Negotiate EVERYTHING – from a position of strength (financial pillar #8)

I’ve come to find (through experience and research) that whether you’re trying to pay, earn, save, or break even, many things in life are negotiable.   “Negotiate” – 1) Obtain or bring about by discussion, or – 2) Find a way over or through (an obstacle or difficult path).   The word ‘negotiate’ used to feel sleazy to me. It just didn’t sit right in my mind. I would hear negotiate and think that someone was trying to get over on someone else. Pull a fast one. Or to strong arm someone into getting them to do something they didn’t want to.   It’s true that some may have this mindset and take this approach to use negotiation as a ploy to get what they want, but from my recent experiences and from learning from and reading some works by the most successful people I know – this is both shortsighted and the completely […]

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Work with knowledgeable professionals (financial pillar #7)

Although I don’t typically struggle with self-confidence, I’ll readily admit to the following facts: I am not a licensed investment banker, insurance salesman, accountant, loan officer, doctor, lawyer, or personal trainer. I would probably argue that I could do a portion of some of the jobs above, but if you had any sense about you that argument wouldn’t last too long. And while there are many things I’m pretty good at, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in more than a couple of fields.   Why, then, would I assume that I am the best person to handle those jobs for my family – all on my own? I can’t possibly know enough about the case law, current accounting practices, most worthwhile insurances, and hottest investment funds that would put our family in the best position possible to succeed. Taking it a step further, I’m definitely not comfortable in settling for […]

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Pay yourself first (financial pillar#6)

When there are credit card payments, student loan payments, rent, mortgage, car payments, utilities, groceries, …, and the good ‘ole gym membership competing for those precious budget dollars, it can be so easy to ignore savings. In this post, I’ll show you why it’s vital to save monthly. How will we do this? By paying ourselves first. That’s right – before all of those other bills. Don’t worry, if we do this right your lights won’t get shut off on you.     This is financial pillar #6 for us millennials Please click on the following links to view the introduction post (We had a huge financial crisis, now what?), or preceding posts in this series. Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.   1) Do what you love 2) Protect your income 3) Sit down and make a budget 4) Eliminate ‘bad debt’ 5) Learn to live below […]

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Learn to live below your means (financial pillar #5)

Learning to live below your means is not simply making a budget and sticking to it. Living below your means is a change in mindset. It’s practicing financial discipline – it’s an ethos. A foundation that will provide you freedom in the rest of your life. Freedom to choose, to vacation, to live the life you desire. But more than that, the practice of living below your means will show you that happiness doesn’t come with material possessions. Happiness and fulfillment come in the journey. And it’s this journey of being financially disciplined that will allow all of our following financial pillars to exist.     This is financial pillar #5 for us millennials   Please click on the following links to view the introduction post (We had a huge financial crisis, now what?), or preceding posts in this series. Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts in […]

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Eliminate ‘bad debt’ (financial pillar #4)

Excessive use, or misuse, of debt is 1 of the top 5 reasons people go bankrupt. Bad debt can also be the harsh instrument by which your paycheck’s take-home, for example, goes from $1,200 to $500 (car payment, credit card balance, monthly payment on furniture, …). The #1 way to fix your problems with bad debt is to NEVER, under any circumstances, let it into your life.   For some of us, unfortunately, bad debt is already in and roaming around our homes, apartments, and vehicles. What we’ll do here then, is this:   -Review how to distinguish bad debt from good (yes, there is such a thing), -Evaluate ways to eliminate any bad debt already accumulated, and -Make certain we have a plan in place to keep bad debt out of our lives for good.     This is financial pillar #4 for us millennials. Please click on the […]

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Sit down and make a budget (financial pillar #3)

If you have tried to save money, spend less, improve credit, or build wealth at some point in the past, chances are you’ve heard that making a budget is a huge step in achieving your goal. If you’re anything like the previous version of me (I’ll call him splurgy Mike), then chances are you read the words about making a budget, they proceeded through your eyes, reached your brain, and were immediately disregarded. “I’ll just watch my spending and the money will save itself up eventually. I don’t need a budget…”   Flat. Out. Wrong.   Does a surgeon cut into someones chest and think, “A little patch here, stint there, maybe some stitching in this region, then this heart should basically heal itself?” No. They have a detailed plan. A football coach makes a game plan each week (topical and timely analogy). When a president proposes to balance a […]

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Protect your income (financial pillar #2)

(Photo by SMW)   Now that you’re doing what you love and earning an income, things should be looking up. Having an income allows us to pay bills, save for retirement, save for a rainy day, and take trips for vacation! Who doesn’t love vacation?   All this sounds well and good while the income is rolling in but what happens if it stops? What if you’re all of a sudden unable to work because of an illness? Now what happens when it’s not just you counting on that income? What if you are your family’s breadwinner and something happens to you?   Unless you’re well prepared, only bad things would happen – very bad things. Bills pile up, credit scores plummet, houses get foreclosed on, savings are quickly eliminated… Not good.   How can we make sure that we’re protected in the unfortunate event of a job loss, illness, or […]

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Do what you love (financial pillar #1)

(Photo by SMW)   (See the introduction to this post here)   Do what you love…   It may not start out this way. You may do what’s necessary to get your income rolling in a positive direction but eventually, wouldn’t the ideal goal be to do what you love rather than to do what you have to – just to get by?   I believe that happiness in life rests in the freedom to do the things that bring you the most joy, professionally and otherwise. This could be spending time with family, hiking, working for yourself, painting, writing, or any number of activities that you enjoy. Some view this as their retirement goal… Work all of your life eyeing up the last 20 or so years. Man, retirement will be so sweet, but the first 65 will be… a bear. That’s no way to live.   There have been a […]

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We had a huge financial crisis, now what?

  The 2007-‘09 housing market collapse sent our economy into a tail-spin. People lost jobs, companies went out of business, and many nest eggs got cracked. CNN reported that from 2007-’09 American households lost a net of $16.40 Trillion (With a ’T’), or an average of 25% of a family’s net worth.   The effects were terrible and wide-reaching. Although the stock market did make a more-than-full recovery within the next few years, many were still left behind. People were unemployed, under-employed, or just terrified to invest again. So, although the economy was ‘recovering,’ many individuals didn’t (and still don’t) see or feel those improvements.   Personally, by mid-2007 we had saved close to $30,000 for a down payment on our house. In ’09 that got cut to about $15,000. We were young and invested aggressively so the crash hit us HARD (50% hard…).   After gradually dipping a toe at-a-time […]

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