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Step by Step Instructions for Creating Financial Freedom
by On February 12, 2009

We’re all after financial freedom, but what is it anyways? What does financial freedom look like? What does it feel like? How do you know when you’ve attained it?

Correctly answering these questions is fundamental to your creating financial freedom, because it’s impossible to reach a destination if you don’t know where you’re going. So it only makes sense that before we dive into the specifics of how to create financial freedom, we first define what it is.

I recently attended a conference where the instructor asked people for their definition of financial freedom. The answers ranged from “not being in debt” to “being able to buy anything I want.” But the answer that I liked best was, “Financial freedom is the freedom of not having to think about financial matters.” That definition covers the wide range of possible definitions, because whether your financial desire is to get out of debt or be able to buy whatever you want, your ultimate desire is to be free from financial concerns.

So in a financially-focused world where the financial demands are real, what can you do to feel financial freedom in your life? Well, let me share with you a method for experiencing financial freedom, a method that my mentor shared with me a couple of years ago. It’s called the financial pyramid. This method has worked in the lives of countless people around me as well as in my own life, which is why I endorse it so strongly. If you apply the principles, you will experience the peace of financial freedom in your own life, as well.

Step 1: Save 1½-2 times your average monthly expenses (AME) in a checking account. Having enough money in a checking account to cover two month’s worth of day-to-day expenses.  This relieves an incredible amount of financial stress, which is why this step is at the base of your financial freedom pyramid. To calculate your AME, simply subtract your total savings from last year from the income you made last year and divide by 12. Any amount that you didn’t save was spent. This is a much more accurate way to calculate your AME than trying to track all your expenditures, which is time-consuming and difficult to accurately track.

Step 2: Save 2-3 times your AME in an interest-bearing account. This money is for emergencies, such as a new furnace, a broken window, a new roof, or a new car engine. Once you complete this level of your pyramid, events that you previously considered “disasters” will no longer be a concern. You’ll feel peace even in times of emergencies.

Note: A great interest-bearing option is www.emigrantdirect.com, which currently pays 2.4% interest (as of today), and your money remains completely liquid.

Step 3: Save 3-9 times your AME in an interest-bearing account. This level of your pyramid could be titled “income insurance.” These funds give you peace of mind knowing that you and your family will be just fine even if you get injured, laid off, or let go. In addition, you will have the freedom to look for other jobs or experiment with opening your own business. You will no longer need a job. You will have the ability to choose your line of work, and having the ability to choose is what freedom is all about.

Note:  Deciding whether to save 3 or 9 times your AME will depend on a number of factors, including:

a. How stable is your job? Are you a tenured professor or an NFL quarterback?

b. How stable is the income at your job? Are you paid commissions or salaried?

c. What amount of savings makes you feel secure about your financial situation?)

Step 4: Invest 10-20% of your income in retirement accounts. The reality for most of us is that there will come a day when we will no longer be able to work. The question is, “Will you be at peace when that day arrives?” I encourage you to take your financial future into your own hands. Begin planning now and you will receive the peace of mind of knowing that your future is taken care of.

Step 5: Save for long-term commitments. Saving in advance for your long-term commitments, such as your kids’ education or a wedding, will prevent you from getting behind the 8-ball in the future. For instance, if you commit to your kids that you will pay for their college education, and then you proceed to complete levels 1-3 of your pyramid while never saving for their future college tuition, the entire base of your pyramid will be wiped out when you write that check, and you’ll need to start again from scratch. To maintain stability in the financial realm of your life, save for long-term commitments before they arise. Planning ahead will give you a great deal of peace.

Step 6: Save before you buy. Most people do this step backwards. They buy, and then they’re forced to save in the form of payments. That method leaves you feeling trapped to your debt and you pay more, with interest, than the item actually cost. Let me suggest a better way: If you will need a new car in 3 years, start savings for it now. Not only will it give you great bargaining power at the time of purchase, it will also provide you with a huge boost of self-confidence knowing that you had the character to save in advance. In addition, you’ll stop worrying about your future, wondering whether or not the “old beater” will last another year, and you’ll sleep well knowing that your financial future is secure.

Financial Freedom is a wonderful thing, and it’s difficult to experience when you feel trapped under debt.

