Five Profitable Side Gigs for Single Parents to Boost Their Income Without Losing Much Precious Time

This piece is brought to you by Eric Kelly of My Dadventures! Check out http://mydadventures.com/ for additional topics and resources!

When you’re a single parent, you can always use more money, more rest, more time; however, your resources are somewhat limited. For many people, a side gig is the answer to being cash-strapped — still, as a single parent, you cannot afford to sacrifice too many hours or else you’d lose precious time with your family. The best method to earn money on the side without squeezing time out of your schedule is by getting a side hustle that brings cash even when you are not active.
Side Gigs Are Great Income-Bringers
If you want to find a side gig that doesn’t require much time and can be done mostly from your home, there are many options to choose from. For instance, numerous job platforms have many side gigs you can try out. You’ll be able to earn an extra income from the comfort of your home while balancing time with your kids and other responsibilities. In this gig economy, having a side hustle could grow into your career, so the following gigs are most lucrative and take very little time.
Start and Monetize Your Blog
Many parents have blogs where they document their cooking adventures, crafting projects, and gorgeous pictures of their kids. You can create an easy extra income stream by placing Google ads onto your website or blog and then marketing your platform on other sites.
Dog Sit If You Love Animals
Being a dog walker or a pet sitter can bring in decent amounts of money while taking very little time. Depending on your clients’ locations, pet-sitting may make it possible for you to serve multiple customers every hour.
Try Freelance Career Counseling
Freelancing is the ideal way to earn either a part-time or full-time income. The best part is that there are plenty of ways to freelance, depending on your skills and interests. For instance, if you’ve worked in human resources before or even had a background in counseling, you can give career counseling a shot. As a career counselor, you’ll work with all sorts of people, offering guidance and advice to, for instance, influential business people or high school kids just starting in the world. Along with helping clients find the right careers, you can help others improve their existing careers and offer advice on how to get further along on their path.
Set Up an Online Store
Online shopping is not the future anymore; it’s the present — and a lucrative side gig for many people worldwide. According to surveys, 2.05 billion people purchased goods online in 2020, with sales expected to reach $4.2 trillion soon. When you set up your own e-commerce store, you get a share of those trillions without sacrificing a lot of time.
To be successful, have a desirable product and an audience to sell it to. Use social media to demonstrate your product and market your store. Lastly, create a continual presence online, get an e-commerce platform to support the payment processing part, and have accounting software to track the orders and log your profits for tax purposes.
If you need some help getting your e-commerce business off the ground, you can consult with an e-commerce services professional. You can find the specialists through online job platforms and then consider their reviews and fees before hiring.
Be a Yoga Instructor
Perhaps the most relaxing side gig, yoga teaching, can be the ideal way to transform your passion and skills into a side job. Not only do yoga teachers lead classes in person, but they can also record their own courses and sell them online while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Pursue Your Interests with Side Gigs
Side jobs allow you to do what you love and turn it into a profit. If you’ve ever wanted to start your own blog, teach a yoga class, or help people find their careers, side gigs can allow you to boost your income while pursuing those interests and still spending time with your family.

The Three Best Ways to Optimize Your Tax Returns

 

Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.Bobby Unser

 

Happy New Year Everyone! If you’ve been following The Thrive Vine you’ve probably seen not much posting has been going on. Things have been crazy but alot of new and exciting things are happening around The Vine. As always our goal still remains to provide a community to help one another through shared experiences. After all there is no greater resource than each other!

With that said lets hop into this week’s blog. The exciting subject of Taxes… Since it’s January many people might think “It’s only January, I don’t need to file my taxes till April 15th…soooo why are we talking about this now.” Well we all know that 2020 was pretty much a shitshow and I don’t know about you but a $600 stimulus check won’t really do much for me. As a result it’s time we take matters into our own hands by maximizing our tax returns not only this year but for years to come as well. In today’s blog I’m going to discuss Three of the best strategies I’ve been using to ensure I always receive a refund on my taxes…. 

Get Organized With Your Write Offs- When most people think about taxes I think it translates as a fairly easy process. We get our W2’s from our employers, we take them to a tax professional, or enter our earnings ourselves, and then Wallah! Our taxes are done. I wish it was this simple but by taking this approach millions of people leave so much money on the table. With that said organizing your write offs doesn’t have to be weeks of going through receipts or remembering what you purchased. One great tool that I use to track my personal networth is Mint.com. What I love about Mint the most isn’t the fact that it tracks my purchases, or can easily link to any accounts I have… I get the most out of Mint.com when it comes time to do my taxes. Being a landlord and a real estate agent I have lots of things to write off, from any improvements or materials I purchase for my rental property, to writing off my MLS dues and other business expenses I incur as a real estate agent. Mint.com allows me to simply create a tag (which I use as 2020 Taxes) and then download an excel spreadsheet to go through my years worth of transactions. Now you might be thinking… “going through a years worth of transactions… are you kidding me!?” Yea yea I’m getting to that. Like I said you can export all of your data into an excel spreadsheet. Simply filter for your expenses, highlight them and then provide those to your tax professional and you’re golden. 

