Career and Money

What does a growing and successful career bring to a person?

Let’s get to the point. Money. We all need to make a living. We need to provide for our own future and in most cases, the future of others.

How does this coincide with financial independence you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you, and there are two ways to look at it.

Let’s look at it from the financial independence angle. Choosing the job and organization that best fits your values and goals takes precedence over the high salary. I remember when I was young, I’d look for the next best thing quickly. And that next best thing was money. It’s nice to be in a position where I can choose an organization and not hope that the organization chooses me.

Money and Happiness

A quick glance at the article posted above will provide some insight. And I think in my case, it’s true. Maybe yours as well.

My second point is this. When you get that pay raise, what do you do with it? Invest in your financial independence? Or buy new stuff to match your new salary. Being in debt and a slave to consumerism should never be the driving force in looking for a job that pays more.

Bottom line: Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s by searching for more pay.

Key takeaway you ask? Eliminate debt, save, invest, and earn without sacrificing your life and soul!

Strategically map out your career. Sometimes a pay cut is a pay advance in the future. Try a lateral move. I wouldn’t recommend doing it more than twice in your career though.

But if you’re in debt and constantly struggling with money, it is just added anxiety that can cause your to blindly derail your career, happiness, and health.

Comment and let me know your thoughts!

Get Rich Quick!

I have a group chat with my beer league hockey team. We chat about everything from hockey to things I will not share on this blog.

The interesting topic that came up the other day was about selling 1000 shares of Disney stock to invest in Bitcoin. Some of the guys were like “do it” and two of us were against it.

I’ll make the case for why the minority in the group was correct.

Details:

Individual was fortunate enough to be gifted 1000 shares of Disney stock.

Currently trading at just over 100 a share.

Individual admitted he knows zero about stocks and investing. Red flag.

1000 shares is a about 100k before fees, taxes, etc if sold.

Unknowns:

Restrictions on stocks. I did ask him to find out.

Knowns:

Individual has no debt.

Individual is not maxing out tax deferred accounts.

Individual does not have 6-12 month emergency fund.

Individual has zero knowledge of investing but is eager to learn.

Advice:

My view is if you don’t have your tax deferred accounts maxed out and don’t understand where your money is going within those accounts, you can’t logically make the case to trade 1000 share of Disney stock for overvalued and overhyped Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Success Stories:

Media likes to hype on the lucky few who made millions off of Bitcoin. What about the thousands of people who blindly sunk their life savings into it and lost.

Individual’s Path Forward:

He may sell and buy Bitcoin. Who knows. But between myself and another team member, we laid out the case why he shouldn’t. Disney pays a nice a dividend. I said reinvest those dividends and increase your shares. Disney has been around a long time and isn’t going anywhere. Besides, it was a gift. If it drops to 80.00 a share, he still didn’t lose.

Actively participating in your own 401k and researching the funds is a start. We all have to start somewhere and if you have a tax deferred account options, that’s a great resource. You can call them ten times a day and get free advice and gain knowledge.

Read, read, read. I don’t know why we will read pointless Facebook posts 6 hours a day but we won’t read up on investing, economics, and the market.

Stay away from glorified fads. If you’re reading about a hot stock on main stream news, sorry but that ship has sailed. And most likely was a risky gamble.

Get rich quick is terrible idea.

The Value of a New Car

I preach financial independence and responsibility everyday and to everyone. I have built a roadmap for financial success. I’ve personally proven this by increasing my net worth by 1700% in just five years.

Well, this past week I have lowered my net worth by 5-10% by buying a car. I didn’t follow the 20/4/10 rule or pay cash. I did get a good deal, which I will touch on.

I wanted a legit SUV or truck. I needed something and let’s be honest, wanted something, that could get me to the mountains during rough weather. My wife and I are very active and our little cars with roof racks just weren’t cutting it anymore. Again, this is a want and not a need. But I sold myself on the need part of it.

Let’s talk about what to do and what not to do. Because I did a little of both.

Let’s start with what not to do:

1) Trade in a car to a dealer

2) Go to a dealer to look. I was immediately in love with this future deprecating expense.

3) Fixate on what you can afford monthly.

4) Surprise your wife by buying it.

What I did do right:

1) Told the dealer I’m walking out if they push the vehicle markup.

2) Had financing and credit report ready. Would not let dealer run my credit.

3) Never accept their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th offer.