Step 7: Give it away! Giving is oftentimes a great barometer of someone’s financial freedom, as it demonstrates their detachment from financial concerns. If someone is able to freely give with a cheerful heart, they are released from the hold of money. On the other hand, if someone believes that they need every single penny, then they’re always concerned about not having enough, and financial matters consume their thoughts.

Oddly enough, my wife and I have found in our own lives that the more we give (with a cheerful heart) the more we receive. So after you’ve completed levels 1-6 of your pyramid, consider giving the rest away. You won’t need it. Holding onto more money than you need will only serve to make you think more about money and worry about how you might lose it. Free yourself of that concern and release your resources to the causes that you’re most passionate about. This is truly one of the most satisfying feelings you’ll ever experience.

Note: I am not suggesting that giving should be your last step. Quite the contrary. Tithing is the first step in my family’s financial planning, and I’ve experienced the blessings that come with doing so. When completing your financial pyramid, take your tithe into consideration by including it as part of our AME. Step 7 is simply a gift that goes beyond tithing and helps free you from want.

One final thing to note is that these steps are not necessarily in chronological order. For instance, I recommend that you save for your retirement while you’re completing step one. The steps are simply in order by how much stress they relieve. For example, if your basic needs aren’t met (Step 1), you’re most likely too stressed to even be worrying about your retirement.

I understand that completing the financial pyramid is not as simple as 1, 2, 3. It will take time and effort. But all meaningful things require time and effort, and you’ll just have to ask yourself if financial freedom is worth the effort. I suggest it is.

Remember, the financial pyramid is merely a means to achieve financial freedom, and is not the only way. Ultimately, financial freedom is nothing more than the freedom and lightness of not having to think about financial matters, which you can achieve at any time by merely making a decision to think freeing thoughts.

Be Free!

David Meyers
COO and Director of Finance

Getting Rich in America
by On February 11, 2009

Order Getting Rich In America Today 6 CDs

Yes, you can become rich. No, it’s not easy, but it’s not as difficult as many people imagine-and it’s definitely not impossible, as many cynics would have us believe.

Whether your interests are in real estate, masterminding a new business, climbing to the top of the corporate world, or learning a new craft or skill, Brian Tracy has the ideas, methods and techniques that have brought success to thousands of achievers and money-rich people. And those same success systems will work for you!

Do you want to join the elite ranks of the outstandingly rich and wealthy? You can! The only difference between them and the average wage earner is that they’ve been implementing the strategies that Brian discusses in Getting Rich In America.

Each year 100,000 people become millionaires. Why not you?

Order Getting Rich In America Today 6 CDs

The Key to Financial Freedom – Your Financial Pyramid
by On February 10, 2009

      Download The Financial Pyramid mp3

(1. Right click the link 2. Choose “Save Target As”)

The idea of financial freedom is so fascinating to me. What does it take to achieve financial freedom? I ask you, quickly, write down how much money you would need to make in a year to feel financially free?

That’s usually a pretty tough exercise for people. In my observations, many of the most financially enslaved people I know are those that make the most money.

My husband’s a financial planner and he tells me people assume that if you make more money, the problems disappear, and that’s patently false.

So, what is the basis of financial freedom? Well, I’ll go back to the definition of freedom itself. We define freedom, as does the dictionary, as the capacity to exercise choice. This might sound crazy, but I’ll ask you to consider that true financial freedom comes from a choice; a choice not to be controlled by money. This will first come from a decision rather than any specific amount of money. I found this to be true in my own life.

The year I made the most money was the same year I felt the most stressed about finances. The next year, my income was cut in half; however, at the beginning of that year, I decided I was going to be financially free. Now, I’m not suggesting that I was never concerned about finances or that I never thought about money because I did. However, I also knew that I was fine. My choice was to trust that I would be just fine, and guess what? I was. However, there is also a pyramid theory to help you determine what amount of money and savings will help most people feel financially stable.

The financial pyramid itself came from a financial planner who mentored one of our company’s founders on what is foundational to achieve financial freedom? The basis of the theory is understanding your AME, which is your Average Monthly Expenses. Most people just add up their bills and think that that determines their expenses, but this method leaves out a lot of money that we spend.

So, if you would like to know how much money you actually spend on a monthly basis (AME), take your income from last year and subtract how much you saved last year, then divide that number by 12. Once you’ve determined your AME, you can work on building the six levels of the pyramid. The base of the six levels is where you would first go should you hit financial hardship and because the layers will be deep, you will feel very little stress if you choose to.

