- If your company offers a 401(k) match, take advantage of it. Contribute at least up to the limit of the match.
- Keep track of your expenses, every single one of them, for one month. This will open your eyes to how money leaks out of your wallet and into lattes, fast food, etc. Warren Buffett says if you buy things you don’t need, you’ll find yourself selling things you do need. Ben Franklin says,
“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.”
- Don’t carry a balance on a credit card. You’ll pay an unjustifiable interest rate.
- If you have to carry a credit card balance, call your credit card company and ask for them to lower your APR. Usually they’ll run a promo offering a lower interest rate for a specified amount of time, or they’ll lower your permanent interest rate. Ideally you should do this before you carry any balance, to improve your chances of being approved.
- Save six months of living expenses and keep it in a liquid account. Note: this is not income. It is expenses. Don’t worry about getting an investment return on this money. You want it to be cash to take care of life’s little bumps in the road.
- Understand the five types of financial emergencies. Here are the only times you should dip into your emergency fund: job loss, emergency home repair expenses, auto repair, medical emergency, or the need to travel to a funeral.
- Don’t forget to account for inflation in your retirement planning. Don’t assume that a million dollars will have the same purchasing power in fifty years.
- Purchase adequate life and health insurance. You won’t need it until you really need it, but you need to guard against emergencies. Life insurance can be put off until you have a family (spouse and children) but get health coverage as soon as you can. Health insurance will help you avoid
any hits to your emergency savings. Remember that preserving wealth is just as important as accumulating wealth.
- Do not act on “hot stock tips”. If you do, don’t allocate more than a small amount of money. We post information about stocks on PersonalFinanceGenius.com, but we always want you to arrive at your own informed decision.
- Put together a financial calendar. This way you remember to do things that are datedependent. This includes paying your taxes, pulling your credit report, or even sending birthday cards to your mentors. You don’t have mentors? Go get some.
- Set aside one minute per day to review your finances. The easiest way to do this is to get an app connected to your bank or credit account. Review your transactions and if you see anything fishy, you can take action immediately.
- Photocopy everything that you carry in your wallet. If it ever gets lost or stolen, you know the exact contents, along with the numbers to call.
- Budget for “lifestyle spending”. This is money for movies, restaurants, getaways and happy hours. “Lifestyle spending” will keep you from living like a miser and driving yourself insane. You should still be saving at least 10% of your income, but enjoy life as you go.
- When you increase your income, don’t increase your lifestyle. If anything, only spend 50% of whatever income increases you have. Doing this makes it easy for you to sock away more for investing, and you won’t even miss the money!
- Try positive affirmations. I’d be doing you a disservice if I said you could sit on the couch, say “I want more money” and have it come to you. You need to work to achieve your goals, but if you think thoughts such as “I’ll never be successful”, you’re setting yourself up for failure. On this note, get a copy of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and read it as soon as you can.
- Keep yourself occupied. If you’re working all the time or enjoying a low-cost hobby, you won’t have as much time to spend money. Trust me, money never sleeps but it does get bored.
- Don’t ever cosign a loan to help someone get approved. I don’t care if it’s your friend, family member, whoever. Do not do it! If the person doesn’t make payments, your credit score will get wrecked. Plus, if the person needs a cosigner in the first place, it means the bank doesn’t trust the person to make the payments!
- If you have to take on student loans, choose federal loans over private loans. Federal loans usually have lower interest rates and better payment terms.
- Always read the fine print, and never sign or agree to anything that you don’t understand.
- Keep your housing expenses below a third of your income. This means if you bring home
$3,000 per month, you shouldn’t pay more than $1,000 for your rent/mortgage.
- Keep an eye on your credit score. You get one free credit report per year, so make sure you take advantage of it.
- When using credit cards, keep your credit utilization ratio below 30% of your available credit. You can find this number by dividing the balance by available credit. So if you have a $3,000 credit limit, don’t charge more than $900 on the card.
- Watch out for fees. Paying high expense ratios on your investment funds will eat into your returns. Even a measly 1% can cost you big in the long run. The fees compound too!
- Rebalance your portfolio periodically. Ideally, once per year to make sure that your portfolio is still aligned with your long-term investment goals.
