We have only one life to live here on this earth gentlemen, so live it as a man should. Pursue your very best every single day. Make a promise to yourself that you will never quit carving away to reveal the personal greatness within. Seize your life and all the glory afforded to you by the Creator, it is only right.
Take this passion and apply it to managing your finances with purpose and discipline.
In the modern world money is a very sharp double edged sword that can cut both ways. It can become a huge burden that stifles your life and spirit or it can be a powerful tool used for your benefit and enjoyment.
Learn and apply more lessons from Michael Mihalik’s “Debt is Slavery” as discussed below to continue the pursuit of your Ultimate Self. Always continue to educate your mind regarding your personal finances. No matter your income, if you work for pay, learn to make your pay work for you.
Lesson #6: Don’t Sell Your Soul for a Salary
Bottom line is that we work for pay. After all, it does take money to survive in this world. There are no two ways about it. Sometimes no matter what, we will in effect be trading our time and labor for money.
They pay us for a reason. Work is work and at some point in your life you will simply work for pay. There is nothing wrong with that at all.
In the long term, however, this is no way for a man to live. If you don’t enjoy your work or you don’t respect your employer yet remain in the same job because you must do so to survive, you have traded your soul for a salary; harsh, but true.
It is most likely that debt and financial obligation are the culprits holding you in place.
This is a shame.
This is not the life for a man that has decided to go full throttle in Becoming a Force of Nature or any man for that matter.
It is time to put a plan together, apply some discipline and make the changes necessary to choose the work that will add meaning and enjoyment to your life. After all, in the long run, if you are going to spend the best hours of the day working for pay it might as well be rewarding for more than just the income.
Why accept the fate of toiling away at a job that is stealing your life and crushing your spirit?
Make the decision to take control, kill your debt and save a year’s living expenses. At that point a man has options. He can decide to work for less pay in an occupation that he enjoys or even walk away from an employer that he does not respect.
This is living as a man should. This is living with control and dignity.
Don’t sell your soul for a salary.
Lesson #7: Own
Budget, restructure your finances and find the additional income to rid yourself of the menace that is debt. Once complete, save a year’s living expenses for security and independence.
Your next priority is to own. Live modestly, and spend any surplus income you have on income producing assets. Make your unseen balance sheet your status symbol of choice.
Change your thinking away from home and car defining your material success. Be smarter than the masses and focus on your cash flow and investments. Let freedom and financial independence be the benchmark for material success in your life.
Stay away from expensive depreciating assets such as automobiles.
If you buy new, be modest in your purchase and drive it for 8 to 10 years or until the wheels fall off as the author says. My advice is to buy a used cream puff and do the same. Let the previous owner pay the premium for the new car smell. Drive below your means.
Consider downsizing your home or even renting.
A home is generally an appreciating asset, but comes with a lot of expenses that can keep a man tied to his job. Ask yourself if it is worth your life to live in your home? Is the burden of the mortgage and other debt causing the stress that will end up eventually killing you?
Consider renting a modern construction condominium or apartment and let the landlord spend the time and money to maintain it. You’ve got your financial freedom to pursue.
You will invest your surplus income in assets that will appreciate and produce income. Let them eventually buy your luxuries.
The easiest and most reliable vehicle for investment is to make consistent contributions to your retirement plan. Max out there and then invest on your own. I like to call it overkill. Bring the hammer down and get deadly serious.
Whether in your retirement plan or privately, put your money in a broad market index fund. An index fund will outperform 80+ percent of the managed funds out there and has the added value of very low management fees. These lower fees will mean a tremendous increment in appreciation over the long term.
Contribute consistently and ignore the ups and downs of the market. Consider the downturns a fire sale. Clear out the suckers and take what is yours at bargain prices.
Change your thinking from consumption to owning.
Lesson #8: Spend Less Than You Earn
We have now enlightened our thinking to realize that debt is a form a slavery, time and life are traded for money, possessions are a prison and there is a powerful advertising industry crawling around out there whose sole purpose is to separate you from your hard earned income.
The above lesson to “spend less than you earn” sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Makes you wonder why 7 out of 10 Americans have less than $1000 in savings. It seems like over time, we should have all kinds of money piling up in our bank accounts. Just make sure to always spend less than you earn, right?
Simple enough indeed, but it is not happening for the vast majority of us.
As the author says, the key “is to value your peace of mind and financial security more than the things you can buy.”
This is a pursuit and manner of thinking worthy of a man chasing his very best.
To do so, I recommend internalizing the four lessons above and then making a decision.
Decide to choose peace of mind and financial security over materialism and wasteful diversion. After all, you are a man of rising Trajectory without the need for the trifles of mere things and shallow distraction.
You have your very substantial potential to develop and you owe it to the Creator and yourself to do so. Don’t burden your progress with undisciplined financial behavior.
Become aware of two major types of expenditures: one time and ongoing.
With the exception of necessary repairs and maintenance, always attempt to avoid one time purchases. In other words, hold tight on to your money.
Ask yourself how long you will have to work to pay for what you (or your woman!) want? How much will it cost you to store and maintain it? Is this object or manner of recreation going to take you to the High Country, or is going to add to your debt and slow you down?
The second major class of expenditures is ongoing subscriptions or payments. Consider eliminating some of these outright.
