Make Your Life More Wonderful

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Last night I watched It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time. I’m clearly not American, where a strict policy of “Your age in number of times you’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life” is enforced.

For those of us who have lived in the desert, this is the perfect Christmas movie, as they filmed all the snow scenes during a heatwave in July. The leading man had just come back from being a colonel in the Second World War. Being made in 1946, it still moving and entertaining in 2020 – pretty impressive.

The film charts the life of a man who’s spent his life helping others, having to put his own dreams aside each time and not really having much to show for it financially.

When sudden bankruptcy and public shaming makes him suicidal, he’s shown Scrooge-style how terrible everyone in the town’s lives would have been if he had never been born.

His nemesis, the mean old businessman, who might as well run a commission-driven financial advisory as well, doesn’t get to use wealth to crush the poor hero, because it turns out he has a friend round every corner. He’s incredibly rich – just not in dollars.

Are you rich beyond dollars? Or even in dollars?

I want to show you that you can have it both ways. You can have great riches amassed through the capitalist system (the stock market). And you can have a huge impact on your family, community and the world, by using your riches to become financially independent.

Once you don’t need a salary, you can literally do whatever you want. You can do work that satisfies you, where people actually message you to say thank you. You can spend time on family and hobbies, making your mind richer and your connections with those you love richer as well.

Most intriguing of all, you can turn your focus outwards. What did you spend years learning at work? For what? The world needs at least some of those skills. Don’t let them go to waste.

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Your plan beyond 2020

By the end of 2020, you are either struggling financially or grateful that you have been able to hold it together. Doing meaningful work may seem like a luxury right now, compared to the necessity of putting food on the table.

And that’s ok, as long as you build a sense of direction beyond mere surviving. What will lead you successfully through 2021 is the process and the end goal of your ideal, impactful future life. Then if you get knocked off track you can dust yourself off and get right back to it. You won’t be wandering in circles anymore.

The process I have developed to keep you on track is (dead) simple.

3 Dead Simple Steps to a Better Life

Plan: know where you want to get to (not just financially), why you want it (you must have a why!) and how to get there.

Save: use your why to boost your income (I know it’s not easy right now) and reduce your expenses. Tackle your debt*. Have intention for your money and you won’t spend it all on unnecessary stuff. Build a cash buffer.

Invest: educate yourself on sensible index investing over the long term. Open an offshore brokerage account and, unless you’re a US citizen, buy Irish-domiciled exchange-traded funds investing in a global index. If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, challenge yourself to understand it by the end of January. It’s not complicated, but it is life-changing.

You can have a rich life – measured in people who say good things about you. You can have a rich life – measured in work that benefits the world and doesn’t just help you and a few others. And you can have a rich life – measured in dollars that give you the freedom to be who you were put on this earth to be. So if you never existed, the world would be a poorer place.

Are you going to make it happen

Do you have any questions or comments? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below…

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