July 21, 2024
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July 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

A prisoner escaped from the County Jail by digging a tunnel from inside his cell. It took him over three years to plot and carry out his escape. The man dug and dug and dug until finally, he was free of the confines of his imprisonment. When he came up above ground, he was in the middle of a playground area at a daycare center over 25 miles from the penitentiary. He looked up at the blue sky as if he hadn’t seen it in ages and began shouting, “I’m free! I’m free! A little girl climbed off a nearby swing set, ran up to the prisoner, and yelled, “I’m four! I’m four!”

Financial “freedom” means different things to different people. For some, it might be having a highly lucrative job with a specific salary or title. For others, it could mean having a particular dollar amount in savings that they could live off. For some, it may be knowing that they could vacation a few times a year. For others, it could simply be knowing that their net income exceeds their expenses. Simply put, there is no universal barometer that could measure what financial freedom means broadly.

One of the greatest satisfactions for me is when a client, friend, or neighbor calls to “pick my brain” about any financial matter, even if it’s non-mortgage related. I have fielded many calls about business loans, car financing, credit card balances, merchant services, student loans, home repairs, career advice, renovation tips – and a never-ending list of other home and financing questions – that I love to discuss. It’s gratifying to simply know that people value my opinion and advice regarding their money.

Over the years, I have extensively analyzed and researched the topic of financial independence. Through speaking with successful entrepreneurs, high net-worth business executives, money managers, finance gurus, affluent friends and clients, I have developed a few strategies that I think could benefit anyone.

My first tip is to encourage people to be mindful of how they spend and receive money. Some people are brought up to be polite and will instinctively say “thank you” anytime they are handed money. Those accustomed to practicing “gratitude” might already be consciously appreciative of the income and gifts they receive. What I have realized over the years, however, is that far too few people are as grateful when they spend money.

It is very rare for someone to be thankful when they write a check to cover an expense or pay a huge bill. For example, you can’t imagine how rewarding it would be to spend a moment to appreciate your child’s school or teacher when paying a large tuition bill. How about thinking about all the groceries, clothing, goods and services you benefited from over the month when paying your credit card bill? The simple act of “graciously” using your money will quickly change your attitude about expenditures.

My second “money and mindset tip” is to stop comparing yourself to others. Perhaps it’s easier said than done, but this is a very debilitating position that many people put themselves into unconsciously. There are so many harmful tendencies that are sparked by jealousy of others and trying to keep up with the Joneses. Social media has exasperated the comparison podium where everyone gets to see how their friend and neighbor is “living” their life. What we fail to see, however, are all the skeletons they have in their closet that they don’t post on their feed. In this same vein, be very mindful of what you consume – be it news, content, or simply being around negative and toxic people. Live your life for yourself.

Finally, my biggest advice is to focus on “fulfillment” rather than wealth. Everyone knows that those who chase money will never be satisfied. There are those who teach us to seek “happiness,” – but I don’t think it is as valuable as pursuing “fulfillment.” If you spend a few hours thinking about what fulfillment looks like for you, it will change your life and lead to true financial freedom. I have so much more to write on this topic, but I don’t have the freedom to write without editorial constraints. In the meanwhile, I wish everyone a happy and prosperous holiday of Passover.

Special shout out and birthday day wishes to Chaim Azman, Erica Bensoussan, Joey Caplan, Evan Carmen, Josh Cappell, Nathan Chapman, Shoshana Dreifus, Michal Feldman, Alan Heideman, Ryan Hyman, Naomi Klinger, Rabbi Mark Landsman, Judah Leeder, Yaron Levy, Romy Ouziel, Dr. Tzvi Seidel, Gabriella Spinowitz, Charlotte Stone, and Dan Weinberger.


Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved Funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well as specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at [email protected].

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