Category Archives: Money

When You Have to Pay, You Pay Attention – How I Became Financially Savvy With These 5 Money Principles

When it comes to personal finance, I think this is an area in life where people can always improve and there are definitely ways to plan ahead to ensure that you are on a road to a better financial future. I am fortunate in that I had strong parents who taught me very good money lessons at a young age which shaped me into the financially savvy person I am today. I would not say I am an expert but I can provide some basic money principles that work and it is never too late to adapt them into your life no matter what your financial status is right now. With the right practices put into place, you can achieve your money goals and become a financially independent individual along with passing these money principles down to your children and the people you care about most.

I want to start off by saying, this expression is absolutely true when it comes to money–“When you pay, you pay attention.” Meaning that when you have to pay for everything, you do very well pay attention to what you are spending your money on and every little cost along the way. As soon as I could get a job as a teenager, I was held accountable for paying for everything. My parents never paid my cell phone bills, car insurance, clothes, entertainment, etc. Although they were never poor and as an only child, they easily could have covered all these costs–they still refused to pay for these things. Think about it: If they provided me with all these basic necessities, what would be the incentive to go out and get a job? Their attitude from the start was, “If you want something, you need to work for it and figure it out yourself.” Their underlying message was that I had to work for things like everyone else in this world while also instilling their full confidence that I had the capacity to earn it all by myself without relying on their credit cards and bank accounts. Their tough love approach was effective as it provided me with a burning drive at a young age to work hard along with becoming money motivated for not only survival purposes but for everything beyond that. In other words, besides paying bills and basic needs, anything else I wanted that extends beyond that such as a nice vacation, I can create the resources to make it happen. 😉 [Side note: It is for this reason, when people I know tell me their children are spoiled, don’t appreciate anything, and don’t work–my response is to cut them off financially. Sounds harsh but it is the dose of reality and tough love that is needed to build their autonomy, confidence, work ethic, and self worth while also doing them a huge favor in the long run. Trust me.]

My point in sharing this is to show how I became financially savvy at a young age because my parents taught me the value of money by having me always have to work for it. These are principles I have applied since my youth and that I continue to live by to this day.

Spend Less Than You EarnHow often do you see people spend money that they don’t really have? I see people do this all the time where they barely can pay their bills and do not really have a savings in the event that they need it for an emergency (such as the current pandemic) which is why I would rank this as the most important money principle. It is essential to spend under your means in order to prevent sinking into debt and giving yourself the opportunity to bank more money into your savings/investments.

Focus on Excelling in Your Profession – It does not matter what professional field that you chose as there is always room for you to build your career which typically means a higher salary over time. If you are extremely good at what you do, people will want to pay you for it and/or promote you so focusing on your career should be a main focal point for both personal development and financial growth.

Find Multiple Streams of Income – I suppose if you chose a career path that already provided you a hefty salary, there is not as much of a need to find multiple streams of income but I do believe this is something people often overlook and is a missed financial opportunity. Most people are content with just having their weekly job and will call it a day which in certain situations, I understand if the job is incredibly taxing and takes up the majority of your life where there is little room for free time. However, what if you found something that you loved to do and could also make a little extra income? Anyone can turn any small hobby into a few extra dollars or sometimes a ton of money (hey, why limit yourself? 😉 ) and there are always people willing to pay for services that they may not like or have the expertise in but you do.

Save As Much as Possible (Every Penny Counts) – People often underestimate that every little bit saved adds up to a big amount of money over time. For example, if you enjoy getting a cup of coffee everyday, you might think it’s such a small expense, why not treat yourself every morning; however, so much money can be saved just by cutting back the amount of days you go a week or simply by making it yourself at home. My point is, every little bit saved is extra money in your pocket that can be used for bigger and better things for your future.

Make Investments to Grow Your Money Over Time – There are many things one can invest their money in, such as real estate but first and foremost, you absolutely need a retirement fund. I know it is something most people do not really think much about until they are actually getting closer to that stage of their lives but this is where you need to think long term and start investing NOW! I always contributed towards an IRA thanks to having a financially savvy mother who had me open an account when I was 18 years old (all my money of course, not a cent from my parents) but looking back, I wish I was putting in much more as I could be benefiting from all the compound interest. As I mentioned before, the good news is–it is never too late to start investing and now I maximize my IRA every single year because I am more consciously aware of investing and have the money to do so. Even if you are not currently in a position where you can maximize your contributions each year, remember that every little bit you invest now will grow into much more money in your future so anything is always better than nothing. The key is to start a retirement fund if you have not already done so and to consistently add what you can each year.