Cable, cable movie channels, Netflix, cell phones, other mobile devices and app subscriptions are all expenses that did not exist 20 years ago. Cut to the bone and stop wasting your time and money.
Housing and transportation are the other two major payment based areas for consideration.
Here is where you will really need to decide how important freedom and independence are to your quality of life. Are you willing to go against the cultural grain to spend less than you earn? Or are you all style and no substance, bowing to the pressure of status and peer opinion.
My advice is to take the road less traveled and scale back your spending where ever you can. Have a heart to heart with your woman and decide what is more important. Will you be working to pursue style and status or freedom and financial security?
The best part is that eventually the latter can pay for the former.
Yes, with some discipline and self-denial you can eventually have it all and write your own ticket living as a man should.
Lesson #9: Save 50% of Your Salary
This is outrageous right? Just cool your jets for a moment and consider the possibility and what it means in terms of true financial independence.
If you save 50% of your salary and live off the rest, then by definition every month you earn one month of freedom. In other words, work one year and you will have the cash to survive one year without pay.
Work ten plus years or so and then some magic begins to happen as appreciation and compounding start to snowball. All of a sudden, you start to get closer and closer to having a tidy sum which in and of itself can fund your annual living expenses.
So this is the plan. You decide to go hardcore and save 50% of your salary and invest it properly in the stock market via index fund. In about 15 years or so you will likely have the funds to never have to work another day in your life.
Worst case, you’re not quite there yet but you continue to work and add to the pile. You’ve chosen a career you enjoy and an employer you respect. Best of all you are bullet proof. You don’t need the work to survive and you can leave at any time.
This is living as a man should.
The Max Panzer version of this lesson is for a man and his woman to live off of one income. The second income is reinvested into a business or investment plan.
The first portion of our life consisted of folding all of my earnings back into a business while we lived off my woman’s corporate salary. Contributions were also made to her 401k plan with additions from the employer. When she was unceremoniously let go from her employment we lived off of our business while raising the kids through the high school years.
Now that my woman is back to work, everything she earns goes into savings. A salary from my business provides for all of our living expenses. We also develop additional equity in our business through surplus earnings every month. And soon we will reach a tipping point where I will be able to contribute to our personal savings as well.
As you can see we are working on our own snowball of wealth accumulation. Every month we increase our net worth.
This is living on a man’s terms. And it certainly makes the trials and tribulations of conducting business worthwhile knowing that every day we are improving our financials. Knowing that, barring some sort of disaster, we don’t have to worry about being canned and not able to pay our bills.
I should note that it hasn’t all been a smooth ride. We have had some financial misfortune, but have lived modestly and structured our finances to work our way back.
We’ve sold our home, paid off all our debt and currently rent a brand new condominium. Our monthly breakeven is about 60% of what is was before maintenance and repair when we owned.
It is good to live lean, to cut through each day with peace of mind and financial security.
Lesson #10: Control Your Money
The full title of this last lesson is “Control Your Money or Your Money Will Control You.” Indeed, as the title of the book says, debt is slavery. If you end up in debt through a lack of planning and discipline, money and other people will control your life.
I’ve already said it, but I will say it again: this is no way for a man to live.
If you’ve found yourself in debt and a slave to money the way to regain control is to plan your finances. Basically, you need to figure out how much your monthly net pay is, what your monthly bills are and how much you owe on credit. You then create a paycheck to paycheck financial plan to get back on your feet.
Without putting it down on paper or on a simple spreadsheet you will be working blind. Keep in mind this is not rocket science. The math involved here is simple addition and subtraction. But without an honest and concrete assessment of your financial situation there will be no way to properly plan your way out of the hole you have put yourself into.
Create some finesse in your life and take the time to do it.
The author spends the bulk of this chapter working through the mechanics essentially using a pencil, paper and a calculator. For the details please see the book. There are definitely some merits to this manual approach. If followed, you will really develop a solid understanding of where you are and what you need to do.
Personally I use a spreadsheet as a model for our income and expenses and Quicken software for data entry and tracking. With the ability to download each transaction from our bank accounts along with the software’s learned default expense categorization, the tracking of our income and expenses is very easy.
There are also some powerful and real time cloud based smartphone applications such as YNAB (You Need a Budget) that would be worth a try.
Of course, the primary reason to plan and regain control over your finances is to acquire financial security. This does not necessarily mean you will become rich, although pursued over the long term it certainly could.
The author defines financial security as four things:
- Being debt free
- Having control over your expenses
- Increasing your savings monthly
- Not being forced to work at a job you dislike just to pay the bills
I agree with this definition. It is a goal worthy of every good man and one that is attainable as well. Eliminating your debt, having a defined budget, and increasing your wealth every month will eventually lead to a year’s worth of living expenses in the bank. And this of course, leads to the powerful position of not needing to please your employer just to survive.
This is a good measure of financial security and a great start on the way to living in the High Country.
From here you continue live below your means and invest for the long term, which is a topic for another day. But with the foundation of financial security as defined above you are on your way.
Combined with everything else we discuss here on this site, people better start stepping aside.
You are a man pursuing his very best in all areas and you will project an aura and an energy that will impress and inspire.
You are Becoming a Force of Nature.
All the best,