In the marketing industry people often talk about selling the benefits (“hey, look how this thing can change your life”) vs the features (“hey, look at this thing with all the bells and whistles – here’s how to use it”).
I’ve always been more of a features guy myself.
I want to know the steps involved and understand the individual components that go into whatever it is I’m buying.
Leave out the fluff.
When it comes to “buying” the idea of fixing my finances I’ve always jumped ahead to think about the numbers involved, the tools I’d need, and the steps that are needed.
Sure, the idea of my why was always there, but I blow right past it like a kid on Christmas morning knocking over the nativity scene just wanting to get to the goods.
Looking through my archive of posts you can certainly find glimpses of my “why”, but I’ve never stopped down to tackle it all in one article. I have no doubt that my messages have fallen on deaf ears for some simply because I don’t include more of this. Oh well. That’s who I am.
But that’s why I’m going to explain my “why” today. So, here’s why it is that I’ve chosen to understand my finances, get rid of debt, start saving more, save for retirement, and pursue wealth (i.e. master my money).
Here’s why I’m on this journey:
I Value My Independence
Independence is arguably my highest value. The desire to call all the shots, direct my life, and have autonomy in my decisions.
Independence means you can eject yourself from the well-worn seat society creates for you…to be different, achieve greatness, and live a richer life.Click to tweet
I reject the idea that Independence is some type of negative value. Being independent means I’m able, I’m not dependent, I’m not a burden, and I’m able to have a high impact on my life and those around me with my decisions if I choose to.
- My independence has allowed me to start a business that’s helped thousands of people get out of debt and pursue financial freedom and independence.
- My independence has allowed me to start another business (FinCon) that’s helped thousands of people like me build businesses so they can help millions of others with their financial pursuits.
- My independence has allowed me to give more to family, my Church, and charity than I ever would have pursuing a different path.
- My independence has allowed me to spend more time with the people that I love and care about.
When I think of independence two big moments in my life come to mind: (1) leaving home for my freshman year of college (net worth of zero) and (2) leaving the corporate world to pursue blogging full-time.
I still smile today thinking about those moments of freedom. Leaving something old to experience something new, on my own terms. Feeling like I can be in control and can now own my life, for good or bad.
I haven’t reached complete financial independence, but I’m certainly close.
I’m blessed in that I’m doing what I want to be doing with my life right now…blogging/podcasting, running my conference business, traveling, focusing on health, etc. But I know things could change and one day I might not want to do those things. Therefore, complete financial freedom is something I’m pursuing.
And just with this small taste of financial freedom I’m currently experiencing I can tell you that I’m enjoying the heck out of it! It’s a ton of fun to say the least.
How to create independence: get rid of your debt, forge your own career path or start a business vs taking what the world gives you, and of course, save/invest enough money such that one day if you stopped working and decided to withdraw 4% of it annually it would be enough to live on.
No doubt I’m on this journey because the people who raised me and those whom I’ve surrounded myself with expected me to do well in life.
My parents showed me a great example. We weren’t always well off financially (we’ve lived life on both sides of the track) but my parents were always hard workers and in pursuit of more with their lives.
I knew I’d do well in life if I just tried to be like Mom and Dad. What a blessing.
When I went to college I chose Accounting as a major and chose to become a CPA like my father.
My classmates, teachers, and first employers expected a great deal out of me. I didn’t want to let them down and I wanted to prove myself to them.
I don’t think the answer is to blindly accept the expectations from others and become a people pleaser. You have to filter the expectations of others and make them your own.
But often times I think the rebel inside of us tends to reject expectation simply by default. It’s important to be aware if you’re doing that.
How to create expectation: find a mentor, surround yourself with people who see great things coming from you, and remove people in your life who aren’t moving forward or encouraging you to do so.
We Value Security
I consider myself a risk-averse person. I chose Accounting as my major after all. I like a sure thing most of the time. When I’m not obligated to others, when I’ve got money to weather the storm, I’m feeling good.
I love the feeling that if both of my businesses flopped tomorrow I’d be just fine for several years while I crafted a new plan. I love knowing that if something happened to me my family would be taken care of well into their earning years.
Speaking of family, I married someone who values security even more than I do. So Mrs. PT has been a big part of our “why” for getting rid of debt well before the math said we should have, getting life insurance, and holding off on certain business pursuits and investments when it’s not absolutely prudent. “Tap the breaks, dude!”
Money makes me feel more secure. It isn’t my only security thank the Lord.
I’m a Christian and my faith heavily influences my eternal security. But God gave me the ability to do some things here on earth to sure up my position…to take care of my family and community, and to not allow myself to burden others.
How to create security: get life insurance, get rid of debts, and save a hefty emergency fund.
We Want to Be Good Stewards
Last but not least, my faith instructs me that it’s noble to pay attention to my finances, avoid owing others too much, and to give.
I see my wealth (and my ability to create it) as a gift straight from God. He’s given me these dollars to spend in life. They are his first. I thank Him regularly of course. But I don’t stop there. I try to do honorable things with that money: give it to others in need, spend it wisely, and safeguard it for the future.
So there it is. It’s not perfect. But it’s the crux of what I believe and what’s behind my pursuit of wealth, financial freedom, and eventually, financial independence.
I encourage you to sort out what it is that’s behind your own financial pursuits. Without it, I think you allow yourself to fall prey to some of society’s negative views on wealth (greed, vanity, gluttony, etc.) and give up on it. Not good. There are noble reasons to fix your finances and get ahead.
Or worse, you might find yourself living your life based on someone else’s values for you. Not good either.
If you’re reading this and find yourself on a similar journey, what’s your why? What are your reasons for pursuing a better financial life?