ROADMAP TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM

We all dream of living a life where we don’t have to work all day to pay for our needs and luxuries. Where we have full freedom over our time and not be bound by a company’s bundy clock. To be able to enjoy the greater things in life without having to worry about our expenses. This state of living is what we call Financial Freedom.

Financial Freedom is achieved by having assets that generate more income than our expenses. It may sound simple, but it is not easy to achieve. The sad reality is that only a handful of people actually achieve it. The good thing is, though it may be hard, it is not impossible. We just need to develop the right habits, learn the proper skills and most important of all, develop discipline.

Here are the 6 basic steps to achieve financial freedom:

DEVELOPING FINANCIAL LITERACY

Financial Literacy means being able to understand the basics of money and finance in general. This involves learning how money is earned, managed and invested. This is achieved by attending financial seminars or reading books, and of course, following One Peso A Day. Here are some articles to help you improve financial literacy:

1) Different types of investment instruments – Learn the difference between stocks, bonds, forex, etc.

2) How the stock market works – A simple explanation of how the stock market works

3) What is Recession – Understand what it means when the economy is in a recession

4) Biggest Financial Scams – A list of the biggest financial scams in history

5) What is Bitcoin – 1 Bitcoin is currently valued at around $3,000. Here is a quick guide to its basics

IMPROVING CASH FLOW

Cash flow has two types, the inward transfer of cash thru salaries and other sources of income and outward transfer thru expenses. Your main goal is to always limit the amount of cash you spend. More important than how much you earn is how much you actually save. Think of it as a video game. Every time you spend more than you earn, you lose a life, no seriously, you can literally ruin your life if you don’t manage your cash flow.

Here are some useful articles:

1) How to improve personal cash flow – Learn the basics of improving your cash flow

2) The power of compounding – Learn how small expenses can slowly add up to thousands

3) Financial cost of peer pressure – Understand how the people around you affect your bank account

4) 5 ways to make money online – Improve your cash flow by earning additional income

5) Importance of making a budget – Creating a budget is a great way to manage your expenses

MANAGING YOUR DEBT

Debt is directly related to how well you manage your cash flow. When you are unable to reduce your expenses you end up needing to take a loan in order to pay for important things like rent, utilities or tuition fees. Warren Buffett once said, “If you keep buying things that are not important, you will end up selling things that are.” Life will be very lonely when you end up selling your house and is forced to sleep in your Ferrari.

Here are some useful articles:

1. How to manage your debt – A quick and easy guide to managing debt

MAINTAIN AN EMERGENCY FUND

The term emergency in finance pertains to unforeseen events and tragedies that would require you to spend large sums of money. Let me make it perfectly clear, this does NOT include a rush sale at the department store or a new flagship smartphone release or other unnecessary luxuries. Remember DISCIPLINE is the name of the game.

A portion of your monthly savings should always be allocated to your emergency fund. Maintain an equivalent of at least 3-6 months worth of your income in your fund. And every time you use a portion of this fund(again NOT for shopping purposes) make sure to replenish it once your means permit you.

PROTECT YOURSELF

Yup, I’m referring to insurance. Living in the Philippines, insurance is thought of as a taboo for a majority of the population. Insurance agents are often referred to here as the annoying people at the mall with freebies. I’m not hating on insurance agents, I myself am one. That’s just the reality in our country.

Insurance is important for the following reasons:

a) Death is a douche – He is the equivalent of a bad party guest. You’ll never know when he’ll come and who he will go after. So you best be prepared.

b) Your family – You can’t help them when you’re dead. Harsh I know, but that is the truth. However what you can do is to be able to help them financially if death does decide to troll you.

c) It is a form of investment – Insurance companies now offer a product called VUL. Which basically provides you an investment in mutual funds as well as life insurance. Yeah, it is a bit confusing. I will explain it further when I write my post about insurance.

Here are some useful articles:

1. Importance of having life insurance – A more in-depth explanation on why we have to insure ourselves

INVEST

Only after you’ve accomplished the first 5 steps that you start investing. And only invest a portion of your savings that won’t leave you financially crippled in case something goes wrong with your investment. As a rule of thumb, this is equivalent to more or less 20% of your total savings.

Invest in things which you have a comfortable level of knowledge on (Remember Step 1: Financial Literacy). Taking an excerpt from Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor, “INVEST do not speculate”. Let me clarify that for you. In simple terms, investing is putting your money into something you have put significant effort into studying and researching. Speculating, on the other hand, is very similar to gambling. You take your life savings to Las Vegas and pray to the heavens it triples in value.

There are several things to invest on depending on your risk appetite. These include but is not limited to stocks, real estate, startup companies, and commodities. Most importantly, invest in yourself. Attend training, seminars and purchase financial books.

Here are some useful articles:

1. Value investing 101 – Learn what it really means to invest and not just speculate

2. How to spot an investment scam – Protect yourself from scammers trying to steal your money

3. How to purchase Bitcoin in the Philippines – Step by step guide on how to invest in Cryptocurrency