Thousands of personal finance books on shelves today promise to teach you to spend less, save more, invest better, retire earlier, get out of debt faster, and solve just about every financial conundrum in between.
But perhaps none said it better than a book published in 1937.
Napoleon Hill, a Great Depression-era author and former advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, interviewed “more than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known” to figure out the key to their good fortune. He wrapped all of his insights in a 200-page package and published “Think and Grow Rich,” which went on to become one of the best-selling books of all time.
Don’t expect to find any stock-picking or gambling advice in it. Despite Hill interviewing some of the most iconic businessmen of his day, none of his findings involved any particularly hard-to-attain skills. His entire premise is helping people overcome the psychological barriers that keep them from wealth.
“Wishing will not bring riches,” Hill writes. “But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.”
In one passage, he sums up six steps to turning a desire for wealth into “its financial equivalent”:
Establish precise wealth goals
“First: Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire,” Hill writes. “It is not sufficient merely to say ‘I want plenty of money.’ Be definite as to the amount.”
Action step: The first step to achieving anything is to figure out exactly what it is you’re after. Visualize a savings goal with a specific price tag. It could be a vacation home, more wealth, graduate school, or being able to travel.
Commit to pursuing your goals relentlessly
“Second: Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire,” Hill writes. “There is no such reality as ‘something for nothing.'”
Action step: As Hill emphasizes, “Wishing will not bring riches.” You have to commit to attaining wealth, which takes precise goals, sacrifice, a lot of effort, and persistence in the face of failure.
“Thomas Edison dreamed of a lamp that could be operated by electricity,” Hill points out. “And despite more than ten thousand failures, he stood by that dream until he made it a physical reality. Practical dreamers do not quit!”
Set a time frame to achieve your goals
“Third: Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire,” Hill writes.
Action step: Come up with a finish line for your wealth and money goals. Be realistic when setting a time frame to attain these goals, but at the same time, think big and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, encourages self-made millionaire T. Harv Eker.
Come up with an organized plan and take action
“Fourth: Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action,” writes Hill.
Action step: Do you know your net worth? Do you know what your assets, liabilities, and expenses are? What about your investments, or to whom you owe money?
Start by addressing those questions. Next, form a financial plan and determine exactly where you want your money to go.
Finally, get started on achieving your goals immediately — within 48 hours, financial adviser David Bach says in his book, “Smart Couples Finish Rich: “By taking this sort of specific immediate action, my goal becomes even more real to me and thus even more exciting.”
Write everything down
“Fifth: Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it,” Hill writes.
Action step: Write down your goals and financial plan in a notebook. If you’re not a pen-to-paper kind of person, you can always type them up and print them out. Put them somewhere accessible, where you’ll see and be reminded of them each day.
“People who write down their financial goals get rich. It’s a fact,” David Bach writes in “Smart Couples Finish Rich. “Study after study has shown that writing down your goals makes it much more likely that you’ll achieve them.”
Use affirmations to reach your goal
“Sixth: Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning,” Hill writes. “As you read, see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of the money.”
Action step: You have to repeat out loud what it is that you want, and how you plan to get it, so you become obsessed with your purpose, Hill explains.
For example, if you aim to save $1 million for retirement by putting away money every week, you would repeat, “I will set aside (however many) dollars this week to have $1 million in retirement savings by my 60th birthday,” as many times as possible each day.
If you’re aiming to repeat your statement twice daily, establish two, set times — one in the morning and one at night — so it becomes an ingrained habit.
It seems basic, but if you actually compare this to just about any personal finance guide out there, you’ll find exactly the same simple steps. They just come with a lot more bells and whistles.
If anything, Hill’s book is a reminder that one of the only ways to achieve true wealth is to understand that more often than not our emotions and our mindset are what keep us from succeeding, and that it’s our job to come up with a plan to overcome them.
“When riches take the place of poverty, the change is usually brought about through well conceived and carefully executed plans,” he wrote. “Poverty needs no plan. It needs no one to aid it, because it is bold and ruthless. Riches are shy and timid. They have to be ‘attracted.'”
This post was originally written by Mandi Woodruff. http://uk.businessinsider.com/