My first year out of college, I was in commercial real estate. My new career was straight commission--zero salary. At first I starved, and then the commissions started to come in. That first year, I made $50,000. In my mind, that was enough money to save, invest and become rich one day.
There was only one problem: My spending exceeded my income. No problem, I thought to myself. I just need to make more money. The next year, I made $75,000, but again, my spending exceeded my income. The more I made, the more I seemed to spend.
A few years later, I was a financial advisor earning six figures. I thought I would be set, but I still couldn't get my spending to a point where I was able to save any money. That is, until the day I met Jim and Sue McIntyre.
When Jim came into my office at age 52 to see about retiring early, I was surprised. Jim had never made more than $55,000 a year in his life. Here I was making six figures and I had nothing saved.
I fully expected to inform Jim and Sue they couldn't retire early, so imagine my shock when I found out they were actually multimillionaires. They had two homes paid off, one they lived in and the other a rental property. Jim had saved over a half million in his 401(k) and even more in their IRA accounts, and the couple had put their kids through college without any student loans. They had zero debt.
That meeting was an epiphany for me. Jim and Sue had become extraordinarily wealthy on an ordinary income. I, on the other hand, appeared rich, but I was actually living paycheck to paycheck.
Right then and there, I decided to shift my mindset, actions and approach to be more like the McIntyres, and by doing that, I eventually became a self-made millionaire. I have since dedicated my life's work to helping others live and finish rich, too.
Since then I've written 10 consecutive New York Times best-selling books. Over a million people have gone through my programs. This year, at age 52, I took off with my family and moved to Florence, Italy, to enjoy what I call a "radical sabbatical." I work when I want to because, like the McIntyres, I bought my financial freedom.
It's the lessons I've learned throughout my journey that have made that reality possible--and can make financial freedom a reality for you, too. In this article, I'm sharing 16 timeless truths that I believe anyone, regardless of their income, can use to live and finish rich. I hope they will be helpful to you.
1 ALWAYS SPEND LESS THAN YOU MAKE. YOUR LIFE WILL BE MUCH EASIER AND LESS STRESSFUL.
This is the biggest lesson I learned from Jim and Sue: it's not what you make, but what you keep that determines if you'll build wealth. Relatively speaking, the McIntyres didn't make a lot of money, but they were masters of keeping what they made.
Before meeting the McIntyres, I was leasing a brand new Jaguar and renting an apartment in San Francisco, but I was totally stressed out. When I shifted my mindset and placed a higher emphasis on keeping my money and investing it instead of spending it on things I didn't need, my stress dropped.
2 PAY YOURSELF FIRST. KEEP AT LEAST AN HOUR A DAY OF A YOUR INCOME.
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