3 Qualities Needed to Attract an Abundance of Wealth

Most people want more money and strive for financial security; however, many find themselves in bad financial situations. That could include having endured a hefty amount of debt, barely being able to pay the bills, or simply not being in a position to save and/or invest their money. No matter what your situation is right now, there are ways you can change your financial fate and be on the path of attracting more wealth. This first comes from within and examining your money mindset while adapting these qualities that can help you accumulate more wealth over time.

[Money] motivation– It is one thing to be motivated in various areas of your life but to become wealthy, you specifically need to be money motivated. By this, I mean you are driven to want to earn a lot of money, not simply being comfortable with having enough to get by each week. People who are money motivated are not interested in just having enough money to survive and often times you will never see someone who is money motivated ever broke. Why? They are so money motivated that the idea of being broke is not even an option or way of life. In their minds, it is an unacceptable so things never get that financially dire. Now a person might start off not having much money or perhaps poor which would propel this person to become money motivated. As a result, you often find these people to really maximize their money earning potential because it stems from their deep money motivation.

Responsibility – Responsible people tend to have the ability to save money and large quantities of it. Being able to save means more money in their bank accounts. I strongly believe that it does not matter as much how much a person can earn but how they ultimately manage their money. People who make less money still have the potential to accumulate wealth by simply being exceptional savers which means it might take them longer to become wealthy but at least they’re on the road to financial security. Whereas on the opposite spectrum, there is a reason why you see millionaires and lottery winners go bankrupt. This is a classic example of poor money management. Which translates to irresponsibility which is why it truly is essential to be responsible when it comes to your money.

Discipline – Discipline applies both ways when it comes to your overall money management. It applies to how you save and how you earn. If someone has enough money to buy something but says no, that requires a high level of personal discipline. This could apply to very expensive items but also inexpensive items that by not spending, a lot of money is getting saved over time. I always say that every dollar counts which is why it is important to save on both the little things along with high ticketed items. In regards to making money and elevating your earning potential, you also need a good amount of discipline to put in the time and work that is needed to make the money. You might feel overworked or just want some personal time off but thanks to being disciplined, you recognize the reward of earning the money than being lazy and not working for it. Discipline essentially requires a no pain, no gain mentality. You do what you have to do to earn the money but also preserve it by saving and investing it as much as you can, even if that means giving up material goods and services that you would normally spend your money on.

[On a final note, I can tell you from my personal life experience, that having these three qualities are highly effective in building wealth. I would not necessarily classify myself as rich (yet 😉 ) but I can tell you that I live a good life where all my essential needs are met along with having both an emergency savings and retirement funds that I continue to grow thanks to having money motivation, responsibility, and discipline].

Traveling and Dating – Who Should Pay for What?

I actually have had this question asked a few times in regards to wanting solid advice on what is the right thing to do in terms of how couples should handle expenses while on vacation when they are ‘just dating’ (not married and perhaps have only have been dating for a short time). To be honest, there really is no set answer to this one because there are so many factors involved and each dating situation is different. For example, are we talking about a weekend getaway or full week vacation overseas?

I think that if one person (usually the man but hey, it’s 2020–anything is possible nowadays) is paying for all or a contribution towards your travel expenses such as the flight and accommodations then it can be expected that once you arrive at the destination, you can pick up a good amount or at least some of the food and entertainment tabs. Personally, it just feels good to reciprocate if someone is that generous to pay most of or all my travel fees up front.

