“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” –Charles “Tremendous” Jones

You say you want to retire comfortably. You say you want enough money now to live the lifestyle you want. You may also say to yourself that “I am not well connected , I did not grow up with rich parents, uncles, etc. That’s why I am where I am today.”

Did you ever realize that you have not yet met 95 percent of the people who will help you get where you want to go? You are where you are up until this point, as a result of the people you have in your life and the education you’ve received, formally or informally. You’ve also heard that you will make an average of the income of the five people closest to you.

How does that sound? True? Or not so true? Well, either way, the people you associate with and the books you read are very important on your journey to master money.

When I was young, I thought you had to win the lottery to become a millionaire. I didn’t even think about the millions of people out there who grew up with silver spoons in their mouths. I just knew how I was going to do it.

Then I met a girl from Florida–Heather–who was my roommate while I was in a student exchange program in Costa Rica. At the end of my program, I had to leave to start school right away back in the states, and I thought the same for Heather. But when I asked her what she was planning on doing after the program, she said in her valley-style voice from Florida, “Oh, I think I’ll stay here a few months and get a job or something.”

Now Heather came from money. I loved the fact that she could choose what she wanted like that, and I immediately told myself that I want my children to at least have that same option. Well, the first step to get on that track of the money train is to surround yourself with a few of the right people–a mentor, a partner and a consultant.

The mentor has “been there and done that.” The mentor has experiences to share with you, so you leap frog over obstacles with her experience in hand. She has successes and failures that you can learn from; you can take what she has done and move yourself to the next level on your journey.

The partner shares his time, resources and knowledge with you so you don’t have to do it alone (and in half the time, hopefully).

The consultant (in this case, financial consultant) shares best practices with you that she has witnessed in her practice over and over again, and advises you on your next steps to mastering money.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and talk to people. Les Brown spoke about the ‘billionaire conversation’ with me a few weeks ago, and it goes like this: The billionaire does not worry, whine and complain about her current lot. Rather, she is always talking with others about ways to overcome challenges, ways to move to the next level and ways to make more money. Anyone who does not have that type of conversation rarely sits with this billionaire. Monitor the conversation you and those around you have to keep yourself in line.

If still you feel like you have no one like this around you, remember that the wisdom of the ages exists all around you in the form of books, recordings, DVD’s. Today, the Internet is at your fingertips to get all the information you need for the road ahead.

Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker, author and trainer says, “Formal education will get you a job, but self-education will make you a fortune.”

Take time to become a student of money and connect with the right information.

On this road to freedom and options, keep in mind that you have to surround yourself with encouraging, empowering information in the form of people, books, audio and video recordings and the Internet. Make the trek not only for the money, but also for who you become on the way. You do want to be new and improved five years from now, don’t you? To your financial freedom.