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Financial freedom is a goal many aspire to, but achieving it doesn’t happen by chance. The common misconception is that simply saving money or cutting back on expenses (“skipping your morning coffee”) is the key to reaching financial independence. However, that’s far from the truth. To really achieve financial freedom, you’ve got to invest early and create enough passive income to support your lifestyle expenses. Investing in a variety of assets, including the stock market, bond market, real estate and side hustles, can create some consistent cash flow throughout your life.
This article explores the importance of investing for financial freedom and addresses some of the misconceptions surrounding the journey to financial independence.
Related: Achieve Financial Freedom With These 7 Easy Steps
1. You can’t earn your way to financial freedom; You must invest for that
Simply earning a high salary is not enough to achieve financial freedom. Investing is the key to growing wealth over time. By investing in assets that generate passive income, you can create a steady stream of income that can grow even after you retire. This includes investments in the stock market, real estate and any side hustles that could continue to earn money without requiring ongoing work from you.
2. Saving small amounts alone won’t get you there
Skipping coffee and saving $5 a day might seem like a smart move, but it won’t lead you to financial freedom. While cutting back on expenses is a good habit, it’s not enough. You need to invest in assets that provide passive income to truly attain financial independence. When your investment assets provide passive income, use that passive income to invest in more assets. Rinse and repeat.
3. Investing for growth even at an older age
Even when you reach 65, investing for growth is essential because you may live into your mid-80s or 90s. That’s 20 to 30 years of inflation to deal with. By continuing to invest in assets that generate passive income, you can maintain financial security and combat inflation so your lifestyle remains intact.
4. Consider inflation and interest rates
Government-reported inflation numbers may be lower than what your family experiences for spending inflation. Moreover, interest rates have been declining for nearly 30 years, and most investors today have no experience investing in a decade of rising rates. It’s crucial to consider these factors when investing for financial freedom.
5. Diversification is more than owning different mutual funds or accounts at different banks
A diversified portfolio is essential for long-term financial success. However, simply owning multiple mutual funds in your retirement accounts or having accounts at different banks and investment companies doesn’t necessarily equate to diversification. A truly diversified portfolio includes investments in various asset classes like stocks, bonds, real estate and even alternative investments such as private equity or cryptocurrencies.
6. The importance of a competent financial advisor
There’s a greater than 90% possibility that your “financial advisor” is not a fully independent fiduciary. A competent financial advisor should be able to discuss investments beyond the stock and bond markets, including real estate, private equity, entrepreneurship and cryptocurrencies. Make sure you work with a professional who is successful at taking their own advice and has your best interests in mind.
Related: 3 Reasons Why You Must Start Young & Plan Early for Financial Freedom
7. Time: The greatest advantage for young investors
The greatest advantage younger investors have is time. Compounding growth is magnified the longer it goes on, which means starting early in your investment journey can lead to exponential growth in your wealth. Never make the excuse that you don’t have enough money to begin investing and that you will just start when you’re older.
8. Bias and emotions — the impact on investors’ behavior and returns
Bias and emotions significantly impact investors’ behavior, which in turn affects their rate of return. Being aware of these biases and maintaining a rational approach to investment decisions can lead to better long-term results.
9. The role of dividends and income
Dividends and income make up a meaningful portion of long-term returns, but most people only focus on price appreciation. By investing in assets that provide dividends and other forms of income, you can improve your chances of achieving a great total return and, eventually, financial freedom.
10. Taxes and investment strategy
Taxes do matter when it comes to investment strategy, but they should not be the primary focus. Some investors make decisions solely based on tax implications, which can lead to significant losses. While it’s important to consider taxes when making investment decisions, it’s crucial to prioritize your overall investment strategy and goals first.
11. Successful investing is goal-focused and planning-driven
All successful investing is goal-focused and planning-driven. It’s essential to establish clear financial objectives and create a well-structured plan to achieve them. Your investment strategy should align with your long-term financial goals, risk tolerance and time horizon.
12. Beware of the “best funds” hype
The “best funds” of the year featured in magazines and news media rarely make the same lists in the years following. Chasing after these funds can lead to a lack of diversification and poor long-term performance. Instead, focus on building a diversified and well-balanced investment portfolio that aligns with your goals and risk tolerance.
Related: The 4 x 4 Financial Independence Plan for Entrepreneurs
To sum it up, the pathway to financial freedom lies in disciplined investing and compound growth, which will lead to an asset base that can pay you long after you’ve stopped working. Saving money in a bank account won’t get you there. Invest for growth while you’re young, and turn that asset base into passive income when it’s time to stop working. You can’t earn your way to financial freedom.
As you earn bonuses or get salary raises, continue to increase the amount you invest each month. Plant as many investment seeds as you can while you’re young, continue to water and nurture the soil, and eventually, you’ll be shocked at all the large trees (investments) that provide you shade and continuous fruit to enjoy in your later years.