By Attorney John Mlnarik
In today’s free market society, individuals are free to spend the money they have and even the money they might have in the future. However, borrowing against your future can be risky, and a bad practice to get into. With all the freedoms we enjoy as U.S. citizens, those who are financially responsible and independent from lenders of all kinds are the ones who get to truly enjoy being free.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably not enjoying all the freedom our country has to offer. Credit card bills, student loans, medical bills, car loans and home loans add up fast, and before you know it, a large portion of your monthly income can become devoted to paying the interest on money you borrowed to have something right now instead of waiting until you saved the money.
Like achieving any goal in life, it is important to stick to the fundamentals. Take a look at what you need to survive and what is really important. Start by doing an inventory of your debts compared to your income and determine where you would like to be in 60 days, two years or five years. Then put a plan in place to achieve your goals. Remember that many things concerning finances are outside of your control so plan for the unexpected.
There are many ways to achieve your goals, and there is plenty of advice on how to do it online. However, the best advice won’t come from someone else – it will come largely from knowing yourself, how you’re motivated to save instead of spend and what kinds of rewards you’ll need along the way to keep your momentum going.
It’s often said that the best way to lead is by example, so find someone else who has been successful in working towards financial independence and ask them to help you do the same. But please don’t go to someone who is marketing themselves to others as a financial independence mentor. Instead, look for the unexpected, the frugal and the far-from-flashy members of your community. Those who are most often financially independent don’t go around trying to convince people that they are.
Finally, be honest with yourself about what needs to happen for you to reach your goals. If you have a mountain of consumer debt and little income, reach out to a good attorney and consider filing for bankruptcy. Wiping the slate clean could save you years of time and money.
Whatever you do, celebrate your independence and revel in your freedom of choice. Choose to save instead of buying a fidget spinner for each of your fingers and thumbs. Choose to focus on what is fundamentally important instead of what some marketing genius may have come up with to sell to people your age. Choose to spend your money and time doing things that will make you and your community a better place to live, and as a result, make you truly happy.