When you see wealthy people who seem to have complete financial independence, do you say to yourself, “One day, that’ll be me”? Then, do you go back to your job or business and try to work your way up the income ladder so that "one day" will actually come?
But when it doesn't come as soon as you'd like, do you start to wonder why your climb to financial freedom and true wealth seems an infinite distance you can never achieve?
Do you wonder whether the lifestyle of the wealthy is only for those whose stars have aligned -- an enviable perch they've obtained merely because they were at the right place at the right time?
You should stop wondering. The truth is that the bottom line to creating wealth is not about how much you earn, but what you do with the dollars you earn. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. What matters is the attitude you have toward money, and how you treat it. Here are three views toward money you must first adopt before putting in the extra effort it will take you to become financially independent:
1. Dollars are chess pieces.
Yes, think of them as actual soldiers on the battlefield that can make strategic moves for you and do a lot of your heavy lifting. That means you can put them to work in multiple ways. Truly financially independent people are very good at this, and with practice you can be too.
Whether you are still an employee or a business owner makes no difference. When you get paid, you need to allocate a certain number of those dollars to go back out there in the field and get dirty. You need to invest back into your company. To buy some real estate. To pay someone to do the tasks that bog you down so you can focus on your craft, which will bring in more money.
Treat these dollars like the chess pieces that they are and get them working for you, so that you can bring in more to create more chess pieces. Do you see how this works? It may be hard to develop this habit at first, but with practice, you’ll get really good and it will become second nature. You’ll start to look at every buck as an opportunity for financial growth. It's actually kind of addicting!
2. Small leaks can sink the ship.
Many people think that "a few bucks here and a few bucks there" are no big deal. So they go out to dinner more than they should, because it’s “not that much.” Well, I have news for you. When you do that math on a monthly basis, the numbers are clear. Fifteen or twenty dollars of impulsive purchases throughout the week can lead to hundreds of dollars spent per month.
Also, all of those fixed monthly expenses that don’t really matter should be closely examined and possibly terminated. For example, you could start running outside and getting a few weights for the house in place of that $50-per-month gym membership. Or get Netflix for $8 per month instead of paying $129 for cable. These charges turn into thousands of dollars per year that could have been working for your wealth instead of against it.
The sooner you assess exactly what your small (and unnecessary) purchases total on a monthly basis, the sooner you’ll realize that you need to make some changes to eliminate those that will keep you from your financial goals.
You can also refer back to the first point here and realize that if you put those excess dollars to work in the right places, you could get to where you want to go a whole lot faster.
3. Don’t trade hours for dollars.
Even if you are in an industry that allows you to charge hundreds of dollars per hour, you still need to be there to get paid. You have to show up and perform to get your paycheck. And there is nothing wrong with that. But if you want financial independence, you need to figure out ways to duplicate yourself and/or bring in income without having to be physically there.
So, delegate. Delegate, and bring on more employees to take over some of your tasks. Once you are freed up, you'll have room to exponentially grow, while some of your teammates will be generating the revenue you need without your being there.
Another way to eliminate the "hours for dollars" problem is to create systems. Systems pay you 24/7. Again, your new system can involve teammates, software and other processes that are doing the work you used to do manually.
For example, early on in my career, I used to buy rental properties and do all of the management work which didn’t allow me to pursue newer, profitable deals. So, not paying someone to handle these daily tasks for me cost infinite amounts of money in opportunity cost.
Don’t let this happen to you. Don't step over dollars to pick up nickels.
In sum, you want to view money as an ally and teammate that you work together with. Adopting these three simple views will have a dramatic impact on your future.