Slow down to earn more

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Fly to new heights by improving your money management skills

What’s more important controlling your spending or earning more, when trying to increase your wealth?

In my experience, you can’t out earn a bad-spending habit.

Certain amounts of people have great spending habits instilled in them at a young age from their parents. They learned those habits so young that they may not realize everyone doesn’t have those habits or skills developed yet. Meaning there may be some wealthy people who don’t even know they need to advise people to first work on their spending habits before focusing on earning more.

Some of us have to learn good spending habits as adults. And I propose that learning good spending habits and money management skills should come before focusing on how to earn more money.

I’ve had the experience of getting a lot of money while having cheap bills and having nothing to show for it. I’ve also had the experience of not making as much money and having very high bills and tripling my net worth in less than three years. From those experiences, I know how powerful our spending habits and money management skills are at building wealth.

Developing the skills and habits of managing your current money will give you the confidence to know you’re ready to manage larger amounts of money.

When I realized I mismanaged money so bad earlier in my life, it made me nervous to earn more or take a second job. I was nervous because I felt I was likely to exhaust myself working multiple jobs and not have anything to show for it, since that had been my past experience.

So I did something unexpected.

I decided to slow down whenever I felt like hustling harder. I decided to slow down and learn how to manage what little salary I was making before trying to earn more.

I wanted to be truly sure I could manage small amounts of money, so when I was ready, I could focus on earning as much as possible without the fear that I would lose the money due to bad money management skills.

How would I know when I was managing my money well and ready to focus on earning? I would be living below my means, my debt would be consistently reducing, and my savings would be increasing.

To track those three factors. I created a monthly spreadsheet that tracked my total debt, my total savings, and subtracted my total savings from my total debt to get my net worth.

Eventually I did learn to manage my money well. I had eliminated all my debt, consistently increased my net worth, and consistently increased my savings. I now feel confident that when I earn more that I will have something to show for it because I first learned how to manage small amounts of money.

I hope this article convinces you to take some time to evaluate your money management skills ASAP. I missed out on a lot of money in my younger years because I thought I could out earn my bad spending habits.

 

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Handle your business

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It’s Sunday morning and the anxiety is building. I know I’ve procrastinated all my schoolwork and today will be my last chance to get the work done and turned in for credit. My instinct is to avoid my responsibilities even longer than I already have. But the truth is the anxiety won’t truly subside until I complete the tasks. It feels like entering hell sometimes (I can be dramatic. I know.) and the only way out of hell is through it.

To me this is the definition of handling your business; not stopping and collapsing in your agony, but going through it.

This is a simple habit that I have to constantly remind myself to do. I have been happy with the results though. It ultimately saves me a lot of stress and is liberating because, as I stated previously, the anxiety of unfinished business never really leaves, so why let it dwell in my essence, take care of it.

On a side note, also realize that handling your business includes making adjustments to your responsibilities. If you’re constantly agonizing over the things you need to do, then handle your business in the sense of seeing what your other options may be. Maybe the industry you are working in or the degree you are pursuing doesn’t align with your innate gifts and interests. Your mental health is important. Have compassion for yourself if you find it difficult to stay motivated. Look for solutions; don’t berate yourself ever. Realize you will learn more about yourself over time and you’ll look back and understand why you weren’t able to stay focused in this or that environment.

Handling your business tips to try:

  1. Make a list – making a list can actually make you feel better. I’ve found that often I’ve made a few tasks seem like dozens when just keeping them in my head.
  2. Clear your schedule – put off self imposed tasks/activities so that you can focus on what is most important to your life and goals
  3. Break a task into smaller and smaller steps as needed – depending on how much you dread the task, consider breaking the task into tolerable blocks of time. I’ve completed tasks that I previously failed at many times by accepting that I could only tolerate ten-minute blocks of working on the task at a time.
  4. See the forest through the trees – remind yourself why you’re doing this. Step back and see the big picture and realize that all our work, small or large, is creating our future.

Ultimately, whenever possible, I hope we handle our business instead of dwelling in our stress and anxiety.

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5 Tips to get out of debt

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Getting out of debt is an amazing feeling, but trying to, especially since many of us have never been out of debt our entire adult lives, may seem almost impossible.

Below are the main tips that worked for me to get out of debt.

