10 Things I Did Differently To Become Financially Independent
We started 2020 with a commitment to helping 10,000 Families achieve Financial Independence in 10 years.
What’s been interesting about starting this process is the quality of information that people are sharing with us as co-creators of our new program.
Something about asking people to complete surveys privately is fascinating because they tell you what they REALLY think.
You get to really understand how they feel.
These are real people with dreams that are waiting to be made real. And the new decade provides an exciting opportunity for dreams.
Whilst reading the survey responses line by line, it occurred to me that we have done many things very differently on this journey.
I don’t say that in a braggy way, but more of a realisation of the many things that we take for granted ordinarily.
There are bits of knowledge and life hacks that are pretty normal to me, but when I share them with a stranger, their eyes light up.
In a way, it is why I’m super priviledged to be in this position where we are able to share as much as possible across all our platforms.
It’s a priviledge that I don’t take for granted because I know there are people out there who hang onto every word that we speak for inspiration and hope.
Having the above thought reflection is what has led me to today's post.
Funny thing was, I was having this reflection whilst being smashed up by heavy rain and huge gusts of wind that took over London yesterday.
More on that below when I talk about attitude.
RANDOM INTERLUDE: Before I jump into these 10 things I just want to take a moment to share with you my huge excitement.
I’m sitting at home, listening to some music and literally dancing whilst I type these words. Something about this new decade is seriously exciting already.
In fact, I’ll tell you why – I feel I’m living my BEST LIFE! Literally. I’m doing what I love and feel called to do. And there is progress all around.
A friend texted me after reading our commitment for the decade and said these words:
“So happy for you. So many people go through their entire lives not knowing what things they were called to do, feeling dissatisfied with life. It’s such a blessing to walk in your purpose like this.”
I agree with her wholeheartedly. 😊
I’m working super hard and having fun. We just crossed 10,000 Subscribers on Our YouTube channel today. I’m like, OMG! 😲. 100K here we come!
If you’ve started 2020 the same way as 2019, please pause right NOW and seriously ask yourself – WHY?
RANDOM INTERLUDE OVER
Ok let’s get back to the blog post. Here are a selection of 10 things I did differently to become financially independent in 10 years.
If you begin taking the right actions today, you can do it a lot quicker than 10 years.
10 Things I Did Differently to Become Financially Independent
In no particular order, here we go:
1. I Embraced a New Attitude
When I started my journey as a trainee Chartered Accountant in 2006, I chose to work initially for a firm with the slogan:
“Attitude Changes Everything”
Something about that slogan was positive and made me believe that there was more that life had to offer.
It offered a certain fearlessness.
At that early stage, it also made me believe that life can be done differently if I understood who I was and what power I possessed.
Yesterday whilst I went home, I recalled this slogan, almost as though it was written in the dark skies ahead of me.
And here is why it came back to me.
Going home yesterday was tough. Train delays and cancellations coupled with terrible weather.
When I got to my local station at 7 pm, it was unbelievably rainy and windy and the cold cut through my coat straight onto my skin.
These were the most uncomfortable conditions and it was so bad that my large umbrella was completely useless walking uphill.
So I set off walking up hill and each step I took felt heavy and took a lot of effort.
With every step, I was smashed by the rain, wind and cold.
It was so bad that I stopped and started laughing out loud. At that very moment, I realised something.
Most people walking up that hill will probably go home, make themselves a cup of tea and curl up under a duvet and maybe watch Netflix.
However, I had other plans for the evening – still had another 3 hours of work to do. I needed to review some YouTube video edits and work on our Academy.
But the conditions were set to defeat me. So here is what I did – I stood there whilst I laughed, I stared at the wild skies and I shouted back:
“Is this all you’ve got? Come on!!! More rain!! More wind!! I’m right here!! Bring it!!!”
That right there at the core was who I was. An attitude I’d quietly built up over the years.
Becoming Financially Independent requires that you get used to being uncomfortable.
And in many ways, reacting differently to how many people will when life smashes them about.
I got home and did exactly what I had planned to do.
