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?

Life Hacks Baby Edition: Part 2

“We must consult our means rather than our wishes.”   – George Washington

 

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to Life Hacks Baby Edition: Part 2. In case you missed Life Hacks Baby Edition: Part 1, we discussed some investment strategies on how to pay for the big ticket items in your child’s life such as college, their first car, etc… using investment methods such as index fund investing and real estate investing. Today in Part 2 we’re going to discuss how to save on some expenses during the day to day journey of raising a child. We’ll provide some helpful links and hopefully some out of the box ideas of how you can reuse some of your resources to see some steady savings while raising your little one:

 

The Cell Phone Baby Monitor –  Just doing a quick search on Amazon I found baby monitors ranging from $20.00 to over $300.00! Each monitor has different bells and whistles for your young padawan; but for something that will likely only be used for a few years, is $300.00 worth the expense? One creative idea I saw to alleviate the expense of a baby monitor (or security camera) is reusing old smartphones. Essentially through baby monitor apps, or video teleconferencing apps such as Skype, you can download, mount, and run real time footage of the area that you want to monitor. For more information or how to learn how to set up your own baby monitor using an old smartphone or tablet be sure to check out resources like this article or the video below!

 

 

 

What To Wear – When I was growing up, cheap clothes definitely meant hand-me-downs, the Goodwill Store, and Salvation Army; all of which are still viable options today for any family on a budget. Yet, one trend that is catching my eye is the ever growing rental business of clothing. I see it for adults all the time and now there are multiple businesses that offer affordable clothing for children. Here are the top three companies I’ve come across:

 

Kidbox – Kidbox offers clothing for the day to day. Whether its back to school shopping or even the essentials like undergarments and socks, this company seems to offer  wide range of styles and clothing for your children. What is really great about this company is that you only pay for what you keep; which is a huge bonus.

 

The Borrowed Boutique and Rainy’s Closet – What I liked about both of these companies is that they are perfect for those “special occasions”  such as baptisms or weddings. Both companies offer a simply business model and the clothing they offer seems very elegant and well made. For your children you simply pick out a nice outfit, got to the event, and then return the outfit. This can certainly be much more cost efficient than buying a dress or suit and only having your child wear it once or twice for a special occasion.

 

What To Eat – I think at one time or another every parent has probably wondered “will this kid stop eating already!?” Growing kids are hungry, and… well… food costs money (you can put two and two together) No, I’m not proposing to starve the little meatballs, but instead map out some healthy and affordable meal planning. I’ve personally found the best way to feed a group of people in general is to make one big dish during the week and have leftovers for lunch or dinner for the rest of the week. It saves not only the most money, but time as well. Here are some recipes and resources you might find helpful when it comes to preparing dinner or cooking a dish up for the week that everyone in the family can enjoy:

 

Kidspot Recipes – This link will bring you to 12 quick and easy recipes anyone can accomplish while on a budget or strapped for time.

 

98 Cheap and Easy Foods to Make – In this article you will find, well…. 98 cheap and easy foods to make.., above all in this article the author lays out alot of quick and healthy dishes to make while on a budget.

 

Adult Hack –  I found this article actually pretty interesting and wanted to include it in this blog. It’s actually for how adults can watch their calories by ordering from the kids menu at many chain restaurants. Some of the restaurants mentioned aren’t the healthiest choice; however if you’re on the go this is an option worth exploring to save a little bit of money.


Conclusion –
There are ways of saving money all around us, sometimes we just need to get a little creative. What I’ve found the most helpful during my time writing these blogs is doing honest research. There are so many businesses and services out there to take advantage of, that you would never even know existed if you haven’t looked for them! How do you save money on the day to day expenses for your kids? Do you have any good recipes or tips on how to save money? Let us know in the comments below!

Life Hacks: Baby Edition Part 1 (Saving for College)

 

“Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this.” – Dave Ramsey

A few weeks ago, I was going through my facebook feed and I came to the realization that I never really realized how many of my friends have children, or are expecting to have children! Since The Thrive Vine is a family blog I wanted to address kind of a misunderstanding about kids and finances. I think many people, to some degree or another, believe that kids are expensive; and that if you’re going to have children, your run at financial independence is just about over.

