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Honestly, I don’t know where to start. But the key is, start somewhere and start TODAY. I know you’ve heard the cliché phrase one million times before, “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step”. Well it does. It’s an entirely factual statement. There is no such thing as a get rich scheme and I am not going to advise you that way. In order to build a NEST EGG, there are some blueprint rules that you must apply. If you stick to the script, your finances will start to improve. Below are some initial preliminary suggestions to get you on the road to financial independence and respectability.
1. You don’t know where you are going until you know where you’ve been.
Keep track of EVERY dollar you spend for 30-60 days. And I mean EVERY penny. If you go to the strip club, write down how much you spent. If you blow $200 in a dice game, write it down. If you gave $5 to a crackhead at the traffic light, write it down. At the end of the month you will be able to tally up how much money you’ve spent. This will allow you to better know WHERE your money is going and why. That is why they always say, “FOLLOW THE PAPER TRAIL”. What better paper trail to follow than your own? Once you know where the money is going, it will be easier to make wise decisions on whether to increase or decrease spending. I have attached an EXCEL document entitled, “Personal Budget 2010” and this financial document easily allows you to keep track of your spending.
2. “No man can respect himself who does not repay honest debts” – Author GEORGE S. CLASON of The Richest Man In Babylon
Write down EVERY debt that you owe somebody. And start to pay them back. I once owed AMERICAN EXPRESS $88,000. Imagine the weight on my shoulders at 24 years of age. However, if you ask me how much I owe them today, I can proudly say, “NADA”. I have too much pride to owe anyone anything. I literally become nauseous when I think of owing anyone money. So start digging up those old parking tickets, debt collections, credit card bills, and any other outstanding debt you can fathom and begin to pay it back one dollar at a time. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. So let’s be honest people and start paying those debts and paying those bills. This action alone will alleviate tons of stress and increase your confidence.
I once talked on the phone to a girl that told me she was getting evicted from her apartment in a week, however she was at Neiman Marcus that afternoon buying a bathing suit for a South Beach Pool Party. In the words of Project Pat on his 2001 hit “Chickenheads”, “You shoulda paid your light bill, you bought an outfit.” Seriously, what is more important????? Below are the topics that are important to me:
This is one of the MOST important steps and I will tell you why:
What is important to ME?
1. Having lots of time to raise my family.
3. Bringing jobs and financial stability to the community
4. Having time and money to take care of my health and fitness regimen.
5. Being able to travel the world.
Once you realize what is truly important to you, you will have a better understanding on how much money you will require to finance that importance and how long it will take to accomplish these goals. The priorities of mine are ambitious and expensive in the long run. That is why I strive to save early and often.
4. Savez at LEAST 10 percent of EVERY dollar you touch
Think of this as giving TITHES to yourself. For all of my remedial pupils out there, a TITHE is a small contribution or tax usually given to the church that is usually around 10 percent of your income. We pay income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and the list goes on and on like Erykah Badu, why not pay a ME tax? This savings will be a rainy day fund and the choice is yours on how much to save before you spend it. This step IS challenging at first because you may think there is not enough flow to go around, however trust ME that the money will start to accumulate if you stick to the script. DISCIPLINE PEOPLE.
5. “You need to Get up, Get out and Get Something, don’t let the days of your life pass by, you need to Get up, Get out and Get something, don’t spend all your time trying to get high, how will you make it if you never even try?” - Lyrics from “Git up, Git Out” by Outkast on their debut LP Southernplayalisticcadillacfunkymuzik
As refreshing and encouraging as it sounds, a BENTLEY is not going to fall out of the sky and land in your driveway. You have to get off your ass and go get it. Start small and steadily increase your means. Do you recall the stories of the kid in the mailroom that constantly gets promoted until he becomes the CEO? Well, think of yourself as a financial janitor. You have to start mopping floors and sweeping hallways before you can become the BIG MAC with the corner office.
6. Set Financial Goals and achieve them
To get what you really want in life, you have to go deeper, pay closer attention, and be meticulous down to the tiny detail. For example, you want to buy a nice car. Well, what is a nice car? If I had to explain to you my idea of a nice car I would describe it like, “I want a 2008 Grey Range Rover Sport Super Charged with black interior with no more than 35,000 miles. I want two TV’s in the back, PIONEER navigation system, and Pirelli Tires”. Now that I’ve identified these requirements, I will know that this particular version is more expensive and I will probably need more money to achieve this goal.
7. EDUCATE yourself constantly and continually
8. ACTION, Just Do it, Try
Du wan juan shu, xing wan li lu is an old Chinese proverb that means, “read 10,000 books, then walk 10,000 miles”. This proverb tells us that reading will enlarge one's second-hand knowledge while observing will enrich one's first-hand knowledge. Both are indispensable for one to achieve true wisdom. There is no doubt in my mind that the best way to learn is through ACTION, however the best way to hone your skills and perfect your craft is through detailed study. They go hand in hand. It is like brushing and flossing. It is like diet and exercise. Yin and Yang. Jay-z and Beyonce. I can go on forever.
9. “If you get knocked down 7 times, you must get back up 8 times” – Dwyane Wade Converse Commercial quote.
“My belief is stronger than your doubt”. – Dwyane Wade (Same Converse Commercial)
These steps are not easy but very simple. Stick to the script. The world is a cruel, deceptive, misleading ferocious animal at times that will chew you up and spit you out. However, at the same time it is a place of redemption, passion, love, and knowledge, and fulfillment. Iit is necessary to find the proper balance of the world when attempting to reach your goals. Instead of keeping up with the JONESES, you need to keep up with yourself. Focus on what you have to do in order to win the game you’re trying to play.
10. TAKE CHANCES
No pain no gain. Scared money don’t make money. All cliché, but all true. How much money do you have invested right now? How do you plan on making any money if you never invest any money? There are times when the only solution is to go for the gusto. Research and buy some stocks, host a party at the club, sell something on EBAY. We cannot become victims of Paralysis by analysis. Sometimes the greatest financial successes I have achieved stemmed from going with my gut feeling and accepting the results. I have had some wins and losses, but I’m winning overall.
IN CONCLUSION, this is a rough draft copy and I will be updating, revising, adding, and omitting details. However, use this text as a good start and foundation. I am going to be realistic with you. FISCAL DISCIPLINE is not about being able to buy Maserati’s, popping bottles, and lavish parties. My financial goal set includes going back to the basics and then graduating to the next level. The goal is to INCREMENTALLY improve. Step by step, day by day, and brick by brick until you look back on your journey and reflect on how much you have saved and improved. There were times at 18 when I thought, “I will never be able to travel so frequently”, or “I will never be able to afford that type of vehicle”. Fortunately, I stuck to the script and now not only have I traveled to those places and bought those vehicles, I am ready to purchase my first house.
“There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge”. Author Napoleon Hill of Think and Grow Rich. Just remember to stick to the blueprint and in the words of Lil Wayne “NO CEILINGS”.