Every 4th of July we celebrate Independence Day in the United States, the day our modern day country declared its independence from England.
Besides good food, friends, and family, this is a good time to think of your own values and life. In 1776, the United States became a free country after a collection of brave individuals risked their lives for a new way of living. The cause was strong enough that eventually the colonists (modern day Americans), defeated the most powerful country in the world at the time to be free.
Today, we get to celebrate waking up every day with freedom to live much of the way we want to. However, most of us never plan and execute to live the lifestyle we desire. In fact the US Census Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that only 1% of people in the US are living a better lifestyle by age 65 after working 40 years! The bottom line is although we have some of the most advanced technologies and medicine in the world, people are simply not living the way they want to. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, is most of our financial infrastructure was designed this way.
You may or may not know about me. I founded what I call The Retirement Myth, the idea that “retirement” as we know it, was branded by large companies and the government to influence us to believe we will live better lives if we do what they teach us but in reality they are influencing us to defer our time, money, and passion to better serve them. Not that large companies and the government are bad or that that traditional retirement is bad. It is just a simple truth that the government creates the laws and tax codes, that large companies determine what products and benefits are available to dangle carrots at you, that the banks and investment companies control how the flow of money works and who gets access to it.
While this may mean absolutely nothing to you now if you are young, the point is to take a moment and realize as soon as you turn 18, you are on your own. The way the world turns will not be easy and things do not naturally work in your favor from the start.
To be successful living a better lifestyle, you must first be financially literate, meaning you have a basic understanding about money and also have a desire to plan and take action to free up your time and live your passions.
Besides being a “money guy” some of my background comes from personal development and understanding how institutions like banks and the government work. Here is your brief history lesson…
In the late 1800’s, a man named Otto von Bismarck was the leader of modern day Germany and introduced traditional retirement as we know it. To get and sustain power, he was very skilled at communicating to two different parties at what they wanted to hear. Part of this included compensation from the government in later years in life. However, he was clever and knew that if people died before they reached the appropriate age, they would never receive the compensation.
Around the same time, America adopted Otto von Bismarck’s principle of “retirement” and expanded the idea into schools, the government, and large corporations. Broken down, it was giving us the thought of hope, that if we did what we were taught, “we would have a better life someday.” For most of the people that have preceded you, this day never came or has not come nearly as close as what they dreamed of as kids.
The reason why is because from the very start you are not educated about what actually works, generally it is simply parts of The Retirement Myth. The advantage you have is to learn about how things like limited income, debt, how to purchase, invest, how you spend time, etc. all have a major determination in your lifestyle potential.
You may be lucky and have a mentor that has lived a lifestyle you wish to have some day or have access to lifestyle related content that discusses how to be effective using time, money, and passion. Statistically, if you fit in that category, you kind of won the lottery. Chances are you do not have lifestyle related information just given to you; you have to go out and seek it. Even if you have “won the lottery” so to speak, that really means nothing in and of itself.
Did you know that most lottery winners eventually go broke? The reality is even if you are given money, if you do not know the functioning of money; you will lose it, miss huge opportunities, or both. I have talked before that knowledge is not power, it is only potential power… which you can read here. Executing on what you know is much more than passively listening and understanding like day-to-day in school.
If some of what I have said is confusing or you know nothing about, that is okay, in fact normal. One of the biggest advantages you have is time. To live the life you have dreamed of, constantly ask yourself what you need to know.
My tip is focus on these three ingredients: time, money, and passion. How can you use them more effectively to do more, have more, and be more? Like a card game, the better cards you have the better chance you have of winning. The good news about real life and your life is some cards are dealt to you that you may not want; however by constantly focusing on improving in the three areas I mentioned, the universe will continually give you better cards.
One of my favorite movies is Braveheart. If you have seen it, what is the quote William Wallace is most known for? It is, “Every man dies but not every man really lives.”
If you live in the US, you have the opportunity of being born into a country that gives you freedom. The reality is most of who you know is likely not fully taking advantage to live the way they really want to. External factors are controlling time, money, and passion, some known, some not known.
Like the forefathers of our country, you too can be brave and beat the odds. Start with declaring your lifestyle independence.
Declare you will build security for yourself.
Declare you will be in control.
Declare you will always ensure to have good options to be better positioned to live the way you want.
Declare you will live life; liberty and happiness out to your capacity to not only take advantage of the opportunities you were given, but to share and enjoy them with your friends, family, and peers.
Declare you will live a life people want to trade places with you for and that you will be an example for those around you.
About the Author: Troy WEST is one of Your Monthly Mentors, the CEO of Lifestyle Financial Planning (LFP) and an avid lifestyle entrepreneur based in Denver, Colorado. He was recently recognized as one of “America’s Premier Experts,” was inducted into The National Academy of Best-Selling Authors, was a Thought Leader Summit Award winner, an Expy award winner, and was inducted into The National Academy of Experts, Writer’s, and Speakers. Troy recently co-authored The Road to Success with Jack Canfield, is about to release another co-authored book called “The Better Business Book,” and is in negotiations for a full book on The Retirement Myth. Troy has been seen on ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, BRAVO, and A&E. Read More…