- Calculate your net worth. This will give you the big picture of your finances. Simply subtract your liabilities (debt) from your assets (savings, investments, etc.).
- Realize that not all debt is bad debt. Robert Kiyosaki said, “There’s good debt and bad debt. Bad debt is debt you have to pay for an makes you poor. If I use credit cards to buy new shoes it makes me poor. Good debt makes me rich and someone else pays for it.”
- Take financial advice with a grain of salt. Most financial advisors are trying to sell you something, so if you get any whiff of a sales pitch, walk away. Even us at
PersonalFinanceGenius.com have to make money, but we’re not trying to sell you some bogus mutual fund or an unnecessary insurance policy.
- Don’t worry about impressing other people. The people with the fancy cars and clothes are probably broke. Yeah, they might have Gucci shoes but what’s that bank account looking like?
- Think small. Over a fifty-year period, high quality, small cap stocks outperformed the overall market by almost 5% per year. Still, make sure these companies have financial strength, stability and growth. Don’t invest blindly.
- Open an IRA for your kids. If you have children, take their summer money and put it into an IRA account. If the kid is 16 now, compound interest will work wonders. Given an 8% return, every $1,000 will be $46,901.61 by the time he/she is 66 years old. Wow…. 46 grand from mowing lawns or working retail.
- Take advantage of credit card rewards. As long as you pay off your balance in full each and every month, go ahead and take advantage of that cash back! If you spend $500 on groceries per month, a 6% cash back card (Amex has one) will get you $360 per year.
- Get a good accountant. Don’t be cheap – they will save you much more money than they’ll ever cost you. Make sure you interview them, get plenty of references and give them as much information as possible to help them make the right decisions.
- Get the highest insurance deductible you can afford. This will keep your payments lower.
- Beware of fake IRS phone calls. If you ever get a call from the IRS, it is a scam! The Treasury Department says that hundreds of thousands people are contacted each year from people claiming to be from the IRS. They’ll say that you owe unpaid taxes and that you’ll be arrested or lose your license if you don’t pay. Don’t fall for it! The IRS always contacts people by mail.
- Don’t lease a car. On the same token, don’t finance your car for 72 months. Taking six years to pay off a car? That’s just ridiculous. Pay cash if you can, and if you can’t, keep the payoff period as low as possible. Who are you trying to impress? Cash impresses more.
- Be cautious during the holiday season. The average consumer spends over $800 during the holiday season. Stay within your means and give handmade gifts – they usually mean more anyway. Or you can embrace the Scrooge inside and give nothing at all!
- Make a checklist of investment criteria. Do your research to establish base criteria upon which you refer and abide by for each investment. A checklist will help you make investing an emotionless process.
- Take risk while you’re young. You can bounce back easily and you’ll have more time to ride out the market’s waves.
- Don’t close your credit cards if you don’t have to. Instead, make a small purchase each month and pay them off in full. Payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, so it’s best to keep the accounts open and pay them off. Even better – put a subscription service, such as Netflix, on the credit card and then link it to your bank account with automatic payment. You won’t even have to think about it anymore.
- When negotiating your salary, get the company to speak first. He, who speaks first, loses. There are so many studies that demonstrate this effect. You can also negotiate more than just your salary – you can negotiate time off, maternity/paternity leave, official title, and more.
- Read more. Knowledge truly is power. Warren Buffett claims to read eight hours per day. If you had 1/8th of his wealth, you’d have eight billion dollars. Not bad!
- Get gift cards at a discount. Buy gift cards at a discount online through a gift card exchange site. Then you can just use the gift cards on yourself. If you know you’re going to shop at Wal-Mart anyway, why not get a $100 gift card for $90?
- Unplug appliances when not in use. This is known as a “vampire charge”. Even if your appliances are not in use, as long as they’re plugged in, they’re costing you money. You can even invest in a smart power strip, which senses when you’re not using electronics and will power them down so you’re not draining electricity. A smart power strip will cost about $50, but you’ll save $100 or more per year.
- Scan your grocery receipts to get cash back. Apps like Wal-Mart’s Savings Catcher and others give you cash rebates on your grocery store purchases. All you have to do is scan your receipts after you shop. This will get you a few dollars per week.
- Know “your number”. Write down everything you want in life so you know your money target. You could even do this month to month, so every dollar has a task before you get it.
