Or is it 1 million things?

The source of this article was titled "Forever Broke: 15 Things Holding You Back From Becoming a Multi-Millionaire" so lets just start by framing that properly, and putting it into perspective, and perhaps rename it as "15 things holding you back from financial freedom" or something like that.

So forgetting the aspiration of 'multi-millionaire status' - which really means nothing if you do not need to be a multi-millionaire, lets look at 15 great things which stop us moving forward towards financial freedom :

1. Living Above Your Means - use the 50/20/30 guideline - 50% on fixed costs (monthly direct debits, bills etc, 20% on financial goals - savings & pensions for example, and 30% on flexible spending - shopping, entertainment, hobbies and fun.

2. Lack Of Determination - pursuing that journey, that dream, the internal change, and being dogged about it, not just flaking away because someone doesn't think it will work or is possible.

3. Neglecting Your Health - a biggy this one.  Having spent 80% of my life neglecting my health, by switching that mindset around, with health comes energy, and with energy comes enthusiasm, and so the circle keeps spinning.

4. Purchasing A Home - only do this when you have a stable job, and not under a mountain of debt. I know that people advocate getting on the property ladder as soon as possible, BUT only if it makes financial AND personal sense.  Like an all you can eat buffet, just because it (the money or food) is there, it doesn't necessarily mean that you need to take (eat) it all.

5, Relying on One Source of Income - a solid salary is great, but doing a lot of work in the redundancy arena, I see a lot of people who are caught in the headlights with nowhere to turn or no other options to consider. Getting a balance between working and living is essential, however, when you find a way of making money from something you love (be it teaching music, coaching sport, driving) that brings a great spread of risk to your income stream.

6. Wasting Valuable Time - 77% of those struggling financially spend more than an hour a day watching TV. 63% of 'wealthy' people spend less than an hour - where you spend your time each day compared with where your priorities are is a very interesting (and revealing) exercise - and certainly focusses the mind.

7. Not Acting On Your Ideas - if you don't take action within 5 seconds, it is likely that your idea will fade away and come to nothing. As Mark Cubanonce said, "Ideas are worthless until you do something with them."

8. Not Reading - 88% of the wealthy read for 30 minutes or more each day. Open minded reading can inspire us, motivate us and appreciate others. Even this now is going towards your 30 minutes.

9. Fear and Negativity - these can narrow the mind, whereas having the confidence to step out of that comfort zone to learn is what propels us forwards. Frequently, our fears stop us from even exploring the next step, and in reality the obstacles presented by those fears are often relatively simple to overcome.

10. Not Setting Goals - here is a big one for me, if you don't know where you are going, a) how will you know when you get there, b) how do you know which way to go? Monitoring leads to Progress

11. Avoiding Routine - look at the world's successful people, and they all have a routine. OK 4am may be a little extreme to start the day, but a routine gives you something to fall back to when times are tough - familiarity. It then becomes what you do.  For me, exercising first is great, because not only is it done for the day and I feel physically alert, but I can also feel very pleased with myself, and that task is no longer hanging over me for the day.

12. Not Collecting Assets - this refers to investments.  Ask any (good) financial planner to model the difference over 20 years between holding spare money as cash or investing it, and the graph will blow you away.  Cash is great for some things, but for long term wealth, asset collection (not liabilities such as cars and toys) is essential.

13. Spending Time With Toxic People - quite simply, their aim is to drag you down to their level, so they feel more comfortable in your company.  Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people, and see how your outlook and motivation changes.  Be the one who is inspired, not dragged into a pit of doom and gloom which takes you the whole day to climb out of.

14. Failing To Follow The 70/30 Rule - this builds on the first item (the 50/20/30 principle). From the 30% spare, it is suggested to donate a third towards charity, a third towards investments and a third towards saving.  I have another take on this which we will look at in a future article.

15. Not Having A Mentor - another massive one here. It is essential to have someone to guide you, to act as your conscience, to influence you in a positive manner and inspire you. No matter where you are in life, there is always room (and a need) for a mentor. Add to that, being a mentor for someone, and the lessons you share give you so much more insight and knowledge - never stop learning 

Over the next few articles, we will take each of these in turn, going deeper and using some analogies and stories which I have come across over the years.  In the meantime, find the one or two which are most relevant to you, and start to reflect on what you can do to move forwards to financial freedom.  That is all we do at Serenity Financial Planning - find out what is really important to people in their lives, then coach them towards achieving it, with freedom from a financial burden.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life