Friday, September 28, 2012

Achieve Independence By Setting Your Financial Goals

You must plan carefully and always return to your plan after the inevitable deviation.

I was in the park the other day and a young lady walked passed, pushing a pushchair with a cute baby asleep in it. As I watched them pass by, I started to think about the high dependency factor of human babies. They are totally dependent on whoever is looking after them. The only thing they do for themselves is breathe, pump blood around their little bodies and, well, pooh, wee and be sick. None of which they have a great deal of control over!

Now isn’t it a strange thing. The young of other species are much more self-reliant than the human baby. A newly born calf, for instance, can be up on its legs and tottering around in minutes of the birth.

The human baby, on the other hand, takes about three months before it can do the most rudimentary things for itself. And it takes several years for it to reach some form of independence. If the truth be told, I can’t see my two eldest children, well into their twenties, actually reaching independence in the true sense of the word for many years ahead!

Does independence come when a person reaches a certain age or status? No. Is anyone truly independent…ever? Probably not. But there are levels of independence depending on each individual’s circumstances.

We are all dependent on the person who pays for our everyday needs and desires. Whether or not this is an employer who pays you for the work that you do or a customer who pays you for delivering goods or a service, or whoever it is that supplies your money. Without that support, your life would be immeasurably more difficult.

So why do people strive to become independent?

Well, it’s probably the worry that the source of that life saving money may be cut off for whatever reason. Redundancy is now in the air as a threat to people’s way of living. But of course, many other things can threaten someone’s livelihood.

  • If you fall seriously ill, you will more than likely be unable to work. A fall in your living standards is probably the consequence.
  • If the company you work for becomes bankrupt, you’re unlikely to receive any golden handshake with the inevitable worry and fall in living standards.
  • If your partner becomes so ill that you need to stay at home to look after him/her, life can be financially as well as emotionally difficult.
How can you prepare for these occurrences?

Well, the simple answer is to work for yourself from home.

This is about as close as most people get to independence. Of course, you’re still dependent on numerous people, but the thing about working for yourself from home is that you feel far more in charge of your own destiny. You can arrange your own work schedule. If you want to work, as I often do, at 3 o’clock in the morning, that’s fine, because you can stay in bed the next day if you want to.

You have to be focussed and disciplined, of course; otherwise you could slip into lazy habits and start struggling to make money. But if you can steel yourself against the many distractions you are bound to face, working from home has many advantages.

Now the Internet is a fantastic source of home work. Set up your own little office with your computer and internet connection and the world is your oyster! Sounds idyllic and if you plan things properly there’s no reason why you should not succeed.

What you need is a good plan along with a sense of direction.

Write down your goals….Long Term, Medium Term and Short Term.

Then break down the Short term goals into Monthly, then Weekly, then Daily activities that you are certain you can achieve.

Tie your Short term goals to your Medium term ones and then do the same for your Medium and Long term goals.

It’s like driving from say Brighton to Edinburgh. You probably could do it by just setting out and pointing the car in the rough direction of north. Use the direction of the sun and the prevailing winds and the North Star at night! It would take some time and a lot of false turns, but in the end, you should arrive in Edinburgh.

However, how much easier the journey is with a map and even easier with a Sat. Nav. You can make detours to explore something interesting on the way, but then you can return to your planned route and continue confidently on your journey.

That’s what your written goals can be. A map or plan of action. If you need to stop for a while and move sideways, that’s no problem, because you can then get back on course again by looking at your daily, weekly and monthly goals.

So, prepare carefully, plan wisely and set your goals.

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