If you want to be financially free and quit your job at a young age, you will need to think and act differently to the herd.
If you adopt the same approach as most people (striving for a high-paying job, two nice cars and the most expensive house you can afford), it stands to reason that you will probably achieve the same results as most people
For our generation, this is likely to mean working until at least 65 – and possibly far beyond, as retirement ages look set to increase to 70 – and taking a substantial cut in earnings upon retirement.
You will need to think differently and be prepared to take another course of action.
From rags to riches
An interesting statistic is that a high percentage of self-made millionaires in many countries are immigrants.
There could be any number of reasons for this.
My view is that immigrants are more likely to become self-made millionaires because they are less inclined to be restricted by generally accepted rules.
They do not worry what a close circle of friends and family may think of their strategies; they only concern themselves with delivering results.
Too many of us do not dare to take the different road for fear of failure, and instead worry about what our peer group will say about us if we fail.
The road less travelled
Here’s a short anecdote: while travelling in Darwin, my wife and I were threatened on a bus by a drunken old lady and her man.
The driver made the couple leave the bus, but the old lady returned with a broken brick to smash the window right next to our faces. Nothing much came of it and we were OK.
I later recounted this story to a friend in Sydney, and he said, ‘You are a millionaire, with all those shares and properties, and you take a bus?
A bus! I would never, ever travel on a bus out of principle. I always take taxis. Everywhere.’
Although I didn’t respond by saying so, a gross oversimplification of the truth is that I’m a millionaire because I am prepared to take a bus.
You may not believe that small savings make a difference, but if over time you carefully consider the impact of all your expenditure, seemingly small changes can make a monumental difference to your wealth.
This is especially true if you choose to invest the savings in appreciating assets.
Even Warren Buffett has been known to pick up a 10 cent coin from the floor of an elevator: ‘…the start of my next million.’
Outside the square
If you are young and the house you want to live in seems forever beyond your reach, think outside the box.
Cancel useless subscriptions to magazines you don’t read or the gym you don’t use.
Get a cheaper mobile phone plan and invest the savings in shares or an index fund.
If, unlike me, you have wealthy parents, ask them to join you in buying an investment unit, with them supplying some of the deposit, and buy in a cheaper suburb or city that you can afford.
Then, you will at least have a foothold in the property market, so that it doesn’t seem to increase in value while remaining forever beyond your reach.
The options are too numerous to list here
At some stages of the economic cycle you may be able to find a mortgage broker who can help you find a bank that will lend you 95% or even 100% of an investment property’s value, and then, perhaps not too far down the track, that investment property will grow significantly in value so that you can refinance it and buy three more investment properties.
The specifics will differ for each person, but the fundamental concept is the same.
If you can begin to appreciate and believe that it is possible to escape the rat race, then you will automatically begin to reduce the wasting of money on unnecessary items. Start small and grow big.
This is the very essence of wealth creation through investment.
Remember, it is all too easy to be a lemming and to follow your peers over the financial cliff – no individual lemming ever received bad press for failing in the conventional way.
It takes guts to take the different path.
This is an excerpt from the book – Get a Financial Grip – a simple plan for financial freedom by Pete Wargent.