 

Sure you have the big ticket items like college, vacations, maybe even future medical expenses such as little Timmy breaking his ankle jumping from a jungle gym in elementary school (#sorrymomanddad) But what we forget are that children are just mini adults (and some adults are big kids) so if you can fiscally take care of yourself there is no reason why a child should break the bank for you and your family. Today in Life Hacks: Baby Edition Part 1, we are going to be addressing the all elusive college fund and how you can starting investing (not saving) for your baby’s future:

 

College Fund –  I remember any Birthday, Christmas, or Graduation money I got as a kid went into one fund: the college fund. In today’s world  things aren’t much different. In fact, many millennial parents are still paying off their own student loans while saving for their children’s education. I think what many people fail to realize is that college is no longer something that can be saved for; but something that needs to be invested towards.

 

Here’s what I mean: I remember my father telling me when he went to college back in the 70’s his tuition was $700 a semester (I believe this was including books!) I know personally, when I was in college, I spent more than my father’s total semester tuition in books alone almost every semester.

 

What I’m getting at here is that $700 is a very feasible goal to save towards. However what if your child’s tuition is 10k-20k a semester!? There’s a very little likelihood that you are going to save enough money for one semester never mind an entire college education in 17-18 years. However there are two main options that I’d like to share with you for investing towards your child’s college fund:

 

The Real Estate Method –  As you know I’m a real estate investor, and believe that real estate is probably the fastest way to grow your wealth. However what if just one rental property could pay for half if not all of your child’s college education? Here’s a scenario:

 

Say you purchase a rental property on your baby’s first or second birthday for 100k, you put down 20k, which leaves you with an 80k mortgage. Over the next 17-18 years you rent out the house and your tenants pay down another 20k of your mortgage which leaves your mortgage at 60k. Keep in mind the beautiful thing about real estate is appreciation; you purchased a house almost 20 years ago and as the market appreciates in value, so does your home. Lets fast forward to 17-18 years later and your home is now worth 210k due to appreciation and of course any work you put into the house.

 

This means by owning just one rental home for almost 20 years and having your tenants pay down your mortgage you now have 150k in equity! (210k appraised value – 60k your mortgage). So you might be asking how is this going to help with my child’s college fund!?

 

Well you are going to tap into that equity to pay for your child’s college! There are many options for this scenario including Home Equity Loans and HELOC’s however for this scenario let’s use a cash out refinance. In this scenario using a cash out refi you can walk away with 97,500 by refinancing your house. Here’s how:

 

210k (Appraised Value of your home) x 75% LTV (loan to value typically what a bank will lend you) = 157,500k

 

157,500k – 60k (Mortgage) = $97,500.00

 

With any luck $97,500 will hopefully be more than enough to put a dent in any college debt your child might have. Additionally you still have a rental property where your tenant will continue to pay down your mortgage.

 

The Index Fund Method – Believe it or not the greatest asset a parent has when investing for their child’s future is time (if you start early) It just so happens that is what index fund investing is all about; accruing compound returns over a period of time. Here at The Thrive Vine we aren’t exactly financial advisors I can’t tell you which funds to invest in, however from my own experience and readings I can share with you some funds and resources worth exploring.

 

Being a real estate guy I truthfully didn’t know much about index fund investing until I read the Simple Path To Wealth by J.L Collins. In his book, Collins strongly suggests the fund VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Market Index) What index funds do is track the stock market. What does that mean? It means that while many investors will gamble on individual stocks to provide stellar performance, by investing in a U.S total stock market index you are betting on the United States Economy as a whole. VTSAX alone is made up of about 3,600 publicly traded companies including tech giants such as Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon.

 

One thing that I didn’t like about VTSAX is that Vanguard requires 10k to start investing, because of this I started investing in SWTSX (Schwab Total Stock Index). While the Schwab index is made up of fewer companies than Vanguard, it doesn’t require a minimum to start trading; additionally if you have a Schwab account you get free trades. Still like Vanguard? No Worries you can invest in VTSAX in EFT form using the ticker VTI.

 

So all of this information might be useful but how is this supposed to help you invest towards your child’s college fund? The great thing about index funds are that they grow! When the market increases your index fund goes up in value. If you continue to invest on a regular basis (whether the market is up or down) your earnings can grow quite a bit. In fact VTSAX has a average 5 year return of 12.83% which isn’t too shabby.

 

The scariest part about index fund investing is when the market goes down. Keep in mind all markets, whether real estate or the stock market go down. The whole mantra behind index fund investing is that you can’t time the market; and you’d be foolish to do so. By investing steadily in your fund and keeping to your game plan you will eventually see gains.

 

When investing for your child’s future the greatest asset you have is time. Although 17-18 years might not seem like alot of time to accumulate a massive amount of money for your child’s education; once your money starts compounding you will certainly be in good shape for your child’s educational future.

