Just what is it about millionaires? Do they just know a lot more than the rest of us? Are they lucky? Did they simply fall into the right investments at the right time?Are they soulless, wealth-building machines who will crush anyone to get to the top? Do they work harder than the rest of us? Are they possessed by some impassioned force even they don't understand which drives them forward relentlessly?
What's their secret?
My own search for an answer to that question began as a young boy growing up in the poorest section of Rome, New York in the 1940's and 50's. As a child, I loved listening to my parents and their friends talk about how things were when they were growing up. While other children were out playing, I often remained in the tenements talking with the "old people" about their lives and work.
My father told me that when he was a boy he had made $2.00 a day and had to turn it all over to his father. That seemed quite unfair to me, so when my father told me at a very early age that he would be unable to assist me financially, that I was on my own and that whatever I made was mine, I felt quite good about this and decided to take responsibility for my financial future.
It was a decision which led me on my own financial adventure, from shining shoes in the Rome ghettos to save up to buy my first bicycle, to a variety of careers in insurance, land development, securities and investment counseling.
I approached my own adventure as an educational experience and I've always regarded it as such. In a field of education known for its charlatans and false information, I placed great importance on attempting to isolate those basic truths and proven methods which, if studied well and applied, would enable anyone to achieve financial independence without the years of trial and error experience.
I discovered that the road to financial independence depends on YOU and your MONEY, and that the road to financial disaster is paved with those who have chased after riches while ignoring the most important commodity they have: themselves.
It also became apparent to me that most people are coming out of our school systems in a state of what might be called "financial illiteracy." They have learned a particular skill or profession but they were taught nothing about our monetary system, financial planning, investments or even basic economics as it applies to the modern world. Yet, these are obviously vitals subjects. It is a rude awakening for many to find that no matter how good their products are or how well they service their clients, they just can't seem to get ahead financially.
What these people need is to obtain a basic education on how to succeed financially. There are those who would have us believe that the subject of money is uniquely mysterious and complex. Fortunately, this is not the case.
Thus, I have always placed a premium not on advice, but on knowledge. I founded the Institute of Financial Independence as an educational institution to provide that knowledge of basics so that anyone, no matter what their current income, could achieve that priceless faculty known as judgement and would thereafter have the knowledge and ability to direct their own financial future.
There is a financial challenge facing all of us during these difficult economic times. Some might call it a financial threat, however I prefer to look upon it as a challenge. You probably would not be reading this now if you were not aware of this challenge and the potential advantages or liabilities dependent upon facing or not facing up to it. That is the decision, isn't it? The challenge is there- it's not going to go away. It is facing all of us now, but will we face it? And how will we face it if we are to see our dreams realized?
I truly believe that the answer to that question lies in the personalized educational experience we can offer you at IFI. I hope you'll let me and my staff join you on your quest for financial independence. I think it could well be the most exciting adventure of your life.
Richard G. Stewart Jr.