Each spring, come tax time, we have the opportunity to take stock of how much we’ve made, how much we’ve spent, and overall, how we’re doing with our money. If, as the saying goes, “Money talks,” – what is its message to you after this year’s tax season has come and gone and tax returns have been signed sealed and delivered?
Maybe money is urging you to start an emergency fund; invest more in your 401K; cut back on take-out; or do a much-needed kitchen remodel. Or maybe money has a far more profound question for you…how does your relationship with money reflect the way you value and care for yourself?
In her book, Women & Money: The Power To Control Your Destiny, financial guru, Suze Ormansays paying attention to money is a critical part of our self-care. “We have to develop a healthy, honest relationship with our money,” Orman explains. “How we behave toward our money – how we treat it – speaks volumes about how we treat and value ourselves.” Orman also notes that money is an important part of self-empowerment. “If we aren’t powerful with money, we aren’t powerful period,” Orman says.
So how do you care for yourself by caring for your money? Do you have a “healthy honest” relationship with money? Do you feel empowered when it comes to your finances?
For many women, a “healthy, honest” relationship with money is still a work in progress. The Financial Behaviors & Experience Among Women Study, conducted by Prudential in 2014, found that the women surveyed had not been actively seeking to expand their financial literacy. The study’s findings highlighted the fact that women felt they were no more comfortable or informed making big financial decisions than they had been a decade earlier.
Amanda Steinberg, author of Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms and founder of Daily Worth, says that gender roles can play a part. “As women, many of us were raised to believe that finances should be a man’s job,” Steinberg notes. “Men approach finances as if it should be their responsibility, while women hesitate because we’re not so sure it’s a good thing to get involved.” Steinberg identifies the biggest hurdles standing between women and financial confidence as guilt and shame, and Camille Gaines, of the website Financial Woman, agrees. “Guilt and shame play out as avoiding our money, underutilizing our skills, and giving away our power around money to the men in our lives,” Gaines says. “The first step to confidence is knowledge.”
Lack of knowledge plus anxiety around money can keep women stuck and often embarrassed about reaching out for financial advice. It’s been humorously bandied about that women would rather discuss their weight or sex lives than talk about money, and the findings in the Money FIT Women’s Study bear that out. The study, published by Fidelity Investments in February 2015, found that eight in 10 women avoid conversations about money because the subject is “too personal” and they feel “uncomfortable” when the subject is broached. The majority of women in the study felt that money was a “taboo” subject – which makes sense, since so many of us were taught that it was “gauche”/ “not proper etiquette” to talk about money as we were growing up.
It may seem daunting to start wading into what seems like an ocean of financial do’s and don’ts, but Amanda Steinberg suggests starting small. “Money can get a bad rap, so start reflecting on how you think about and language money,” Steinberg says. “Maybe there’s a belief that ‘money is evil’, or that there’s ‘never enough’. Think about your opinions about money, and ask yourself, ‘Are these beliefs serving me, or should I reconsider them?’”
Our beliefs about money, often planted at an early age, can have a profound effect on how we view and handle money in our adult lives. In next week’s post we’ll continue the ‘Money Conversation’ with tips for excavating down to the heart of your beliefs about money and abundance.
The 52 Week Money Saving Challenge and Special HackARTICLE BY WHITNEY HANSEN
If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest searching around for money saving tips or money saving challenges, I’m 99.9% certain you’ve come across the 52 Week Money Saving Challenge.
It’s fun, fairly easy to implement and helps you save $1,378 in 1 year.
For most people, $1,378 is a lot of money. If you are just starting your financial life out, that basically becomes your starter Oh Shit Fund. If you are past your Oh Shit Fund, you can use that savings to help you pay down debt. Or this can be used as extra savings to help you travel the world.
Whatever your goals are, almost $1,400 can go a really long way.
HOW IT WORKS
The whole goal of the 52-week money saving challenge is to keep it so simple that anyone can save money. When you first begin the challenge, you start at week 1.
During week 1 you transfer $1 to your savings account.
Then, as the week’s progress, you’ll transfer the same amount in dollars as the week you are on. For example, during week 5 you’ll transfer $5.
Told ya this is easy!
The cool thing is by the end of the challenge, you will have saved $1,378! That’s a nice chunk of change, right?
