Living the life you want now and in the future — it’s all about choices - Al Zdenek

Anybody who knows me knows I’m a bourbon guy through and through. But not just any bourbon. For me, it’s Blanton’s or bust, and that’s a fact I’m always proud to share!

Here’s why: I haven’t always been able to shell out the dough for this premium brand. In the early stages of my career, I owned an accounting firm that was hit by the 1980s recession, resulting in negative cash flow, massive layoffs, and even the potential loss of my home. And I am a CPA! As it stood, my career was a sinking ship with no lifeboat in sight.

Then I met Darrell Cain – CPA, and a master financial planner.

This was a pivotal moment in my life, as well as for the lives of my partners and employees. Darrell showed me something that seemed impossible: I could be financially independent by the age of 50 (full disclosure: I reached this milestone at 48). All it took to get there was a commitment to the cash flow decisions I was making on a regular basis. With this revelation in mind, I restructured my entire firm to focus on personal financial planning. The rest is history!

Look beyond money coming in and going out. Learn how money actually works.

Well, not actually history because since then I’ve helped thousands of clients and others achieve the same level of financial freedom. It’s not especially complicated, but it does take daily commitment and a new understanding of what big-picture financial health really looks like.

Here are some new ways of thinking you’ll want to adopt:

  • Look beyond cash flow coming in and going out. Learn now money actually works. This includes debt, taxes, cash flow, and everything affecting your full financial picture.
  • Face your obstacles head-on. Whether they’re practical or emotional, there may be roadblocks that are seriously slowing your progress. Sometimes, it takes an outside advisor to help you see them.
  • Master your cash flow. Accessing more of your cash requires you to examine debt, insurance, profits, retirement plans, and everything else that’s tapping into your cash reserves because, at the end of the day, cash is still king.
  • Embrace compounding. A quick google search can show you the power of compounding in black and white. Still, many intelligent people forfeit the wealth-building potential of simply allowing their money to grow.
  • Make friends with debt. Old-fashioned thinking has most people paying off houses and other debts as quickly as possible. Creating wealth means using debt to your advantage, which may mean taking longer to pay off loans in order to put that extra cash in places where it can grow, or simply be there during an economic downturn or other unexpected losses.

By making the necessary sacrifices and remaining dedicated to choosing the correct financial decisions 100% of the time, I was able to not only rebuild my firm and my staff, but to thrive. I can say with full confidence that, today, I am able to live the life I want now and in the future, and that includes allowing myself to splurge on Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon. What began as an allowance around a daily latte has blossomed into the ability to collect those coveted racehorse bottle stoppers.

With the right people and planning, you can do the same! Take the first step towards the life you want. It all starts with a single choice. For more ideas on making great financial choices, check out my book Master Your Cash Flow.