Five years ago, I had negative $72 in the bank. Today, I'm a millionaire.
People always ask me, "At what moment did you realize you would be rich? When was your turning point? Was there a significant moment that changed your life?"
There were many, but let me share one of them.
After a 12-hour grind in my first year of business, my lady and I decided to do some grocery shopping. At the store, we picked up all kinds of food. We were excited since we just moved into our new apartment. Plus, we had not used our kitchen together yet.
Ninety minutes later, we pulled up to the cash register. As the register beeped after each item, I cheerfully held my lady in my arms. We both watched the cashier ring out the following items: milk, Cheetos, eggs, asparagus, cookies, and much more!
Our cashier flashed a smile at us and said, "That'll be $193.15."
Easy! I fished into my wallet and pulled out my credit card. Seconds later, the cashier frowned, "It said your card was declined." I pulled out another credit card, then another, and another.
I didn't have the money I thought I did.
After a deep, dry gulp of nothingness and a fearful glance at my wife-to-be, I told the cashier "we'll be back." I never returned. I felt embarrassed, but I was willing to make a change. Since that very day, I’ve worked constantly on my dreams.
There were five actions I knew I had to take if I wanted to get my money right. This is how I went from mediocre to millionaire in 5 years:
1. Write Yourself a Check: That day, I wrote a check to myself. I won't disclose the actual dollar amount, but I will tell you that the check was written and signed by me. In the memo line, I wrote the service I planned to offer in return for the dollar amount. I then folded it in half and tucked it away in my wallet.
Today, I still have that check. I've surpassed the number I expected 5 years ago. This process has helped me to fantasize and realize my financial goals. More importantly, I became a resilient man of faith because I believed in the goal I had set for myself.
Try writing a check to yourself. Think of the dollar amount you want to earn per year by the end of 5 years. If the number doesn't scare you, it won't prepare you. Aim for something big and dream of the possibilities, despite your current financial circumstance. I promise you this will be a worthwhile endeavor.
When the mind is ready, the money will come. -Daniel Ally
2. Learn Your Money: When I started out, I was confused about my money. I was over $100,000 in debt and I avoided my creditors. After all, I had over a dozen accounts and it would hurt to know that I couldn't pay them. Despite the pressure, I decided to learn and understand my money, which changed my life.
I found out what I owed, what was in my wallet, and learn about my credit score. I also began to check my bank balances every day and kept all receipts and utility bills. I got my accounting in order and calculated the taxes I would owe from my business. I learned about every dollar I had in my possession.
In school, we don't learn about money. If we did, our schools, employers, and charities would suffer. These systems depend on you to not know. For example, a lawyer friend of mine incurred $250,000 in debt to get a $50,000 year job. He admits that it's completely illogical, but has to pay the price anyway. Understand your money if you want to be rich.
When your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep becomes your downfall. -Bill Earle
3. Build Your Credit: Most people don't even know their credit score. When I talk to people, they tell me that they would never use a credit card. They've seen the mistakes made by people who've used their credit in a negative way.
You must know your credit score. You can check your credit for free every 12 months with each of the three credit bureaus. There's a lot of valuable information on your credit report. Knowing your credit can boost your confidence, self-awareness, and give you financial freedom.
If you haven't already, you should build your credit by getting a secured credit card from the bank. There are a lot of other ways to build your credit. Use your credit to become a producer, not a consumer. This means that you should leverage your credit to gain assets instead of liabilities. Yes, it takes money to make money.
4. Track Your Money: One daily habit of mine is to record the income and expenses for the day. On a regular monthly calendar, I calculate how much money I spent and how much I earned. At the end of the month, I finalize the amount I earned, spent, and saved. The numbers usually look really good.