Dreams and goals
We all start with dreams each new year that we want to fulfil. We are full of determination to succeed. Some 10% of us will even turn our thoughts and dreams into goals and write them down. But few of us will look at the goals we wrote down on a regular basis as the year unfolds.
Take gym memberships: by the end of the first quarter some 75% of new eager members become not-so-eager members and drop out. Why?
Actioning your dreams, thoughts and goals is not an easy task. So, take the pressure off and focus on one goal, that you can live with easily and share with those that matter. And that is being hyper-focused on financial freedom.
In the context of living in a Covid-19 cloud and an emerging country like SA, it’s not an easy task.
Firstly, let’s understand what financial freedom means. Let us agree it is different for each of us as we all are unique and have different aspirations. We do not have the same dreams nor the same ‘wants’.
And let us define wants: we need food and shelter to survive, but I want an ‘indigo blue Golf GTI’ and my friend wants a red convertible mustang. Yet, what we need is reliable transport.
So, what do you want? I can summarise that without knowing you: it is financial freedom ….
Financial freedom allows you to action all your goals now and in the future. Dreams without financial freedom remain dreams. Whether your goals are spiritual or healthy living it all revolves around the financial ability to implement your dreams and goals.
The foundation of financial freedom
Protecting yourself, the family, your standard of lifestyle and (future) retirement can only be done in hard currency. Western developed economies are robust and proven through world wars, recessions, and epidemics (including their constantly evolving democracies) as reflected by the strength of their currencies, US dollars, sterling (GBP) and the euro.
2020 was a year most wish to forget as quickly as possible, yet the pound, dollar and euro economies are meeting the challenges. And that is where you should be investing and protecting the family. Yes, there are short-term benefits of choosing one hard currency over the other, but over five and 10 years, past winning history may be a predictor of the future.
Achieving financial freedom in a soft currency is a huge mountain to climb. If local inflation is 6% and depreciation of the currency is 6%, then you have to achieve 12% every year just to remain afloat. You are not moving towards financial freedom which can only happen when income exceeds monthly expenses, resulting in savings which are then invested and must earn more than 12% pa. This is a tall order in a soft currency.
Make currency depreciation your friend
If you convert local savings and capital into hard currency, from that moment on depreciation is your friend, as hard currency return/growth plus local currency depreciation moves you towards financial freedom. And with less risk. Would a New Yorker, a Berliner, a Londoner … put all their faith and cash into a soft currency environment?
Where can I invest?
The choice is enormous and for most a daunting challenge. Do I go for hard currency paper assets, stocks and shares, exchange-traded funds, index funds, mutual and unit trusts or treasury gilts and bonds or gold Kruger Rand coins which are dollar-priced? Property is easy to understand – I own bricks and cement and receive rent – but who looks after the tenant? Maybe a property fund? But if there is a run on the property fund, I could get hurt?
This is my checklist for investments that promote financial freedom:
- Must be in the pound, dollar or euro;
- Owned directly by the investor;
- Must provide a passive income in the pound, dollar or euro;
- Passive income must adjust for inflation;
- Management of the investment can be effectively delegated; and
- Can disinvest, if necessary, because of changed personal circumstances.