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6 Paths to Financial Freedom

freedomToday is the fourth installment in our freedom series. We’ll focus on financial freedom.

Financial freedom … can you imagine it? To use the lingo from our last couple of posts, it means freedom from money worries or, even better, freedom to choose how we spend and live.

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If Elvis was an Entrepreneur

exitThe final chord was sung. The noise from the crowd became a roar. The lights came on. But there was still hope … still a chance that he might appear again. And then there was the voice, saying …

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Elvis has left the building.

You’re probably familiar with those famous words. It made us think:

Elvis always knew how he was leaving the building. If he was an entrepreneur, he would surely know how he was leaving the business.

Learning from the pros

Bankers and venture capitalists know at least two ways that they’re going to get their money back (plus the return they need) before they invest in our business. Shouldn’t we know at least one? It’s one of the lessons we can learn from these professionals.

Why you should know how you’ll exit

In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey taught us to begin with the end in mind. We should know how we’re getting out of our business before we get into it.

Know your exit. Elvis did. Professional investors do. Yet many entrepreneurs never think about it.

That may be a reason why studies show that a majority of entrepreneurs don’t expect their business to kick in any money for their retirement.

It’s crucial to consider your exit because small businesses are highly illiquid by nature. Unlike shares in a public company, there is no marketplace where you can go to sell it immediately.

Another reason to know your exit – perhaps a more important reason – is that it your exit should be one of the drivers of your business strategy. How you plan to get out affects everything from how you structure your business, where you get money from as well as a number of other things.

3 common exit strategies

  • Sell your business outright
    Just like selling a house or any other asset, you exit the business by giving up any claims to ownership in exchange for an agreed-upon price. On your way out, just say, “Thank you … thank you very much!”                   
  • Redirect cash flows
    Let’s say you invest $25,000 to start a business. Let’s also assume that you make $25,000 after-taxes in your first year in business (after fully compensating yourself for your time).

    Further, let’s stipulate that you don’t need that money for your existing business. Take that $25,000 out and invest it somewhere else.

    You invested $25,000 and you took out $25,000. Essentially, you have no money invested in the business. Yet you still own the business! Get your money out and say, “Thank you … thank you very much!”                     

  • Recapitalize
    You still own the business with this strategy as well. Let’s say that you invested $25,000 to start your business. You got your business started, built it up and are making money.

    You may be able to go to your banker and borrow against your business. Let’s say your banker agrees to a $25,000 loan which you can pay back from the cash flows of your business.

    It’s likely that you’ll need a good use for the money to get your banker’s okay. For example, maybe you have an opportunity to buy a piece of real estate that will house your company.

    In essence, you’ve cashed out of your business because you now have that original $25,000 invested somewhere else. Repeat this strategy over and over until you have enough money to fund the life of your dreams. That’s bigg success!

Thank you … thank you very much for reading our post today.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Please join us next time when we ask some questions about work – life balance. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00424-062509.mp3

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(Image in today's post by btafly)

Save Now Without Depriving Yourself

dollar_sign.jpgBigg success is life on your own terms. The five elements of bigg success are money, time, growth, work and play. Today we’ll focus on money.

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When it comes to money, we’re all conscious these days that we have to save more. We saw a great definition of saving the other day by Carolyn Jabs. Her Growing Up Online column appeared in an article in Columbus Parent. She said:

“In its finest form, saving doesn't mean depriving yourself or your family of what you want, much less need. Instead, it means comparing long-term and short-term goals to decide which matter most.”

Bigg trade-offs

When she puts it that way, saving doesn’t sound so bad! We often think of savings as “doing without.” It’s not doing without. It’s deciding on the timing.

Saving, in and of itself, is not a noble act. It’s a means to an end, not the end. It’s about trade-offs – trading now for later or later for now.

If you pay cash for something today, you give up earning money on the money you used for the purchase. Your money will work for you if you save it and invest.

If you buy something and finance it, you’re deferring cash out the door today in exchange for even more cash out the door (since you’ll have to pay interest) in the future.

So, ultimately, it’s a decision about what will make you the happiest – enjoying your money now or stashing it away so you can enjoy it more tomorrow.

It’s living with purpose on purpose – defining your bigg goals and living each day to achieve them.

Your bigg plan

What if you don’t have to sacrifice the present for the future? That’s a bigg idea! Look for ways to enhance your present and your future.

You are the entrepreneur of your life, irrespective of whether or not you own your own business. Your life is your enterprise. You, and only you, are in charge of this enterprise. As the entrepreneur, plan your purchases.

Don’t get caught buying on impulse. It’s a trap that really hits us hard. And we’re not just talking about those insignificant items at the check-out. Marketers are really good at making us think we can’t afford to wait.

For example, think about the ads that promise “No Payments for Two Years.” We translate that, in our minds, as if we’re not spending money for two years. But the reality is, if we don’t have that money already set aside, it’s probably going to give our finances a jolt when the payments kick in … at incredibly high interest rates.

Synergize to ramp up your savings

By planning our purchases, and then sticking to the plan, we’ll only buy those items that we’ve determined make us happiest. We can keep our eyes open for the best deal which saves us money now – money that can go straight to our savings.

If you’ve set aside $2,000 and then only spend $1,500, give yourself a night out on the town in celebration of a job well done. Take the rest and put it into your savings.

By synergizing our savings with our spending, we can save more money for the future because we get the best deal when we buy today. That’s how we get what we want today without depriving ourselves. It’s one thing we can do to propel us to bigg success!

