’s standards, you’re likely to lose the war, even if you win some shorter battles. Everyone has their own set of values and principles. Trying to use their financial plan and utilize their financial mind set will lead to disaster. Build your financial mind set on your values and principals, create a plan that you will want to work. After all you are planning for your future.