- Enroll in an automatic savings plan. Do this and have a predetermined portion of your income funneled into a separate account. This will put your savings on auto-pilot.
- Plan your meals. This will eliminate buying food that you don’t need and also cut down on impulse purchases at the grocery store.
- Compare insurance rates. You should be doing this at least annually. The cheapest isn’t always the best, but if you shop around, you can usually find the same coverage for less money.
- Use the 30-day rule. If you’re thinking about making a large purchase, wait on it for thirty days. If you still want the item after this time, go ahead and purchase. Most of the time, you’ll find that you no longer care about whatever it is you wanted.
- Drink more water. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, and one of the effects of dehydration is a false sense of hunger. The more water you drink, the less you’ll spend on unnecessary food when you’re not actually hungry.
- Make your own coffee at home. Why pay $2 per cup at a coffee shop when you could pay 25 cents at home. You can save enough money to buy two new iPhones every year. I personally love this coffee maker.
- Be careful when choosing your spouse/partner. Choose someone who matches your financial values. If you’re a saver, you can’t shack up with a spender.
- Clear your cache when shopping online. Many online retailers, especially airlines, will raise their prices when they see you shopping.
- Zip your pants before washing them. The zipper teeth will tear and ruin your clothing, slowly but surely. Zip them up to make sure the teeth don’t do any damage.
- Maintain your car. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Keep up with your oil changes, air filter replacements, and tire rotations. Staying on top of maintenance will stop problems dead in their tracks, saving you cash in the long run.
I love to help people become more productive. When I teach productivity, I do it from my own experience. I'm a student of productivity techniques, learning new skills, experimenting with ideas, and implementing the practical ones into my life. I've decided to take the time and share my most effective productivity tips. I hope this helps a lot of people. Please share it with a friend if it helps you.
1. Plan your day in advance.
This was a life-changer for me. It was a hard habit to develop, but once I was able to consistently plan my days in advance, my productivity skyrocketed. Make it a habit for you to never go to sleep unless you have the next day completely planned out. There should be no white space in your calendar.
Brian Tracy (one of my all-time favorite authors, check out his work here) says that every minute you spend in planning saves you ten minutes in execution, giving you a 1,000% return on your energy. Take ten minutes each night to plan your day in advance and you'll get a few extra hours of productivity.
2. Start with the most difficult thing first.
Speaking of Brian Tracy, he had a popular book called, "Eat That Frog," which is about the idea that you should begin your day with the most difficult task. I've found that the tasks we put off are usually the ones that will make the biggest difference in our lives. It could be the writing you need to do, the report you need to send, the phone call you need to make, or the confrontation you need to have.
"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." - Mark Twain
Once you start "eating the frog", you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that the rest of your day will be easy, comparatively speaking.
3. Give up TV.
This is like blasphemy to the American middle class. Heaven forbid we give up our six daily hours of TV. But think of it, the average American spends about six hours every single day watching TV. Six hours! Do you know how much you could get done in six hours? This is so mind blowing to me; I honestly don't know why people spend so much time watching television, and if you know, please enlighten me. I couldn't stand spending 37.5% of my entire waking life in front of a box.
If you can't bear the thought of giving up your precious television, try this: plan out your viewing times in advance. Rarely do we ever intentionally watch TV. We sit down, relax and "channel surf", looking for something to catch our interest. Be intentional with your TV consumption. Figure out the shows you want to watch, schedule a time to watch them, and be done.
4. Check your email in the afternoon.
A lot of productivity gurus will tell you never to check your email in the morning, and I agree with them. However, you should glance at your email in the morning. You have every right to know what you'll be dealing with that day. However, don't respond to ANY in the morning. Save the deep checking for the afternoon. Until then, pretend your email doesn't even exist.
If you want to be a real email ninja, keep all of your emails five sentences or less. To keep yourself from seeming cold/distant/weird, have an explanation in your email signature. Here, copy and paste this one:
I am committed to giving each of my emails adequate attention. I am also committed to productivity. Therefore, I must keep my email short – five or fewer sentences is my goal. Thank you for understanding.
I do this for some of my personal email accounts, and the results have been incredible. I'm hitting inbox zero almost every single day.
