Many of us in the PF community are choosing wealth by making the conscious decision to save, earn more, and have our money work for us. Financial independence and early retirement are common terms that many of us take seriously. What about those that aren’t in our community, though? So many people are living life without the ultimate goal of saving. My own parents barely have enough saved up for retirement.
Marie Phillips, author of Choose Wealth! Be a Millionaire by Midlife (affiliate), and founder/blogger at Family Money Values, is trying to get the word out that achieving millionaire status IS possible, even for the average person. Her goal with this book is to help you avoid becoming part of the 75% of people who have less than $500k in net worth by the time they are 45.
In the PF world, we are surrounded by people with lofty savings goals. Many of those that I follow want to be millionaires like Marie. However, I don’t personally know any. Before blogging, I never had any aspirations like this. I thought I would live the same paltry existence as my family, albeit with more savings, but never amounting to such wealth. Through the words and examples of others, I have seen that this is very much possible! I get excited to think that at 40, I might have quite the stash of money built up. Before? I never gave it a second thought.
I really admire Marie for putting a book like this out there. Others deserve to have their eyes opened, too. I still get weird looks from my family when I tell them I have hopes of retiring early! No one else has done it, how will I?
The fact is that the journey is quite simple. Sure there are struggles, there are times we will want to give up, and there will be times when the light at the end of the tunnel is dim. It gets brighter with each step we take, though. I’ve outlined before the steps I want to take to reach financial independence. In her book, Marie provides a framework that anyone can use to start building their wealth.
Stop using excuses, anyone can do it
Marie starts off by asking the reader “what keeps you from being a midlife millionaire?” Well, if you’re already at the midlife point, it might be a little too late, but it’s never too late to start saving. Reflecting on the financial decisions you’ve made over the years is sure to provide you with some good insight.
Marie provides some common reasons as to why people think being a millionaire is unobtainable. She then goes on to list excuses that we’ve all heard (or even used) before. This was one of my favorite excuses – “I’m going to enjoy life while I’m young!”, or YOLO. What’s her response?
“Remember though, that all those brand name clothes, fine furnishings, cute little decorations, and fancy auto accessories will be dusty old unwanted things when you are in midlife. Things tend to accumulate in our lives and houses, crowding out enjoyment. Spend your youth wisely!”
A beautiful explanation as to why conscious spending is important. I always try and practice this, especially with big purchases. “Will I still want this in two years? Is this really going to bring me happiness past tomorrow?” I can look around our apartment and find more than a handful of wasteful purchases that I regret. Spend with purpose, ideally on things that will bring you closer to your goals.
Marie lists other excuses, each time showing that they’re nothing but a small roadblock. You can get over them if you want it badly enough. The average person does not think it is within reach, but it is, and Marie is here to tell them why.
I particularly enjoyed reading about the epiphany Marie had regarding her finances. I could certainly relate to her story. She “bumbled along” much of her early life, doing what everyone expected her to do. As a result, she was unhappy. Her husband was working 10 hours a day, watching the kids on the weekends while Marie worked a low paying job. In addition, her husband hadn’t received a raise in years, yet he continued to work hard.
Marie finally decided “I wanted more. I wanted more earning power, I wanted control over money and I wanted a better life.” And she took action. She began researching well paying careers, what she had to learn in order to perform the jobs, and realized she would have to go back to school. Her liberal arts degree wasn’t going to cut it.
What did she do? She obtained a license to have a day care in her home, and she stuck with it for three years until she had the money to fund her education. She attended class at night and on the weekends, while still watching her children during the day. Finally, after two years, she had earned her associate’s degree in data processing and landed a job after two interviews.
Marie made a better life for herself by working hard, and continued to work hard until retirement.
Framework for wealth
I’m going to quickly go through the chapters:
- Dream big for the life you want. Marie lived this one, and is proof that if you want your dreams to come true, you have to work at it. Before, she was going through the motions, and realized that the life she was living was not enough. I have to admit, I’m not a huge dreamer. I very much related with her bumbling through life. I’ll have more on this in a future post.
- Wake up and start your wealth engine. Here, Marie tells us why it’s important that we break the mold. Be the person we truly want to be, not who other people want us to be. It’s important to experience life in every capacity you can, otherwise you won’t know what’s out there waiting for you! This spoke to me as well. I’m an introvert, and I don’t like getting outside my comfort zone. That’s not going to get me anywhere, though. Marie also lists some fantastic resources in this chapter in regards to finding what you truly want to do in life.
- Break your bottlenecks. What’s holding you back, and why?
- Money-fy your life. One of my favorite chapters. Marie speaks a little on educating yourself about your finances, as well as talking openly about them. There are some great questions listed in this chapter that really make you think about your financial history and habits.
- Leverage time and money. Simply put, if you’re not making enough, you might not be able to save enough. “If you keep letting that minimum wage job suck up your time, you will be treading water forever, never getting where you want to be.” Yet another chapter I enjoyed. I watched my mom do pretty much the same administrative job her entire life, with different institutions. While my mom was content with this, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted for myself. You have to have confidence that you are worth more; make yourself valuable.
- Use the most powerful force in the world and Maintain hope. “Persistence.” Marie highlights this many times in Choose Wealth! Many of us know that the road to wealth is a long one. It’s a marathon, not a race. There’s not much in the way of instant gratification, and that’s a problem for some people. She lists a variety of ways to keep yourself motivated on your journey. Her next chapter ties into this, as it is crucial to maintain hope. There will inevitably be bumps along the road, and you must be able to keep your dreams in sight at those times. Don’t give up!
- Find help. Marie talks about finding a millionaire mentor to help coach you along. Find inspiration in the stories of others. Those of us with blogs receive help when we need it in the shape of support and encouragement.
I hope by reading my review, you are inspired to check out Choose Wealth! Be a Millionaire by Midlife (affiliate). It’s a very easy read, and even though I’d like to become a millionaire by midlife and know how I want to get there, it was still very informative. I also think this would make a great gift for any high school or college graduate out there – quite timely, too. While this book is mainly aimed at the younger crowd, I think those in their 30s and 40s would benefit from reading it.