In this day and age, "financial freedom" is not an unfamiliar term to many anymore. We've seen friends and family members join classes and promote their products for a secondary income, all using financial freedom as a goal and motivation. But, is financial freedom really that easy to achieve? On the other hand, is it that hard to actually be financially free?
We're not talking about having millions of dollars to spend on private jets and over-the-top parties, but the ability to not be controlled by your job and money. Today, we'll talk about 5 easy steps you can start right now which will bring you 5 steps closer to your own version of financial freedom!
1. Set Life Goals
Of course, you can't achieve a goal if there isn't one. So, first things first, you'd have to set a target. As everyone has different needs, there is no "magic number" that will be suitable for all. For some, having RM5000 a month is more than enough, while others aim for the magical million. Whatever it is, you have to decide. Remember that it helps to have a definite and achievable goal, such as a S.M.A.R.T goal, so put some thought into it and write it down!
2. Budget Monthly
The best way to control your expenses is by making a budget. The more religious ones would give themselves budgets every week, but a monthly budget is already a good start. List down all your monthly income (salary, allowance etc.) and your monthly expenses (food, bills etc.). Now, some expenses might change each month so just make a good guess and you can further improve the numbers in the future.
*Tip: If you have annual expenses such as insurance premiums, you can break them down into monthly values then transfer them to a separate account for "safe keeping" and include them as a monthly expense. That way, when you actually do have to pay it, it won't make a big dent in your budget as you already have that money ready!
(READ: 6 Steps To Make A Monthly Budget)
3. Pay Off Debt
Debt is like a hole in the bottom of your ship that you can't fix unless you remove all the water. The higher the interest rate, the bigger the hole. Debt can come in many forms such as education loans, credit card debt, mortgage payments and so on and each will slowly add up and gnaw away at your income without you realizing. Before you realize, all your money comes in from one hand and goes away from the other. There are a few ways to pay off your debt but it seems many suggest the "Snowball" or "Avalanche" methods. Do remember that there are also good debts and bad debts, so don't shy away too much from borrowing if you know what you're doing!
(READ: How To Pay Off All Your Debt)
4. Save Up An Emergency Fund
You've probably been in situations where you require a relatively large amount of cash. This could be something small such as your car breaking down or your smartphone dying on you, or it could be much bigger such as losing your job or a medical emergency (touchwood!). Regardless, there's no reason not to have an emergency stash so you can sleep better at night. Everyone's requirement would be different based on many factors, like whether your investments are very liquid or your parents are still able to support you, but a good place to start would be 3 months of salary.
5. Invest The Rest
Now that you have a goal, you know how much is leftover each month from your budget, you're working towards clearing off your debts, and you have an emergency fund ready, it is time to work towards that goal. Investing is the process of having your money work for you, and thanks to the compounding effect, the earlier you do this, the higher your chance of retiring comfortably. Don't know where to start? Check out the 4 types of investments you can start with right now with as little capital as RM100.
So, are you ready? Set? Bookmark this page now and take your first steps towards financial freedom now!
*We are by no means certified financial planners and this article should be taken as knowledge sharing and not official financial advice. Investments have risks and you should do due diligence before investing.