A lot of people criticize this savings challenge. Isn’t it better to take equal amounts of money every month and put that automatically in savings?
Yes. And no.
If you are the kind of person who would much rather see the same, consistent amount of money go into your savings account each month and never worry about it again, the 52 weeks money saving challenge may not be the right challenge for you. If this is you- just take $1,378/12 and schedule an automatic savings transfer of $114.83 to your savings account once a month.
But if you are the kind of person who loves to gamify your finances and find a lot of joy in the challenge aspect, then this is a ton of fun and gets really exciting towards the end. Keep in mind that if you started this challenge in January, you’re looking at saving quite a bit of money around the holidays which can cause some potential problems.
HOW TO AUTOMATE THIS CHALLENGE
If you are trying to manually remember to save that money every single week, you might not actually do it or it might get a bit cumbersome that’s why I like to hack this method through automation.
I haven’t tried to do this with my bank, mostly because it seems like a giant pain in the butt.
And, thankfully, you don’t have to.
There are lots of apps that can help you increase your savings, but my personal favorite for this type of challenge is Qapital.
Qapital is a free app, that allows you to set up rules for your financial life. For example, one of the pre-set rules you can use is the 52 week challenge. All you do is link your current checking account with Qapital and it will pull the correct amount of money for each week that you are on. It’s so easy to do!
I’m currently saving for a trip to Machu Picchu. The idea of exploring around this world wonder makes me so anxious and unfortunately, it’s not a cheap trip. I anticipate needing $2,000 for the trip.
I set up a savings with Qapital, selected the 52 week challenge AND the roundup rule (every purchase gets rounded up to the nearest dollar with the roundup being saved) and I just watch the account grow.
I started this in 17 weeks ago and am currently sitting at $249.42. The best part of this is I really don’t miss the money at all. It has not had a negative impact on my life in the least bit and stacking the rules is helping me hit my goal of $2,000 for Machu Picchu even more quickly.
- Try Qapital out today, make your first deposit and we both get $5 deposited towards our savings goals
MY PERSONAL QAPITAL ACCOUNT
You can select your background picture to be something that inspires you. Apparently, I think a ridiculous llama is inspiring. Haha!
But you can really do some cool money challenges with Qapital like setting a budget for eating out of $50 per week and if you come in under budget, it will automatically save the difference. I suspect I’ll cover that in a future post or video.
ALL IN ALL
The 52 Week Money Saving Challenge can be a great way to help you save more money, achieve your financial goals, and start to become a master saver. It takes time to build up a really big savings account, but if you use apps like Qapital or just schedule automatic transfers from your bank account to your savings account, you’ll start to see progress soon!
Take action today and good luck with the money saving challenge!ARTICLE BY WHITNEY HANSEN
Wealthy Mindset Series #2 Wealthy Money Mindsetarticle by rennie gabriel
“Your income will be the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
1. The importance of who you hang around with.
If you hang around people who struggle to earn a living, it is likely your income will be similar. If you hang around people who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, it is also likely your income will be similar. And it STARTS with who you hang around with, and not the other way around.
Here is another quote I often use: “Of the billionaires, I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.“- Warren Buffet
I did not want to hang around jerks, and many years ago I realized that if I wanted to create wealth I needed to hang around people who earned far more than me and who had a net worth far larger than mine. Guess what? How they think and their attitudes rubbed off on me. I saw opportunities where before I saw blocks. I looked at how to effectively grow my business, how to create large dollar contracts and more. Who you hang around with is one of the keys that open the door to more wealth.
2. Money terms like interest versus earnings and the cost of money.
There are so many terms the wealthy use when they talk about money, and the first thing to understand is that the wealthy do not think it is rude to talk about money. They will not hesitate to talk about the cost per square foot to build a new house, or the best interest rates on savings, or the appreciation they earned from a stock, or how their broker might have found an Initial Public Offering (IPO) for them. Another point is that if you do not have an understanding of money terms, you cannot participate in the conversation. Here are just a very few things you should understand:
- Interest is what a borrower pays a lender for the use of money. If you deposit money in a bank, you are the lender and the bank is the borrower. In this environment, the bank will pay you about 1% to borrow money from you. (This is a typical savings account.) If you borrow money from the bank, they are the lender and may charge you 6-10% interest. The difference between the 1% they pay on savings and the 6% they charge on a loan is called the “spread,” and this is how they make a profit.
