Some of my favorite things in life have the initials FF like fast food and the fast and the furious movies however, neither of these come close to the ultimate iteration which is financial freedom. Ever since I learned that you don’t have to live a life strapped to a chair in your cubicle for 40 years, I’ve done everything in my power to ensure that every day I move closer to this ultimate financial goal. Fortunately, through my journey so far, I’ve been able to develop a wealth formula that I am convinced anyone can use to achieve their loftiest of financial goals which I want to share with you now!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 30 years on Earth, it’s that in most cases, the only thing separating the life you have and the life you want to live is money. For instance, if you had all the money in the world, would you still be living in the same house, the same neighbourhood or driving the same car? Chances are you wouldn’t.
For others, having significantly more money would grant them the ability to leave a job they hate and pursue something that truly fills them with joy and satisfaction. In fact, if you ask me, one of the biggest travesties in life is working a job you dislike, or in many cases, hate. Now, it’s easy to live your day to day life and think that it’s only you that may have these feelings but if you presently don’t look forward to clocking into work then know you’re not alone.
A 2021 Gallup study showed that less than 50% of people are completely satisfied with their jobs meaning that a lot of people are working in positions that aren’t making them feel whole. Ask yourself, do you really want to be taking orders from a boss or leaving work unhappy for the next 40 years? Most people don’t and this is just another reason that striving for financial freedom is so important because this is a fate you don’t have to realize.
Now, if the thought of trading in the majority of your life’s clock at a job you don’t enjoy isn’t enough to get you on the financial freedom train then one other critical reason to strive for financial independence is for those you love.
Presently, people are working more hours than ever which leaves little time for family and friends, which if you ask me are the most wholesome sources of happiness we have. Therefore, without financial freedom, not only will you be destined to stay trapped under the artificial lights over your cubicle for the next four to five decades but you will inevitably be giving up precious time with those who mean the most to you.
I know in my own case, my reason for pursuing financial freedom relates to that exact fact. I don’t want to have to give up what time I have left with my parents because I have to put in 10 hour days at work nor do I ever want to have to feel like I am neglecting my kids for the same reason.
Now, I’m not sharing my own reasons to get overly sentimental. In fact, there really isn’t any right reason to want to exponentially increase your wealth. I would be just as happy for you if your reason was to buy a nice sports car you can use to pick up chicks as I would if you were to use that money to commit your life to volunteering — okay maybe I would support the latter a little more. But, the point I am getting at here is that you need to understand why you want to be financially free if you are going to have any chance at ever achieving this lofty financial goal.
Once you have your reasoning locked in, it will be the time to get to work. It’s at this point that you’re ready to deploy the wealth formula that will get you to the financial freedom lifestyle you desire. What is that wealth formula you may be wondering? It’s what I call the TEAM model.
They say that “teamwork makes the dream work” and while you definitely don’t need a team per se to achieve financial freedom, the TEAM model is essential in moving you in the right direction.
The first step in the TEAM model is Think. Let me ask you this, when was the last time you set aside time just to think? For some people, they may have never done this and that’s not surprising. As Henry Ford said, “Thinking is hard work. That may be the reason so few engage in it.” and he was right. Sitting around with your thoughts can be painful for some and boring for others but it’s absolutely critical when striving for financial freedom. Why is that you may ask? Because achieving financial freedom requires a plan and to develop this plan, you need to put your brain to work.
As such, what I recommend you do if you’re serious about achieving financial freedom, is to set aside 30 minutes a week just to think. No phones, no music, no nothing. Think in complete silence.
I know for some, this may seem like a lot of time just to be thinking but chances are if you aren’t where you want to be financially right now then you have a lot to think about.
Speaking of that, what should you think about when the time to think arrives?
The first thing to think about is your why. We just talked about how critical it is to know why you want to achieve financial freedom in the first place and as such you need to ask yourself why this financial goal means so much to you.
Next, think about what has held you back to date when it comes to getting to your optimal financial state. Are you a bad saver? Do you spend too much time swiping on Tinder and not enough time developing new skills and knowledge? Your present state is entirely the result of your past decisions which also means that the decisions you make from here on out can greatly contribute to you reaching this lofty financial goal.
