Achieving financial freedom is a goal for most people, but too many people don’t achieve. The following are ten key habits that help pave the way.

1. Set Life Goals

A general desire for “financial freedom” is too vague of a goal. What does it mean to you? Write down how much you should have in your bank account, what the lifestyle entails and at what age this should be achieved. The more specific your goals, the higher the likelihood of achieving them. Then, count backwards to the current age and establish financial mileposts at regular intervals. Write it all down neatly, and put the goal sheet at the very beginning of your financial binder.

2. Make a Budget

Making a monthly household budget, and sticking to it, is the best way to ensure all bills are paid and savings are on track. It is also a monthly routine that reinforces your goals and bolsters resolve against the temptation to splurge.

3. Pay Off Credit Cards in Full

Credit cards and similar high-interest consumer loans are toxic to wealth-building. Make it a point to pay off the full balance each month.. Student loans, mortgages and similar loans typically have much lower interest rates, making them less of an emergency to pay off.

4. Create Automatic Savings

Pay yourself first. Enroll in your employer’s retirement plan and make full use of any matching-contribution benefit. It is also wise to have an automatic withdrawal for an emergency fund — the recommended amount to save, or even feasibility is highly debated, see Why Emergency Funds are a Bad Idea. that can be tapped for unexpected expenses and an automatic contribution to a brokerage account or similar account. Ideally, the money should be pulled the same day you receive your paycheck so it never even touches your hands, avoiding temptation entirely.

5. Ignore the Joneses

A braggart neighbor showing off a…