India got its independence as a result of sacrifices, passion and commitment. Financial independence, in a way, is similar. Sacrifices in the form of low expenses, passion to work hard and earn money, commitment in the form of continuous savings are some ways to achieve financial independence. Independence is freedom of deciding your actions. Financial independence is a dream that most working class aspire, but fail to achieve for several reasons. The big question: Is financial independence achievable? The answer is YES. The below mantras will not only help achieve financial independence but also help sustain that independence along with your responsibilities.
Mantra 1: Stop procrastination. Procrastination is the biggest enemy of planning and execution. All planning and zero execution is a sheer waste of time and yields no result. Therefore, no planning is complete unless it is properly executed, and therefore should be strictly followed. The only correct timing of investment is today as yesterday was an opportunity lost. Today is an opportunity gained for a better tomorrow. It is always wise to plan but the more wiser thing to do is to implement the same.
Mantra 2: Start Saving. The way to achieve financial independence is through your earnings. What you earn today should be preserved to spend tomorrow. Savings is what initial capital requirement is in setting up any business, and the capital is required until it remains fully functional. Therefore, one must set aside 20-25% of monthly earnings. Savings should be a habit rather than a one-time thing. Saving consistently is important.
Mantra 3: Investment. Saving is important, but equally significant is allocation of funds in profitable avenues. A concept called 'time value of money' plays a crucial role. For instance, the value of Rs 100 today will be Rs 98 tomorrow. This is because of inflation and growth of economy. Therefore, any money lying in your pocket will depreciate and render it ineffective on each passing day. Investments is a key way to build wealth and achieve financial freedom.
Mantra 4: Cut down on unnecessary expenses like eating out, shopping, unplanned purchases etc. It is important to plan your purchases in advance and then buy. This is based on the theory called 'save first, buy later'. This way your other commitments are not ignored and the month end cash crunch is resolved.
Mantra 5: Say no to debts. Loans soak up most of your earnings and leave us with insufficient funds not enough to meet our daily expenses. Therefore, think twice before availing loans or finances. Avail them only if necessary. It is never wise to buy a car if you don’t need it or buy a house when EMI would leave you with little to spend.
Mantra 6: Contingency Fund. This is as important as savings in achieving financial independence. Life is full of uncertainties. Any medical emergency or loss of job may put us in a spot of bother. Savings are initiated for certain purpose, liquidating them for contingencies may leave you behind in achieving your goals. An emergency fund is important. Generally an amount equal to six months expenses should be deemed sufficient for building a contingency fund.
Mantra 7: Earn more to save more. The equation is simple --- the more your earn, the more you save. The more you save, the faster you achieve financial independence. Try to save and invest as much as possible from your total income and try and increase your earnings every two years.
Mantra 8: Patience, discipline and review. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Financial freedom will not be achieved within a fortnight. Patience and discipline are the key to success. Financial instruments can be risky, but the wise thing to do in volatile times is to stay invested. Periodic review of your investment is mandatory. (The author is head of Money Mantra, a Mumbai-based financial advisory firm. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)