- The cost of money refers to borrowing money to invest, whether in other stocks, a business, real estate or whatever. The point is that more money should be earned than the amount of interest you pay. This is the cost of money, also called the cost of funds. If you borrow money at 4% and you’re able to invest it, or loan it out at 10%, then you’re the one earning the spread, and your cost of funds is 4%. You do not have to put money in the bank to earn interest. This is available through peer-to-peer lending, trust deeds, tax liens and other financial instruments like bonds.
- The term “earnings” is often confused with interest by people who do not know money terms. If you own a stock or a mutual fund, it may pay a dividend and grow in value over time. If you receive a 1% dividend and it grows in value by 8% over a one year period, the total earnings would be 9%. This is not interest, but total earnings. 1% is income and 8% is appreciation. If you see that a mutual fund or stock returned 22% over a one year period that could all be appreciation, with no income and has nothing to do with interest.
There are so many more financial terms, I could write a whole booklet: Compound interest versus simple interest, debt coverage ratio, capitalization rates, amortization, depreciation, present versus future value, discounting, puts, calls, margin accounts, on and on. If you want to know more, just send an email to me here.
In the next article in the series, we will cover how the wealthy use questions instead of making statements when they hear familiar information.
To your prosperity,
RennieLearn more about rennie gabriel
Wealthy Mindset Series #1article by rennie gabriel
“Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.”- Warren Buffet
My daughter found a video blog that she thought would be of interest to me, and she was right. As a wealthy person now, (as defined by being in the top 1% of Americans by net worth) who was actually a broke person 20 years ago, I saw and adopted the attitudes that the wealthy had. I noticed similarities between what I discovered and what the author of the blog saw regarding how the wealthy think that is different from the majority.
These new attitudes saved me, and it feels like there are too many attitude differences to fit into one email.
So, I have created a series of articles and will cover just a few of these attitudes in each. So watch for the next article in the series, and in each, I will cover at least two key attitudes that separate the wealthy from the majority.
In this email I will cover:
- The wealthy are willing to ask for help and/or hire help.
- The wealthy put a value on their time and know they cannot buy more of that.
These two attitudes are intertwined. You and I have a limited amount of time on this planet, and we cannot be sure how much of it we have left. If I earn $400 per hour working with clients, and I spend 30 minutes cleaning a toilet, that means it cost me $200 to clean the toilet. For $100 I can hire someone to clean my whole house and all the toilets. It makes no sense for me to do any cleaning in my house.
It makes more sense to me to hire someone who can build a website than for me to spend the time to learn how to do it. My time is better utilized doing what I do best, and that is not learning technology. My assistant is a wiz at social media and I let her post things on Twizzler or Instagrief for me.
Since I cannot buy more time, it makes sense to ask for help or hire someone that saves me time, or has the expertise that I lack. I can always make more money, but I cannot make more time, except by buying someone else’s time.
In the next article, we will discuss money terms like interest versus earnings and who you hang around with.
To your prosperity,
*This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you choose to purchase through one of these links, I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That’s what helps keep this website alive!
Most people that have debt wish it were gone ASAP.
But a lot of people that have a goal of paying off debt fast will be told they can’t do it, it’s too aggressive, you’ll have no life, it’s not possible __________.
I’m here to tell you-you can do it.
I know it’s possible because I did it.
In 2010 when I graduated from college, the first time, I had $30,000 in debt and was super disappointed with myself for not paying attention to how much I was borrowing.
So I put together a detailed plan, got to work and paid it all off in 10 MONTHS. No that’s not a typo- I was hustling.
That’s where this topic came from.
If it takes you longer than 10 months because your situation is different than mine, don’t sweat it!
Progress forward with intentional action gets results far faster than sitting around complaining that it will take forever.
These 5 tips will help you pay off debt in an accelerated plan. If you prefer to watch rather than read- the video below cover similar content.
TIP 1: KNOW YOUR DEBT NUMBERS
Do you ever watch Shark Tank? You see entrepreneurs wide-eyed and scared shitless go in front of successful angel investors and have their idea ripped apart and (hopefully) receive investment to feed growth.
