I often scan the business and finance section at our bookstore for new book covers. Virtually every week, I find new titles. Row upon row of money books. How many ways can money be discussed? Which one holds the key to wealth and financial freedom? More importantly:
If the answer to wealth is revealed between the covers of the books proliferating in bookstores, why aren’t more people wealthy?
Take my mom, for instance. Despite her intelligence, upper-grad college education and vibrant energy, she struggled financially her entire life. She passed away a few years ago, penniless.
My mom was an avid reader. My inheritance consisted of boxes filled with books — including a large assortment on the topic of personal finance. If the cure to her financial woes was sitting on her bookshelf, why didn’t her money life thrive?
I am convinced that achieving wealth and financial freedom takes more than understanding how to make, save and invest money. Becoming wealthy is the product of factors more fundamental — and complex — than math.
I really didn’t do anything extraordinary to become a millionaire. No grand inventions, no Fortune 500 company, no big paychecks. I applied basic money principles and they worked. I ask myself, why did I apply these principles, but not my mom? What does it take? Why have I achieved financial freedom while others have not?
While I do have a few explanatory thoughts, I struggle to answer this question succinctly.
I’ve been told more than a few times that I appear to think differently than the crowd. Is the key to my personal and financial success in these five words?
When I was 30, I told my husband, friends and family that I wanted to be financially free by forty.
“Yeah, yeah, and who doesn’t? Best of luck with that!”, they replied.
Undeterred, I studied money books and personal finance web sites and drafted a lifetime financial plan. When I shared my plan with my husband, he remarked skeptically, “If it’s that easy, why isn’t everyone doing it?”
My response to him was:
- they don’t know how to do it,
- they aren’t aware of the possibilities,
- they don’t want it bad enough, and/or
- they haven’t made the choice to do what it takes.
Today, I’d add two more reasons:
- they don’t have (or haven’t developed) the capacity to delay gratification, and/or
- they believe their personal life circumstances prohibit it.
What are the key factors that help you? Hinder you? Do the reasons I’ve outlined above speak to you? Why or why not? Please share your insights and experiences in the comments.
In my next post, I’ll share the very specific factors that I attribute to my own personal finance success.
photo credit: gaspi *your guide