Now I know what you’re saying, “ummmm that’s great but I don’t own a business or a rental property.” Well this is also a great way to track medical expenses, rent payments (if you are a tenant) or property tax payments. All of which are tax deductible. 

Mind Your Business – Have you ever thought about starting a business but were like “idk if it would ever be successful or profitable.” Well in some instances starting a business might be the right move just for tax purposes. Do you blog and sell content, crochet and sell your work, or mentor individuals? These are all businesses that could have big implications on your taxes. I’ll speak from experience on how owning a business can essentially be the difference between you owing on your taxes. Last year I had a great opportunity to get a decently paying job. However there was one flaw, I couldn’t contribute to my employer’s retirement plan until I was working there for at least 1 year (we’ll discuss why this is important in the next point). Since I wasn’t able to contribute to my 401k plan my paychecks were higher, which was awesome.. But that also made my taxable income higher as well. At the end of the year I was in a completely different tax bracket than the year before because my paychecks were higher than the previous year. Knowing I’d be taxed at a higher bracket I doubled down on organizing my write-offs. At the end of the year I calculated I had over 30k in write offs between services and materials for my rental property, items I needed for my real estate business such as phone, internet, and specific dues associated with being a realtor, and lastly any personal expenses such as co-pays or paying for an educational class. What this meant was that I didn’t end up owing federal or state taxes at the end of the year and that was good enough for me. 

401k Time –  One of the best strategies to lower your taxable income is to contribute more to your 401k. For a long time I personally hated contributing more than 8% to my 401k I always wanted to stay cash heavy and love to have a decent amount of money in reserves. Afterall I didn’t want to tie up hundreds of thousands of dollars in a 401k that I wouldn’t be able to touch penalty free until I’m 65.. That’s kinda a bummer…  However, like most things in personal finance, there is a strategy to get around the 401k access and penalty debacle (more blogs on those strategies to come). For this blog though it’s important to know that the more you contribute to your retirement the more you can take advantage of any employer match AND take the tax advantages that are associated with a lower taxable income. 

Conclusion – It’s never too early to get started on your tax strategy. Being organized and preparing for your taxes to be done doesn’t need to be scary, confusing, or messy. There are so many tools available for making sure you get the most return out of your taxes. How do you prepare for your taxes? Do you have any helpful hints that might help others in the community! Comment below or share on our social media, we’d love to hear from you!

Practicality Or Passions

“Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

It’s often said if we do what we love, we’ll never have to work another day in our life. Yet, is that completely true? While we may love what we do, will we love who we do it for? Where we do it? How we are doing it? How much we get paid to do it? Will we love it forever? How do we know what we love today, will be something we are so passionate about in five, ten, fifteen or twenty five years? Do you truly believe that if you got a job doing what you love at 25, you’ll be in the same career when you retire (hopefully) at 65? The fact is we most likely have no idea what we will love to do the rest of our lives. Yet, as children, we are given the impression that we should follow our dreams and pursue something that we love. Unfortunately, this viewpoint can cost us a lot of wasted time, opportunity and debt. Is it worth taking on $100,000 worth of debt in student loans for something you think you love only to find out you can’t get a job doing it or discover that it isn’t something you liked as much as you expected?

 

Quite frankly, while we are told by educators and our schools that all degrees are valuable and you can get a multitude of jobs with any degree, the “real world” doesn’t work that way. In fact, I would argue, there are very specific paths most of us should follow in order to reduce our debt, maximize our time, and give us ample opportunities to succeed. Let’s discuss college first, as that is what a majority of high school graduates do afterwards. STEMM is science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. These career paths will bring you a plethora of opportunities at the cost of plenty of hard work up front, and potentially a lot of debt without scholarships and or grants etc. Also, just deciding to major in one of these paths won’t automatically result in a job. Certain degrees in science are in higher demand than others and not everyone who majors in engineering may be guaranteed work. If you live in Rhode Island and don’t plan on moving away, would there be a point in majoring in Petroleum Engineering?

