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The S.I.M.P.L.E. Way to Wealth, A Biblical Approach to Financial Freedom
There are lots of financial plans and planners out there...but how do you know which one is right? How do you know if it will work...and work for you?
This is my first Hub, but as an ex-Banker, former Financial Advisor, small business owner, and author of "The S.I.M.P.L.E. Way to Wealth, A Biblical Approach to Financial Freedom", I thought this would be a good place to start.
Break the chains
No one has to be poor. Poverty is simply the result of the choices we make. I don't mean that anyone chooses to be poor (although some might). I mean the choices we make lead to either wealth or poverty.
People stay poor, not because that's the way it is or has to be, but because they don't know any other way.
It only takes one generation to break the chains of poverty...to change an individual or family's future forever. Even the poorest of the poor can become wealthy. It may take them forty years to do it (that's a generation), but I sure wish someone had shown me forty-years ago, what I'm about to show you...I'd be a millionaire by now.
We make financial planning, like most things in life, too complex. In reality, becoming wealthy and retiring comfortably is a very simple, albeit boring, process.
With few exceptions, anyone can become wealthy and retire comfortably. All it takes is desire and commitment...and someone to show you the way. So, here's the way.
Live for Today...Prepare for Tomorrow
There is an old adage that says, "Those who fail to plan, plan to fail." Or as the Cheshire Cat said to Alice in "Through the Looking Glass", "If you don't know where you're going...any road will take you there."
The "road" to poverty or wealth is a two-lane highway...everyone is going one way or the other. If you're spending more than you make, you're on the way to poverty. If you're making more than you spend, you're on the way to wealth. It's that simple.
The Good News is: if you find yourself going in the wrong direction, all you have to do is stop, turn around, and start going in the right direction.
The S.I.M.P.L.E. Way
Obviously I can't cover every aspect in this post, so I will just touch on the main points (I've made the eBook is available at no charge to Hubber's who want to know more).
Here's the S.I.M.P.L.E. way to financial freedom.
S - Save 10% of your income: Ask any senior citizen what they would do different if they could start over...and "save more money" will be at the top of most lists. Everyone knows they should save, but the savings rate in the United States is the lowest it's ever been. Sowing and reaping is the most important principle in financial planning. If you have no savings, you have no "seed" to sow...and if you sow nothing, you'll reap nothing. Imagine how much money you would have in the bank now, if you had started saving just ten percent when you started earning an income.
I - Invest your savings: There are lots of books on investing and lots of ways to invest...some good, some not so good. The simple way is to buy one good "Balanced" mutual fund. I know it's boring, but our portfolio consistently outperforms both the Dow and the S&P. In 2007 we earned over 10%...the Dow and the S&P returned considerably less. Unless you have significant assets to invest (and even then) you don't need a financial advisor to invest wisely in the stock market. All you need is one good "Balanced" mutual fund.
M - Make systematic investments: If you're investing in a good Balance fund, you don't need to concern yourself with the ups and downs of the stock market. Simply invest the same amount each month...in good times and bad. When the market is down, you'll purchase more shares and when the market goes back up you'll reap a harvest. It's easy to get caught up trying to make the "big score" with the latest "hot stock", but let me assure you as a former Financial Advisor...by the time you "discover" the stock in magazines and newspapers, it's on its way down. Don't try to compete with the "pros." They know the business and the business behind the business...you probably don't. The Stock Market is a very treacherous place...even for the "pros". Stay out of harm's way and just invest the same amount each month in a good "Balanced" mutual fund. I know it's boring...but it works. In 1999 our portfolio returned over 99%...we almost doubled our money in one year. I'll take boring over risk any day!
P - Prepare for the worst: Get a will; and make sure you have enough insurance to protect your assets. This is a subject that requires considerably more space than this post will allow, but don't get suckered into buying Term insurance as your foundation. There are reasons to buy Term, but the foundation of any good financial plan is a Whole Life policy...one that builds cash value. Term insurance is "death" insurance. Only a policy that builds cash value can be realistically called Life Insurance. The simple way is to buy a Variable Universal Life policy. It combines insurance and an investment account. It's the best of both worlds. Want to ensure the financial well-being of your children? Buy a $100,000 VUL policy on them when they're born (the premium is about $360 a year) and they will retire millionaires...even if they do nothing else.
L - Live within your means: This should be a no-brainer, but sadly most people live well above their incomes. To make matters worse, most couples use the income of both spouses as their base-line. This is a dangerous way to live. If one of those incomes stops for any reason (loss of job, pregnancy, etc.) not including premature death or disability, you're in T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
E - Eliminate debt: If you do nothing else, get out of debt! Debt is biggest killer of hopes and dreams. It robs people of their futures and destroys everything it touches. It doesn't take much money to live a happy healthy wealthy life...it takes a lot of money to live in debt. There are lots of ways to get out of debt, but the first thing you need to do to get out of debt...is stop going into debt!
That's it...that's the S.I.M.P.L.E. way. Sorry, there are no magic formulas, secret incantations, or special prayers to recite. There are no "hot stocks" to buy, or MLM businesses to start. It's just simple arithmetic. It's boring, but it works.
Do the math. At twenty years old, if you earn minimum wage and never earn more than minimum wage your entire working career; if you save ten percent (about a hundred dollars a month) and invest it in a Balanced mutual fund...at retirement you should have over a million dollars in the bank. It's not the same as a million today, but it's a lot better than trying to live on Social Security...and that's investing just a hundred dollars a month, nothing more, nothing less.
Here is wisdom
Life is not a destination...it's a journey. And a journey, as we know, begins with the first step.
Chances are there is nothing here that you didn't already know. Everyone knows they should save, very few do. Everyone knows they should live within their means, very few do. You see the problem is not in the "knowing what to do"...the problem is in the "doing what you know."
Here is wisdom: "If you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always gotten."
You can't change the world, its fate was sealed long ago...but you can change your world.
Sure, it's easier if you start when you're young, but that shouldn't stop you if you're older. I didn't start until I was 46. We were $50,000 in debt with no savings, no insurance, and no retirement plan. I'm now semi-retired at 59, own several companies, have over $250,000 tucked away in retirement accounts and do pretty much whatever I want to do...when I want to do it. And that's a lot better than it was thirteen years ago when I was living paycheck to paycheck; afraid to answer the phone...wondering which creditor was calling.
It wasn't easy, but it wasn't long before the wolves backed away from the door; and within five years we went from $50,000 in debt and no savings to $50,000 in savings and no debt. It wasn't easy, but God never said it would be easy; only that it would be worth it. It is worth it!
There are lots of financial plans and planners to choose from, but if you're looking for a plan that's simple to understand and easy to implement, try God's way. I can't vouch for the others, but I can tell you from experience...God's way, works!
You can do it. All you have to do is follow the S.I.M.P.L.E. way to wealth:
- Save 10% of your income
- Invest your savings
- Make systematic investments
- Prepare for the worst
- Live within your means
- Eliminate debt
It's that simple.
That's it...that's my first Hub. I hope it helps.
Oops, I almost forgot, here's the link to the special Hubbers page to download a free copy of "The S.I.M.P.L.E. Way to Wealth."