1.  The base of the pyramid is 1½ to two times your AME sitting in a checking account. This allows you to have money to pay your bills.

2.  The second level of the pyramid is two to three times your AME in an interest-bearing savings account or money market account.

3.  The third level of the pyramid is three to nine times your AME also in an interest-bearing account.

When you have these levels of your pyramid completely filled, you’ll be able to live off your savings for a full year without even dipping into any of your long-term savings.

4.  While you’re building these base three levels of savings, you’re consistently putting 10 to 20 percent of your income into long-term investments. This is the fourth level of the pyramid, and, as Napoleon Hill says in his audio program and bookThink and Grow Rich“, this is the key to financial freedom.

5.  The fifth level of the pyramid is saving for big purchases; a car, a boat, an addition to your house, a trip, whatever larger purchases you plan to make.

6.  On the top of the pyramid, that’s simply to spend. Spend it as you like it. Maybe you buy yourself presents; maybe you buy others presents; maybe you just give the money away to charity.

Even with this pyramid of financial freedom fully filled, you may not feel truly financially free because that freedom will only come with your choice to be free. So, most importantly, I encourage you to make the choice. Exercise your freedom to be financially free. You’ll be really thankful. I hoped you’ve enjoyed this four minutes of freedom.

Be Free!

Leah Simpson
Instructor

Finding Money – Your Latte Factor
by On February 9, 2009

      Download the Finding Money Your Latte Factor mp3

(1. Right click the link 2. Choose “Save Target As”)

My father always impressed on me the importance of investing. For years I have known the great power of compound interest and yet have not fully taken advantage of its awesome potential. Let’s face it, life is expensive. Sometimes there is money to save and other times bills eat it up.

Just recently I was reminded of how simple and amazing putting aside a few dollars a week can really add up. But where do you come up with the money?  Times are tough man, the economy is slow, profits are down, income is a roller coaster ride for many.

Every week, you spend money on necessary things like food and clothes, getting from point A to point B. Then you have the little things – a bag of chips here, a coffee there, an array of choices and flavors and sizes to satisfy every need.  It’s those little things we spend money on, almost unconsciously, every day that represent an opportunity to find money to invest.  Some call it the “Latte Factor“.

What if you took the money  you spend on coffee or snacks, $2 here, $4 there and invested it? Can you imagine what that might mean to you in the future? I think the reason most people don’t think about it is they truly have no idea just how the numbers multiply. It’s amazing! If you took $10 per week and invested it at a 10% rate of return for twenty years, you would wind up with almost $33,000. If you stretch it to forty years, your looking at over $253,000, over a quarter of a million dollars! And that’s just $10 a week…forty dollars a month essentially. It’s really not much when you think about it. Heck, give up cable and your there!

Let’s say you can do even better than that and spare a few lattes, etc. each week and save twenty bucks. When you take that $20 savings and invest it in the same scenario above, check out these results: just over $65,000 in 20 years and over $506,000 in 40 years. Over a half million dollars! It’s pretty exciting, and definitely something anyone can do. Once you take the first step, you’ll be hooked.  If someone paid you $506,000 to give up your daily cup of coffee would you do it?  I know I would jump on that offer!  Could you switch from bottled water to tap water for the same amount of cash?

Keep track of EVERYTHING you spend money on and you will notice the small things you could substitue or eliminate to “find” money to save for your future.

So here’s the challenge, over the next week, if you are not already doing this, designate a fixed amount of cash you will spend for your weekly expenses. Factor in the usual money for lunches, snacks, transportation, entertainment, etc. Put that amount of money in your wallet on Monday and see if you can make it until the weekend, with ten or twenty dollars leftover. It’s not necessary to change your lifestyle or make huge sacrifices. Pay yourself what you normally would during the week. The key is to be more conscious of the little things you spend money on. At the end of the week, put the cash in envelope to invest.

Then, ask yourself, “was that difficult?” Perhaps it was easier than you thought. Do it again the following week. I’ll bet it is slightly easier. And the week after that. And the week after… You might find you could do a few dollars more. No matter what the amount is, get in the habit of doing something on a regular basis.

Get started now and you’ll stay fit both physically and financially, and most importantly…

Be Free!

Ken Budka
Speaker

PS – If you want to see the magic of the numbers and experiment with different amounts, interest rates, and time lines, check out: http://www.finishrich.com/free_resources/fr_lattefactor.php where you can utilize a basic amortization calculator and see your results.

