In that article I mentioned how health needs to be the number 1 priority in life. This might go counter to what many believe. However, it is the foundation upon which all is built. No matter what else is attained in life, if you do not have your health, all else is less worthy. Many people overlook this aspect of their life to the point where death occurs. Now let me ask you, how much enjoyment is the money, family, or whatever else if you are dead? The answer is none. Or, taken another way, how much can you enjoy the things and people in your life if you are bedridden with disease? Again, your level of enjoyment will be severely limited.
So, as you can see, all else follows health. While other things can be important, the level of interaction and enjoyment we receive from those tings is proportionate to how we maintain our health.
We are going to again stray from the norm here and talk about something that is crucial for happiness. Freedom is a value that I suggest everyone adopt. It is something that is too often taken for granted in the West since it is readily (at least on the surface) available. However, when we delve further, we realize that most people are slaves. They are controlled by outside forces which dictate how they live. Addiction is a great example of one of these forces regardless of the source of the addition. This person is enslaved.
Narrowing the focus a bit, I want to stress how important money is in our society. This is the point were many people are getting their ire up. Most will proclaim there are many more things more important than money and anyone who puts money at the top of the list is shallow. In fact, many of the world's problems are because people value money too much. To these assertions I say that holding these ideas is completely wrong.
To understand what is really going on, one needs to understand what money is. Money is nothing more than a medium of exchange. In other words, it is meant to represent something else. Standing on its own, money has no value or worth except what people attribute to it. Ergo, it is what is behind the money that fosters the actions towards it.
One who believes that people who hold money in high esteem cause the world's problems have not taken the time to see what is truly the motive. Money is never the motive. Again, it is just a symbol. In this example, a person of this ilk is not driven by money but power. It is the thirst for power and the need to control that these people want. The status and influence that comes from wealth is enormous. This is what many people are after. Money is often a way to just keep score. Their motive is not a larger bank account but all the power that comes along with it.
But, there is another way to look at money. While for some money can equal power, for many others it is a path to freedom. And this is the reason why everyone should value it so highly.
To understand this concept, we need to look at the subject of time. We all know that each of us is only granted 24 hours in a given day. This fact is the same regardless of whether you are the richest person in the world or the poorest. Everyone on this planet has exactly 24 hours to spend. Along the same lines, we all know that there are only a certain number of years we will occupy this orb called Earth. There is no living creature alive who will escape death. It is a certainty. The difference is what do we do with our time.
Time freedom is one of the most important things in life. Few people are able to experience this especially in the western world. How many people wake up each day with the freedom to do what they want? Very few. The majority of people have their days dictated to them by their jobs. Remember the slavery I mentioned earlier. Today, most people wake up and drag themselves to work in an office doing something they really do not like so as to receive a paycheck at the end of the week. They are enslaved by their employer. Freedom is not theirs since where and when they are to work is determined by someone else. During those hours, that person is literally owned. These people experience no freedom because thye are enslaved 40-50 hours a week.
This brings up right back to the 2nd most important thing in a person's life: money. Money needs to be a high value for the simple fact that it is the pathway to freedom. The only way to take control of one's time is to have the financial resources to be able to dictate your own life. Those who have that ability can wake up in the morning deciding what they want to do. Someone else is not calling the shots. This is true freedom and it only comes by having money. Time freedom starts with financial freedom.
Living Below Your Means
A common mistake people often make is they believe that money means extreme wealth. This is completely misguided and it is this idea that causes people so many problems. One need not live the life of luxury or even strive for that. In fact, this is often a detriment. Simplicity is actually the buzzword. This is where the freedom lies.
The Western world is infected with consumerism. Everywhere you turn, there are advertisements telling you what is needed in your life. These ads are put together by people who are paid a lot of money to get into your pockets. The more that you buy the less freedom you have. This fact is compounded when things are purchased using credit. Not only is the money lost for the item but interest is also owed. Again, we see a sure path to slavery.
Freedom is living below your means. There is a basic financial concept that was stated for generations: live on less than you earn and save (invest) the rest. If you can do this, eventually you will enjoy complete time freedom in your life because your financial situation will be certain. You will have more money coming in than is going out each month. This is what everyone desires without realizing it.
On a side note, notice how I did not mention any income or expense levels. There is a reason for that. Each person is different with their desires and goals. Obviously, if one needs a beach house as their basis for living, the money required is far greater than someone who lives in a city where he or she rents a room for a few hundred a month and uses mass transit. Just be mindful the more that is needed, the higher the price before one gets to enjoy freedom. Toys are nice but they do come with a cost.
Investing is a subject few people want to study. There is nothing that is more boring to most than reading a book about stock charts or financial statements. While I can agree on many levels, the simple truth is this is a critical study. After all that is written here, I sense you can understand why. Investing money for a good return is one of the most important abilities we need to acquire. This is the surest way to achieve the freedom we discussed.
Once someone learns to live on less than he or she earns, it is vital that one start investing. Many in the financial industry refer to investment capital as soldiers and how important it is to put your soldiers to work for you. I agree with this. For most it is impossible to leverage their time for more money since they are already working a ton of hours each week. Hence, the simplest way to leverage things is to invest their savings. Over time, this will allow them to enjoy the most powerful force on the planet: compound interest. Money can earn more money which in turn can earn even more money. The key is to be able to generate returns on a consistent basis.
This is where priorities enter into the picture. Those people who decide to study investing and money management are apt to be successful in this area. Few realize how relatively simple it is to make as much through investing as they do on their jobs. There are many investment avenues which exist that provide returns which far exceed any money market account. People who develop a concrete plan and have the discipline to follow it know how success is bound to occur. Investing is not gambling. That is for the lazy and ignorant. Those who study and learn know that risk management is a foundation of all investing activities.
Cashflow is a concept that everyone needs to be familiar with. The goal here is to generate enough cashflow to cover the monthly expenses that one has. Here is where the point of freedom is realized. Once you have enough money coming in from investments or other sources, one is free to live how he or she sees fit with regard to time. Of course, the circumstances are going to change based upon the individual. If you are willing to live in a smaller RV in a trailer park in Kansas, then your cashflow is low. However, if you are one who is located in a penthouse on Park Avenue then you will require a greater amount of money each month. Nevertheless, the main reason why money is the 2nd most important thing in life after health is because it is the only path that allows us the time freedom to enjoy all the other areas of our lives. We do not value money for the sake of itself but, rather, what is can do for us.
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