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks so much for checking in with us today. Please join us next time when we’ll talk about the biggest time waster of all. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00406-060109.mp3

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What the Car You Drive Says About You

porsche_cake.jpg It’s not what you make that really counts; it’s how much you keep. We base that on studies that show how millionaires became millionaires. Sure, they’re always trying to earn more, but they really watch what they spend. That’s one of their secrets to success in many cases.

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Only you know your terms

We were recently at a birthday party for our friend, Tim. His wife had a really cool cake for him. It’s the picture you see with this post.

We were talking with Tim about his Porsche. He’s one of our regulars here at BIGG Success and he commented about how we’re always talking about frugality. A Porsche may not be consistent with that mindset.

But BIGG success is life on your own terms. If your terms include having a Porsche parked in the garage, then more power to you!

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georgeThat’s one of the things we love about our definition of bigg success – it’s not judgmental. I can’t tell you what’s best for you. Just like you don’t know what’s right for me. Heck, sometimes I don’t even know what’s right for me!

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marylynnThat’s the beauty of life on your own terms. When you’re living it, you don’t judge other people because you think, “Oh, that’s life on their own terms.”

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We try to report what works – what research shows helps you get to that next level of success in your life. But we can’t tell anyone what the right choice is for them. You decide because you’re the one who lives with it.

We hope we provide some additional insight to help you with your decisions, but ultimately you’re the entrepreneur of your life. You’re in charge.

Your car is an expression

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Ramp Up Your Savings

uptrend.jpgBigg success is life on your own terms. One of the five elements of bigg success is money. We need to plan ahead so we have enough money to live our golden years on our own terms once we no longer work, another one of the five elements. Otherwise, it’s hard to imagine our golden years being golden.

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The silver lining

There’s at least one silver lining (boy, we’re hitting all the precious metals today) in the dark cloud we’ve been experiencing with the economy – we’re saving money again! It’s not easy to save money, but many of us have realized how important it is to have a reserve.

Financial planners say we should save at least ten percent of our income to put toward retirement. We’ve even heard some recommend twelve percent.

A lot of us face a bigg challenge in socking away that amount of money. Some people may get discouraged because they can’t come close to saving ten percent. So they just don’t save at all.

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georgeI can relate to that because I’m somewhat of an all or nothing guy. But as my dad used to say, “Fifty percent of something is better than a hundred percent of nothing!”

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marylynnAnd nothing is what we end up with if we don’t stash some away now! But there’s no need to get discouraged if you’re not saving all that financial planners recommend.

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Ramp up your savings pain-free

Let’s consider a hypothetical couple that has a household income of $100,000. They should save $10,000 according to the experts, but they’re only able to save $3,000.

However, they are determined to find a way to get to that ten percent. They decide that, one way or another, they will make an extra $2,000 every year, year after year, for the next five years. So they plan to make $102,000 next year, $104,000 the following year and so on. This may come from pay raises, bonuses, or a part-time job or business.

Let’s assume that they’re able to invest all of this extra money in a tax-deductible retirement account so they don’t have to pay any taxes on this income now. They also keep investing the $3,000 base they started from.

By the fifth year, our hypothetical couple is making $108,000 and saving $11,000. So they’re now actually saving a little more than financial planners recommend and they did it relatively pain-free!

Ramp up your savings pain-free

Let’s consider a hypothetical couple that has a household income of $100,000. They should save $10,000 according to the experts, but they’re only able to save $3,000.

However, they are determined to find a way to get to that ten percent. They decide that, one way or another, they will make an extra $2,000 every year, year after year, for the next five years. So they plan to make $102,000 next year, $104,000 the following year and so on. This may come from pay raises, bonuses, or a part-time job or business.

Let’s assume that they’re able to invest all of this extra money in a tax-deductible retirement account so they don’t have to pay any taxes on this income now. They also keep investing the $3,000 base they started from.

By the fifth year, our hypothetical couple is making $108,000 and saving $11,000. So they’re now actually saving a little more than financial planners recommend and they did it relatively pain-free!

  • not being discouraged at what they could save now
  • saving every bit they could now
  • improving it a little bit every year

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
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The underlying secret

In this simple example is a secret that can help you with all your goals, not just your financial ones. Bigg success is life on your own terms. If you think about “terms” as time frames, you can reach bigg success faster.

We’ve said that you are the entrepreneur of a very important enterprise – your life. You may or may not be an entrepreneur in the traditional sense of the word. That’s immaterial. What’s important is that we can learn a lesson from successful entrepreneurs, particularly those who work with outside financiers like venture capitalists.

Milestones

An entrepreneur and a venture capitalist come to terms and strike a deal. The venture capitalist will invest a large amount of money in an entrepreneur’s company. However, the entrepreneur only gets a certain amount of it upfront. He or she must complete some agreed upon action – for example, get a customer – by a certain time to insure the venture capitalist puts in more money. These agreed upon actions with a deadline are called milestones.

As the entrepreneurs of our own lives, we think it’s helpful to set milestones in all areas of our lives.

Think about your bigg goal.

Then carve it up into milestones – specific activities you will complete by a certain time.

By breaking your bigg goal into little actions with deadlines, you can achieve things that you would think were impossible otherwise.

You can measure your progress each step of the way. You can take corrective action if you’re off the mark. Or if you’re ahead of schedule, you can celebrate your bigg success!

Do you set milestones?

Tell us how you do it by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for reading our post today!

Please join us next time as we build on this subject of milestones. We’ll talk about creating a cumulative advantage.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00371-041309.mp3

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(Image in today's post by Duchessa)