My wife and I are in our early 40's. We both work hard and make good money, yet we can’t seem to get ahead financially. In fact, I think we’re worse off now than 10 years ago. Are we alone in our struggle? How do people get ahead today?
To answer this question appropriately, I interviewed Martin Hurlburt, CFS, a local financial planner. He explained to me that most people struggle financially because they don’t understand the basic principles that create wealth. Hurlburt says that you need to learn the following five steps to financial failure and learn to do the opposite. The following information comes from him.
How to be a financial failure:
Successful people spend less than they make. They take a portion of everything they earn and put it into their business or other investments. Successful people realize that it will never get any easier to save money. They know that earning interest rather than paying interest is a key component to their success. Successful people apply sound financial principles. They constantly strive to increase their income. They have adequate protection, maintain an emergency reserve, and invest systematically for the future.
Hurlburt also told me about a flight attendant named José he met on a recent trip to California:
"The plane had been delayed for five hours and rude passengers were making it a long day for him. While we were waiting, I gave him a copy of an article outlining these five steps. As he read it, a smile appeared on his face. He no longer looked tired and frustrated.
"He told me that he had broken most, if not all, of the steps. Twelve years earlier he was a 27-year-old divorcee. His ex-wife left him with a mortgage, two car payments and $15,000 in revolving debt. He felt depressed and overwhelmed. But something inside him awoke. He promised himself that he would get out of debt, take control of his life and become a financial success.
"With determination, sacrifice and focus, José began to eliminate his revolving debt. He stopped going out to eat and gave up vacation time to earn extra money. He was laid off from several jobs but took responsibility for himself and found employment elsewhere. He worked hard and did whatever it took to accomplish his goals.
"Today, he no longer has revolving debt. He saves 38 percent of his income for retirement. He takes nice vacations, eats out and is enjoying life much more than he did 12 years ago. If José can make a change and begin to apply all five steps in his life, anyone can. It may not be easy, but it’s definitely worth it.
"Without exception, those who succeed financially in the long run use these principles. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. But rather than waste your time looking for an exception to the rules, why not put your time and energy into applying them?
"It’s your money. It’s your future. Take charge.”
I highly recommend Hurlburt's advice and think all of us, as a nation, need to take heed. Simple principles of truth can solve our financial problems.
Martin Hurlburt has written several books on financial health and is available to speak to groups along the Wasatch Front. Martin@TM-Wealth.com or visit www.TM-Wealth.com - Kim Giles is a life coach and speaker with www.claritypointcoacing.com
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.