If you watch this show, you might have picked up on a common reason people lose investments- they don’t know their numbers.
Don’t know your numbers? Then you will be the entrepreneur getting torn apart and life, well, life is the shark.
Luckily, knowing your numbers is easy. Painful. But easy.
Start by getting a better look at your current financial situation.
List out all the debts you have, the balances you currently owe, minimum monthly payments, due dates, and the interest rates.
Do not try to start paying off debt until you do the basic steps listed above.
- Download my Get Out Of Debt Template and get access to my short and sweet free workshop on how to pay off debt
TIP 2: SNOWBALL YOUR DEBT
I LOVE the debt snowball. The debt snowball is basically a really good way to pay down debt quickly.
So let’s talk through the details here.
Start with the smallest balance debt, ignore interest rates. Then once you have that lined up, pay the minimum payment on ALL debts except for the smallest balance debt.
The smallest balance debt will receive any and all extra payments you were planning on making.
This is key. There is power in focus and what gets attention gets results. Once that smallest debt is gone, pretend you still have that previous minimum monthly payment and put the entire debt payment towards the next smallest debt.
Whenever you get any extra money put all of that money towards the smallest debt. Which leads us perfectly into the next big tip…
TIP 3: SIDE HUSTLE
Side hustles are the booooomb! They help you pay off debt so fast and if you choose an appropriate side hustle can really help you expand your skillsets.
When I paid off debt, my side hustle was working nights and weekends as a nail tech. I was an accountant by day and did manicures and pedicures to help me pay off debt. My side hustle was 100% commission but supported me through undergrad, so I continued to live on that allowing me to put my entire accounting income towards my debt.
If you’re trying to find “easy” side hustles, I highly recommend:
- Uber or Uber Eats
- Seasonal retail work
- Contract work
- Flipping cell phones
- Picking up overtime at your current job
It doesn’t matter what you do- as long as you are working towards paying off the debt.
TIP 4: SPRINT
Sprinting is a concept from that came from software development but can be applied to any area of your life.
Start by setting a clear goal and objective of what you need to accomplish. If you are working on a $3,000 credit card, set an ambitious goal of 1-2 months for paying it off. That will more than likely require you to hustle, pick up an extra job, cut some monthly expenses out and sell stuff around the house to reach this goal.
That period of intense focus is a sprint. Now, you can get real nerdy and say “that’s not technically a sprint Whitney,” and you wouldn’t be wrong from the true Sprint methodology, but this is my version of a sprint.
During your sprint, the only focus you have is paying off that $3,000 card. You become fixated on that goal with a healthy level of obsession. That my friend- will get you results.
I’ve tested it in business, finance, and health and it works like a champ!
TIP 5: REDUCE MONTHLY EXPENSES
This is equally as important as side hustling. Most people look at their budget and think, “yep, there’s not any room for improvement.” But frankly, it’s bullshit. I have never seen a budget that doesn’t have some area for improvement. It might be a small monthly saving, but little things add up to big things over the long run.
Hopefully, you are creating and living on a budget. (You are right?) That’s the best place to find areas to cut. Additionally, look through your bank statement with a fine tooth comb and figure out where your money leaks are.
You have some areas you can cut back. I have some areas I can cut back. It’s totally normal.
You do need to temporarily reduce expenses if you are on an accelerated debt payoff plan.
With these tips, you will be well on your way to an accelerated debt pay off plan.
Your Safety Netarticle by RENNIE GABRIEL
Do you feel you want (or need) a financial safety net? A safety net can take several forms. It could be cash in the bank, people you know who can support you, opportunities you keep on the shelf. It could be the couch of a friend, a trust fund, or a backup job with a family member. It doesn’t matter if that’s your dream work as long as it can provide some much-needed income.
The back-up, or safety net, can be used while you are working on your long-term goals. It can allow you to take time off to figure things out, experiment with a new path, or just be in a creative or meditative space for the next level of your life.
Having a safety net is something that points to class privilege. People who are living in poverty don’t have a safety net. When they have an emergency, they usually have nowhere to turn for help.
