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Success is more than just a dream

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I recently read Robert T. Kiyosaki 's best selling book, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad." In it, Kiyosaki shares with his readers what the rich teach their kids about money that the poor do not. I found it an interesting read and have since given copies to my own children.

Kiyosaki 's book got me thinking about friends who are successful and my own efforts to obtain financial independence. The following ideas are important concepts that I believe will be helpful to anyone interested in reaching financial success.

Be an owner — not a loaner. Those who make money do so because they own things that generate money — businesses, stocks and other cash-generating assets. They don't loan their time as an employee, and they don't loan their money to make interest. They invest their time and money in their own enterprises.

Risky? Perhaps. But I have found that when I am investing in my own efforts I am actually minimizing my risk because I have more control. If you are working for someone else, you don't have control. That, to me, is real risk-taking.

Be a saver — not a spender. People who are wealthy usually have the ability to save money. According to Thomas J. Stanley in "The Millionaire Next Door," the average millionaire couple lives below their means so that they can invest 20 percent of their taxable income each year. By limiting their spending, they have the cash to invest in assets that will generate more cash for them.

Cash flow adds to savings, which is used to buy assets, which creates more cash flow. This circle of wealth helps the wealthy get wealthier. So if you want to be rich, learn to sacrifice short-term pleasures in order to save for long-term growth.

Be a doer — not a viewer. Those who have achieved financial freedom are active, engaged, open and searching to get more out of life. They are excited about their work. They love to learn about new things and ideas. They listen, and they are teachable. They are optimistic about their lives and about life in general. In short, financially secure people are making things happen, not just letting things happen to them. They control their own lives and enthusiastically embrace the challenge of living.

Be a goal setter — not a fence sitter. It amazes me that more people don't set and record their life goals. These written goals act as a compass to direct your choices and actions throughout your life. When I was in my 20s, I went through the process of setting my lifetime goals. These goals were set in six areas: financial, educational, social, family, health and spiritual.

Looking back at those written goals, I have found that the only mistake I made was not to dream big enough. I have reached nearly every goal that I set for myself and my family 35 years ago. I am just sorry that I did not set higher and bigger goals at that time.

Be a worker — not a slacker. A friend of mine says that if you work harder than most for the next five years, you will be able to live better than most for the rest of your life. This is really true when you start your own business and are competing in the market for customers. Stanley's research shows that the average millionaire works 45-55 hours a week — and this is after that person has become successful. Just think how much time was spent getting to that point.

And if all that sounds like too much bother, you have just wasted five minutes reading this column. Your time would have been better spent watching TV. To achieve financial independence, you have to do more than just dream it. You have to be willing to pay the price of success. The choice is yours.

Rick Farr is associated with the BYU Center for Entrepreneurship. He can be reached via e-mail at cfe@byu.edu .