1. Mistakes: Be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. But please don’t be an idiot! If the worst-case scenario would cause serious harm to you or someone else – you may want to reconsider what you are doing.
2. Plan: If you are not planning to retire early, you will likely retire when everyone expects you to. It is always better to retire on your own terms. Have you ever been laid-off, or fired? Why allow someone to have that sort of power over you?
3. In vs Out: People that are trying to lose weight know that if they eat less or burn more than they will lose weight. Easier said then done, right? Getting to financial freedom is very similar. Make more than you spend! Again, any income level can do this.
4. Rat Race: Stop trying to keep up! Who cares if your car looks like it is about to fall apart? It is funny how, even this early into my retirement, I’m appreciating that I don’t have to go to work. That is such a better feeling than pulling our of the dealer’s lot with a new car.
5. Learn: Education is crucial. Learn as much as you can. This doesn’t necessarily mean formal education! Libraries, the Internet, your contacts, you are bound to find free education all around you.
6. Be Passive: Okay, I don’t mean be a push-over! What I mean, is figure out ways to make money that don’t have you running or managing too much. Unless you come into a huge sum of money, you won’t be able to retire if you’re not actively making money. You also won’t enjoy your retirement if you NEED to do something to make money.
7. Be Nice: Be nice to everyone around you. Everyone has a story. You may have a way to help them with something and they may be able to help you. Be open to suggestions, even if the person is a Republican/Democrat. Yes, I give you permission to be a little less nice if someone really pisses you off!
8. Creativity: Most problems have many solutions. Find creative ways to make things easier for you. If you’re struggling with this one, ask people who could help. (Don’t waste too much time researching something, especially if you are on Facebook or Twitter – Ask your network and then validate the response)
9. Involvement: If you want to make this dream a reality, everyone affected needs to be involved and committed. Your whole family is part of the process. Help your kids be creative about solving money problems. Don’t say you “Can’t afford something,” say, “What could we do to be able to afford something.” If you are not all part of the process, it will fail.
10. BOLD. Be bold. Be adventurous. Get out of your comfort-zone! One of the biggest things we did to get to a point of financial freedom was to move to Indianapolis because of the city’s affordability. Thankfully, I love Indy, so the move was better than I had expected. I’m not saying that you need to move, but maybe you need to downsize, or rent a spare room to your cousin. There are ways to accelerate your plans.