5 Tips for Financial Freedom

Go from being overwhelmed to in control and living on purpose with these alternative personal finance tips.

Mary J Fourie’s father passed away when she was very young. There was no life insurance in place. This left her mother to work exceptionally hard to look after both her and her brother. Mary believes her mom was completely dis-empowered in that situation because her parents had done no financial planning. “That is why I’m so passionate about helping women and change-makers to thrive, not just survive!” She says. “That’s why I like to help people on their journey to financial freedom.”

Four generations of powerful women.

Today, Mary is a life coach and financial advisor with her own business and her focus is on helping individuals (a large part of her clientele are entrepreneurs, small business owners and freelancers) reach a point where they feel totally in control of their finances and are living out their purpose in life.

“I feel like that is one of the biggest challenges of entrepreneurs,” she says. “You have this burning desire inside of you, this gift, this talent, this thing you want to offer the world – how do you get it out there while at the same time making enough money so you can live the lifestyle you want and deserve.”

Do you want to go from feeling overwhelmed to feeling in control and living on purpose, here are a handful of her tips?

1. FIRST, FIND YOUR WHY

What do you want your money to do for you? It’s not an easy question to ask, but this is where you need to start. As a life coach and financial planner I strive to bring that ‘human element’ out with the why. I strive to help people identify and understand their why. The old adage here remains true – you could have all the money in the world and still be miserable. (Unless you identify that why).

When it comes to the why, there are unconscious and conscious motivators and I try to help people understand and identify those and then work on them. To radically paraphrase the psychology: Unconscious motivators are what makes up your ego-driven survival system – those things you’ve taken on board through socialisation in your upbringing whereby you (subconsciously) tell yourself ‘if I don’t do this thing I won’t be loved and cared for.’

If you can identify those unconscious drivers you can address them. Such as the belief that you need to ‘work harder to make more money’ where in truth you could very potentially work smarter and be way more efficient. And then have more time to focus on the things that bring you meaning and purpose.

2. NEXT, DON’T BE INTIMIDATED TO SEEK HELP

It is scary and confronting, but in order to take charge of your finances and work towards a financial freedom in the future you have to be honest with yourself. You have to confront those fears, and then take the right steps. It’s taken me some time (and actually been such a journey), but I’ve been fortunate to be able to carve my niche in terms of the type of clients I get. I work with ‘change makers’ because that is what I am myself. I mean, I want to change the world – there is something in my DNA that pushes me to want to make a difference.

A lot of my clients are the same but often they aren’t always able to articulate that because the balance between ‘doing good’ and making money is a tricky one. Most of my clients then have a struggle or a challenge – there is a pain point – they aren’t often the high net worth who is ‘what do I do with all my money’ more often it is the person or couple saying ‘I want money and I want it to do this and that, how do I do that.’ What I have learnt on this journey is that it can be intimidating for people to seek help outside of the traditional financial services industry.

Take the right steps and find the financial advisor that suits your needs

3. UNDERSTAND THAT TIMES HAVE CHANGED

 Without sounding contrived, as a woman right now (I’m talking about the millennial generation here) you need to understand that responsibilities are so different to how they were in our parents’ times. You need to appreciate that roles and financial expectations on both sides have evolved. For starters, there is more information these days, so there are more ways to get empowered about financial freedom, which means that people are having more conversations in their own heads about things.

Then, we need to accept that millennials are struggling to be at the same life stage as the previous generation was at a comparative age. There was a far bigger accumulation of wealth, assets and savings among that generation at the same age than today. But we’re fighting on, because we also want it all. So we’re burning out to try work and have a side gig and raise families.

For me here it is very important to balance the human aspect with the financial side when I work with my clients. It is very much two sides: There is money and practical stuff and we can talk about how investments work, but what is it for and what is going to bring you joy and the balance between now and later.

Responsibilities have changed over the past few generations

4. DON’T VIEW YOUR FUTURE SELF AS A STRANGER

Which brings me neatly to the next point about future financial freedom. We see older selves as strangers and this is wrong. We find it difficult to see ourselves at 65 or 70. It’s like we can’t process that. Traditionally financial services works on a fear-based model of selling: ‘You will die’ type of approach. For me that is an awful strategy and not at all motivating. In fact personally I believe it triggers us into fight, flight or freeze mode. So what I try to do is help people find the balance between creating meaningful goals now and putting in place the things now that help build the habit (of seeing ourselves at 65, and providing for that day).

I think that is the other thing I do which works with my clients in their strive for financial freedom, is that traditional financial planners plan based on short-falls. They calculate shortfalls and those shortfalls justify the sales (of insurance and investment products). What I do is take stock of who the client is and what they do and what gifts they offer the world. Then we described the why and work toward creating the kind of life they want with the resources available.

‘See’ yourself at 65 and plan for what you want.

5. KNOW THAT YOU HAVE A CHOICE IN YOUR FINANCIAL FREEDOM

It is also very important to know that your ‘why’ will be different to someone else’s. And that is fine. Planning our money is about having choices and options. We do this so that no matter what happens – whether it is an opportunity or challenge, we have the choice in how we respond to that. A personal choice…

That means that you need not conform to ‘traditional’ thinking. We are taught that there is a system and we need to be in that system. But, as millennials, we are still trying to find acceptance (which I feel the kids of today already have built in). There is a lot of rebellion. It’s so hard to save and own and invest, why does it have to be this way? That’s what we ask ourselves and there is this general sense of resentment to the previous generation for that – the fact that they had it easier and have screwed things up for us. Letting go of that and then making your own (informed and well-advised) choices is very liberating.

This article was first published on the DoughGetters Blog 

DoughGetters’ are digital accountants who will help you design your financial system with Xero at the centre [baked, wholesome bread] integratable with hundreds of possible apps [butter, spreads, preserves] to remove your unnecessary business admin. They want you, as business owner, to taste this beautiful ximplicity as you grow your people, customer base, profits and cash.

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