 

Let us jump over to the liberal arts side of things. I would argue, that unless you have a specific desire to pursue a liberal arts career, do not focus on these degrees. In other words, if you want to study Anthropology, then know in advance where your opportunities may lie, such as field work studying primates, working in a museum or teaching. Don’t study anthropology with the notion that you can always get a job as a Business Analyst. If that’s your plan, then just pick a business concentration and study that. If a hiring manager for a Business Analyst position has to choose between two similar resumes but one candidate has a degree in Anthropology and the other in Business Process Management, who do you think they will go with?

 

Likewise, unless you want to be a historian, a history teacher, or a historical author and have a plan to make these things a reality, maybe consider a different major than just history. Philosophy is another possible example. Unless you want to become a Doctor of Philosophy and work in a university, this major might not be for you. If you choose philosophy and figure you can always get a job as a some sort of business relations manager- think again. Just study business management and save yourself the time from the start ensuring that the debt you may accrue will have greater potential value.

 

Again, there is nothing wrong with choosing a liberal arts degree, but don’t choose one just because it’s something you love to do, with the false belief you can always “get a job in business.” College is an expensive investment and with high expenses comes practicality. This is the biggest financial decision of your life being made before you are even 20 years old. By putting practicality ahead of your passions you may see greater potential in your career along with less stress, job security and favorable financial health.

 

Remember, you can always keep your passions while going through school. Just because you love playing an instrument, doesn’t mean you have to stop. If you love to write, there is no reason why you can’t keep writing (maybe start a blog??). If you enjoy being active then keep staying active. It’s good to dream big and see into the future, but don’t forget about what’s happening right in front of you. Remember, college is not for everyone. Plenty of jobs are available by learning a trade or even joining the military. A high skilled tradesman can live just as well as any college graduate while being in just as much if not more demand for their skills. This spans everything from plumbing, electrical, carpentry, mechanics, HVAC, iron workers and so forth. The military has hundreds of career paths you can follow to learn a myriad of important skills both technically and socially. Even better, they will usually pay for your schooling!

 

The explosion of college, doesn’t make hands on work any less important. Only more important! If you are going to college, my ultimate advice to you is simple; Remember to choose a degree that will afford you as much opportunity as you can get. In the end, you will be able to buy your time to do the things you truly love to do. What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think practicality needs to be set ahead of passion? Or do you think there is a healthy combination of how both can be achieved? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Three Reasons Why You Should Practice Gratitude

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”― Epicurus

 

Gratitude is a funny thing. It’s one of many feelings we can control; yet when things are going downhill (or what seem to be downhill for us) we might lose our perspective of gratitude. What if I told you acting gracious is a bigger part than you might think; especially during the job hunt, in the interview, and on the job. As we sit down for Thanksgiving dinner tonight and say what we’re thankful for, remember to show your gratitude for all you are, all that you were, and all that you’ll become. Here are my three tips on why you need to show gratitude in your life everyday, and how this will help you both personally in in the workplace:

 

It Just Feels Good – I’ve touched upon this in my previous blog “Three Steps to Protect Yourself From Burnout” that every night before I go to sleep, I say out loud everything that I’m grateful for. Why do I do this? Because we get so caught up with all the things that we don’t have, that’s it’s just too easy to overlook everything that we’ve built for ourselves and what we do have. Time and time again I’ll stand by the statement that perspective is everything in life. Do things happen to you? Or do you make your own luck? There is a certain gray area of control and responsibility that we all must take. Next time that you are incredibly overwhelmed take a deep breath, and list all of the things that you are thankful for; it’s guaranteed to make you feel better.

 

Humility – Do you know how much interviewers get turned off when a 22 year old kid tells them he thinks he can run a businesses better than their CEO? I didn’t either… until I said it on an interview. You could say in that moment, or for most of my early 20’s, I didn’t exactly have an empathetic break through. I was overly confident in my abilities, slightly an egomaniac, and lacked any sort of patience for anything to develop. It honestly wasn’t until my father passed away that I started to realize how precious life is, that time is not guaranteed, and that you should be thankful for everything you have. It’s important to really take a look in the mirror and be confident that you can do anything; but humble and hungry enough to want to learn everything as well. Next time you go on that interview or have that meeting with your supervisor be humble about your wins and show a sincere willingness and eagerness to learn; you’ll win every time.

 

It’s Literally Good For Your Health – I know in my first point I mentioned that gratitude makes you feel good; but it’s also important to mention that it’s good for your health. In fact, practicing gratitude on a daily basis has been shown to lower blood pressure, have positive effects on your immune system, and lead to better sleep cycles. So why doesn’t everyone practice gratitude? I think again it comes back to perspective. We very much live in a world of “haves and have nots.” For people like me (who literally have trouble keeping up with the Kardashians) it’s so important from time to time, to disconnect from our social network fantasies and reconnect to our realities.