5. Always cook more than one meal at a time.
There's a tremendous amount of inefficiency involved in cooking. Food is fuel, and should be viewed as such. Stop wasting time thinking about what you're going to cook, foraging for ingredients, and cooking extra meals. Pick your favorite fuels and prepare them in advance. For me, this is chicken breast and rice, cooked in bulk, spread over a bed of spinach.
You’ll spend less time shopping when you purchase in bulk, and you’ll only have to do a major cleanup one time. Plan your menus in advance so there’s no guesswork when it’s time to get cooking.
6. Drink more water (and drink it as soon as you wake up).
If you implement just one tip from this post, please let it be this one. Every night, you go approximately eight hours without any liquids. When you sleep, you become dehydrated, and you need fluid to operate. Drinking water first thing in the morning fires up your metabolism and flushes out toxins. Plus, whenever you’re dehydrated, your brain operates on less fuel, which makes you feel drained and fatigued. Make this part of your morning routine. Speaking of morning routines…
7. Create a morning routine.
Warren Buffett says, "Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken." Make sure that you're developing great habits by starting with a solid morning routine. The whole idea behind a morning routine is to create a short ritual (about twenty or thirty minutes) where you complete several small habits that can have a significant effect on your life.
Some the things you can do include: review your goals, meditate for a few minutes, stretch, read something motivational/related to your field, or small exercises. Everyone has a different morning routine, so find yours. For some people, exercising means twenty jumping jacks, while for others it's twenty minutes on the treadmill. For some, meditation is an extra ten minutes in bed reflecting on the day, and for others, it's intense yoga in front of the sunrise. If you can be productive as soon as you wake up, it will set a positive tone for the rest of your day.
I recommend The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.
8. Write out everything.
You might have practiced “brain dumps” in high school or college. That’s when you sit down and write down all your accessible knowledge about a particular subject. Start doing something similar with your to-do list. Take some time to write out EVERYTHING, both short and long-term.
I use my phone and a legal pad. Whenever I’m out and think of something I need/want to do, I put it in my note-taking app. Also, every day I do a “brain dump” onto a legal pad. You should see my list – it’s got hundreds of things I want to do, from next week to twenty years from now. Having this list is important because it ensures that you’ll never have any white space on your calendar. As you plan your day in advance, you should have a list of 100+ items to choose from.
9. Use time blocks.
Time blocks are your schedule’s secret weapon. Everyone has the same amount of time, but what makes the difference is how you use yours. Block out activities in advance, and it doesn’t have to be limited to business and career activities. Block out time for the gym and spending time with your family too. Your time blocks should represent your time priorities and thus be non-negotiable. They will be completely “blocked” on your calendar, keeping you from the dreaded “I don’t have time” excuse.
Many people love to hate banks. Whether it’s anger over being charged endless fees or simply frustration after being denied a loan, customers have a laundry list of complaints against their financial institutions. (Fortunately there are several avenues besides banks for consumer loans but many people turn to their banks first.)
And consumer dissatisfaction is just the tip of the iceberg for banks, which have other, larger problems that aren’t going away any time soon. Ask most people what caused the big financial crash of 2008 and they’ll point their fingers at the big banks. Even the Governor of the Bank of England launched a stinging attack back in October of 2014 against the bankers who created the financial crisis and “got away with their compensation packages and without sanction”.
Others, such as former banking insider turned author Adair Turner, contend that a deeper systemic malaise caused the problem and that bankers were largely “irrelevant” to the crisis. Turner claimed that lending excessive amounts on mortgages, to people who would likely default on their mortgages, was the true root of the problem. A rather strange defense, given that it was the bankers who approved most of those “excessive” loans, but pretty much what one would expect a career insider to say.
Apologists aside, there’s no doubt that the banks played a big part in the worldwide economic meltdown, and many policymakers – at least those who aren’t somehow beholden to the banks – aren’t willing to let this fact be forgotten any time soon.
Are banks still being given too much leverage?
Indeed, some of the reforms enacted in the UK during recovery from the financial crisis would seem to indicate that we had learnt from our mistakes. Lenders tightened their rules to make it more difficult for borrowers to get into trouble, and legislation was passed to make banks more accountable, at least to regulators if not necessarily to consumers. Yet in early February 2016, Chancellor George Osborne reversed controversial “guilty until proven innocent” rules for top bank bosses, causing Labour to accuse him of “doing the bankers’ bidding”.
