By Dr. Peter Kim of Passive Income MD, WCI Network Partner
When we talk about wealth, we're not just talking about money; we're talking about something much bigger. We're talking about having control over your time; really being intentional about what you can do with your life; who you spend it with; and how much joy, happiness, and fulfillment you can have with it. When I think of people who have experienced true wealth, they are the ones who have the freedom to design the life they desire.
It’s important to note that I’m not just referring to those who have a lot of money, as many of them are living absolutely miserable lives.
You see, being wealthy isn't solely about accumulating vast sums of money. It's about attaining a state of contentment and happiness, while also being grateful for the resources, relationships, and time at your disposal. It's about finding balance and living life on your own terms. And I know you're here because you resonate with this vision of wealth.
Success Leaves Clues
Now, you might be wondering, how can you achieve such a state of wealth in today's world. The truth is financial freedom is often discussed but rarely understood. However, I've come to learn one valuable lesson: success leaves clues. When you find individuals who have achieved aspects of the life you desire, you can uncover the steps they took, the resources they utilized, and the mindset they embraced to reach their goals.
By following in the footsteps of those who have already paved the way, you can accelerate your own journey toward wealth. Learning from their experiences; avoiding their mistakes; and leveraging their knowledge, connections, and resources can catapult you toward your desired destination. That's the key.
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Unconventional Ways to Build Wealth
It's important to note that the path to wealth isn't necessarily found by adhering to the traditional approach of working tirelessly for decades and sacrificing your youth and vitality in exchange for a distant retirement. No, the individuals I admire and seek to model my life after have discovered a different way.
They've embraced unconventional strategies and concepts that challenge the status quo. They've learned how to make their money work for them, creating passive income streams and multiple avenues of wealth. This kind of thinking may not be familiar to many of us—especially in the realm of medicine, where we were trained to follow a different path. But trust me, there's a better way.
I personally discovered these transformative ideas through books like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” “The 4-Hour Workweek,” and “Die With Zero.” They opened my eyes to the concept of generating income that works for you, enabling you to live life on your own terms. It was a paradigm shift because it challenged everything we were taught. The typical career trajectory for physicians, for example, doesn't necessarily yield the same results today as it did in the past.
So, let’s explore the six habits of successful wealth builders that will revolutionize your financial journey.
#1 Think Intentionally About Where You Invest
Many of us find tips from various sources, including blogs, podcasts, and financial advisors. Start by asking yourself the following questions. Why do you invest? Why do you choose to invest in the stock market, real estate, or alternative investments? Everyone seems to be looking for a magic strategy. But ultimately, taking time to understand your motivations and goals is the first step toward creating a successful investment strategy.
Reflect on your current investment portfolio. Whether it consists of stocks, real estate, or alternative investments, consider how each component aligns with your desired outcomes. Are these investments helping you achieve financial independence, time freedom, or the ability to live life on your own terms? Evaluating the impact of your investments on your goals is essential for making informed decisions.
A decade ago, I realized that my investment trajectory wasn't leading me toward the intentional life I craved. Simply stashing money away in a retirement account wouldn't provide the flexibility and control I desired or the life I wanted to live. That realization prompted me to explore investments that generated cash flow in the present, allowing me to enjoy the benefits of my hard work now rather than decades down the line.
Investing is about trading today's cash flow for future cash flow. It's about consciously allocating your resources to achieve specific outcomes.
Consider when you want to start reaping the rewards of your investments. Is it in your 60s, 70s, or even earlier? There's no right or wrong answer—what matters is aligning your investment strategy with your vision for the future.
Successful wealth builders understand the concept of opportunity cost. Every resource—be it money, time, or energy—has a limit. Investing in one avenue means forgoing other possibilities. It's crucial to prioritize investments that align with your goals and offer the greatest potential returns. This applies not only to financial investments but also to how you invest your time.
Evaluate how you're investing your most precious resource—your time. Consider redirecting your time and energy toward activities and education that will yield greater returns in the long run. Look for opportunities to leverage AI and technology to create efficiencies and gain more time for what truly matters.
#2 Millionaires Have 7 Streams of Income
While seven isn't a magic number, it serves as an aspirational goal. Having diverse income streams increases the likelihood of creating scalable and leveraged income. In today's unpredictable economy, it's more important than ever to explore additional sources of income. This diversification acts as a safeguard during economic downturns and helps you overcome setbacks that may arise in your job or personal life. Building wealth and achieving time freedom often go hand in hand for those who can quickly recover from obstacles.
