Financial independence means different things to different people. Some believe it's making ends meet without assistance from others.
Some believe it's meeting today's financial obligations while saving enough to comfortably retire.
It is, however, worth noting that both are necessary to achieve true financial independence.
This week on Springboard Your Virtual University, Professor Emeritus Stephen Adei shared 13 practical keys to financial independence that a regular salaried worker can use to raise a million in investments and not retire broke.
He emphasised that it was possible for an individual to get rich without having to resort to illegal means or through corruption.
Prof. Adel pointed out that lots of people were needlessly poor in the country, with those who are categorised to be rich becoming rich through the wrong way, especially through corruption.
“It should be possible to be rich and holy,” he stated.
He noted that there were two scriptures in the Bible that sound contradictory but are not.
These two scriptures are Matthew 26:11 which states that “the poor you will always have with you”, while Deuteronomy 15:4 says, “there shall be no poor among you.”
“My understanding of these two scriptures is that God has made provision for the needs of everyone he has created in this world but because of sin, oppression, laziness, among others, we always have the poor among us.
“God wants us to prosper but we also have a role to play,” he stated.
Prof. Adei pointed out that a lot of people were poor due to their mental orientation.
“Our mental orientation and education system has almost made people think and behave in a way that consigns them to poverty.
“We have not created opportunities for people and help them through. We have not had a system which allows us to help the poor,” he explained.
He said many people were also looking at their employers to make them rich, something which was not possible.
“There are less than five per cent of people who will work and be paid enough to be rich. The rest has to do with how they manage the money that comes to them. The average person has to save only GH₵100 a month, and if they invest it on a normal mutual fund and get 17.5 per cent, in 30 years’ time, they will become millionaires,” he said.
Prof. Adei’s 13 principles to financial independence
1. Financial vision; You need to have a financial vision, which is something you want to achieve within 10 years, 15 years or 20 years. You need that vision for you to endure short term challenges.
2. Smart financial goals; Break your vision down into time bound financial goals. You must set time bound smart financial goals.
3. Investment guide; Save and invest systematically using the 10-10-80 principle. For the religious, Pay God 10 per cent, pay yourself 10 per cent, and pay your bills with the 80 per cent.
4. Consumer debt; Avoid consumer debt like a plague.
5. Earning interest; Don’t let your money work for others such as your bankers and other financial vampires. Let your money work for you. Often times, we put our monies in savings and current accounts but that is not the best.
6. Investment vehicles; Invest where money grows in relative safety, like mutual funds and provident funds.
7. Get rich slowly; Get rich slowly. Only two people get rich quickly and these are thieves and corrupt people. The average person requires time to allow their investments and savings to grow.
8. Unsustainable interest income; Avoid anyone who promises you twice more than the returns on the 90-day T-bill. The maximum you can get in a good safe investment will be two times that of the 90-day T-bill.
9. Avoiding setbacks; Protect yourself from sudden financial reverses by creating an emergency fund, buying basic life insurance and preparing a will.
10. Patient growth; Be patient and let time, consistency of investment, good returns, and the magic of compound interest to work for you.
11. Limit the price; Limit the price of financial success. Getting rich at the expense of personal integrity, a good marriage, family life, fellowship and friendship only makes you a rich fool.
12. Start today; Start an investment plan today. The best time to start investing was yesterday, the second best time is today, and the worst time is tomorrow.
13. Have faith in God; It shall not profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul. Ultimately it is God who will bless your efforts with favour and prosperity.