Conclusion – How do you plan to save for your child’s college fund? What tips or strategies are you using that you might be able to share? In Part Two we are going to dive a little more into life hacks on how newer parents can save money  (which in turn they can invest) and continue on their journey to financial independence while bringing their little one along for the ride!

How Debt Can Set You Up For Financial Success

 

 

 

“I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.” – Stephenie Meyer

 

Usually the words debt and financial success are never used together, nevermind in the same blog title. Yet, I wanted to write a blog about what I learned from being in debt and the biggest lessons and habits that helped me. While being in debt is certainly something most financial professionals (and me) would never advise, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel; and there are some life changing lessons to be learned by being in debt and getting out of it. Without further adieu here is how debt can set you up for financial success:

 

The Background Story – Back in 2011 I was the ripe old age of 22 and fresh out of college. My total student loan debt was a mere 45k;  childsplay compared to what many college graduates face today. Yet, as they say, timing is everything and after graduating just 3 years post the Financial Meltdown, the unemployment rate was 9%; which really sucked. After getting off to a rough start in the job market I found myself with two bachelor degrees working for $12.00/hr; not exactly what I was envisioning. However, it didn’t really matter how much I was making, I had 45k to start paying off.

 

The Habits –  I’ve always been a pretty frugal person so having enough money to pay off the monthly statement on my student loans really wasn’t an issue. It wasn’t until I started understanding interest rates that I was able to step up my game and start aggressively paying down my debt. Soon every spare penny I had went towards those loans and I eventually paid off the 45k in about a year and a half, thanks to $12.00/hr and more overtime hours than anyone would need in a lifetime.

 

Although most would say paying down the loans was a great accomplishment; it wasn’t until the debt was satisfied that I realized the habits formed by repaying my debt were attributing to my financial journey and success. If you’ve made it this far, you might be asking “what the hell is this guy talking about!?” Stay with me..

 

You see, it hit me that when you are actively paying back debt you are always on a budget; afterall, you know that you have a loan payment coming up and will budget your finances appropriately to make that payment. However when you pay that loan or debt off, you still have the power to put away money as if you were still paying off your debt. For example, say after you pay off your debt you continue to allocate that loan payment in your savings account or a retirement account.

 

By formulating this habit, you learn the art of not only saving but paying yourself first. Paying yourself first is really one of the most important rules of personal finance. It’s important to not increase your expenses by spending your money on expensive lunches and nights out at the bar everyday; but take that extra money and invest in yourself and your future.

 

Credit – Another way that debt has the potential to increase your financial success is through your credit. I remember after paying back my student loans my credit score soared to over 800. What did this do for me? It was because of a good credit score that allowed me to lock in a stellar 3.3 percent interest rate on my first duplex; without question this wouldn’t have been possible if I wasn’t set up by the habits that were created by paying off my debt.

Conclusion – Not very often will you hear to appreciate debt. However, when the habits used to pay back debt are used towards savings and investing; financial success is almost inevitable. What do you think? Do you think the habits caused by debt can later help you on your financial journey? Let us know in the comments below!

How Quitting Your Job Can Save You Money

“There are many things money can buy, but the most valuable of all is freedom. Freedom to do what you want and to work for whom you respect.” – J.L Collins

 

Reading the title of this blog you might be thinking “this guy is way off his rocker.” I mean you don’t need to be a financial guru to know that you need money in order to live. But you see, that’s exactly it! You need money to sustain a lifestyle of your choice, not necessarily a job. Whether your idea of comfort is a 6 bedroom house with a courtyard, or a 2 bedroom home nestled away in the woods; that part is up to you. When most of us think about how to get money we think, we need a job. However in today’s blog I’m going to propose that in some instances we can actually save money by quitting a job/profession we dislike and replace it with something that is much more flexible and purposeful that we do like. Here is how quitting your job can actually save you money:

 

Commute – Let’s face it gas prices aren’t going down, in fact according to the U.S Energy Information Administration “the United States consumed 143.85 BILLION gallons of gas in 2017 that’s a daily average of about 391.40 million gallons of gas.” With a demand like that, oil companies have the upper hand with fuel prices, plain and simple. So what can we do about this? And what on earth does this have to do with our jobs? Well.. since you asked… one of the first things I ask people when they say they do not make enough money is: what does your commute look like? Are you driving an hour, or two hours to work everyday? After bringing awareness to this it’s extremely easy to see where our paychecks are going.