Come rain or shine, my eyes are set on my North Star goal.
It is only by a change of attitude tied to strong self-awareness that I’m able to set goals such as helping 10,000 Families in 10 Years.
Most people will either be too afraid to be bold or worry too much about what others will think of them if they fail.
When you understand that attitude changes everything, what other people think of you will fall to the side.
They become insignificant and don’t matter at all because you know exactly what you’re trying to achieve.
2. I Set a North Star Goal
For many years, becoming Financially Independent was the thing that I aimed for.
It was what I referred to as my North Star goal, the one that stays the same in all seasons.
These days, that North Star goal is different as I enter a different phase of my life with a focus on looking outward at others.
Most people who want to become Financially Independent in my opinion are currently all words.
It is currently not that important to them and is probably interesting at best.
I say that because if you really want to become financially independent, it has to become the thing you optimise your financial life for.
By that I mean, you have to give yourself the permission to accept your dream future life.
Most people don’t even sit still enough to set a basic goal, let alone understand themselves enough to state and own a North Star goal.
2020 is the beginning of a new decade. If you’ve been all words so far, aren’t you tired of kidding yourself?
You’ll not get a different result doing life how you’ve always done it.
Give yourself the permission to own your future. This is where it begins.
3. I Ignored My Friends
Well, not quite.
What I mean here is, Groupthink keeps the best of us living mediocre lives every single day.
You might not think it, but your life’s direction today has a lot to do with what you friends do or think.
Are your friends doing life in a way that you find inspiring?
I’ve quietly shed friends over the years simply because the lifestyles they were living was not doing much for me.
A number of them were too risk averse for my liking and for quite a well, I felt like breaking away and doing my own thing would lead to me being judged.
I was prepared to accept the cost and it worked for me. Today, I live a totally different life and a lot of those people I moved on from have not changed at all.
They still live what I refer to as a financially ordinary life. Looking rich but without actually being anything near it.
If you’re going to become Financially Independent, get ready for resistance.
Your values will change and so will your priorities. Oh and in some cases, so will your group of friends.
4. I Discriminated Against My Employers
Chances are you’ve got a day job today and building a career.
Nothing wrong with that. But here is a question for you:
Do you work in a place where the balance of power is tilted towards your employer?
Almost as though they are doing you a favour by giving you a job.
If the answer is Yes, then you have some mindset work to do.
Here is something you should understand very clearly:
You’re bringing a skillset to work and in exchange, you’re accepting a market value for your abilities.
Any employer who does not understand this and is not prepared to have the conversation openly is not forward looking enough.
My journey to Financial Independence was sped up partly because I discriminated against my employer.
What I mean here is this – Your employer will replace you eventually – Facts!
So if you’re not getting what you’re worth from your employer, then it is time to move on fast!
Moving on helped me earn more and do it quicker than my peers.
I chose to work for VIP employers that could offer me what I thought matched the value that I bring.
And where it wasn’t working out, I moved on swiftly and confidently because I understood what power I carried.
This didn’t come naturally but came over time through a long process of self-awareness.
NEW: This post got so popular that we made it into a video on Our YouTube Channel:
5. I Paid Off My Mortgage Early
You’ll get many people who will tell you that paying off your mortgage early on the journey to becoming financially independent is dumb.
If you ever hear that from anyone, run a mile from them.
Listen, choosing to pay off your mortgage early is a life changing thing.
You’ll understand this better if you think of your life more from the perspective of Life Design.
The one often overlooked benefit that paying off your mortgage early gives you, is that you can choose to work 3 days a week, for example, if you want to.
The people who tell you not to pay your mortgage off early cannot do that.
Not only do they not know what it feels like to pay off a mortgage early, a lot of their views are formed by listening to the noise from other people.
Ultimately, your decision will be yours, but for me, it was the best decision ever!
I made the decision, understood my why and never looked back. All the noise was basically blah blah blah from then on.
6. I Looked Beyond Boring Savings
I’ve written before about why saving money should be prioritised over investing.
