Steps to Financial Freedom

Financial freedom is the power to do what you will with your life without being forever bound by lack of money and over burdened by debt. This worthwhile goal can be achieved by anyone through careful planning and persistence. Just follow these steps:

Pay yourself first,
Control your spending,
Get free of debt,
Build a contingency fund,
Become an informed investor,
Give

Achieving financial freedom is a gradual process that will happen as you implement all these simple steps in your life.

Pay yourself first

Every paycheck, keep some of your money for yourself and keep it. It takes money to make money, so goes the old saying. To achieve financial freedom, you'll need some seed money that can grow into a substantial nest egg.

Take a percentage or a fixed amount from each paycheck and add it to your seed money, at least 10%, if possible. This is your investment money. Do not use it for anything else. Every paycheck be sure to pay yourself first. With time and persistence you'll soon have the funds to start making profitable investments. You'll be a lender and not a borrower. Reinvest all profits and dividends to maximize the growth of your nest egg.

Control your spending

Make sure that your spending is less than your earnings. When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is STOP DIGGING. You may have to create and follow a budget.

Creating a budget is easy; following it may be hard. Start our by tracking your current spending habits. Visit www.financesoftware.net for software that will help you. Summarize your spending into general categories such as Food, Clothing, Entertainment, etc. Then you can decide which categories you can cut and by how much. Continue to track your spending and do your best to stay within the limits you set for yourself.

Get free of debt

Debt is bad, "the borrower is the slave of the lender", and none of us wants to be a slave. There are some debts that may be helpful, such as business debts to increase profits, home mortgages, and car loans. Avoid any other borrowing, even pay cash for your car if possible.

Increase the size of the payments you're making. Pick the creditor who charges the highest interest and increase that payment by as much as you can. When that creditor is paid off, take the payment amount and apply it to the next creditor. Continue this process until all are paid off. Destroy and close all or most of your credit card accounts.

Build a contingency fund

Life is full of unexpected surprises; the car breaks down, the furnace fails, we lose our job, etc.. To prevent these occasional events from derailing your financial plans, you need funds just for emergencies. This will help you avoid borrowing or dipping into your seed money.

Every paycheck, take a percentage or a fixed amount of money and put it into your contingency fund. As the money in this fund grows, you will have the peace of mind that comes from being better prepared for life's little surprises. For life's big surprises, buy insurance.

Become an informed investor

In this day and age, there are endless opportunities for investments that can make or lose you money. In order to make money and not lose money, you'll need to start educating yourself.

As a start, here are some concepts it will be good for you to know. RETURN is how much profit you're likely to make on a given investment, usually expressed as a percentage or a range of percentages. RISK is the possibility of something bad happening, like losing money. A SCAM is a false investment opportunity presented by lying thieves trying to steal your money. DIVERSIFICATION is the strategy of not having all your eggs in one basket to spread and minimize risk. An INVESTMENT STRATEGY is a long term approach to making money. Visit www.financesoftware.net for more investment ideas and related software.

Give

Begin to give away some of your money. "For whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap." If you are religious, give to your religion. If you are not, then give to the poor, or to "save the earth", or whatever noble cause appeals to you.

Not only does giving help free you from the mental and emotional grip of money, God Himself will generously respond to more than repay what you have freely and joyfully given away.

Conclusion

You can make it happen. Establish your strategy and stick to it. Implement all these steps in your life and your financial freedom will soon come:

Pay yourself first,
Control your spending,
Get free of debt,
Build a contingency fund,
Become an informed investor,
Give

Now, you're on your way.

Copyright ? 2005 Richard Pullman

Richard Pullman is the Webmaster for http://www.financesoftware.net and has a bachelor's degree in finance and economics.

You have permission to publish this article either electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the author bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated. Please email to http://www.financesoftware.net

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