Financial independence is where someone’s sustainable “passive income”, overtakes their living expenses. “What a pleasure”, getting up in the morning and your bills for the day, month or year, have already been provided for…
Financial independence is generally set as a retirement goal. This is just how we are programmed. Why should this not be brought forward? A significant number of individuals bringing this goal forward (say age 30 or 40), do achieve this goal just a few years later. Contrary to this, many individuals that leave financial independence as a retirement “concept”, sadly never achieve it.
The concept of “financial independence” should not be connected to retirement. Prospective retirees mostly aspire to be financially independent, where financial independent individuals, rarely want to retire… think of Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, Richard Branson or Elon Musk.
Financial independence is achieved through owning income producing assets.
Income producing assets:
- Financial instruments gaining in capital value and earning investment income;
- Rental property that has a cash flow “break-even” and positive inflow within say five to seven years after acquisition;
- Ownership of a business which is cash flow positive, successfully building up market share and value;
- Ownership of a patented idea, recipe, lyric, recording, mathematical sequence that can generate exponential future cash inflows;
- Hiring human capital is a great way to accumulate income producing assets (hiring individuals doing what you can’t or multiplying your own capabilities);
- Education or an uneducated life skill, exchanged solutions for economic benefit. Wayde van Niekerk is the perfect example of an entrepreneur selling his “fast skill” for millions.
Looking at modern budgets, a too small proportion of monthly spend is focused toward acquiring “income producing” assets. The individuals that give greater priority towards acquiring real assets, tend to retire successfully and some retire exceptionally young.
Items that are not “income producing” (hence not assets)
- Primary residence – (lifestyle choice).
- Cars if not utilised as a taxi, courier or Uber – (lifestyle choice).
- Boats / planes if not used for commercial purposes (lifestyle choice).
- Jewellery / watches, even valuable items like a Rolex or Shimansky Evolym – (lifestyle).
- Expensive depreciating technologies (cell phones / laptops / iPads) if not clearly providing a competitive advantage, to generate a higher income – (lifestyle)
Overspending on these (in the absence or income producing assets), leaves individuals generally wanting during retirement.
Acquiring income producing assets will “fast-track” you to financial independence…
Once individuals start focusing on acquiring “income producing” assets, it is worth it to have a realistic, rational succession plan at death. Acquiring assets is not easy and requires focus, skill and a lot of hard work.
Leaving the remainder of these assets behind to a spouse or children is generally one of the greatest challenges. Studies have shown that as much as 70% of all global fortunes, do not survive the second generation. Also 90% of global fortunes disappear in the third generation of origin. The statistics speaks for itself… Critical thinking, innovation and exceptional achievement are mostly born out of necessity. These attributes can, however, be handed down onto future generations, although generally it requires a great deal of time investment.
Starting young and involving spouses and children in the family business and financial affairs, is a good idea for succession planning. Involve them with financial planning, introduce them to the family’s financial advisor and let them interact during meetings. These interactions simulate the real world, leaving them thoroughly prepared with the necessary financial mindset.
A financial advisor can assist avoiding general financial mistakes and focus on acquiring income producing assets. Income producing assets are at the core of financial independence. They generally drive a lifestyle of “self-actualisation” and get you permanently out of the “rat race”.