  1. Realize it’s a special goal. To this day, no one that I know personally (and that has shared with me) is debt free. I think it might seem unimportant, but being aware that you are doing something out of the norm might help you achieve your goal.

We’re social people and a lot of times we do not want to do anything too far from the norm. Being “normal” has its benefits. It may reduce conflict and make us feel like we’re part of something. It’s understandable that we may unconsciously self-sabotage any efforts that require us to go against the grain. Be on the look out for any self-sabotaging behavior as you’re working towards this goal.

I recommend taking some time to acknowledge you’re going to be doing something special and to realize the positives of this unique endeavor.

  1. Stop taking out new loans or credit cards. It seems obvious, but it’s all part of the process. Keep an eye out for the urge to take out a new credit card while you’re working on paying off all your debt.

 

  1. Break the debt into smaller goals. For me, it helped to focus on one loan or credit card at a time. It helped keep me motivated because it increased my confidence and energy once I paid off one debtor.

 

  1. Increase your payment amounts. This technique is more powerful than you may think. I would sometimes make $10 or $15 additions to loans of amounts exceeding $10k and it really led to me getting them paid off quicker. What seemed like insignificant amounts, snowballed to hundreds and thousands of dollars. If I had even $10 extra in my budget, I would put it towards the loan I was trying to pay off. Every time I reduced my loan by $100 I was more motivated to put more money towards paying off the debt.

 

  1. Reduce your expenses and put any additional income towards paying off your debt. This is an opportunity to scour your budget and see if there are expenses that aren’t providing much value or happiness in your life. Find those expenses, get rid of them or reduce them and redirect that amount towards paying off your debt.

 Keep your head up. Paying your debt off may take some time, but it can be done.

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Make $500 this weekend

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Palm trees greeting me as I get an early start to my $500 weekend goal

So you want to make $500 this weekend? Here’s how to do it.

  1. Start an eBay account. Go through your closet, find stuff you don’t wear or use anymore. Look for name brand items that are in good condition. Take some great photos. The photo should accurately show the item and also subliminally make the impression that you have a clean, rich household. By rich household, I mean, take the photo on a high quality table or some other fancy looking material (think clean leather, marble counter, etc.). List the items on eBay, set them at a reasonable price for an auction, and in a week you’ll have hopefully sold a few items. Sales estimate = $100
  2. Start a Poshmark account. Same as item one. Take great photos and price to sell. Brand name items in good condition seem to sell on Poshmark quicker than on eBay, but Poshmark has higher fees. I list my items on both eBay and Poshmark. Make sure you delete the listing on the site it didn’t sell on once it sells from the other site. Sales estimate = $100
  3. Look into driving for Lyft or Uber. The process for signing up and getting started is quick and easy. I’ve driven for both and the whole experience was easy to get started and there are no commitments to how often or when you need to drive. If you do sign up, consider finding a friend that already has it. Then tell them they can refer you, if they’ll give you some of the bonus they get for referring a driver. Driving for nine hours = $200
  4. Buy stuff at garage sales for cheap and resell them on eBay for more. The key to this is to find the right items. When you’re at the garage sales, look up interesting items on eBay and see how much they’re selling for. Profit estimate = $40
  5. Offer to babysit for one of your friends for an evening. Four hours = $60

Your monetary results are going to be different, but it’s reasonable to expect to get similar amounts with some effort. Try one or all of these ideas and let me know how it goes. And share with us if you have other ideas on how to make extra money on the weekend! Happy hustlin’ 🙂

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Why do you want to be wealthy?

Think about it. Why do you really want to be wealthy? What is your motivation behind wanting to learn how to save more money or get better returns on investments?

Digging deep in ourselves to understand why we’re motivated to pursue the things we pursue can help create a personal manual to reference when making choices. When you make choices that align with your values then you make better progress towards your goals and ultimately towards fulfillment.

For me, I pursued wealth because I wanted to express myself with creative endeavors outside my day job. But I didn’t yet have the skills to make enough money off my creative interests. My day job was not fulfilling me so I thought if I became a great investor and created enough passive income, I could essentially buy my freedom and do what fulfilled me even if that activity didn’t pay enough to make ends meet.