4) Look at the entire price. With tax, title, and fees determine the total price plus interest.

5) Used my back car buying service which allowed me an agreed upon below MSRP price and .50 off of my already low-interest rate.

In the end the house always wins. I’m sure they turned a profit. But does anyone expect a dealer to lose? Negotiating tip 101, both sides must win. Concessions will be made. Anyone who says they robbed the dealer is most likely telling fairy tales.

In the end, I got a good deal, felt it was a win, and got a vehicle that fits my lifestyle.

I did not put down 20% or finance for 4 years. The payments and vehicle are well below 10% of my income though.

Due to my amazing credit I have built up, I was able to secure an interest rate that was lower than average for 72 months. It would have been the same rate for 24 months.

I opted for lower payments in case I want to take a light month. Ultimately I’m going to pay it off in 2 years. Because I hate debt, so that’s just what I do.

My Top Ten

Top ten pieces of advice I would give my younger self.

1) Emergency Fund

-This is so critical to avoiding financial disaster. I can not stress this enough. With rising medical costs and high deductible insurance, your life can alter in the blink of an eye. Some people suggest 3-6 months of expenses. I say 12 minimum.

2) Max Out 401k

– Tools like paycheck city will let you know what your take home pay will be based on pre-tax 401k contribution. When I played around with this, I felt the magic number was 6%. Investing 6% in your 401k would not alter the after tax take home amount very much. Increase your 401k yearly until your maxed out.

3) Max out Roth IRA

– Deciding how which one to max out first or how to split between a 401k and a Roth is always up for debate. If you have an emergency find, maxed out 401k, and no debt to pay off, then max out the Roth.

4) Bad Debt

– Bad debt is taking out loans for items you can’t afford. Nobody making 50K a year needs a 45k car. It’s a wants versus needs thing. Don’t take out loans to go on vacation, buy clothes, or use max out credit cards. If you can’t pay it off by the statement balance date, you probably shouldn’t have bought it.

4) Good Debt

– Majority of us will take out a mortgage before we can pay cash for a home. Not a bad thing, but stick within your means and don’t buy too much house. Rent out a room to cover the interest. School loans are decent debt as long as you plan your education. I’m sorry but taking out 100k in loans to major in figure drawing has a low ROI (Return on investment).

5) Learn

– Learn about the economy, banking system, taxes, and investing. You don’t need to become an expert, but this will prevent you from being scammed by get rich quick schemes.

6) Earn

– Keep on earning. Never settle. If your current position has a ceiling, find another one that is higher. If you love your job and refuse to leave for more money, get a side hustle.

7) Track All Expenses

– I have touched in this in previous blog posts. It’s imperative that you track all expenses every day. This allows you to trim the excess and look for ways to reduce costs and save more.

8) The Intelligent Investor

– I wish I read this legendary book when I was 18. I was 15 years too late. Trust me, read this book.

9) Travel Hacks

– We have to spend money on expenses and items we can afford. Best thing to do if you are responsible, is to use a travel rewards card. Pay the statement balance monthly and watch airline miles just stack up.

10) Index Funds

– Warren Buffet devotes his entire life to studying companies. Most of us don’t have that passion, desire, or knowledge. Research good index Funds and keep investing. Studies have shown people who consistently do that can do just as well or better than people who pick their own stocks. You need to do research regardless.

Good luck!

Budget Budget Budget!!!

How many times has someone told you to make a budget? They share their budget with you and it normally starts like this:

I only spend $20 dollars a week eating out.

Well isn’t that nice. Is that truly budgeting or minimizing spending risk in one area? Maybe someone will only spend $20 dollars a week eating out but they spend $500 a month on clothes.

I’m guilty. I told myself I was spending too much excess cash. So I cut out Starbucks. Decided to eat out only once a week. But then that week was really just the work week. Well I was off every other Friday, so that turned into once a week during a 4 day work week. Anyways, you get the point.

I tried the Excel spreadsheet and figured out how much I was able to spend without digging into what I needed for expenses. But that wasn’t working and it was so cumbersome. I decided to visit the App Store and I discovered Daily Budget

I am telling you all that this is hands down the best app you can install on your phone. Pay the one time fee to unlock the entire app and you won’t be disappointed. Every single transaction I make, I record. After about 30-60 days the habit is formed and I consistently record my expenses, income, and savings daily.

