Imagine your life without paying your monthly bills, no longer working for a paycheck or limited by debt obligations? It’s time to stop imagining says Brian Colombana.
You can achieve financial freedom in less than 10 years if you follow the simple steps below. If you’re not struggling with debt and have some extra cash lying around, then congratulations.
You’re ahead of the game. This is for everyone else who needs to rescue themselves from financial bondage.
There are four simple steps you need to follow in order to achieve financial freedom:
1) Stop Living beyond Your Means
You must stop living beyond your means. And I don’t mean buying $5 coffees, or designer handbags.
That’s just a symptom of the problem. I’m talking about the bigger picture. Living beyond your means is any lifestyle that costs more than you earn on a regular basis. If you’re in debt and struggling to make ends meet each month, then you know what I mean here. It might seem like a small miracle to get out of debt and start saving, but don’t drop your guard explains Brian Colombana.
Even if you’re no longer in debt, you’ll find it impossible to save money and build wealth unless you stop living beyond your means. Debt is a symptom of living beyond your means, not the cause.
2) Set Yourself a ‘Minimum’
There are 2 options here.
Option 1 is to reduce your expenses until you’re living off half of your income, then save the rest.
Option 2 is to follow Dave Ramsey’s method and live off ‘gazelle intensity’ by committing yourself to saving the first 10% of any money you receive after expenses.
So just start cutting expenses until you’re living on ‘minimum’ of half your income or 10% of your income, depending on which method suits you best. Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover is a great resource here if you want to give his method a go.
3) Get Rid Of Debt
You must get rid of all debt as soon as possible. If you have credit card or personal loan debt, then your first step is to contact each of your creditors and negotiate a repayment plan that fits with the cash you have available.
Your aim is to reduce interest paid on debts, not to pay off your debt in full immediately. Don’t worry about completing your debts in a certain order. Just start repayment on the debt with the highest interest rate.
The general rule of thumb is to pay off your smallest debt first, but if you’re small personal loan has an astronomically high interest rate then focus on that one first. If you have student loans, then see if you qualify for an income-based repayment plan, which will stop your debt from spiraling out of control. If not, call each creditor and negotiate a repayment plan that works for you says Brian Colombana.
Credit card balances should be paid off as soon as possible – even if you have to pay off the balance in full every month – because credit cards always have higher interest rates than personal loans and interest rates on student loans are lower than all of the others.
4) Get a ‘Side’ Income
Even if you follow steps 1 and 2, you won’t be able to save enough money every month to hit your savings goals in 10 years.
So we need some way of increasing the cash we have available each month without getting a second (or third) job.
The best way to do this is through side income – or increasing the cash you earn from your current ‘main’ source of income. You can start a side hustle using your existing skills and/or talents to make money on the side, such as writing an eBook, tutoring (maths, science, English etc.), teaching yoga or dance classes, offering to take wedding photos or event videos, becoming a virtual administrative assistant…the list is endless.
If you follow steps 1), 2) and 3), then you’ll be financially free in 10 years. Even if your side income doesn’t earn as much as your full-time income, you can still save at least 20% of your total income each month says Brian Colombana. This is more than enough to reach financial freedom by age 40 without having to work at all.