My Journey to Financial Freedom: Lessons Learned Along the Way

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Introduction

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure solves your money problems. In 2018, I quit my job as a resident plastic surgeon and moved back home with my mom, like any successful 27-year-old would do. A year later, in mid-2019, I moved to Las Vegas, splitting a two-bedroom apartment with a friend. By early 2021, I bought my first home. Here are the lessons I’ve learned.

Finding Financial Stability

Why should you listen to me? I’m no YouTube multi-millionaire, but I’m no longer living with my mom, so that’s got to count for something. I can relate to your situations because not long ago, I was grinding hard to make ends meet. I felt the pain of financial strain, so I know what it’s like.

Crafting Your Investment Policy Statement (IPS)

Your goal is probably financial security and freedom. To achieve this, you need a plan, like an Investment Policy Statement (IPS). The IPS keeps you on track long-term. Finance isn’t about grinding for six or twelve months; it’s year after year. At a certain point, you amass enough wealth to live off your dividends and returns, known as FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early).

Building Your IPS

Craft your IPS. Mine includes investment philosophy, asset allocation, funds and accounts, milestones, goals, home and car ownership principles, and a fund for fun investments. IPS guidelines help you make informed decisions, especially when tempted by new strategies.

Financial Freedom

Overcoming Investing Fears

Some people fear investing entirely, but with intelligent investing, you can minimize risks and maximize rewards. Keep cash and you lose real value over time due to inflation. Intelligent investing is about understanding risks and rewards based on your timeline and risk tolerance.

Tracking Your Financial Health

Track your net worth. Assets minus liabilities gives you a clear picture of your financial health. Use tools like Personal Capital to track everything from cash to investments to property value.

Budgeting Wisely

Budgeting is crucial. Use tools like Spendbook to track your spending. Live below your means, but don’t be too frugal. Spend on things that improve your well-being and future earning potential.

Continuous Financial Education

Educate yourself financially. The internet and books offer vast resources. Compound interest works wonders, so start investing early.

Managing Debt

Have a debt pay-down strategy. Student loans are manageable, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking new expenses don’t matter.

Increasing Your Income

Increase your income rather than just cutting costs. Passive index fund investing is a smart choice for most.

Embracing Your Financial Situation

Embrace your financial situation. Whether you started from nothing or come from wealth, choose your narrative and make the most of it.

Conclusion

Life’s a journey. Enjoy it, and make the most out of every opportunity.