 

Conclusion – I think most of us know being thankful shouldn’t be celebrated just one day out of the year; it should be celebrated everyday. Next time you go on that interview that doesn’t work out, receive criticism on your resume, or are even told you need to do a better job (even when you’re giving it your all) be thankful for it; there are many other people who would give quite a lot to be in your shoes. What are some ways you practice gratitude? Share in the comments below!

Why Workplace Culture Matters

“Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

This is the first blog I’ve written in a while. Things have been busy, for sure. However, I’m glad to be writing this to connect with the community on The Thrive Vine. Today’s topic is just why Workplace Culture is so important. In my personal life I’ve recently made a job change that has proven to be excellent financially however the workplace culture, has proven to be challenging. I’ve found that many of us in the beginning stages in our careers or even fresh out of college might not know what to expect or even what to value in a workplace. If you are unsure of what to look for in a workplace culture, you are in luck because this blog is for you! Sit tight as we dive deeper into exactly why Workplace Culture is so important:

What Are Your Values –  Before you can be aware of what you are looking for in a workplace you first need to be aware of what you value. Do you value camaraderie amongst your co-workers, do you value a quiet space so you can perform your best work, or do you put a high priority on leadership and development? Aside from all of these topics being wonderful interview questions, these are also wonderful aspects to ponder to gain a self awareness of what you value. The million dollar question is how do you know this, or how would you figure out what you value in a Workplace? I feel Corporate America has kind of set us up via trial and error. Aside from a self awareness for what you are looking for the best way to understand what you value, and what you do not value, is to experiment with working at different places, networking with different professionals, and doing some introspection on what you value, and can you achieve your goals based on the company culture and vision. 

Safety and Acceptance – When we think about Workplace culture we tend to think about the time off policy, the layout of the office, happy hours, etc… However in reality Workplace culture is nothing more than achieving basic needs of humans as a species. In order to thrive in any environment humans, or any social species, need to feel Safe and Accepted by their family or pack. When our behavior doesn’t match what is around us, we might feel as an outcast or that we don’t fit in. Realistically when we are in our 20’s and 30’s we spend most of our waking hours as work. If we don’t feel safe due to workplace conflict or accepted due to the culture, issues such as workplace stress and anxiety can ensue and can take a huge toll on our mental health. 

So how can we combat workplace stress and anxiety? This very topic is what I’ve been thinking about for the past few months. In my personal situation I was offered a position at a not so “emotionally intelligent” workplace where excessive swearing, slamming of phones, and yelling doesn’t seem to bother anyone… except for me. However the money is wonderful and sometimes it makes sense to “suck it up.” Yet, as most of us know after a while of being in an environment our body reads as toxic, biological effects take place such as anxiety, panic, and stress. Here is what I did personally to combat these feelings and get myself mentally back on track:

  • Getting up from my desk and taking more frequent walks. Sometimes taking yourself out the environment for short periods of time can do wonders for your mental health
  • Taking a step back and thinking long term. What I mean by this is that the probability of me being at this new job for the rest of my life is extremely slim. By taking things into perspective and realizing that I can use the pay increase I received by taking this job, to invest more aggressively; will help me reach my goals faster. I look at this opportunity as just a mere page in an entire book of my life.
  • Always keep an eye out for new opportunities. It’s really important to remember that you are in control. Especially when it comes to your employment. Even if you’ve worked at a place for a week and the work culture is not what you expected and is being toxic, there is nothing preventing you from starting your job search again or pursuing your own entrepreneurial endeavors. There are always options and you should never feel trapped in a toxic environment. 

Purpose/Support – I think most of us have been raised to think that our purpose of working for a company is to make the company money, or produce a level of value to the company so it secures our employment. Yet, most of us don’t realize that value is a two-way street. As much as we provide value to a business or company, it is the businesses job to enrich our lives not only through the transaction of money; but through purpose and support. If you really think about it, any job on the planet can be a great job (or at least more enjoyable)  if it’s in the right environment and we are surrounded by the right people. I understand first hand how hard it can be waking up when Monday morning comes around, however I encourage you to really think about what value and purpose does your job/career/workplace give you. You should feel a good feeling when you help a customer, or you make a big sale, and I encourage you to celebrate those wins; however the place you work for should also help you celebrate those wins and in turn be there when you are struggling.