Take a moment to evaluate your income streams. Consider the breakdown of income from your day job vs. passive income opportunities. Lowering the percentage from your day job and diversifying your sources will enhance your sense of security. If one area falters, you'll have other income streams to rely on.
Now, let's explore the possibilities of these additional income sources. Starting a business, investing in real estate or syndications, developing a product, or providing a new service are just a few examples. Many individuals within the medical field have leveraged their expertise to become coaches, entrepreneurs, inventors, or expert witnesses. They've harnessed their existing skills and knowledge to create new ventures. The ultimate goal is to build a diversified portfolio that can weather any economic situation over time.
Ray Dalio, a renowned wealth manager, speaks of the holy grail of investing—having many uncorrelated assets or income streams. This approach not only mitigates risk but also generates consistent returns. By pursuing multiple streams of income, you can create a solid foundation for lasting wealth and financial security. Stay tuned as we explore more habits of successful wealth builders that will transform your finances.
#3 Developing a Debt Utilization Strategy
Debt is a common aspect of our lives, particularly for doctors who are burdened with student loans. Later we pick up mortgages, adding to our debt. A key to building substantial wealth is to develop a healthy mindset toward debt, understand how to use debt to your advantage, and recognize good debt from bad debt.
Bad debt is the type that side-tracks you from your financial well-being, becoming a burden and liability. On the other hand, good debt can be leveraged to create wealth, generate higher returns, and grow your assets. It involves developing a healthy mindset toward debt and utilizing it strategically.
A crucial step in utilizing debt effectively is devising a plan to tackle high-interest debt, starting with credit cards. Once you have a strategy in place for paying off high-interest debt, shift your attention to minimizing existing debts, such as your mortgage or student loans. Exploring options like debt consolidation or refinancing can help ease your debt burden.
While prevailing interest rates might currently be high, it's worth considering that they could decrease in the future. This potential decline presents an opportunity to reduce your debt obligations and alleviate financial strain. By exploring refinancing and consolidation options, you can proactively find ways to decrease your debt burden.
Moreover, debt can be used to finance income-generating assets or business ventures. While some people may be fearful of debt, those who understand how to use it wisely can accelerate their progress toward their goals, including achieving time freedom. Mitigating risk is essential in this context. Being part of supportive communities that offer guidance and insights can help you navigate the complexities of leveraging debt for wealth creation.
For instance, let's look at my personal experience with student loan debt. Despite carrying a low-interest student loan, I chose not to pay it off entirely. Instead, I used the debt strategically to invest in cash-flowing assets. The income generated from these investments helps pay off the debt while creating even greater future returns. This approach demonstrates the power of leveraging debt to your advantage.
Investing in real estate is another example where leveraging debt can maximize returns. By intelligently using leverage, you can multiply your investment gains and reach your financial goals more rapidly. However, it's crucial to understand how to mitigate risks associated with debt and make informed decisions.
#4 Mastering Your Financial Numbers
Can you readily recall your basic assets, liabilities, income, and expenses? It's natural not to have all these figures at the top of your head. Even I find myself needing to review them in more depth on a monthly or quarterly basis. By doing so, I maintain a clear understanding of my financial standing and whether I'm moving in the right direction.
If you are pursuing your fitness goals, you track your progress and note the weight you are lifting and how fast you are running so that you can see the improvements over time. Similarly, understanding your financial numbers is essential to gauge your progress toward financial goals. Without this knowledge, you're essentially flying blind.
Developing and maintaining a personal scorecard becomes vital. Regularly examine your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Your assets include investments and income-generating resources that contribute to your net worth. On the other side, your liabilities and expenses can eat away at your financial well-being. Tracking these numbers allows you to put everything into perspective and make informed decisions that align with your goals.
If you feel uncertain about managing your financial numbers, don't hesitate to seek guidance. Find a mentor, a trusted friend, or consult with professionals like CPAs or financial advisors who can provide valuable insights. There are various tools and platforms available, including Excel spreadsheets and dedicated financial management software, to help you streamline the process.
Ultimately, it's about committing time and effort to regularly review your financial progress. Set aside an hour or two each month—or at least once every quarter—to assess your financial scorecard.