It’s simple. Input how much you make. Deduct your primary fixed expenses (rent, car, phone bill, etc.) and then the app will set a daily amount. If your allowed to spend $100 a day and you deduct $20 for that day, your $80 dollar surplus will carry over to the next day. Spend more than your allowed and you run a deficit.

You can track your trends, export to Excel, and back it up so you don’t lose the data.

You can even budget for a big expense that you’d like to pay for in the future. At the end of the month take the surplus and pay down debt, save, or invest.

Try the free version and see what you think.

The Basics…..what you need to know!

Takes money to make money right? Well yea that is true. But what if you don’t make “a lot” of money or have thousands to invest in that hot stock tip you received?

Let’s start with the first step. Stop spending more than you earn. I know, totally crazy concept. I probably just mind boggled some of you. We won’t get into details just yet about how to curb your spending. If you want to invest, you have to get spending under control. Everything you purchase, even on sale, will lose value over time. It’s a fact. Your Jordan’s won’t be worth anything later and your car will not retain its value.

Create a budget right? Well first you have to know what you spend in order to know what you really can spend, save, and invest. Track every single purchase. All of them. Even the soda from the vending machine. There are apps, Excel, and plain old pen and paper. Whatever you use, track your spending. After 60-90 days you will have a good idea of what you spend your money on.

Quick Steps:

1) Track spending (60-90 days)

2) Emergency Fund (3 months minimum)

4) Save at least enough in 401k to get match from the company. If you don’t have a 401k than open an IRA or equivalent. More to come on that.

5) View every non-essential purchase from an hourly wage vantage point.

Example:

Hourly Wage: $20.00 per hour x 40 hr work week= $800.00 per week.

New TV: $2400.00

True Cost of TV: 120 hours of working to pay for that TV. 3 weeks of your life for the $2400.00 TV that will be essentially worthless in a few months time.

I’m not saying don’t get a TV. I have one and it’s still good but, I do want a new TV. However, I don’t need a new tv. It’s the Wants Vs Needs dilemma. I control what I want by looking at how much time working it will take me to satisfy that want. I then analyze if this purchase is truly worth that time. Time is valuable and time is money. Time can be on your side or its against you. Time can be spent having money grow in the market. Or time can be spent paying off debt. Choose how you want to spend your time wisely. And that starts with smart purchasing.

Personal finance, financial independence, and building wealth is purely behavioral. You have to want to do this and by doing this you will have to sacrifice those things you desire. Not all the time, but more often than most normally do.

Change your mind, change the game!

Have you ever heard someone say “I’m so broke” or “I’ll be poor forever” and then they go and buy a round of drinks, new phone, or a new car? My other personal favorite is that the rich keep getting richer. Although statistically there is truth to that and the media likes to say it’s at the demise of the working class, one must take a holistic view and define what rich is.

Warren Buffet is arguably one of the wealthiest businessman in the world. Was he born rich and did he get rich quick? The answer is no. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/from-6000-to-67-billion-warren-buffetts-wealth-through-the-ages-2015-08-17

I’m not saying we could all be the next Warren Buffet. The man has dedicated his life to investing his earnings. But what can we learn from him? Here are some key highlights from his life that we can all implement in our own:


1) Live below your means.

2) Investing takes TIME and DEDICATION

3) Study and work hard!


Number 1 is so critical. If you borrow and spend more than you earn and don’t save anything, you are living above your means. It doesn’t matter how much money you make if you can’t control this.

Number 2 we will expand upon later in this blog. But very rarely does a person invest a sum of money and triple it overnight. Time in the market and diversify, as boring as it sounds, is the only way safe and consistent way to invest.

Number 3 is another hot topic. Reduce the time you spend on Facebook and Instagram looking at car videos and read about the market, low-cost index funds, or learn how Warren Buffet seeks out companies to invest in.

All of this is a good start but you have to be willing to invest in yourself as much as you would like to invest in your future. Resources are at your fingertips.


Getting Started With Finances

Over the last few years I have really taken a keen interest in my personal finance and financial freedom. In a perfect world we would all be armed with this information and start earning, saving, and investing at an early age. But majority of us did not receive this information or learn how to properly manage money. Just Google “broke athletes” and if it can happen to them, it could happen to one of us. So stay tuned and sign up for alerts. I’ll share my story about my path to financial freedom. Follow me on Twitter

@financeideas101