I'm self-employed since 2002. For years I took great pride and joy in being able to pay for my own expenses and lifestyle. I had a good life, working part-time, which left me with plenty of time to visit friends and family, to travel and study. My focus in life was never on making money, but on Love and Freedom. Counting money wasn't a sign of Spirituality in my eyes... (Besides, who needs busloads of it, when the best things in life are free anyway!)

The last 2 years my attitude towards Finance and Personal Planning changed drastic. A bit earlier, breaking up with my ex-boyfriend and not being able to sell the house to pay off the mortgage already destroyed the 'I have no problems with money' Myth I was telling myself. I wasn't completely at ease leaving the house with my savings still in the mortgage. (In fact, I panicked and was desperate to gather a new Emergency Fund for myself as quickly as possible...)

After a few more financial setbacks, for instance not being able to work for 3 full months due to an infection, I decided I had enough of this. So I started to educate myself about Money Management and Finances. I bought (and read ;-)) many books on the topic, surfed for days on the internet, bought the 3-day Financial Freedom Intensive of Open Circles Academy (based in The Netherlands), and paid for a year-long tutorial (in Dutch) about Passive Income.

I spent a small fortune on increasing my Financial IQ. It was worth every penny, the results started showing off last year.

Since I realise that investing a lot of money in one's Financial Education is difficult if you're still drowning in debts or struggling to pay the bills, I share 3 FREE ways to increase your Financial IQ in this article.

First of all, you need to know where you are, and where you're going to. To change or manage your finances you need to know the NUMBERS. Calculating your Net Worth, your Cashflow and your Spending Behavior are a good start. 

When you know your numbers, you can start with the fun part: Goal Setting and Budgeting! If you're saving and investing with a plan, you can make your dreams come true.

You don't know how to calculate your Net Worth? Don't panick! There are lots of free tools around, and step-by-step guides.

But I recommend something a little more extensive than just a fill-in-sheet: 

1. Subscribe to the online course 'Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning'

This is a 7 weeks course, from the University of California - Irving,  for free, which covers the following subjects:Piggy BankCredit: Klaartje Loose

  • week 1: Where are you? Where are you going?
  • week 2: Taxes
  • week 3: Insurance
  • week 4: Investing
  • week 5: Retirement
  • week 6: Doing the math - Reasonable Assumptions
  • week 7: Estate Planning

During Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning  you're provided with a syllabus, suggested readings, video lessons, a weekly quiz about what you studied that week, and a forum to discuss materials with fellow students. You even get a certificate if you do all your assignments!

The course started on Monday the 14th January of 2013, but you can still subscribe. Since it costs you nothing and provides you with a lot of valuable information, I strongly suggest you to sign up!

2. Read Robert Kiyosaki's book 'Rich Dad Poor Dad'

When it comes to money, your mindset is just as important as your job! You can change jobs and get a raise, but if you don't investigate your beliefs an habits about wealth, saving, spending and investing, your raise will vanish into thin air before you even realise it.

If you want to raise your financial IQ and work towards financial independence, this is a great book to start with.

You can also listen to the book, on YouTube, it's for free...

3. Download your free copy of 'Get Hardwired for Success: How to Reset Your Mind's Money Blueprint to Create Automatic Wealth.'

If you register with Peak Potentials and you're a resident of the USA, you can even attend  their Millionaire Mind intensive for free. The e-book is very valuable to start with and you're not obliged to buy anything from them, so check out if you can use their information to improve your financial situation! 

For me, thinking differently about money and wealth was key to change my money management and my attitude towards earning (a lot of) money. The days that I genuinely thought that I only needed enough to get by, are definitely over! I came to realise that I can contribute a lot more to the world if I don't have to worry about my next months' income.

I hope you now have a starting point towards more financial control of your life. Enjoy the journey to financial independence!