Conclusion –  In Corporate America there seems to be a generational disconnect of what each generation and individual values. Is it practical for each company to heed to a generation’s needs? Probably not. However, in my opinion, a business is more than just a place people go to work. It’s a place where employees spend most of their time, and should be obligated to provide safely, sustainability, and support to the people who are growing it as a direct result of their time. What do you think? How can we do a better job with providing a better culture to employees? What are some aspects  you value in a workplace? Share your comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

3 Ways You Can Start Investing Even When You Are In Debt

“Balancing your money is the key to having enough.” – Elizabeth Warren

 

Nowadays debt is no stranger. Student loans, mortgages, credit cards, many of us need to rely on credit or loans to get what we need. Yet, when you have loans to pay back, how can you start investing for the future? Especially if you want to pay down those loans at an increased speed? Many of us feel it’s almost impossible to starting investing for the future until we are debt free. For some who take this path, they won’t start investing until their mid 30’s to early 40’s; which won’t leave them much time to build a steady nest egg for their retirement. The million dollar question is how can you start investing when you are young, have debt, and just starting out in a career? Here are my three ways you can start to do all of the above today:

 

Pay Yourself First – Any Robert Kiyosaki fans in the house? If you haven’t read Rich Dad, Poor DadI would highly recommend it. In his financial thriller Kiyosaki introduces the concept of paying yourself first. What does this mean? It means setting up automatic deductions and contributing to your simple IRA or 401k through work. How does this help? The biggest reason this helps is many times employers offer a percentage match of your contributions which means you’re making more money on top of your contributions. There are also several tax advantages upon the withdrawl of your money depending on what type of retirement account you have.

 

The second reason is because your money is going to grow faster in an IRA or 401k than in your traditional bank savings account. Most simple IRA’s, Roth IRAs, and 401k retirement funds are invested in several long term growth mutual funds which offer a healthy asset allocation of both stocks and bonds, this offers a decent percentage of growth over time. Of course these funds vary but once again you’ll see a better return compared to the 1% return you might make in a traditional bank savings account. By giving as much money as you can to your retirement accounts through work, you’ll be able to stash away money and start investing while paying down any loans. If things are already tight financially look at ways you can cut back. For instance if you spend $100 a month eating out, you might be able to stay in and contribute that $100/mo to your retirement fund.

 

Save Your Pennies – In my opinion stashing money away in a savings account isn’t a bad thing, as long as you have intentions of investing it. As previously stated, the reason many financial advisors advise to not stash money away in your bank account to save for retirement is due to such low interest rates associated with savings and checking accounts. Yet, there are other financial vehicles you can use to grow your money. For me, that vehicle has primarily been real estate. I have been known to live extremely frugally, save up a bunch of money, and then drop it on an investment property which will make me money for years to come.

 

So what is the point of investing in real estate? The point is to not only create equity in your property but you can essentially live for free by house hacking. House hacking, a term coined by Biggerpockets, is when you buy a multifamily property, live in one of the units, and rent out the other units on the property. From my first house hack I lived for a little under $700/mo due to my tenants helping out with the mortgage, not bad for Northern New Jersey; now, with the entire house rented out I make about $700/mo in rental income after the monthly mortgage is paid. Once the mortgage on that house is paid off entirely in the next 20-30 years I’ll be making about 30k a year from that house alone. I’ll always be a big advocate for real estate as I feel it’s an amazing investment tool to build and accumulate wealth.

 

Now I know what you might be thinking A) I don’t have anything close to a down payment to put down on a house or B) isn’t a mortgage a massive amount of debt? Both thoughts are certainly valid. With my home, I used an FHA loan which allowed me to put down as little as 3.5% of the home’s sales price so I didn’t have to deplete my savings by purchasing a home. The only condition with an FHA loan is that you must live in the property for at least one year, as this is an owner occupant loan.

 

Additionally when it comes to debt I believe there is good debt and bad debt. I would classify bad debt as anything you specifically need to pay off: student loans, credit card debt, rent, and even a mortgage where you are the only resource paying it off. I would define good debt as a mortgage which is paid off by tenants or another resource such as Air BNB. This way it’s not really money out of your pocket AND with every mortgage payment from your tenants you create more equity in your property! Want to know more about real estate investing? Check out Biggerpockets and be sure to check out Scott Trench’s book – Set For Life, which covers how to house hack and building wealth through real estate investment.

 

Save Your Pennies Some More – A really good way to invest while having debt, which I feel is rarely covered, is to become a lender. How do you become a lender? Well you need to save, save, and save some more. When you save a generous amount of money, put yourself out there to people who might want to borrow your money and charge them interest on the borrowed money to make money on your money. Again this loan could be in the form of a down payment for a car, home, or even a small business that someone might need. There are now sites like Lending Club which offers peer to peer lending. You supply the money and then make interest (about 4-6%) on your money while the borrower pays you back. Not bad for just saving!

