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How to achieve financial independence - Outside View by Gavin Fourie

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How to achieve financial independence
Sep 18, 2012


  • Here's why golf and financial independence go hand-in-hand

  • Your first steps towards achieving financial independence
Dear MoneyMorning Reader,

It's possible to become a better golfer and achieve financial independence. I realised this when my Colleague Warren Jeffery and I were playing a round of golf recently.

Warren's a much better golfer than I am. When we play together, it's more of a zero sum game than anything else. For every par, birdie and eagle he gets, I bogey, double bogey and ring the hole.

It's not my short game that lets me down, it's getting off the tee.

And that's when Warren offered some crucial advice that I realised wouldn't only help me improve my golf, but applies to everyone wanting to achieve financial independence.

Warren pointed out that when I get on the tee I aim down the middle and then try to hit the ball as far as I can...

Big mistake!

You see, the driver is just like any other club.

Warren told me I need to aim for a target: "You can't just point it down the middle. You need to select an exact spot on the fairway and hit to it. When you do, you quit jumping out of your shoes and swing more smoothly. Your driving accuracy and distance will improve immediately, just by having a definite target in mind."

So what does golf have to do with achieving financial independence?

Everything really...

Here's why golf and financial independence go hand-in-hand

There's an old saying: If you don't know where you're going, you're not likely to get there. This is especially true in investing and achieving your financial independence.

You need a definite goal (an exact spot in the fairway). Then you can put together a plan to achieve it.

"I'd like to be rich," is not a goal.

"I'd like to have a R1 million in the next five years or a net worth of R20 million on my 65th birthday." Now that's a goal.

Once you have a goal, making a plan is easy.

For instance, let's say you're 25 years from retirement.

How much do you need to save every month?

If you save just R 3281.25 a month and do no better than the stock market's long-term annual return of around 15% a year, you'll have R 20,000,045.90 in 25 years.

If you want to have R30 million when you retire.

Increase your savings... Or your rate of return... Or your number of years working... Or all three.

The important thing is, to know where you're going so you can devise a plan to get there and start to take action today.

Your first steps towards achieving financial independence

If this sounds very basic, rest assured it isn't. Studies show most South Africans don't have a clue how much to save for their retirement.

A recent survey revealed over 70% of South Africans have just enough savings to last 1.4 months and as many as 94% will need to extend their retirement age as they don't have enough to retire on.

Fretting doesn't change a thing, however... Money compounding does.

So get out the calculator...

  • Play with the numbers.

  • Adjust the amount saved.

  • Vary the annual returns.

  • Consider different retirement dates.
Keep it realistic and decide what you need to do.

Take Warren's advice and aim for something specific.

That's your first step toward financial independence and mine towards playing better golf.

This article is authored by FSP Invest an independent investment research publisher, with more than 50,000 subscribers in South Africa.


The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.

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