If both people are paying separately and in this case for me as the woman, the man I am dating is not paying anything towards my personal travel expenses, then I do not really expect to pay for meals or much during that time away. In a normal situation when I’m NOT traveling, I do expect a man to pay for most meals (unless it is a special occasion or I am asked to pay the tip). Why? I firmly believe in gender roles and that they should still exist. Whereas I know not everyone might feel the same because the counter argument could be that most women are in the work force today. If a woman has a stable career/job and can pay for meals as well, why is she not paying those bills? I totally understand this way of thinking, it makes sense to me as well but it does not change the principle or belief that I have which is that a man should want to pay for the dates. It actually for me has nothing to do with money being spent but to do with showing a woman that he wants to take care of her along with being chivalrous and conveying his financial strength. Especially in the early stages of the dating game, if a guy is asking the woman to go 50/50 or to pay for dates, then my immediate thought is, “Next.” I do not mean that in an entitled, conceited, or stuck up kind of way. I might still stay to get to know the guy better but I am not going to invest too much of my time because I have been in the dating game long enough to know that this is the golden standard (if you ask most men, they actually do want to pay) and there are an abundance of men who would never ask a woman to take her wallet out. So why would I make an exception now or settle for someone who is a 50/50 kind of guy? I actually do not encounter those kind of men in my life because I set my standard from the start what my expectations are (which mind you, I don’t think is even much to ask) and if this were to be a problem, my response would be, “Then don’t date me.” In other words, I am not going to lower my dating standards as I could keep it moving at that point. However, with travel, I recognize things can add up fast depending on where you go and how long you are away in which I think offering to pay for things from time to time is classy and often appreciated.

Note for Men: I think it is extremely important to consider, if you do NOT plan to pay for much during the trip or expect a more equal contribution financially with how money will be spent throughout the duration of the vacation, then you absolutely need to have this conversation and set those standards. Just as it is important for women to set standards, men should be doing this as well. I have had many male friends complain to me how they do not like having to pay for things all the time when they are dating–especially if there is not a relationship status or if they are unsure how much they like the other person. I ask if they have expressed that to the person they are dating and often times the answer is, “No.” Most women would not know this is bothersome unless it is brought to their attention. Chances are, they would be more than willing to contribute or to pay for things too. Like anything in life, you just have to ask.

Why Couples Should Have Separate Bank Accounts

It has been said that one of the most common reasons for a relationship or marriage to end is due to financial matters. This can range from having two people with completely different spending habits to someone making substantially more money than the other person which can cause some level of resentment over time. (On the other hand, for some couples, this might not even be a deal breaker–it really depends on each person’s values). Before getting too seriously involved with someone, it is important to make sure you are financially compatible with someone. By that, I mean that you have some sense of how they value their money (ex: are they better at spending or saving?) and how much they have (not exact figures but things such as approximate salary, debts, etc.) Knowing this information is valuable along with discussing financial expectations as people’s views on money management can be radically different.

Once two people have established they are relatively on the same page financially, I advise to always keep bank accounts separate to prevent financial problems to arise later on within the relationship.

Each Partner Can Still Maintain Financial Independence – This is probably the most important reason for keeping things separate as it allows for both people to make their own money and do what they want with it. When there is a joint account, often times there could be arguments such as, “Why did you spend that much money on going out this week?” When both people have access to the account, there is less control on how the money is spent causing one person to get mad at the other on how the joint money is spent outside of their monthly bills.

Both People Can Take Financial Responsibility – It is good for each partner to be able to contribute financially on some level. Although it is easy to just split everything down the middle, this often times is not the case. By assigning certain monthly bills to each person to come out of their own individual account, this holds everyone accountable instead of relying on one person to be completely in charge of the finances. Although this can successfully work in certain relationships where one person is fully in charge, the downside to this is that if something happens to this person, this leaves the other person incapable of managing the finances on their own or at all.

One Person Makes Significantly More Money That the Other – If one person is making much more money than the other person, I think it is only fair for there to be separate bank accounts as the person who is making more should be entitled to be able to keep some of it for themselves as well. If everything is put together, the person who is not contributing as much could take advantage or feel a sense of guilt if they are unable to level up to their partners financially. When accounts are kept separately, this avoids potential problems or tension to build up over time.

There are pros and cons to everything including the subject matter of whether or not couples should have a joint or separate bank account. In the long run, the benefits of having a separate bank account typically outweigh the benefits of a joint account in today’s modern world, especially now where we live in a society where most households are two income households. Of course everything is situational in which it is important to have these conversations with your partner to see where each person stands on finances and what option is best for each partner.