 

Conclusion – Having debt doesn’t limit you from saving. By being frugal and taking these steps you can be on your way to creating wealth while still paying back any loans or debt you may have. As all things, saving money and investing takes knowledge and discipline. It’s super important to read up and educate yourself before investing! For more information check out our Resourcespage which includes some good reads and blogs that cover different forms of investing. Have any questions, comments, or ideas about investing? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Ways You Can Network During The Holiday Season

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” -Vanessa Van Edwards

 

Oh the holidays! Nothing quite like the smell of peppermint and gingerbread, and all the little kid’s faces when they open their presents (#warmandfuzzy) Still fresh in my mind, I remember six Christmas’ ago exactly what I wanted… no it wasn’t a Red Ryder BB gun; it was a job. Being fresh out of college and not interning at a single place, I was finding quite the challenge in actually landing that elusive rewarding career. When I look back, I was an absolute fool to not utilize the holiday season. Aside from the songs and good cheer, you’re getting a complete network in front of you! Here are my three ways you can network during the holiday season:

 

The Family – In my world family comes first and networking is no exception. This holiday season when you might see family who you don’t usually see, really voice your needs. I used to be incredibly shy or even scared if I told family that I didn’t have a job or my life together. Screw that! Voice your needs and put the energy of what you want in your life out there. Really share your goals and the steps you want to take to achieve them. You’ll be surprised who is listening!

 

Spread the Wealth – Businesses love individuals who go above and beyond. They want well rounded associates not only professionally, but people who go above and beyond in their personal lives as well. A great way to get an employer’s eye is to ask to set up a toy drive or donation box at their facility. Even if you don’t work there (but one day might want to) it’s such a great gesture and will be sure to catch someone’s eye. Monitor your donation drive, speak to company employees about your passion for the drive, and see the project through. At the end of your drive thank the company for participating, and then voice your interest. You’ve already made your first impression and have shown the company you can successfully start a project, connect to its purpose, and see the project through. All the while giving to a tremendous cause.

 

Get Out There – Aside from Family and Volunteering there is one more strategy to network… get out there! Shopping for holiday gifts, taking a break for lunch, or even checking in on LinkedIn during the holiday season, all boast opportunities to build and gain connections. Of course we never know when a networking opportunity will hit, which makes it so important to be open to introduce yourself and get a conversation going; it could just create the opportunity that you’ve always wanted.

 

Conclusion – This is the season of giving; but not just to others. Be sure to give yourself the gift of opportunity. Networking happens everywhere and anywhere; take your time and really voice what you need and what you’re looking for. What are your dreams and what are you working towards? People want to know, including me! Share in the comments below what you’re working towards, and what you want to accomplish in the New Year!

Three Reasons Why You Should Substitute Your Master’s Degree For A Real Estate License

“There is no more profitable investment than investing in yourself. It is the best investment you can make; you can never go wrong with it. It is the true way to improve yourself to be the best version of you and lets you be able to best serve those around you.”– Roy T. Bennett

 

Ah, Spring is here and as usual the creativity is running through The Thrive Vine. Today’s topic is near and dear to me; mostly because this is the approach I took with my educational journey. I racked my brain for years wondering if I should go for my Master’s Degree (who knows someday I still might) but in the short term I opted for the not so conventional substitute of getting my Real Estate License.

 

Overall, getting my license has paid off. In my best year so far I was able to make 32k in commissions while working part time as an agent (if anyone wants to know more about how I did this I can certainly write a blog on this). Being in real estate has been a really fun and exciting path, and I think both short term and long term it has been a better investment than going for my Masters would have been.

 

Usually when I talk about getting a real estate license most people out the gate protest “I don’t want to sell real estate” or “I’m not a good salesperson” well that’s perfect! Because in today’s blog I’m going to explain why getting your real estate license isn’t just for selling houses, it’s just down right a more practical decision than going for a Master’s Degree. Here are three reasons why you should substitute your Master’s Degree for a Real Estate License:

 

Practicality –  In the opening of this blog I mentioned that getting your Real Estate License is more practical than getting a Master’s Degree. Why do I feel this way? Because whether you are going to be a homeowner or renter I’m about 100% positive you’ll want to know what your contract/lease means. We have to look at buying a home as being one of the biggest financial decisions of our lives (aside from college) and just having the knowledge of different types of loans, the options you have, and how the process works is beyond beneficial. You’ll never have to worry if someone is looking out for your best interest; because you’ll have the tools necessary to do so.

