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Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

Creating True Financial Freedom

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What does financial freedom mean to you? Is it having a big house? A luxury car? All of the money in the world? Or is it something else? I remember hearing a story about a young man and his wealthy father that put the topic of financial freedom into perspective for me.

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the intent of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “It was great, father.” “Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son. “So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father. The son answered: “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve each other. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us. They have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thank you father, for showing me how poor WE ARE.”

From this story, you can see two different perspectives on what is valuable in life and the true meaning of financial freedom. On one hand, you have a father who believes in the material things that money can buy. Alternatively, you have a smart young boy who appreciates the things that money can’t buy. Regardless of where you sit, financial freedom is whatever you say it is. If material items are your aim, then there is a process to follow in order to make that your reality. However if your desire is to live a simpler life, there are steps you should take to assure that you are not struggling to meet your basic necessities. I call this process The L.I.V.E. F.R.E.E. Life, which consist of the following:

“The L.I.V.E. F.R.E.E. Life”:

  1. List your financial goals
  2. Incorporate an emergency fund
  3. Visualize your budget
  4. Establish savings
  5. Fund your future
  6. Raise your credit
  7. Eliminate unnecessary debt
  8. Envision abundant living

Following these steps will set you on the right track towards financial freedom, no matter what magnitude you decide to choose. (I also did a cool podcast breaking each step down specifically so check it out here.) So back to my original question: What does financial freedom mean to you? I want to hear your thoughts. Using the comments below, share your meaning of financial freedom.

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

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Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

Top Ten Freshman Money Myths

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Starting college is one of the most important and exciting times of your life. Now that you’re all “checked-in,” enjoy your college experience without worrying about where your next meal will come from by chasing away these common freshman money myths. (more…)

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Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

Do What You Love for Free – Here’s Why

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This is ParadigmMoney.Com, right? So, speaking about a paradigm shift should come as no surprise. In science and philosophy, a paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field. When speaking about money, most believe it is something you work for and not something that works for you. In all truth, the one percenters understand this concept quite well. In order, to wake up and do what you love, you too must shift your thoughts when it comes to finances.

Doing what you love for free allows you to create freely. You can come up with disruptive, out of this world, never seen before creations that will rock this planet. Take Elon Musk from South Africa, founder of X.com which went on to become PayPal and sold to eBay for 1.5 billion dollars. Musk is also the CEO of SpaceX which designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. You may say, of course, he can do this, he is a billionaire and co-founder of Tesla.

Not true. PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX are all products of Musk doing what he loved. As a child, he was an avid reader and taught himself computer programming leading to the creation of X.com. He dropped out of college to start a company with his brother and here’s what he had to say about that PayPal deal… “My proceeds from the PayPal acquisition were $180 million. I put $100 million in SpaceX, $70m in Tesla, and $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent.” Elon Musk’s current net worth is estimated to be at about $13.3 billion. No bad at all.

The reality of the matter is the less you are attached to money the more money flows to you. Pay more attention to creating things that move the culture forward. Starting at doing what you love with ultimately position you for financial success and happiness.

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Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

How Much Does College Cost?

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How much does college cost these days? If you’re preparing to go to college and will need to find a way to finance your own education, this is one of the first steps to figure out.  Then you’ll want to find out all of your options and create a plan. Here’s a quick breakdown on the typical cost of college. (more…)

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