I want you to wake up to the difference between being poor and being broke. People who are poor have the state of mind and circumstance that keeps them stuck in place. Being broke is what happens to people who’ve had a turn of events where they lost money. But they still have the frame of mind, connections, and skills to rebuild. Your safety net opens the door to your next opportunity when you are broke, but not when you are poor.
Language is important. What you tell yourself matters, and the difference between saying to yourself you are poor versus you are broke is important. Neither being poor, or broke, is something to be ashamed of, but understand the difference when you speak.
You have seen in earlier emails I talk about having been broke. So broke that I had to collect soda bottles and cans to get the refund money to buy food for my family. I knew I was not poor, and I never said to myself I was poor. I did say I was broke, and that it was a temporary struggle.
Examine the language you use when you don’t have enough money for a vacation, concert tickets or to cover payroll. Be sure you use the right terms, and if you need support in transforming your situation from being broke to becoming secure, or even wealthy. Reach out to me: That’s what I’m here for. Look at me like one of your safety nets, and you do not have to wait for an emergency to reach out.article by RENNIE GABRIEL
Spring is in the air! Spring Clean Your Financial Life- FREE CHECKLIST
…Aside from the crazy snowstorms we’ve been having. Every year around this time, we all start getting rid of stuff, decluttering the home and trying to get our homes in order.
But it’s also the perfect time to get your financial life together.
That’s why I created this printable checklist for you. It includes things you should start thinking about with finances.
Spring Clean Your Financial Life Checklist and start decluttering your financial life.
Students loans are the skid marks on the underpants of society.
I have my own fair share of experience with students loans.
In 2010 I graduated with my bachelors in Accounting and racked up $30,000 in student debt. Not cool.
I remember checking the mail and walking into the house where I opened an envelope with my congratulatory you’ve got 6 months before you need to send us a check bill from the Federal government.
That’s when I had my come-to-Jesus moment of all those years of mindlessly borrowing and justifying why student debt was good debt came to a screeching halt.
It was time to roll up my sleeves and get to work.
With the tips in this article and a few additions to help you with your own plan, I was able to pay off the ENTIRE $30,000 in 10 MONTHS.
No, I wasn’t rolling in the dough. You can read my entire debt free story here.
Here’s a bit of context to the bigger problem.
The average student loan debt in 2016 was $37,172 (roughly $351 per month). People are saving less and less for retirement and when I see an average student loan payment of $351 per month, I immediately see part of the reason why people are struggling with investing.
From a macro perspective, this stuff gets worse. As a whole, we’re looking at $1.4 trillion in student debt. WTF?! About 2/3 of our nation’s GDP (gross domestic product) are reliant on consumer spending and new house purchases. When people have less disposable income to spend, this directly hurts the economy.
It’s a huge mess. But it doesn’t have to be your huge mess. You have options and you do not have to keep student loans around.
TIP 1: DON’T LET STUDENT DEBT CLIMB IN BED WITH YOU
Most people let student loans become such a part of their life that it become just another bill to pay. The sooner you get pissed off about your student loans, the more drastic you’ll become with your plan, and ultimately, the faster you will get results.
A lot of people think that student debt isn’t a big deal because the interest rate is so low. It’s not necessarily about the interest rate being low, it’s about the opportunity cost of what you could do with that monthly payment instead.
TIP 2: PUT YOUR TAX RETURN DIRECTLY TOWARDS YOUR STUDENT LOANS
This is a great tip that came from Chad Methner in my money community. Chad’s spot on. Any extra money you receive should go directly towards the debt- especially your tax refunds. The average tax refund in the US was $2,763 in 2017, which equates to a nice chunk of change working towards paying off your debt.
TIP 3: KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
You’ve got to know what you’re dealing with. Write down the exact list of how much you owe for each student loan, what the interest rate is per loan, and the minimum payment.
Another money community member, Joe Koss, encourages us to “calculate the number of months and the amount needed per month to get the budget set as a minimum. Build in rewards throughout to keep yourself motivated for the process.”
I couldn’t agree more with Joe. Knowing your numbers and building in rewards are the key to getting results.