So there are a few options here: Either you can get a more fuel efficient vehicle, find a job that is closer to you, or limit your commute all together. Now you might ask, how do I limit my commute altogether!? I’m glad you asked! We are witnessing a revolution when it comes to positions and employers that allow employees to work from home/ or freelance. Sitting at home blogging and writing content is amazing! The best part about it is that you can get paid to do it and you don’t need to sacrifice your hard earned money to your gas tank! This ties into our next point:

 

Working From Home –  Does your employer offer the option from home? If your employer is like mine, they probably don’t! (#didn’tseethatcoming) so how can you work around this. Well take a look at your position and figure out how maybe you can work from home. Think about it; even if you could swing working from home two days a week, that still saves money on items like gas, vehicle maintenance, and even items like possibly child care. But most importantly it saves you time. How does it save you time? Well every 30minute, 45minute, or hour commute add up! What could you be doing in that time aside from driving or sitting in traffic?

I know what you’re thinking – How the heck am I going to convince my boss to allow me to work from home, even for a few days a week? The best advice I can give is that you have to establish yourself as an absolute linchpin and incredible asset in your company first. What I’m saying is after 3 months on the job to not ask your employer if you can work from home; but maybe after 3-5 years when you’ve proven yourself and your employer knows what an asset you are to the company. People have much more leverage than they realize and this could be a wonderful option to keep your same pay and cut down on your expenses.

Time –  Only you know the best use of your time. But like I discussed in the previous point, I know it can be used better than sitting in traffic. The thing about time is that it’s the only resource that we can’t get more of. If you might be thinking about leaving your job or thinking about “what’s next” think about how you can make things easier on yourself. From all the time that you spent sitting in traffic what could have you been doing to make yourself profitable or happy? What’s the opportunity cost? What is your time worth and can you use it better to create results that can yield income that you’re missing out on by commuting?

Conclusion – So what do you think? Is it possible to actually save money by quitting your job and exploring a career like blogging/freelancing or working from home?  What if you didn’t have to pay for as much fuel, possibly save on child care, drop to a one car household, and didn’t have to sit in traffic for an hour? Most importantly what would you to do with the time or money that you could potentially save? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

3 Reasons The Gig Economy Is Here To Stay

“My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it.”– Abraham Lincoln

It’s full fledged winter time here in Northern NJ. The bears are sleeping, and people are complaining of cold weather in Winter (#gofigure) things seem pretty normal. Yet, one thing isn’t so normal; and that’s the interesting shape our economy is taking. In case you missed it, the Gig Economy is here! What exactly is the Gig Economy you might ask? The Gig Economy is an environment where workers work short term engagements such as temporary, freelance, or contracted positions. What makes the Gig Economy attractive to employers? The main upside to a Gig Economy for employers is the ability to not pay for benefits such as health insurance to freelance or temporary professionals; which is saving businesses TONS of money. So what makes the Gig Economy so great for you? Stay tuned to find out. Here are my three reasons why the Gig Economy is going to heat things up, and why you should be a part of it:

 

Do What You Want – The Gig Economy is all about taking your strengths, and unique skills and monetizing them. Are you good at math? You can now work as a freelance tutor. Can you play a musical instrument? You can now giving lessons over the internet and charge for them! Do you enjoy writing? Become a blogger (hint, hint). The Gig Economy is full of possibilities and its pulling the Millennials and Gen Z out of the traditional 9-5 matrix. The basic gist of the Gig Economy is that everyone has something unique to bring to the table; why not capitalize on your uniqueness?

 

Tools – What makes the Gig Economy such a force to be reckoned with is that technology is backing it; big time. There are now apps such as TaskRabbit – which allows a variety of freelancers to pick up work on their own time, or Wyzant – which is perfect for tutoring professionals on an online or in person platform. In fact Wonolo.com published in October of 2017 the 50 Best Gig Economy’s Apps. Simply download your app of choice and start cashing in on something you’re interested in, or make an entire career out of hustling different jobs on YOUR time!

 

Opportunity – Listen up kids, this last point is important. Many people stay away from the Gig Economy because they feel it’s not the same as having a “real job.” But what many are failing to realize is the opportunity to freelance, get paid, and build your skills. If you want to be a writer there’s no better way to gain experience than to well… write. In many instances you need to build and gain that experience even before you go on to land that full time job. By freelancing in the Gig Economy you’re allowing yourself opportunity to go out and try different gigs; it’s like picking up an internship in any area you want. Are you going to like every job you try? Hell no. Passion is built from trying different things, and the Gig Economy allows that flexibility to try new things, make your own schedule, and get paid for it.

