One of the things that makes the US great is that it promotes the idea of independence, that is, that if you work hard enough for long enough, you can be your own boss. There are thousands, if not millions of people in the world who have realized the goal of being an independent person. And by independent person, I mean someone who has figured out a way to make their own decisions without fear of the consequences. The average person finds themselves enslaved by a job, a system, and a way of thinking that limits them from realizing their fullest potential. They have to go with the status quo because they aren’t saving money, nor continually networking for new opportunities, nor investing in their own vision.
An independent person knows that they have much more to offer than what their current station in life dictates. They also refused to be limited by a job title or perceived social status. They continue to strive to realize their vision and are focused on building assets that their progeny will be able to utilize for 100 years or more. Even if you find yourself working for someone else at the moment or having to participate in a system that isn’t beneficial for your ultimate welfare, you can declare your own independence and fight day after to day to eventually obtain freedom. independence starts with a state of mind and then it translates into reality.
Building wealth is something that I’ve been passionate (and serious) about for the last three years. I think wealth building became very important to me after I had my first son. I realized that part of the legacy that I want to leave behind for him and my other son is that of financial independence. Financial independence means different things to different people. For me, it means the ability to generate your own income without having to work for someone else and being debt free. You can’t really be wealthy if you have debt. If you owe someone money, you have an undesirable obligation because you are essentially working for them. Credit card vendors work hard to get people into debt so they can earn interest off their hard work and time. It’s a phenomenal and highly effective business model!
I learned the hard way. After accumalating sizable debts (student loans, car debt, and credit cards), I realized that I wanted to put my economic energy into things that earn a financial return instead of continue to cost me long after I have enjoyed them. While the latest cars, fashion, and other toys felt great for the moment, they became liabilities that ate away at my financial security and decreased my long term economic power. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the finer things in life and indulge in them when I should (and sometimes when I shouldn’t). But after having kids, I feel a sense of obligation of giving my kids the right tools at a young age that teach them how to think about and use money that sets them up for long term success. My behavior is the best text book they will ever read even though I still get it wrong and am learning how to do things right myself. Every dollar we hold is a seed with the potential to generate many other dollars if invested (planted in the right soil) and managed. This is what I am now teaching them at age 1 and 3 (currently).
I have to come to learn that there are two main ways to build generational wealth and these are investing and business ownership. Many times, they are one in the same. Building a business is an investment of time and money. Building a wealth generating investment portfolio is an investment of time and money as well. I’ve read about people who invest (buy stock) in companies and hold onto the shares until they die and then pass them to their loved ones. The great thing about some of these investments is that they generate monthly and quartely dividends that can either be reinvensted to buy more stock or the owners can enjoy the dividend income.
I think whether we have the entrepreneurial spirit or not, at the very least we should take a portion of our income and invest it in some sort of financial vehicle that produces additional income (without us having to work for it). Some very prudent people don’t want to start a business, so they save up their money and put it into a family or friend owned business venture. There are so many creative ways to generate wealth. I’m of the opinion that future generations should be able to enjoy the fruits of their predecessors labor and hopefully take it to the next level. You don’t have to be the Walton’s (WalMart) or Rockerfellers to leave something that makes a significant impact in the lives of your loved ones. I recently read the story of a man who held the same job as a parking attendant for 44 years only making $12 an hour, but he invested his money consistently over that time period and now holds a $500,000 portfolio!
Personally, I am not financially wealthy yet. I am positioning myself to accomplish this goal however. I plan to let you in on my journey every now and then as I figure this thing out. If you have additional insights, please shoot me a comment.
Here’s a link to the story of that parking attendant if you’re interested.