With his reversal, Mr. Osborne replaced the “burden of proof” rules that forced bankers to prove that they had engaged in no wrongdoing with a duty of responsibility rule, wherein regulators had to prove improper lending practices, rather than placing the responsibility for establishing regulatory compliance on the bankers who were granting the loans. Not to cast any aspersions upon Mr. Osborne’s integrity, but eliminating the “presumption of [senior bankers’] responsibility” would seem to invite public speculation as to whom the Chancellor and government are most loyal, those whom the government is supposed to represent, or those whom it is the government’s responsibility to keep in line.
I can’t get no satisfaction…
As the battle of banks versus government rages on, with no clear outcome in sight, the banks still have to wage war on the consumer front as well. A report issued by Banking Technology in July 2015 indicated that UK banks ranked bottom in a nine-country customer satisfaction survey commissioned by technology vendor FIS.
According to the survey, bank customers gave good marks to the banks’ use of technology to provide convenience, but only 25 percent of respondents felt that banks did an acceptable job of providing more basic areas, such as transparency and fairness in the application of fees and charges. Since it is primarily the younger, digitally-acclimated customers who value the enhanced accessibility offered by developing technologies, it would not be surprising for some customers, particularly those in older age groups, to feel that their more traditional expectations are being given short shrift.
Even if banks aren’t always the “bad guys”, banks in the UK have much room for improvement. As additional alternatives to traditional banking spring up, the banks are going to have to fight harder to retain customers, even among the more digital-savvy demographics. It is only a matter of time before even those customers who were initially drawn to the convenience features the banks offered will begin demanding the same kinds of transparency and fairness as their older counterparts.
Consumers may not be able to mitigate government’s seeming favouritism towards the banks, but they do have some clout nevertheless. If they are being ill-treated by a bank, they can exercise that clout by shopping around for a lender or a financial institution that will treat them with the level of respect they want and deserve.
The budgeting and personal finance app, Mint, has been around for years. While it’s attracted over 20 million users, it’s also attracted several competitors to the marketplace, I still enjoy using Mint.
What is Mint?
Mint is a website and app that gives users a convenient place to manage their money. You can link your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment accounts to keep them all in one place. Whenever you visit Mint, it updates all your financial data automatically (which can be shocking if the market is tanking) and presents it in a sleek, easy-to-use interface, complete with pretty graphs.
Because the Mint dashboard gives a quick summary of the user’s personal finances, it’s helpful for making budgets, setting goals, and tracking your net worth.
Mint’s Best Features
Automatic syncing: I’ve already mentioned that Mint updates financial data automatically, but I feel I should mention that it also gives you a snapshot of your spending via your credit and debit cards. When you log into Mint, you can see your account balances, bills due, and recent transactions. Your horrible spending habits are right there in front of you!
When you look at your recent transactions, you’ll notice that Mint tries to automatically categorize everything. This is well-intentioned, but it does make mistakes. For example, I use Royal Farms and Wawa to purchase gasoline. Mint correctly categorizes Wawa purchases as “gasoline”, but incorrectly categorizes Royal Farms as “fast food”. However, you can fix incorrect categories in a snap and Mint will remember repeating transactions so it can match to the same category in the future.
Budgeting: Once you’ve correctly categorized your expenses, you can create a budget. Mint tries to create one immediately by tracking your spending patterns and averaging them, but every person’s situation is different. The budgets are completely customizable – if you only want to spend $100 per month on gasoline, you can set that as your budget and Mint will track your spending (and let you know when you’re over budget). Budgeting is Mint’s primary feature, and it’s where the service really sparkles.
Creating and tracking goals: Within Mint, you can create goals such as “pay off credit card debt” or “save for a down payment on a home” and insert them into your monthly budget. You can set up automatic transfers from your bank account and watch Mint track your progress for you. The budgeting and goal setting features are life-savers, because they let know exacting where you’re spending your money in an easy to understand format.