Your Savings Rate is one of the most important metrics to track on the journey.
However, there is only so much that you can save!
At some point, it will dawn on you that you need to make more money in order to save more.
Unfortunately, our culture in this country in many ways frowns at making more money.
This is a shame really because most people remain where they are because they only make money from one source.
I looked beyond saving money only and started exploring other interesting business ideas to short circuit this journey.
This definitely gave me an advantage because it made me more risk loving.
With taking risk came the possibility of multiple streams of income.
7. I Outsourced Money Making To Assets
With all the good intentions in the world, there is only so much you can do with your 24 hours a day.
You go to work, come home to screaming kids, and if your willpower is weak, you’ll give up and do nothing.
Next you find yourself in a spiral and procrastination becomes your new norm.
To change this picture, you need to think of money slightly differently to most people.
You can either make money swapping your life’s energy for it or you can gradually start to outsource money making to assets to work for you.
Making passive income from assets sounds cliche, but it can be real if you take it seriously.
The biggest challenge is making your first passive income:
Many people think of passive income as such big things that they don’t even pause to understand that it all begins with one passive income first.
This journey to becoming financially independent became easier for me because I understood early that I could outsource money making to assets.
8. I Focused on Ownership & Control
Have you ever met a rich person? I mean “rich” on this occasion from the perspective of someone who actually made money.
I come across many of these people a lot through my work and business life.
You know one thing they all have in common?
They all have ownership and control of things – usually assets (tangible or intangible).
This is a mindset thing.
Most employees are conditioned to work for money and borrow up to their faces to support a lifestyle with no foundations or intent.
As an accountant, I understood ownership and control theoretically, but networking and meeting other people of a particular mindset made it real.
The thing about ownership and control is that most people naturally think of property by default.
There is so much more to ownership and control.
A lot of what I’d recommend you start thinking about are intangible assets (beyond traditional assets).
For example, this blog post you’re reading is possible because we own the digital asset “The Humble Penny” and the trademark.
It is only thorough owning and controlling it are other things able to happen – e.g. creating an income generating YouTube Channel, Online School, etc.
My point is, owning and controlling an asset for you doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
This is partly why I teach people how to start a blog, for example.
9. I Had Income Goals
Let me guess, you started the new year and decade with some good intentions.
Then real life happens and those intentions get pushed to the side.
They never became goals that actually guide your life and give you something to believe in.
I talked about the North Star Goal earlier.
The thing is, for that to even start to feel tangible from the intangible world of imagination, you must first break it down into smaller goals.
One of those goals should be an income goal.
It has to be a visibly SMART goal that can be measured because if you cannot measure it, you’ll remain in dreamland.
So here is my question to you –
What is your income goal for this year?
If you don’t have an answer to this, then I’m afraid to say that you still have a lot of work to do.
You cannot answer this question without understanding what you’re optimising your life for i.e. Purpose.
Only after Purpose comes Objectives, followed by Strategy and Tactics.
10. I Stopped Talking About Becoming Financially Independent
Talking is cheap. You can talk as much as you want about this stuff, but if you’re not talking real steps forward, then it’s all talk.
Early on, I tried talking to friends and the like about Financial Independence.
What I got was silence and resistance. No one wanted to change their “comfy” lives.
So we stopped talking about it and focused on doing it.
Today though, these same people are starting to take notice. They suddenly want to meet for coffee to have a chat. Hmm..
I’ve learned in life that there are talkers and doers. You will know where you stand.
If the former, you’ll hopefully have some ideas about what you need to be doing after reading this post.
Your future is yours and so are your dreams.
All going well, your future will come, but what life will you arrive at?
Will it be one that looks like the one you dream about or not? Time will tell.
All I know is that the Matthew Effect remains even today.
Here is my illustrative version of it:
For those who take the steps to freedom, more will be given unto them. For those who do not, the little they have will be taken away from them.
Your future dream life can become real. Are you fearless enough to own it THIS DECADE?
What is your North Star goal for this decade? What are you doing differently this year to make this goal a reality one day?
Do please share this post if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.