Financial Independence Sooner, Rather Than Later

By Ruth Bayang

I was asked to write this blog to share why I created my nonprofit, Empower Women Organization. Its mission is to enlighten, inspire, and empower teenage girls and young adult women to become financially free and design a life of passion, purpose and integrity.

The norm that our parents and grandparents knew of working 30 to 40 years for one company, and then retiring and receiving a pension until their dying days, are long gone. This model which worked for them in the Industrial Age, no longer works for us living in the Information Age.

Men and women today need to hear the beat of a different drum: financial independence sooner rather than later… not at the retirement age of 65 but decades before. Women especially should be heeding this message for the simple reason that they generally live longer than men.

A new Fidelity Investments survey released in January 2016 revealed that some 55% of Americans have no retirement savings at all. A significant number of those are very close to retirement age, between the ages of 55 and 64.  That leads to the conclusion that they will have work the rest of their lives. It’s one thing to choose to work because you want to and you love what you do. It’s quite another to HAVE to work because you cannot pay for your food, rent/mortgage, insurance and other living expenses otherwise.

What does financial independence mean to you? To me, it means having enough passive income coming in to exceed my expenses. I can choose to go to a job or not. Passive income typically comes from investments, real estate assets, a side business, or royalties from past work. Passive income pays you even when you are sick, disabled, or even dead. It does not require you to show up for 40 hours a week at a specific location to do a specific job. Passive income will take care of your family financially long after you are gone.

What would you do with your time if you were not tied to the financial obligation of needing a paycheck from a job? Would you travel more? Spend more time with your children? Explore new projects, opportunities, discover a new passion? Financial freedom empowers you to try new things that old age and poor health may eliminate in a traditional retirement setting.

If this all sounds like unicorns and rainbows to you, it’s not. If you have never heard of this concept before, please do not dismiss it as fantasy. This is a solid financial plan that most financial advisers don’t talk about… simply because they don’t know any better.

Are you willing to open your eyes to something new? Are you willing to create a lasting legacy for your family for generations to come? Or will you stay in a system where you may or may not have enough money for retirement and leave your family in the same boat?

Please wake up. There is no such thing as “job security.” As Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad said, “For people who want security, the price is freedom. The more security you have, the less freedom you have. That’s why in jail, it’s called “maximum security” because they have the least freedom.”

Break free of what you think to be true. If your parents were low- to middle-income, they likely taught you to think like a low- to middle-income person. They didn’t know any better. And up till now, you didn’t know any better. Have you ever noticed that wealth tends to stay in wealthy families? It is because the wealthy teach their children to think like a wealthy person. It is a different mindset.

It’s time to discover a different way that will lead you to be financially free so you may design a life of passion, purpose and integrity.

Ruth Bayang is the Content Development Director of WEWorld Network and a two-time Emmy Award-winner.

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