Free credit score: Your credit score is one of your most important financial metrics, so it’s crucial to know. Mint gives you your credit score for free, but there is a caveat. The score you get from Mint uses information from Equifax only. This is not your FICO score. Your FICO score is based on your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. All you have to do is click the “show details” button to view your payment history, age of credit accounts, credit score, and so on. This is a great feature because it shows you everything you need to see and nothing you don’t, drastically cutting out all the noise. You can also update this information every three months.
Alerts: Mint is constantly keeping an eye on your money. You can sign up for alerts to be sent directly to you so you’ll know when you’re over budget, when you have a bill due, if you have any late fees, and if there have been any significant changes to your financial situation.
As a Mint user, you’ll also get a weekly summary sent to your inbox, which gives you an overview of what’s happened in the past week.
Security concerns: While I’ve never had a problem with Mint (knock on wood), I can definitely see why people would have concerns. Mint is essentially the centralization of a huge amount of data, which is a gold mine for a hacker. Although you can’t transfer money, close accounts, buy stock or use credit cards directly from the app, there’s still a large amount of disclosure in one place.
Mint prides itself on its triple-layer security, which includes 128-bit SSL data encryption and even a PIN number, but a cyber breach could be extremely damaging. There’s also the question of liability – would you be liable for the losses? If your financial institutions prohibit you from sharing your account information with third-parties, the answer is yes. So keep that in mind.
Poor customer support: Mint is a free app, so I guess you get what you pay for. There is support via email, but they’re very slow to respond. There’s also a forum online, but that’s not too helpful. There is no phone support. You’re on your own, buddy!
Ads: Mint has to make money somehow, so I understand that ads are a necessary evil – I’ve got tons of ads all over this site! Mint makes money by offering you “ways to save” or other recommendations to various financial services. Aggregate financial data (not individual) is sold to various providers to use on Mint, giving Mint a referral fee when the services are used. I must stress that the data is collected anonymously – none of the data is tied to a particular individual.
The Bottom Line
For a free app, there’s not much more you can ask for. Mint is a wonderful tool for creating a personalized budget, setting financial goals, and tracking your credit score. You can look at your entire financial picture in a few minutes and know exactly where you stand. The alerts are great (you’ll never miss a bill again) and you can work towards improving your credit score.
If anything, you should give Mint a try. It’s quick and simple to set up and get started.
For some of you, this list will be a pat on the back. For others, it’ll be a huge “you suck” wake-up call.
Going from your young, vibrant 20s to your more mature 30s is a huge transition. You’ll say your final goodbyes to “young, wild, and free” and move into greater responsibility. Taking charge of your personal finances is one of the biggest responsibilities you can assume, and this is what you should have achieved by age 30.
1. You should have a great (780+) credit score.
During your 20s, you should’ve been raising your credit score. By age 30, you have had plenty of time to build your credit history, pay off your balances in full every month, and keep your debt utilization ratio low.
Check out: Improve Your Credit Score, Improve Your Life and Want Killer Credit? Here are 5 Rules You Must Follow
2. You should be budgeting for large expenditures.
In your thirties? It’s time for a house, a dog, wedding bells, children, and other big expenses. Ideally, you should be adjusting your lifestyle to make sure you can afford all this. Setting a budget and sticking to it will ensure that you don’t go into debt for these things. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it will take over $240,000 for a middle-income couple to raise a child for 18 years. You better get started!
Check out: 7 Ways to Save Big Bucks on an Engagement Ring and Can You Really Afford Your Dream Wedding?
3. You should have an emergency fund.
This should’ve been one of the very first things you set up when you ventured out on your own, but don’t feel bad if you don’t have one yet. Most Americans don’t. You should have at least six months of living expenses, although you might want even more to buffer for medical emergencies or unemployment.
4. You should be automating your savings.
This makes saving money painless. You won’t even be tempted to spend the fruits of your labor. One of the greatest secrets of wealth-building is “pay yourself first”. When you have 10% or more of your paycheck deducted right off the top, it guarantees that you get paid first. You won’t miss the money, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised one day when you wake up and see the nice chunk of change you’ve accumulated.
5. You should be staying in your own financial lane.
Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing – focus on yourself. Your neighbor just got a brand new Benz? Cool, he’s probably in massive debt. Your coworker has a bigger house than you? What about that mortgage payment though? Keeping up with the Joneses in financial suicide. If you’d rather have a big house and a flashy car, this doesn’t apply to you, but I’d rather have the cash.