 

Supplement Your B.A – When driving myself crazy about whether to go for my Master’s Degree or not I started to ask myself some introspective questions, such as: What will a Master’s Degree do for me? Is it worth going into more debt? (this was a big one for me) and possibly what is my goal in my career? The answers to these questions I still have with me today.

 

I believe for most, a Master’s Degree ultimately means a larger potential salary, faster career advancement, and makes you certainly more marketable to employers down the road. Yet when I thought about it; these same qualities are what a Bachelor’s Degree was supposed to accomplish 20 years ago. So 20 years after I receive my Master’s Degree, would it be obsolete? More importantly, would I be obsolete? Could I be dispensable by a younger generation coming out of school with PHds? All of these questions came in to play and aided my decision. Instead of spending the tens of thousands of dollars on a Master’s Degree I went towards my Real Estate License, which including books and a 2 week class, was a  total of a thousand dollars.

 

When thinking about pursuing a real estate license many people assume you need to sell real estate. Although that’s what it’s most commonly used for, you can also use the credential to supplement your Bachelor’s Degree. How you might ask? Well think about real estate development companies, commercial real estate investors, property management companies, real estate investment trusts, even healthcare such as senior living companies, etc… any company or non profit that wants to expand, has a targeted demographic, and wants the best success for their business will have a need for someone who knows real estate.

 

Personal ROI – I lastly wanted to talk a little bit about Personal ROI (return on investment) between a Masters Degree and a Real Estate License. Let’s look at some numbers: Say you spend 20k on a Master’s Degree and get a job for about 70k-80k, if you have industry experience, or possibly 50k-60k if you don’t have any industry experience and just your Master’s Degree. If you’re coming out of school with debt, you won’t see the full return on your investment until you pay off your debt completely. On the other hand, real estate offers different kinds of Personal ROI. Keep in mind your total investment of your license is about a thousand dollars; so even if you sell one home you’ve made your money back on your initial investment.

 

But say you don’t want to sell houses, or choose to not, use a real estate license to supplement your career. Then how does getting a real estate license make sense? The answer is investing. Simply put, if I didn’t have my real estate license I probably wouldn’t have gotten into real estate investing as fast as I did. It was because of my real estate license that I was able to see properties that hit the market first, meet mortgage lenders and get great rates on my personal mortgages, and additionally meet wonderful people and form relationships along the way. As I’m sure you can tell, I feel getting a real estate license has the potential to have tremendous Personal ROI.

 

Conclusion – This blog admittedly a tad biased in favor of substituting a Master’s Degree for a Real Estate License. My goal here is not to deter anyone from pursuing their Masters, but really bring awareness in making a conscious effort to explore what additional credentials will do for you, and most importantly is it worth the debt you’ll take on. Furthermore think about your personal ROI, and hopefully, the joy and personal fulfillment a Master’s Degree might bring to you.

 

I sincerely believe having a real estate license is such a useful tool, to not only build wealth; but make connections and form relationships as well. What do you think? What does a Master’s Degree mean to you? Would you ever consider getting a real estate license? Let us know in the comments below!

Three Ways You Can Leverage Your Debt To Build Wealth

“I learned that if you work hard and creatively, you can have just about anything you want, but not everything you want. Maturity is the ability to reject good alternatives in order to pursue even better ones.” – Ray Dalio

 

To most, debt is a serious type of animal, and for good reason. Likened to that of meeting a grizzly bear in the middle of the wilderness (#yikes) we’ve always been instructed that debt is bad and, like a grizzly bear in the wilderness, should be avoided at all costs. However what I’m currently learning in my own investment journey is how to leverage your debt to acquire assets that will further build you wealth. Here are my three ways you can leverage your debt to build wealth:

 

The HELOC – Are you a homeowner? Or even one day plan to inherit an estate? Well a HELOC  (home equity line of credit) might be just for you. With a HELOC the owner of a property is able to take out a line of credit on their primary residence based on the amount of equity they have in the property.

 

For example say your home is worth 100k and you owe 50k on it, you now have 50k in equity in your home! Now naturally, when applying for a HELOC most banks won’t lend up to 100% of the amount of equity you have in your home, however they will lend up to 80% to even 90% of the LTV (loan to value). Essentially if you have 50k equity in your home you can walk away with a 40k line of credit based on an 80% LTV. This alone isn’t too shabby, 40k can pay for home repairs, to pay down your mortgage, go towards student loans, or it can be a nice down payment on another asset such as an investment property. Yet, like all lines of credit keep in mind a HELOC still needs to be paid back. So what does an example of this look like:

 

Let’s use our previous example of before: Your home is worth 100k and you owe 50k on it. You know the bank will lend up to 80% LTV so you’ll walk away with your 40k line of credit. Instead of blowing your 40k at the casino, you decide to use your line of credit as a 20% downpayment on a 200k multifamily which is priced below market value.