Video – Tony Robbins at TED – Why We Do What We Do and How We Can Do It Better
by On February 6, 2009

Amazing master motivator and success guru Tony Robbins discusses the “invisible forces” that motivate everyone’s actions at the Technology, Entertainment, Design Conference (TED).

He jokes around with and high-fives Al Gore in the front row!

The annual TED Conference brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

What is a Successful Relationship Contest
by On February 5, 2009

Happy February – the month of Valentine’s Day!

For our February blog contest, we are asking about relationships and what makes them successful, fulfilling and lasting. More importantly, what action needs to be taken to achieve that level of success.

To enter the contest, at the bottom of this page, simply type your name, email and website (if you have one) and your answer to this question: 

How do you define a successful relationship and what does it take to achieve that success?

A relationship can be defined as: romantic, friendship, parent and child, business, sibling….any relationship that involves another person. We will be choosing winners based on how concise their answer is, creativity/humor and applicability.

In your entry, be sure to mention the type of relationship. Feel free to enter as many times as you like by discussing different types of relationships.

Prizes

Grand Prize – Freedom Personal Development Sweatshirt
Second Place – “Expect Success” Book
Third Place – Freedom Personal Development Water Bottle 

I will be selecting the winners along with members of the Freedom Personal Development Team. 

The deadline for submissions is Thursday, February 26, 2009.

Winners will be emailed, announced on our blog Monday, March 2, 2009.

Good Luck and Be Free!

Roger Seip
Instructor

Benefits of Developing Your Own Solutions to Problems on the Job
by On February 4, 2009

One way to increase your satisfaction with and pay at your job is to stop thinking about your work as a “job” and starting viewing it as your business. In this article, I am going to discuss one of the techniques to change you mindset from having a job to a business owner’s mentality.   

Develop Solutions

Business owners understand that they need to come up with solutions to the challenges that face them and they are confident to do so. Those acting like employees will come across a challenge and go straight to their boss or to someone else to come up with a solution. Might I suggest that instead of going to others, act like a business owner and develop a possible solution yourself before you approach someone else.

Think about this: the person that you would like to ask for help is a busy, well-respected business person. If that weren’t true, you wouldn’t be seeking their advice. You have more information about the challenge that you are facing than they do. Come up with at least two possible solutions BEFORE you ask for help. At first, you may not be sure if they are good ideas. However, you will have done some original thought, and you will be able to get feedback on those ideas from someone you respect. AND…that individual will be impressed that you are thinking on your own, so you’ll get more recognition.

As you discuss your options with someone, they will help you decide which way to move forward. Maybe the best option IS one of your proposed solutions, and maybe it is something else. Either way, you are actively engaged in the decision making process and you are learning. As you repeat this process, you will start to see patterns in the decisions being made, and your original ideas will continue to get stronger. Soon, you won’t feel it’s necessary to ask for direction, and you will be making good decisions without the help of your superiors.

Now, you have more confidence and ownership in what you do, which means you’ll probably like it more. In addition, it’s now YOUR ideas and solutions that are impacting those around you. And…talk about a quick way to receive recognition and a raise-you’ve just freed up your superior’s time!

Be Free!

Leah Simpson
Instructor

#1 Investment Warren Buffett Recommends in 2009
by On February 3, 2009

Do you have some big plans for 2009…but aren’t quite sure where to start?

Need some big ideas that will help you succeed in this economy?

Can you imagine your success when your clients, and your boss, start looking to you for big ideas?

Want to know some insider secrets that might just jump-start your year like never before?

Today, Dave Denis tells you how to implement Big Ideas for maximum success…

>>>Order Making the Most Out of Big Ideas CD Now!<<<

#1 Investment Warren Buffett Recommends in 2009

In the CD Making the Most Out of Big Ideas, top-rated Freedom Personal Development trainer (and very funny guy) Dave Denis will give you 12 “golden nuggets” to help you jump-start 2009, and catapult you past your competition!

These “insider secrets” are ideas that you can quickly and easily implement into your daily routine, starting immediately.

Look: Your success in business is largely based on coming up with big, new ideas, and then communicating those ideas to others, right?

Simply listen to the 43-minute CD and learn:

  • How to meet new people (and get them to become your client!)
  • Why talking to yourself can put money in your pocket.
  • Two vital questions to transform your next presentation.
  • How to give your most memorable speech every time.
  • The key questions to ask to really understand your audience.
  • The one thing to include in every speech you write.

