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Winning the Game to Financial Freedom

Nov 30, 2007
According to the statistics shared by Mike Peterson, co-founder of The American Credit Foundation and author of "Reality Millionaire: Proven Tips to Retire Rich," most Americans are losing the money-making game. Take 100 people at age 20 and fast forward them to retirement. Only five percent of them will be financially okay. That's not even 'great' or 'independent', just okay.

"There are different levels to financial freedom," says Peterson. "The first level of financial freedom is when you decide to take control of your finances. Let's take another step, at the point that you manage your finances and income so you're no longer in the red, but actually have a little money left over at the end of every month. Eventually we get to what I call ultimate financial freedom. I define that as, where you have enough money put away in investments that are spinning off enough of an income for you that you no longer have to go to work."

Financial knowledge is the key to success. Researching all the financial information available is a must to becoming educated in building wealth. People are responsible for learning all there is to know about finances, preventing money blunders and financial difficulties. There is no excuse for financial ignorance; the resources are out there for all to take advantage of.

Peterson developed a tool anyone can use to start on the road to financial education and freedom. It assists people in being proactive about where they want to be financially and how to reach the wanted results. The game assists people in developing ideas and goals, bringing the closer to financial success, one round at a time. It is an organized, workable tool anyone can implement.

Round 1 presents the challenge of determining where you want to be financially. The most important aspect of this round is setting goals for the future. Writing down these goals brings you one step closer to the financial freedom you have wished for.

Round 2 involves becoming aware of where your money goes each month. Track expenses for at least 30 days, writing down everything you spend, no matter how insignificant you think it may be. Continue to spend your money on all the usual items for the entire month. This will give you an accurate account of where exactly you spend your income. Once you chart where the money was spent, you can develop a plan for saving money in the future, eliminating spending on unnecessary items.

Round 2.5 involves developing a whole new way of looking at finances. It is no longer about looking at monthly statements, but seeing money issues with regard to years in the future. This is very difficult to do when trying to make ends meet month to month, but it is essential to finding financial success. Take a good look into the years ahead, changing your mindset to becoming future oriented.

Round 3 is very important. This is where you take charge of your debt, developing a program to eliminate the debt you have accumulated. The most important rule to live by is to never charge more on credit cards than you can pay back in the same month. If this rule is not followed, winning your way to financial freedom will be a hard road. Obviously, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as a mortgage and car payment. Even with this type of debt, try to keep it reasonable. Decide on what type of car or house you need without becoming exorbitant.

Round 4 delves into how to make money with the money you have. Most people who are financially independent are investing their money in various monetary ventures. It all depends upon interest rates, how stocks earn money, the workings of mutual funds, and how to use them to your advantage.

Round 5 also deals with investments. Make sure your assets are invested in IRA's or 401k. Fit these investments into the goals you set in round 1. Decide upon how much you want to risk in these investments. Make sure your assets are allocated so if something negative happens in the market, your finances will be covered.

Round 6 explains how to go about investing. It helps you decide where to invest your money and all the different options available. This round educates you on the difference between personal IRA's, Roth, and 401k. As the market fluctuates, you can determine the investment possibilities; which investments are less of a risk.

Round 7 deals with investing beyond the IRA. Determine the next step to bring you closer to your financial goal. At this point, a financial planner may be needed to help you make appropriate financial decisions. Financial planning is an important resource, bringing you closer to your dreams of financial freedom.

Round 8 repeats the process of tracking your expenses and rebalancing your investments. The market is changing all the time. The risks you were concerned about before may be different now. Keep the fundamentals in mind, weighing the financial risks and rebalancing your investment portfolio to keep your future safe. Make proactive choices annually, keeping your investments risk free.

Round 9 is actually a recap of the first eight rounds. You now know what to look for and how to go about becoming financially literate and successful. It is all about repeating these steps over and over again to stay on the right track to your financial goals.

People are playing the financial game every day, whether they realize it or not. The key is to become aware there is a money game going on. Be proactive, following the nine rounds to financial freedom. Take control of your financial situation, persevere through the nine rounds and you can win the game, gaining financial security for the future.
About the Author
'Dr. Proactive' Randy Gilbert enjoyed learning from Mike Peterson on "Inside Wealth Success" hosted by Jay Aaron. Find out more financial strategies from Mike at http://www.RealityMillionaire.com
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