You don’t need to earn a lot of money to achieve financial freedom quickly. You just need to follow two simple rules:
- Live within your means (and)
- Invest the rest.
I’ve never paid myself more than $60,000 a year, I don’t live frugally, I spend $700 / month on food, entertainment and other stuff plus I donate $100 monthly. Yet I still manage to invest nearly $18,000 each and every year.
Isn’t it about time you make a spreadsheet, face your own truth and make some changes in your life? Take a look at mine and see how you compare, look for places you can improve and make decisions about what expenses truly bring you sustained happiness and which ones are holding you back from achieving your potential.
To all of my entrepreneurial friends, if you read just one book this year, I strongly recommend this be it.
After mentoring nearly a hundred entrepreneurs in 2015, and my going through my umpteenth own self-discovery phase, I’ve noticed one of the biggest mistakes made by almost everyone is a burning desire to do more. This is the not only the wrong approach to achieving success; as you gain momentum in different areas you continue to de-focus yourself and push yourself further away from achieving the potential that you are capable of in any singular focus.
Does that $30,000 kitchen renovation really make you that much happier? Did you need granite countertops, new stainless steel appliances, built-in double ovens and recessed ceiling lighting?
Alternately, would new modern cabinetry with a standard countertop at a tenth of the price have been sufficient?
What about that $30,000 pool install? Did it need to be installed in-ground? Did you also need to replace your patio and extend it with high-end interlocking stone?
Alternately would an above ground pool that was a tenth the price have been sufficient?
Do these “luxurious” upgrades really bring you increased sustainable happiness or are you a victim to consumerism, short-term lust for higher-end physical possessions and, of course, trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Today you have your annual physical at the doctor’s office. You wake up and enjoy a hearty breakfast and then head out for your appointment. All looks well and you’re sent for the typical tests that accompany your annual physical and then your appointment is done and you’re off to work. One week later you get a call from your doctor’s office asking you to come in to discuss your physical. You oblige and head in as instructed.
The receptionist calls you in and you sit down on the patient bed. The doctor walks in and closes the door. He flips through his notes, looks at you and slowly mutters the words “I’m afraid I have some bad news.” Your heart skips a beat as you hear him mutter some words about results and re-focus long enough to hear the dreaded words “I’m afraid you only have one month to live”.
Perspective is a major factor in everyone’s happiness. Two people can live the exact same scenario yet somehow they will almost always interpret them entirely differently. Let’s take a look at a similar scenario described by two different people. Which perspective do you want to frame your mindset with?
Personal blog by our founder, Brent Mondoux
December 15th 2011
Just as any other work day, I awoke to the sound of the alarm clock. Sleeping on the opposite side of a king-sized bed, I was forced to crawl across to silence the irritating buzzing. As I went to move a sharp jarring pain radiated from the center of my back outwards. I couldn’t move, I was frozen in pain. I tried to breathe through it, assuming I had just pulled a back muscle as I had done previously, but the pain wouldn’t subside. I forced myself across the bed, struggling through the pain and silenced the damn alarm.
It felt like it took forever to get myself out of bed and into a vertical position. Getting dressed that day felt like the most tormenting ordeal I have ever endured. Far worse than an abscess tooth; far worse than a broken wrist; it was awful. I made my way downstairs to face my wife (Nat) and my son (Aiden). They knew right away that something was wrong. Visibly anguished, I bemoaned that I needed to go to the hospital. Nat looked at me and asked in concern “What happened? What did you do?” to which I confirmed “I don’t know. I must have pulled something in my back while sleeping but I can’t take this pain. I need to get it checked”. She acknowledged my comments and proceeded to get Aiden ready to drop off at school.
We drove up the street to drop Aiden off. Not wanting to alarm him, I put on my “big boy” face and grimaced through the pain as I got out of the car to hug him before he headed in. And then we were off. While heading to Ottawa, Nat was making small talk trying to comfort me from my pain, I could tell that she could sense my concern as well. She looked over at me and said “I think you should go to the medical center first. You won’t wait hours to be seen.” I agreed that it was a good idea.
By the end of 2011, I had completed nine years of real estate investment courses. Acquisition, cashflow, buy & hold, flipping, landlording, rent to own, taxation law… the list goes on and on.
Despite my educational knowledge, I still had not yet purchased a single investment property. Even though I had successfully run my own company for the previous fifteen years with positive cashflow in each and every year, I was still afraid to take the plunge.
I kept asking myself “How could I take so many calculated risks but be afraid to take this one?” I was stuck in a state of fear commonly coined as “analysis paralysis”. I would look for the perfect deal but before I would pull the trigger I’d make up excuses as to why each potential deal wouldn’t work. The truth is there’s no such thing as a perfect deal. The human mind can be our own worst enemy and I was battling against nobody other than myself. Trying to psyche myself into taking the next step, but for some reason I kept backing down, convincing myself as to why each opportunity wasn’t optimal.
In mid-2012 I booked vacation. I decided to stay home and relax. The previous two years’ vacation was spent repairing the house after extensive water damage which had nearly depleted all of my savings. It was early afternoon and I grabbed an ice cold Corona from the fridge and went to sit in the yard and do some reading. As I hunched down in my lounge chair I continued to read my latest real estate investment book. My attention was drifting in and out and I found myself reading and re-reading the materials. I felt frustration growing within me as I thought to myself “I know this s&%t. I’ve read it a hundred times in other books.” I stood up and blurted “That’s it! I’m going to buy a property or I’m going to stop reading about real estate investing.” That was the catalyst, the last nudge through the barrier of procrastination, the trigger required to break through my analysis paralysis.
Days become weeks, weeks become months, life begins to blur. We settle in and accept the status quo. “It is what it is” we tell ourselves because it’s all we know. We follow routines. There are slight deviations but for the most part the pattern is nearly identical. We are bored. We daydream about the future – our next vacation, our next evening out, even our next weekend. We fail to enjoy the present. Seize the day, carpe diem, YOLO – these are buzzwords that we say but rarely that we do.
Every few months we vow to change things. We pledge to live each moment like it’s our last. We go out and do something we’ve been wanting to. We call up friends and make plans. We escape the routine with a getaway. But then we let the normal sink back in and life continues to blur by us.