There’s this idea in our society that if you want something amazing, there’s got to be some secret to getting it.
People want “magic bullet” answers. They think if they look long enough and hard enough then maybe, just maybe, they’ll stumble upon the SECRETS “THEY” DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW.
I’m not judging. I used to be like this too. But now I know different. Now I know there aren’t any secrets. The truth is often hidden in plain sight; you just have to know how to see it.
- The secret to fitness? Eat real food and move regularly.
- The secret to being organized? Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. (Want help? Check out the Konmari Method.)
- The secret to time management? Learn to say “no” and tackle your most important tasks first.
- The secret to writing a novel? Write a little bit every day.
I’ve found that the best way to learn the “secret” of whatever it is I want to achieve is to listen to people who have done (or are doing) it first.
When I wanted to become a writer, I read advice from my favorite authors. When I wanted to get fit, I read interviews with elite athletes. While digging out of debt, I talked to others who’d done it before me.
Right now, I’m reading The Snowball, a fantastic biography of billionaire Warren Buffett. There’s a lot to learn from the world’s third-richest man. Soaking up his wisdom — his “secrets” — will help me become a better investor and a wiser steward of my wealth.
(His advice probably won’t help me become a bonafide billionaire but a guy can dream, right?)
In the same vein, it was fun this morning to find an epic post post from Jeff over at the Sustainable Life Blog. He asked 39 colleagues two questions:
- What inspired your journey to Financial Independence?
- What do you think is the most important thing people need to do to reach Financial Independence?
Jeff compiled the responses into a colossal collection of stories and tips about how to achieve financial freedom. If you’re at all interested in this subject, you should bookmark his post: Who else wants to retire early and be free?
Here, for example, is how my buddy Jeremy answered the questions.
Because I’m a nerd, I spent an hour reading everybody’s answers. And took notes. And crunched the numbers. Here are the most common responses:
- Eleven people stressed the importance of a high saving rate (or profit margin, as we call it here at Money Boss).
- Ten people argued that it’s vital to align your spending with your values — and seven more said something about ignoring everyone else and/or learning to think differently from the norm.
- Six people believe the most important thing is to spend less — especially on the big things. Two people emphasized income.
- No other piece of advice had more than three responses.
In other words, when you ask a pool of people who write about Financial Independence what the secret to success is, about half say “spend much less than you earn” and about half say you should be willing to leave the herd to follow your own path.
Put these two ideas together and you have a powerful recipe for a rich life. In Money Boss terms: Save half of your income so that you can pursue your purpose.
That’s the secret.
And that’s why the Money Boss crash course asks you first to write a personal mission statement, then to calculate your profit margin. Both are key components of forging your way to financial freedom.
Speaking of the crash course, the feedback so far is fantastic! Thank you. I’m pleased that the exercises are helping you find focus and make big changes to your financial life. If there’s anything I can to do improve the emails, please let me know.