MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

Save Baby Save! Your Passport to Financial Independence

Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Nov 23, 2010 @ 06:07 PM

saving money for retirement

Unless your plan for financial independence is based on luck, winning the lottery or an unknown relative that decides to leave you their estate, like most people, you’re going to become financially independent the old fashioned way-you’re going to earn it.

And the way you’re going to earn it is by saving money. And saving money means delaying consumption today (delayed gratification) for a brighter and more prosperous future tomorrow. But that’s easier said than done. The simple truth is spending money is way more fun than saving money.

But saving money, particularly saving enough money so you no longer need to work for money requires three essential elements: discipline, desire, a financial plan.

1.      Discipline

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of creating a robust savings plan that puts you on track to reach financial independence (FI) sooner rather than later is the discipline required to stick with your plan and follow through. Like any personal goal you set for yourself, make sure it’s realistic. Also, since we’re dealing with money as well as emotions, make sure you design an automatic savings strategy such as having x amount of money debited from your paycheck or checking account each month and automatically transferred into your savings or investment account.

2.       Desire

Everything that is created begins in the form of desire. When you have a burning desire to reach financial independence, nothing will stop you; nothing will deter you from reaching this milestone in life. Think about something you had a burning desire to accomplish in life. Now think about what that felt like. Remember how often you imagined that desire being fulfilled, how often you visualized seeing it happen. It’s this type of intensity that I’m referring to that turns desire into reality.

3.       Financial Plan

What do all successful people have in common-they had a plan! To save the kind of money you’ll need to reach financial independence, having a detailed financial plan is crucial to your success. And don’t think for a second this plan will be a straight line from here to FI. Life will throw you curve balls as it always does. But what will be different this time is your capacity to bounce back from adversity. That’s because your financial plan will be dynamic and nimble. When your life changes, so will your financial plan.