Dave Denis brings you all this in the same humorous style he’s brought to over 10,000 presentations he’s delivered, PLUS…

  • How to deliver your next speech like a pro.
  • Where to find big ideas (hint: it’s in the quality of your reading list)
  • Why conversing with the author will increase your effectiveness.
  • The best way to read a book (it’s not how you were taught in school)
  • How your reading goal will help you achieve all your other goals.

>>>Order Making the Most Out of Big Ideas CD Now!<<<

In the midst of a terrible economy, Warren Buffett was recently asked, “What is the best investment you can recommend?” His reply?

The best investment you can make is in yourself.

You can start with the Making the Most Out of Big Ideas CD, and in one easily absorbed program, you’ll learn how to get big ideas that others often overlook, and more importantly, how to get those big ideas across to others.

Bottom line? Big ideas will translate to big payoffs in every area of your life in 2009. And the best part? We’re not talking thousands or even hundreds…for less than a stop at Starbucks for the next two weeks, we’ll send you your CD copy of Making the Most Out of Big Ideas today.

Ask for your risk-free copy by midnight on Friday, February 20, and we’ll even throw in Free Shipping!

Listen to a free 75-second audio clip of Making the Most Out of Big Ideas.

Choose one:

CD Version of Making the Most Out of Big Ideas, only $29, and Free Shipping!

OR

mp3 Version of Making the Most Out of Big Ideas, only $20, PLUS…

  • download immediately and start listening in minutes!
  • no shipping costs!
  • environmentally smart–no packaging

But wait…there’s more!

Bonuses!

You’re going to need something to write down those big ideas and your big goals for 2009, right?

Well, included in every CD order is our one-of-a-kind Blue Light-Up Pen!

And one more thing…download a Free Bonus Report (A $19 Value) when you order by midnight on February 20. Learn:

  • How to Be a Skilled Schmoozer
  • How Your Self-Talk Can be Heard by Others
  • The Most Important Aspect of Giving a Presentation
  • What’s in it for Me?
  • 5 Steps for Getting Past the Fear of Public Speaking
  • How to Set a Reading Goal that will Accomplish Your Other Goals
  • Why Reading is the Best 15 Minutes You will Ever Invest
  • Big Ideas for Your Big Payoff in 2009

So, here’s what you’ll be getting:

  • Your very own Blue Light-Up Pen (to write down all those Big Ideas!)
  • Free Bonus Report–put those Big Ideas into action now (A $19 Value).
  • Free Shipping!
  • Big Ideas worth potentially thousands of dollars!

And, just like all of our programs, it’s backed by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Listen to it for up to 30 days, and if you don’t get some big ideas to put into action, simply return it for a full refund (and keep the Free Bonus Report and pen as our gifts to you).

Listen to a free 75-second audio clip of Making the Most Out of Big Ideas.

>>>Order Making the Most Out of Big Ideas CD Now!<<<

>>>Order Making the Most Out of Big Ideas mp3 Now!<<<

Here’s to your continued success and Be Free!

P.S. Remember, there’s no risk. You have absolutely nothing to lose, and a lot to gain. Take a minute and place your order now. And again, act before midnight on Friday, February 20, to get your Free Bonus Report (A $19 Value), Blue Light-Up pen, and Free Shipping.

Solutions are Found in Self-Education
by On February 2, 2009

Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.  The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” 

Jim Roan teaches that formal education will get you a living, but self-education will get you a fortune.

Aristotle went as far as to say that the difference between an educated and uneducated man is the same difference as being alive or being dead.

If you think about it, the solution to just about every challenge you face in your life has already been discovered by someone else, you just have not learned it yet. Being in the information age, we have better information more information accessible to us than at any time of history. 

But in spite of that, how often do we take advantage of it? How often do we stop and take two or tree steps back from the difficult situations or challenges that we are facing and really ask, “How can I overcome this challenge? Who has overcome this before me?”

Many very wise people have pointed out that all of the problems that we face have solutions waiting for us at the local library. So my challenge to you is to identify an area or two in your life that you feel needs some work and get committed to continuing your own education by reading books or listening to an audio program about that topic.

Have a spectacular day, keep learning and as always,

Be Free!

Eric Plantenberg
President