6. You should be paying off high-interest debt.
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have any debt. But if you’re like most young adults, you’ve got a car payment, student loan, credit card debt, and possibly a mortgage. You should focus on paying off your highest-interest debt first. Once you get that paid off, take the money you were paying and put it towards your next biggest debt. As you keep paying, your debt payoff will be accelerated.
Check out: The Grim Reality of Student Loan Debt
7. You should be contributing to a Roth and Traditional IRA.
It will take you ten minutes or less to open an IRA account online, so do it. Once you get it set up, keep funding it (preferably through automated payments). Because there’s a limit to how much you can contribute, it’s imperative that you get started early. The reason you should have both a Roth and Traditional IRA is so you can split the tax benefits between the present and your retirement.
Check out: Traditional IRA vs. Roth? Here Are The Differences You Need To Know.
Our thoughts shape our life. However, what we say is a direct result of what we think.
Therefore, if you want to be more successful, get rid of any “unsuccessful” language. Go through these five things and do a self-assessment. Do you say any of these?
1. “That’s impossible.”
Very little is truly impossible. If you were living in the 1300s, the idea of an incandescent light bulb would be “impossible” to you. Likewise, before the Wright Brothers, many people believed human flight was impossible.
Until 1954, no human being ever ran a mile in under four minutes. People thought the four-minute mark was impossible to break. Athletes, trainers, doctors, and scientists all “knew” that the human body wasn’t physically capable of a four-minute mile. Then Roger Bannister did it. 46 days later, someone else did it. Since then, hundreds of people have been able to a run a four-minute mile.
2. “I can’t afford it.”
Successful people will reframe their thinking to be solution-oriented. Instead of saying, “I can’t afford it”, they will ask, “How can I afford it?” This is a famous example from Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad book. Telling yourself that you can’t afford something is unconstructive and defeatist. When you say this, you are giving in to your financial roadblocks. Achievers know they have the power to remove any and all barriers between them and success.
When you say that you can’t afford something, you are a passive victim with no control. If you always speak passively, how can you expect to take more action to get what you want?
3. “It’s not my fault.”
Learn to accept responsibility for everything that happens in your life. Unsuccessful people usually have an external locus of control; they believe things happen to them and not because of them. When you accept complete and utter responsibility for your life, you experience a newfound sense of control.
It might be hard to think this way at first. For example, if someone rear ends you in traffic, is that your fault? Well, yes. You can spin it that way. You could’ve left earlier, drove faster, drove slower, etc. Everything had to come together perfectly at that exact place and moment in time for your accident to take place. No matter how far-fetched it might seem, accept responsibility. If a prospect doesn’t convert to a sale, understand that it was because of something YOU did wrong. You didn’t communicate enough value, didn’t close properly, or didn’t follow up enough. Then, and only then, can you improve.
4. “That’s not fair.”
Life isn’t fair. Get used to it. Someone else got promoted and you didn’t. Someone stupider than you makes more money than you. The truth is that you can only control your actions and your reactions. So if you’re not going to do anything about your perceived injustices, don’t waste your breath whining about it. Has an excuse ever improved your situation? Nope! You can only improve your situation by taking massive action towards your predetermined goal.
When little children stomp and scream out, “That’s not fair!” it’s a sign that they’re developing. They’re becoming aware that things aren’t always equal, making them think about how the world works. When you’re 40 years old and complaining how your life sucks, you’re just a loser.
5. “I just don’t have the time.”
This is the king of all excuses. The biggest cop-out of all time. Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey have the same 24 hours you do – how come they can do so much more? You can make the time for anything you want, you just choose not to do so. If you don’t have time to clean your house, it’s because it’s easier for you to accept living in a pigsty.
Don’t say you don’t have time. Come clean and admit that it’s not a priority. Try this on for size: “I don’t go to the gym because I don’t have time.” Sounds like a valid excuse, right? You’re a busy person, with a lot on your plate. What about this? “I don’t go to the gym because my health isn’t a priority.” Ouch! It’s time to get real and readjust your priorities. We all have 168 hours in a week, but your priorities are where you choose to spend those precious hours.
Get these five things out of your vocabulary! You’ll be amazed at how it changes your life.