When it comes to financial independence, it often seems that there are certain members of society who just have a better chance of succeeding than everyone else. In fact, there is a anecdote that makes the rounds every so often that claims if you take a group of millionaires; remove all of their knowledge, wealth, and experience; and stick them in the middle of a desert with nothing but a gallon of water, almost every single one of them will be back to millionaire status within 10 years. While it is hardly ethical or scientific to actually put this theory to a test, the basic premise is pretty reasonable: the wealthy are wealthy because finances, investments, and making money are what they're good at doing.
Financial Independence: Your Goals, Your Life
While it may not be your life goal to become a millionaire, it would be difficult to convince anyone that being financially independent or comfortably wealthy wouldn't be a nice break from the routine of everyday life. Yet few people really take advantage of what they currently have to try and amass the kind of wealth that will allow them an early retirement or that beach house in the Grand Caymans.
The primary culprit? Not having solid, attainable fiscal goals.
This may seem oversimplified at first, but the fact is, most people view financial investments or long-term financial planning as something that can wait or that can be set aside when everyday life gets in the way.
The best financial advisors and investment firms, however, will tell you that the first thing you can do to start making the kinds of decisions that will create a solid portfolio of wealth for the future is to sit down and really outline what it is you want and what steps you can take to get there.
For example, imagine a family whose three children are only a year apart in age. They're young right now, but the parents one day hope to see all of them in the college of their dreams. There are a number of steps that need be taken to make that goal a reality, and not all of them have to do with stepping up the piano lessons or moving to a neighborhood with the best public schools. In order to reasonably put three kids through college, it is best to create a financial plan with actual, numerical results at the end. Saving whatever is left at the end of the month is a good first step, but unless you sit down and look at what kinds of investments that money needs to go into to get the necessary percentage increase in 15 years, you aren't following a financial plan – you're just saving money.
The Bottom Line
Understanding that difference – the difference between saving money and following a financial plan – is what really separates the millionaires from the rest of the population.
The good news is, in today's world, you don't have to have the know-how yourself to move from saving to creating an investment plan. Thanks to financial advisors and other professional firms dedicated to turning fiscal dreams into realities, everyone can tap into the knowledge it takes to move – if not quite to millionaire status – as close as necessary to live the life you deserve.