Understanding my motivation helped because it made it easier to make decisions. When I paid off my debt and saved a decent amount of money, I could have then got a luxurious car and upscale apartment while continuing to work my regular job. But I knew my motivation wasn’t to have the status symbol and luxury that comes from pricey items if it meant I had to spend nine hours a day doing something that was unfulfilling. My motivation was to give value to the world that I cared about. So instead of spending my money on luxurious items, I decided to save and invest more.

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Maybe your motivation is different. Maybe you love your job, but your debt or lack of savings causes you anxiety and you want relief from that nagging stress weighing you down. Whatever your reason is, make sure you know it and keep it at the forefront of your mind. If you don’t understand your motivation then you risk society and marketing placing very convincing “needs” in front of you, which may steer you away from what you really want.

Below are some questions that can help you better understand what motivates you.

What are your priorities?

 What do you value most?

 What would you do if you had all the money you wanted right now? What would you buy and what would you do with your time?

 

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Take the loss

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Cut your losses and start out on a new path

Take the loss so you can move on quicker to better things. It’s frustrating and sometimes painful to admit a loss, admit things aren’t going to go the way we wanted them to. We worked so hard and were so sure this was the move we were supposed to make. When that moment comes, when you know you need to take the loss, it’s best to just take it, learn what you can from it, and redirect your energy into something more profitable.

I think that taking the loss is harder than saying it. I think it’s hardest to move on when we think we’re close to a break through. We also consider our past investments in the situation and do not want it to go to waste.

Romantic relationships are one of the more difficult ones for me to cut my losses and move on. People are complex and their feelings can change quickly, so when I invest a lot of time developing a relationship and we have mutual hope for the future, then when feelings change on the other person’s part, I can struggle at first to accept the loss. It’s the investment of time and energy that make it so hard to take the loss. I hate thinking all the relationship development was for nothing. The thing is, sometimes it is for nothing. You’ll always have the experience to learn from, but once you know better, once you know it’s not going to work out, take the loss, regroup, and look for someone who is a better fit for you. No sense continuing to put ANY energy towards someone who doesn’t see you in the role you thought you’d be. Send them love and blessings in all areas of their life and move on.

Romantic relationships are the biggest area that I focus on making sure I accept and take my losses, but your area may be different. Maybe you struggle to take a loss when an investment doesn’t work out. Maybe you bought a rental property that is losing you money each month. Consider if there are areas in your life you would be better off taking the loss, learning from the experience, and redirecting your energy elsewhere.

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Finding Your Investment Style

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May your investing research give your future as much promise as this glorious morning sky view in San Jose

I’m going to be up front, based on the research I’ve done and considering my lifestyle and values, I believe value investing is the best form of investing style for the long term and building substantial wealth. However, I know people have different goals, skills, and personality traits, so I don’t want to discredit other investing styles. I do believe you should research the different investing styles, reflect on them, decide on a style, and consistently stick to it with periodic check ins to see if it still resonates with you.

Consistency is important. It will give you time to fully develop your skill set. Don’t be quickly swayed by differing opinions. Consider all advice, but designate a time, maybe yearly, to evaluate your investing style again. Otherwise you risk switching from style to style quickly, without giving yourself a chance to flourish. It’s like constantly uprooting a flower to put it in a better environment; yes, some environments are better, but the act of uprooting the flower for minor improvements is more damaging than giving it a chance to grow in its current environment.

Step one in determining your investment style is to think about your goals and how much time you want to spend towards investing. Consider the following questions to help you determine what investment style might work for you:

  • Do you want consistent income in the form of dividend payments?
  • Do you want lower taxes taken out of your investment earnings by holding onto investments greater than one year?
  • Do you want to spend several hours researching a company prior to investing, but then have the assurance that the company has strong financials and even if the stock drops some, will come back over time?
  • Do you want to make potentially large amounts of money quickly?
  • Are you ok with having to check in on your investments several times a week?

Step two is to consider your self-reflection from step one, while researching different investment styles. Below I dive into some details of two of the prominent investing styles: growth and value investing.

UntitledInformation about growth and value investing was found on the Investopedia website, located at http://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/growthstock.asp and http://www.investopedia.com/university/value-investing/value-investing1.asp.

This is quick overview of two prominent investment styles. Take some time to look more into one that resonates with you. Start small with investing and learn more with each purchase. Best of luck to you on your investing journey!

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