Finally, think about what paths you can take to meet this financial objective. Do you need to find a mentor who can guide you through your wealth building journey? Do you need to quit your job or get a second job to make it happen? These are all things to ponder and once you have this routine in place, you can move onto step number 2.
The second step in the TEAM model is Earn. This is by far and away the hardest step of the four but is also the most impactful in actually achieving financial freedom. Chances are if you were making a massive income right now, you would already be financially free and given you aren’t, it’s wise that you start to increase your total earnings.
Now, this step is a struggle for people mainly due to the fact that no one ever teaches us how to make money. We are guided to learn a set of information at college and use that knowledge to the best of our abilities to land a job. That’s basically it for most people. But, when that doesn’t move your financial freedom needle, what do you do? Well, fortunately, I’m here to tell you.
To make more money, you have four options. The first is to scale up your 9–5 income. You can do this by continuously acquiring expertise in trending areas of your field of work. Then, once this expertise is acquired, scale up the corporate ladder by moving companies every 2–3 years as this is how you can maximize your salary.
Alternatively, you can create some sort of side hustle. If you aren’t averse to putting in extra time after work then this may be the best alternative and can of course also be combined with the first option I shared. For me personally, I started freelancing on the side and this has dramatically changed my income over the years. My best advice is to learn a profitable skill you can sell to clients to make extra income versus doing low-skill work like joining the ridesharing economy or filling out garbage surveys online.
The third option is to start a business. When done right, a business will have much more earning potential than a job ever will as you leverage the power of scale to your advantage. Quite frankly, many businesses can be started online these days with little to no money so this should be an option you take to heart.
Finally, there’s income from your investments. This can come through rental income, dividend income and the like however, to get to the point where you have assets paying you, you must save up and acquire them first which leads us into step number three.
The third step in the TEAM model is Accumulate. You can literally make all the money you want but if you can’t save it then all your efforts will be for not. As such, you need to ensure that you are saving money every month for future use.
If you presently work a 9–5 job, set up automated savings deposits with your company. If you run a business, apportion some of your income for padding your bank account.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that there is a right and a wrong way to save money. The wrong way is to save every last penny you make. While your parents may have stressed the importance of saving, I can guarantee that relying on saving alone will never make you financially free. It’s simply too hard to get ahead when your money rots in a bank account earning you 0.05% a year.
Instead, you want to save just enough to top up your emergency fund and meet your monthly bills and after this threshold is achieved, you must then deploy that money to start getting ahead which leads us to the final step in the TEAM model.
The fourth step in the TEAM model is Multiply. If you paid attention in math class then you’ll know that numbers grow faster through multiplication than through addition and this simple lesson is key to getting you over the financial freedom hump.
Unfortunately, nearly 50% of Americans try to achieve financial freedom the hard way by working and saving alone rather than investing their money and having their money work for them. Sadly, most people still view money as a mode for exchange when in reality, it is so much more. Money is a tool and quite frankly, those who deploy it the best get the furthest ahead.
This is why if you want to start making meaningful strides in your quest for financial freedom, you must make your money work for you through multiplication.
Now, you may be wondering what assets you should be buying to see your wealth grow and I want to share both my approach to investing and my overarching sentiment around the topic.
For myself, I have a system set up that automatically contributes a certain amount of money every week into my pre-selected index funds. All it requires is doing a bit of research into the funds at the start of the year and the rest is taken care of. There’s no timing the market or worrying about stock prices. I simply dollar-cost average into the market every week and watch my wealth grow over time.
Quite frankly, I would much rather use my time to further cultivate my freelance skills, work on my business or spend time with my family and friends than stress over a slight flux in a stock’s price — but hey, that’s just me!
When it comes to which assets to invest in, I think most people are best served investing in the asset classes they know best. I know people who have gotten rich investing in stocks, real estate, cryptocurrency, commodities and the like. The more educated you are in a particular field, generally the better results you will have so put in the time to consider what areas you want to learn more about and then move your money in that direction.
The final piece of this puzzle is to simply “rinse and repeat”. Make more money, invest more money and then re-invest that money from those investments to again make more money. Then, sprinkle in a bit of patience and financial freedom will be soon within your grasp!