5 Ways to Take Financial Control of Your Life

No matter where you came from in terms of your financial background, I think it is possible for everyone to become financially independent and this is a life goal that everyone should proactively be looking to achieve. Financial independence brings an endless amount of both extrinsic and intrinsic value to your life such as an increase of freedom, stability, success, confidence, and happiness.

Often times people think that making a ton a of money automatically means a person is financially in a better place than someone else but I think what is more important than how much salary an actual person earns is how one manages their money. I have seen people who significantly make less money but they are never in debt and still have money leftover to save while I have seen people who are very wealthy but don’t know how to save effectively and in extreme cases end up broke AF. So the good news from all of this is that anyone can truly benefit from the financial strategies provided here and it does not matter what your current financial status is as there is always room for growth and change. I do not think it is ever too late to start practicing better money habits, it just takes some discipline and mindfulness on your part.

Stop Spending Beyond Your Means – I think this is probably most people’s biggest money problem–they spend money they don’t really have. There is nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy your hard earned money and treating yourself to nice things but this can be done in moderation. Instead of going to Starbucks every single morning, why not just treat yourself once a week and then make coffee from home the rest of the week? By this simple change alone, you are saving a few dollars each week which adds up to a lot in one year.

Keep a Financial Journal – I do not know many people who do this but I have been doing this as early as high school. I write down every single day how much I spend and record how much I earn. It is not fancy by any means and although people might do this nowadays in some type of spreadsheet, I keep it old school and literally keep track of it in a journal. I just put the date, where/what the money was spent, and the exact amount. I do this for many reasons. For one, I like to know where my money goes and keep a record of my expenses and earnings. I do not add up my spending totals for the month (I easily can and have done that before if I wanted to let’s say keep track of how much money I spent on different categories such as groceries, etc. from month-to-month) but I do add up my totals for how much money I make each month. I think it is a good practice to do this for general self awareness and I truly believe whenever you write anything down, you are taking accountability for your actions. Ultimately, this personal practice will bring a sense of mindfulness when it comes to how you choose to spend your money while also paying attention to how much money you make.

Find Multiple Streams of Income – Thanks to the internet, there are so many ways to make a little extra money on top of your full time job or it can even help you find your main source of income. You can start up an Etsy shop or Ebay business or go on Craig’s List and place an ad for odd job work/services that you can provide. There are many apps and resources to find freelance work or to sell things so the opportunities are endless when you take the time to look and see what is available.

Sacrifice Short-term Happiness for Long-term Happiness (aka Your Future) – It is time to start planning for your long-term future if you have not begun to do so already. Depending on what stage you are in your life, that could mean purchasing your very first home or starting a retirement fund. A retirement fund is a must and ideally you should start one as soon as you can. Even if you can barely contribute at the moment, every dollar goes a long way thanks to compound interest. In order to reach these goals, you will have to make everyday sacrifices so you have money set aside for the big purchases in your life while also saving for retirement so you can retire comfortably. Instead of buying a designer handbag on sale (yes, it might be on sale but do you really need it?) which is a short-term happiness purchase, remind yourself of the bigger picture.

Pay Your Bills on Time – I feel like this sounds like common sense but it amazes me how many people are not doing this each month and as a result, they incur late fees which is just a total waste of money and equivalent to throwing your money into a trashcan. The best way to do this is to set up automatic payments and then this way you do not have to worry about whether or not you missed the deadline on a payment. To stay even more organized, write down each month what bills are due and when so you know in advance when the money will be taken out of your bank account. If you notice that too many bills are due around the same time in which it liquidates too much of your bank account at one time, you can usually call the company and request a different date that it gets taken out each month. This allows for more balance from week to week in terms of how your money is distributed between all your monthly expenses and to ensure you always have enough money in your account. If you find that you cannot pay off your basic monthly expenses due to not being able to afford it then you need to either find ways to increase your income or cut back on certain things in its entirety.

It truly is never too late to start taking control of your financial destiny and improving your money management skills. It really comes down to two basic principles of spending less and saving more. If you really take the time to examine where you are now, set some financial goals for your future, and implement these strategies, then you are on the road to financial success.