TIP 4: USE THAT 6 MONTH “GRACE PERIOD” TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
For most people, that grace period where you don’t have to make a payment for 6 months is a really big deal. This essentially gives you a “get out of jail free” car for a short period of time. Subsidized loans haven’t officially started accruing interest yet, meaning a bigger portion of your payments will go towards the balance you borrowed and not towards the interest.
Most people use that 6 months time of no payments to help them live life or further defer the debt off process, but if you are wise, and I know you are, you’ll start making payments the minute your graduate even though it’s not required. This helps your money go so much further.
TIP 5: GO ALL IN ON YOUR DEBT PAYOFF PLAN
You already have a debt free date! As stands, it will happen. So let’s try to get you there a bit more quickly. It’s important to know what type of personality you have. Are you one of those people who can stay focused for a long period of time, or are you one of the people who gets sidetracked and loses motivation fairly quickly.
I personally, lose my motivation quickly. When I was looking at my debt payoff plan, I knew I couldn’t extend this past a year or I would lose motivation. I also know that I wanted that debt gone ASAP! So I was willing to work two jobs, not eat out once, and forgo the extra “goodies” at the grocery store to reduce my bills. In exchange this let me pay off debt in less than one year.
TIP 6: STOP SAVING YOU DESERVE TO TREAT YOURSELF
What you really deserve is a better financial life. There is a season for treating yourself and a season for cleaning up the debt messes. If you take step 5 seriously, you may only be in a season of cleaning up for a short period of time.
Don’t get me wrong- treating yourself isn’t a bad thing, but when you are trying to get rid of student loans quickly, it’s important to find cheap or inexpensive ways of treating yourself that don’t sabotage your plan. For example, if your version of treating yourself entails buying coffee and going for a walk, you might instead bring a thermos full of coffee from home and take the walk. You’re receiving the same psychological benefit, without spending money that could have went to your debt.
TIP 7: PUT SPENDING BARRIERS IN PLACE
I’ll never forget the time I was working during tax season, exhausted, didn’t have a day off in 3 months and convinced myself I work hard, so dammit, I deserve a $3 Americano. When I got into my car, I opened my wallet and saw my budget taped to my debit card. That was enough of a reminder that I created a plan to pay off debt and coffee didn’t fit into that plan. Taping my budget to my debit card was a way for me stay focused on my goal and put a barrier in the way from me spending.
- I had to remove my budget every time I wanted to swipe my card. (Which was a pain)
- Every time I pulled my card out, I had to look at my budget and be reminded of my goal.
Do whatever you need to do to stop yourself from spending on stuff outside of your debt payoff plan. Some people like to use gift cards to help them stay accountable, others like the cash envelope system. Just find a way that works best for you.
TIP 8: SIGN UP FOR AUTO PAYMENT + GO PAPERLESS
Stephanie Ellis, another money community member, mentioned that we should “find out if they offer any incentives for lowering your interest rate. I got my interest rate lowered for setting up monthly auto payments and paperless statements.”
The federal government loans will offer a .25% discount for signing up for auto payments and going paperless. This isn’t a ton of savings, but every little bit helps.
TIP 9: GET A PART-TIME JOB OR PICK UP OVERTIME HOURS
This is the least sexy thing to say, I know, but it freakin’ matters. When you are trying to pay off debt quickly, you’ve got to do two things:
- Reduce expenses
- Increase income
When you begin to increase your income through part-time work, you’ll find results much faster. I’m a big fan of flipping items of eBay, driving for Uber (if your car is too old, like mine, try Uber Eats), working as a server, doing contract work, delivering pizzas, housesitting or nannying. Whatever you need to do to earn extra money.
If your job allows you to pick up overtime hours, do that! But keep that focus on earning extra money and putting every single dime of that extra money towards your student loans.
TIP 10: KEEP LIVING LIKE A COLLEGE STUDENT
If you are just now graduating from college and unsure of what to do next. Some of the best advice I can give to you is to keep your lifestyle the same. Don’t get the fancy apartment yet. Maybe stick around your parent’s basement a bit longer. Don’t buy that new car. Don’t take a vacation to reward yourself for graduating college. Keep your lifestyle minimal.
Then when you get your first “big kid” job out of college, put all of that money towards your student loans.
With these tips, you should be on your way to paying off student loans in no time. Stay focused and keep working towards your goals. In time, you will get great results.