Your Investments: The end of your financial slavery

The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates.

Shekel money bills (photo credit: REUTERS)
Shekel money bills
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Don’t panic. A week is a lot of time. That is what we keep telling ourselves as Seder night quickly approaches. It’s important to be focused on the main goal: after all the hard work we get to enjoy a meal with bitter herbs and cardboard-flavored matzah!
On Passover we celebrate that we have gone from being slaves to being free. But today in 2019 can we really relate to being slaves? For all of you kids reading this, your parents asking you to help clean is not slavery!
As I have quoted before, speaking about the aura of Seder night, Rav Ezra Bick wrote, “In the modern world, we tend to take freedom for granted, and perhaps that is why it seems so shallow and empty at times. Halacha sends the Jew back into slavery every year (or perhaps it would be more correct to say that Halacha recognizes that man slips back into slavery every year), so that he can be liberated anew. Freedom is a journey, a station on the road, and without the experience of liberation, without the living memory that NOW you have just left the house of bondage, you are not really free.
“If you do not free yourself every year, you slip back into subjugation – one either increases freedom, or becomes enslaved. At the very beginning of the Seder, we cite a halachic rule – ‘the more one tells the story of the exodus, the more meritorious it is.’ Freedom is an inner struggle, a process, a path, not a static state; and the more one relives the moment of liberation, the farther one travels on that path.”
Free at last
Financial guru Dave Ramsey is fond of quoting the passage in Proverbs (22:7) “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”  For those who want to exit financial slavery and enter the world of financial independence, now is the time to roll up your sleeves and get to work cleaning up your financial mess. Like cleaning the oven, it’s not always an easy thing to do. As Rav Bick wrote: “Freedom is an inner struggle, a process, a path...” Go back and reassess your financial goals and dreams of how you would like your future to look, and then create a financial plan to get yourself back on track to achieve your goals and dreams.
Once you have defined your goals, it’s time to look at your financial situation. Are you in debt? If the answer is yes, than what are you going to do to get out of it? I received a call a few months ago that I will never forget. A single man called asking me for advice. He said he owned a couple of properties in the Galilee, but they were mortgaged and the rent was all going toward his monthly payments. He had a part-time job that didn’t pay much. He wasn’t able to make ends meet on a monthly basis because his rent and other normal monthly expenses were more than his small salary.
I suggested that maybe he sell off one of the properties and with the proceeds pay off the other mortgage. He refused. He then asked me if he should maybe think about getting a higher paying full-time job. I said that was probably a good idea! Since then I keep wondering why he had to call me to “get permission” to get a higher-paying job?
Do you have a budget? If not, sit down with a pen and paper and write down how much income you have and then figure out your expenses. You can go online and search for expense-tracking websites and apps if that makes it easier.
Do you have an investment portfolio? If not, the earlier you start investing the more secure a financial future you will enjoy. If you have investments, how are they doing? Have you skewed from your optimal asset allocation? Is your portfolio a hodgepodge of random stocks that were bought on a whim, but with no underlying strategy?
Be smart about your investments. Pick a strategy and stick with it. Owning random stocks with no strategy is a recipe for disaster. Statistically, asset-allocation is the best way for most investors to grow wealth.
Like moving from slavery to freedom there is no shortcut to building wealth. It’s a process. The way to build wealth is to buy quality assets and to hold them over time. By allowing the wonders of compound interest and the growth of the stock market to do their thing, over time there is a good chance that you will achieve financial freedom.
Happy cleaning!
The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates.
Aaron Katsman is the author of Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing.; [email protected]