 

After maxing out your line of credit you might use some money from savings to create a little equity in the home such as floors, paint, etc… After having the multifamily rented out you can then choose to refinance the mortgage (remember you already have 20% equity in the home from your downpayment, on top of buying the home below market value, and the forced appreciation of the new flooring, paint etc..)

 

After all that work say the home appraises for 260k and you owe 160k (200k, the price of the home – 40k your down payment). You now have 60k in equity in your brand new investment property! After doing a cash out refi of say 75% LTV you end up with 45k (60k x 75%) in cash! Enough to pay off your HELOC and have 5k left over. Not to mention a brand new cash flowing investment property.

 

The Auto Refi – Let’s get real here, cars are one of our top liabilities. Some of us pay absorbent amounts on loans, and leases for the vehicle to depreciate right off the lot. It’s tough to imagine this liability could ever fuel an asset. However, like a home, you can also refinance your car loan. Why would this make sense? Well say your car is worth more than what you owe on it? You could simply refinance your car, take cash out, and start with a new loan.

 

Now, if you take the proceeds from your cash out and put them towards an asset such as a home, vacation rental, etc… you can then not only create value for yourself but have someone else pay off your car loan (#tenants). For more information this article from lending tree was super helpful.

 

The Credit Card – Ummm… What’s in your wallet? For most of us, not a heck of alot. However with cash back rewards programs from credit card companies you can see a portion of your purchases back. What does this mean? Well if you have the intention to invest, it means you can see a portion of your hard earned money back via rewards programs. These cash back rewards can potentially be set aside for cash flowing investments, or another asset that will build you wealth. There are a tons of blogs written on this topic, including this one which I thought provided good insight.

Conclusion –  The key takeaway here is that intentionality is everything. It is very possible to take some of our most wealth depriving liabilities such as homes, cars, and credit cards and use them to create wealth and acquire assets. However, at the end of the day the intentionality and financial discipline needs to be up to the individual to take action. What do you think? How can you leverage up some of your liabilities to help you gain wealth?

Why You Should Apply For Every Job That Interests You

 

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

When was the last time you looked for a job? Perhaps you have been on the hunt recently and still are? Or maybe you’ve been in the same position for years, are getting bored , and want to look for something new and exciting! Looking for a job is one of those things that we all need to do at some point, but never really want to spend the time or energy doing. Additionally, it may hurt your motivation when all the jobs you want to apply for have a description that sounds like a league (or many) above you. Sometimes, the only jobs that seem like we can do are the jobs that are similar to the ones we do now. Yet, often these positions will keep you doing more of the same at similar pay and continually reduced interest.

 

I suggest, rather than being discouraged, apply to those jobs which initially may come off above your comfort zone. Many times, job descriptions are written in such a broad sense, that some of what is asked, is rarely or ever actually needed. Additionally, if you don’t meet every requirement, you aren’t automatically disqualified. It’s impossible for HR to find candidates with every possible quality they want, so instead they list a bunch that are related and look for the best fits – not perfect match. Also, remember, you will always be learning something new and it is always expected that you’ll be learning in your new position for many months. Your new coworkers will hopefully be eager to help you and mentor you along as you grow in the new position.

 

Keep in mind, if everyone was perfect there would be no need to interview. You would simply apply for a job and get hired. However, because there is so much variety and uniqueness in the workforce, the hiring process exists to help companies find the best fit. Assuming you aren’t a good fit because you miss a few requirements or are a couple years short in experience does not guarantee you to be out. In fact, if you applied to 10 additional jobs that you deemed “beyond your level” you would probably hear back from at least 3 of them – if not more!

 

Therefore, my new advice to you – apply to any and every job that interests you. If it’s somewhat related to your line of work and you feel genuinely compelled to go for it, then the only person stopping you is yourself. If you get told no, or don’t hear back then you can simply move on, but if you get a call, get the interview and get hired, then looking beyond your inside voice of doubt was well worth the few minutes it took to send in your resume and hopefully the beginning of a great new career!

 

How do you feel about applying for a new job? Do you get discouraged when you think you aren’t “qualified” for the position? Do you apply anyway? Have you ever been told no for a job you thought you were qualified for? Share below in the comments!