Financial Independence

Is Money Keeping You From Your Dream Life?

Have you ever felt like money or work is keeping you from your ideal life? Do you want to lead a particular lifestyle, but feel stuck in the daily grind? Do you feel married to your job? Do you have options to allow you to pursue other ventures, or do you feel limited because of the need to make money? Maybe you envision yourself with a family, and the ability to stay home with that family … to teach your children what you know, and to be there as they grow. Maybe you wish to travel the world and integrate into a new culture. Maybe you want to learn a new hobby or trade, start an organization, or research something that interests you. However, you cannot ignore the fact that you need money to live.

Everything I have just described encompasses what many people feel day to day. Unfortuntately, money remains to be the one thing that keeps people from living the life they dream of. Money is the most common reason why married couples get into arguments. Why societies go to war. Why we are stuck at work, ALL THE TIME.

We always say money shouldn’t matter, when the truth is, money affects our daily lives. Saying money does not matter is a flippant way of dismissing a topic that we should all be talking about. What we should be saying instead is that we want to work towards money not dictating the way we live our lives. That’s what financial independence is all about. We can use money as a tool in order to be free to live the lives that we wish to live. Because once you have control over your finances, it will no longer control you.

How to Reach Financial Independence

Financial Independence is defined as the status wherein one has enough income to pay for the rest of their life without depending on a job or on other people.

There are two methods to reach financial independence. The first is to increase income, and the second is to decrease spending. In all honesty, it will take both methods to make financial independence feasible.

Essentially, the end goal is to increase the gap between the money we bring in, and the money we dispense. The bigger the gap, the larger potential we have for complete freedom in the future.

I am writing this course to focus on the latter. If you follow everything I tell you in this course, you can master your budget and get closer to reaching F.I.

Now some of you may question why I choose to focus on the latter. I would be the first to admit that there is a cap, or a limit, with how much you can cut back in your spending. Meanwhile, increasing your income with side hustles or passive income streams is infinite. With this reasoning, it so follows that most people would prefer to take a course on increasing their income rather than mastering a budget. But is this logic correct? Why do I choose to focus on mastering a budget first, before focusing on making more money?

Why is mastering the budget the first step to financial independence?

Foundations First

Before you can start saving for financial independence, you need to set the foundation. Financial independence does not come to those searching for the American pseudo-dream of more riches, more status symbols, and frankly, more STUFF. The fact of the matter is, increasing your income does not help if you have unruly spending habits. Trust me, I would know.

I have gone through more jobs than you can imagine. Always trying to side-hustle my way through life, I have been a tutor for high-school kids, a Jamba Juice trainor and employee, a visuals specialist who makes the mannequins look pretty in the windows of Banana Republic stores, a full-time dental assistant, a librarian, a dentist, a writer, a dog-walker, and a bread baker. I have lived more lives than you can imagine through my jobs. I always thought, if I could earn just a little bit more, then I would be able to save money and work my way towards freedom. But it never worked!

I am a dentist by trade, and there are a few observations that I would like to share. A majority of my colleagues are medical professionals who make more than decent money. You would think that these individuals would be swimming in that money. However, many of my colleagues are swimming in debt. They spend their hard-earned dollars the minute they get paid, on frivolities and status symbols that make them appear rich, but that also keep them working for forty years until it is time to retire and die. I see people with good jobs have mental breakdowns and panic attacks when life throws them a curve ball, such as a medical emergency or a car repair. They struggle because their credit cards are maxed out, and they have no money to address the issue. Conversely, I see patients at the dental office who work in construction, or plumbing, or painting, and who have no credit history yet are capable of addressing the issue of a broken tooth that same day without breaking a sweat.

Lifestyle creep is a very common occurrence that befalls many people who make six figures or more. In fact, a statistic states that of everyone who has ever won the lottery, only 5% of them stay rich. The rest have blown through their money and are now back to where they were prior to their winnings, or even worse off.

In my case, I juggled three jobs in undergrad AND graduated in three years to save money on tuition, but still went to happy hour every Friday night and shopped at Banana Republic on my “lunch break”. No wonder I was always in debt.

The truth of the matter is, most Americans don’t know how to budget! We aren’t taught to save money. Instead, we are fed reasons to spend. We are shown things we can attain. We are promised a life of ease and comfort and convenience through the things and services that we buy. We are taught to identify “good deals”, which essentially promote spending even more money on things we don’t really need. Before we can reap the benefits of increasing income, we need to learn how to control where our money goes.

Address that which is in your control

If you are like most people, you are probably working for or with someone else. Unless you are an entrepreneur or self-employed, it may be difficult to increase your income. Getting a raise or getting hired for a different, more well-paid position depends on the employer. Which means you cannot immediately increase your income until you get to that point in your career. But budgeting can start RIGHT NOW. It does not depend on other people promoting you, but rather, it simply depends on you being ready and willing to begin the process. Your budget is already in your control. Care to get started?

Mastering A Budget Takes Up Less Time and Effort than Increasing Your Income

If anyone ever tells you that mastering your budget is hard work, don’t listen to them! In this course, I will walk you through how to make budgeting simple. On the flip side, increasing your income requires putting in more effort at work, networking, and/or looking for new jobs. If you want to increase your income doing side hustles, that requires even more work and takes time away from your personal life. And if you want to increase your income by creating your own business, imagine how much extra effort that will be!

In contrast, once budgeting is set up, it is a recurring process that continually saves you money over time. The time it takes to set up a budget is way less than the time you put into creating a side-hustle. So it’s nice to start with the budget first in order to save money right away without taking away from your personal life.