#5 Cultivating a Growth Mindset for Financial Success
Developing a growth mindset is the cornerstone for achieving financial success. A growth mindset focuses on identifying opportunities for growth and embracing calculated risks while viewing failure as a valuable learning experience. By cultivating a growth mindset, you develop resilience and the ability to persist in pursuing your financial goals.
Taking calculated risks is a fundamental aspect of a growth mindset. It involves making informed decisions that offer substantial benefits while minimizing potential downsides. As physicians, we understand the concept of risk-benefit ratios and apply the same principle to our financial ventures. These risks might include investing in new ventures, negotiating for better pay, or exploring side projects alongside our primary jobs.
By developing a growth mindset, you learn to recognize opportunities where others see limitations. This mindset encourages you to take action and propel yourself toward your desired financial outcomes. Stepping outside your comfort zone becomes necessary for achieving new levels of success.
Real estate investing serves as an excellent example of how embracing a growth mindset can transform your financial journey. Initially, you were unfamiliar with the real estate industry, yet you recognized its potential and embarked on a journey of exploration and learning. By taking calculated risks and learning from both successes and mistakes, you made investment decisions that propelled you forward. Transparency and vulnerability played crucial roles in your growth, allowing you to continuously learn, grow, and seek fresh opportunities. As a result of your growth mindset, you have created multiple income streams, granting you financial freedom and the ability to spend quality time with your family.
#6 Becoming a Lifelong Learner: Unlocking the Path to Success
While we all have the ability to learn and educate ourselves, many individuals feel that their education stalls once they finish residency or training. It's common to prioritize survival and day-to-day tasks over continued education. However, if we truly want to succeed and reach our goals, we must commit to ongoing learning and self-improvement.
To foster a lifelong learning mindset, it's crucial to seek out resources and communities that encourage personal and professional growth. Surrounding ourselves with mentors, joining membership groups, and engaging in mastermind sessions can provide invaluable support and motivation. Personally, I have challenged myself to take courses, participate in groups, and continuously expand my knowledge by listening to podcasts and watching educational channels. Even dedicating a few minutes each day to learning something new in areas relevant to our goals—such as real estate investing, financial literacy, or tax optimization—can make a significant impact.
It's essential to acknowledge that while learning may not always be comfortable, we tend to feel energized and motivated when we learn about subjects that interest us. Think about the last time you experienced a breakthrough from learning something new. It likely left you inspired to continue expanding your knowledge. Each new piece of information builds upon the previous ones, empowering us to achieve greater heights. Cultivating a mindset of continuous learning is key to our personal and financial growth
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The Bottom Line
In conclusion, adopting the habits of successful wealth builders can have a transformative impact on our financial journey. By thinking intentionally about our investments, diversifying income streams, utilizing debt strategically, knowing our numbers, developing a growth mindset, and becoming lifelong learners, we can pave the way toward financial freedom and abundance.
Wealth is not solely measured by the amount of money in our bank accounts. It encompasses the ability to control our time, find happiness, and lead fulfilling lives. It requires us to align our actions with our goals and priorities. While the traditional approach of working tirelessly for decades may have been the norm in the past, it's time to challenge those conventional notions.
It's never too late to start implementing these habits. Take the first step by reflecting on your current financial situation and identifying areas for improvement. Seek guidance from mentors, advisors, or supportive communities that can provide valuable insights and resources. Embrace a growth mindset and be open to learning from both successes and failures.
Remember, wealth creation is a journey, not an overnight achievement. It requires dedication, perseverance, and continuous learning. As physicians, we possess valuable skills and knowledge that can be leveraged to create additional income streams and financial security. By integrating these habits into our lives, we can take control of our financial destinies and create the abundant and intentional lives we aspire to lead.
So, start today. Commit to adopting these habits, make informed financial decisions, and stay focused on your long-term goals. With determination and a proactive mindset, you have the power to transform your financial future and create the wealth and freedom you desire.
And if you wish to have access to our tried-and tested-strategies that work and gain step-by-step guidance to grow your real estate investment portfolio, be sure to check out our in-depth course—Passive Real Estate Academy! Our waitlist for October's PREA is now open, and you can grab your seat here! Let’s make it happen!
What steps have you taken to transform your finances? What strategies have you used to build wealth? Comment below!