We are the product of two people we had no control over. For every one of us, who we are, or who we become is our own personal journey & responsibility. In your past or present, you may have had or are having unfathomable challenges. Or, maybe you have been very fortunate and never had trouble come your way. Regardless of your past or present, you are here, right now, and things are going to change. Can you handle change, either positive or negative?
We can’t tell our future with certainty, except that we are mortal and we all die. If you are a decent person, you will have people you care for and who care for you. How we look after one another will help shape their futures and our own. It’s important that we can act individually, but there is always a degree of collectiveness that is important whenever we make decisions. If we don’t consider the effects on others, we run the risk of purely selfish behavior. Sometimes being selfish is hard to see in ourselves, but it is pretty easy to see in others.
Maybe because my hair is graying (others would say it is gray), I spend more time thinking about the longer-term future of the world and the people I care most about. I wonder not only about my children, but what their children’s futures will look like. And I question what I can do to help influence their worlds to be better.
Our life can be defined in multiple ways: our purpose, work, family, passions, hobbies…. I’m pretty fortunate because my work involves not only my family, but many other families. My purpose is to see my family and the families I work with have the greatest opportunity for financial freedom possible. For this to happen, there are rules that need to be generally adhered to in order for any individual or family to gain financial freedom. Understanding first that most of us have the necessity to trade our time for money. Sufficient money, in case you have any doubt, ensures we meet our minimum obligations: food, clothing & shelter for those we are responsible for. Most everything beyond these essentials are luxuries we can choose to spend our disposable income on or not.
My definition of financial freedom is when an individual is no longer obligated to trade their time for money. Many may see this as “retirement”. I see it as the time in a person’s life where they have the freedom to make the choices that are most important to them. They may still continue to trade time for money, but they do it because they want to do it, not because they have to do it. How many greeters at Walmart are there because they want to be?
When I coached basketball, I loved statistics. Statistics didn’t lie and could be made impersonal. After any game, the stats showed the team what worked and what didn’t. If we lost, we could see why. Too many turnovers, lack of rebounding, low percentage on foul shots made. If we won, the stats would clearly show us why. We could see as a team what we should celebrate and what needed attention.
No blaming players, coaches, referees or anything else that could come to mind. Only our lack of our ability to execute showed up as to why we did or didn’t accomplish our goals. Which in many cases was simply to improve our stats against our opponents. We couldn’t hang our hats on simply winning as the goal. We’d all have been terribly disappointed in ourselves had we.
The same can be said of anything we do in life. The preparation and ongoing analysis of why we are going to do or did something become critically important to ensure we keep moving forward. Doing this on your own often fails because we don’t really want to be as honest or keep ourselves as accountable as we should. This is why the world of coaching is continuing to ever expand, not only in sports, but in business and in our personal lives. I’d imagine money spent on a personal coach, or anger/stress management is money well spent. If not for our own benefit, surely for the people important to us.
When it comes to financial coaching, this is one of the greatest truths to understand. There are only two things that you can spend your money on: things that can appreciate over time, and things that most likely won’t. The greater percentage of your money that goes into things that can appreciate, the more you move toward financial freedom, as well as the thought process that will keep you moving in the right direction. Keep in mind, things that can appreciate aren’t only material things, but also health and personal growth.
Our lives are not like sports where it is obvious whether a team is having a winning or losing season. it isn’t as easy to identify the people who are winning at getting closer to financial freedom. Ironically, those who may appear to the “poor” among us may be doing the best. They may drive very basic cars, live in the house they bought 20 years ago, maybe they don’t dress as trendy as they could. A casual observer may form the opinion that folks like this are struggling. Then there are the opposites. Our world of relatively cheap money, and our ability to borrow, may give others the false appearance of success. Very often we use debt to improve our outwardly appearance beyond what is necessary.
The ultimate financial judge is not what others think of us. Rather how congruent our behavior is with what we’d like to accomplish. Living a life that isn’t congruent creates a false reality which could and often hurts us and the ones we love. I can’t imagine the pain people are going through knowing they are getting further behind if it was in their control not to be. If you have any doubt that the ranks of those in excess of what they can afford is growing, check out this article.
Your statistics won’t lie to you. When you know and own yours, you can do better, and you will.