 

Conclusion – Did I mention the Gig Economy is here to stay? The reason being; employers haven’t caught on to the needs of Millennials and Gen Z yet. Between the option of a safe 9-5 job or a job where you can work from anywhere in the world and make your own hours; I would argue both generations would choose the later. The wind in the economy is picking up and I believe the freedom of working where and when we want is drastically out weighing the safety and stability our parent’s once cherished. Traveling and experiencing different adventures will be the key to both of the aforementioned generations, and the Gig Economy will be able to cater to that need better than a traditional 9-5 lifestyle. How do you feel about the Gig Economy? What appeals to you more: freedom to work where and when you want? or stability of a 9-5 job? Share your thoughts with us below!

3 Reasons Why Credit Means Nothing

“Inside of every problem lies an opportunity.” Robert Kiyosaki

Everywhere you look nowadays credit is required for you to make purchases. Whether it’s a car, a house, or even furniture; credit seems to dictate what we can and cannot have in our lives. Yet, what are people with bad credit supposed to do? I guess they just can’t have stuff and need to live in a box… Of course not! With a little strategy and a game plan you can literally have anything your heart desires. Here are my three reasons why Credit means nothing:

 

What is it – Credit to most people means how well they pay their bills on time. They make sure they pay everything timely and at least give a little something towards their debt. I look at credit a little differently. At face value having good credit means you are really good at borrowing other people’s money. Now I’m not saying stop paying your bills! But what I am saying is certainly be conscience of your purchases. Instead of maxing out a credit card and believe that you are “building credit” look at it as a charge card; only put a dollar amount that you can afford on it so you can pay your bill off in full when the time comes. What does this do? It lets you avoid the interest that is charged, saving you a ton of money!

 

Doesn’t Stop You From Making Money – When people ruin their credit by either foreclosing on a home, or going through a financial hardship they assume they’ll never be able to own anything ever again. That is simply not true. Having bad credit doesn’t stop you from making money. Will it take work and discipline to save to buy a home in cash? You bet your sweet cheeks it will. Yet, if you’re dedicated to it, why not? Many times student debt is another big issue when going to buy a home. Millennials have the highest student loan debt the nation has ever seen; many are putting big purchases like home ownership to the side because they simply can’t build up their credit fast enough to get approved for a loan. So what gives?

 

The Strategy – Huddle in, here’s the game plan if you have bad credit or if you haven’t had a chance to build your credit yet. If you’re credit is already on the downside there is still hope. If you do want to make a home purchase there are still a ton of lenders who deal with people with judgments or collections actions on their credit (If you live in NJ just send me an email, I’ll get a list to you). Say your credit is really in the gutter; then the answer is to produce income. Again Credit doesn’t stop you from making money. Creating good spending and saving habits can be life changing and you’ll never have to ask anyone for money again. Now say you are trying to build your credit what do you do? In the event you want to make a big purchase like a home and don’t have the credit to do so you can always get a co-signer for the loan with good credit (such as a parent) and then eventually drop their name from the loan. Say you don’t want to go that route what is the next best way? I would really start hammering down on your student loans (or the loan that is causing you the most debt) as much as you can. This way if you pay a good chunk of the loan down in just a few months your credit will improve and you’ll also show creditors that you’re serious about paying back debt.

 

Conclusion – If you have bad credit or haven’t had time to build up your credit yet; don’t sweat it! There are multiple ways to get around borrowing money. Remember that generating more income might be harder than just taking out a credit card, but owing nothing to anyone is really priceless. I’d love to get some thoughts on this blog. Has anyone had bad credit and turned it around? If so how did you do it and what were your steps? Let us know in the comments below!

Why It’s Important To Choose A Career That Matches Your Personality

“We know from myths and fairy tales that there are many different kinds of powers in this world. One child is given a light saber, another a wizard’s education. The trick is not to amass all the different kinds of power, but to use well the kind you’ve been granted.”- Susan Cain

I rarely make New Year’s resolutions. In fact I kind of secretly despise them. I firmly believe that if you are going to do something you shouldn’t wait to take action; whether that is mapping out a plan, or diving right in to your goals. However, this year I did decide to make a New Year’s resolution: to read 2 books every month. I’ve started the year reading some amazing books and I want to share those books with you; so I created a reading list! Every book that I feel played a significant part in my life through a personal, career, or investment standpoint I add to that list.

I recently finished Susan Cain’s work of art Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking. In her work, Susan Cain discusses not only what it means to be an introvert, and the importance of balance between introverts and extroverts in the world and workplace; but brought up a really good point that I wanted to focus today’s blog around. The topic is temperament and careers. How do we choose careers that match our temperament? Is this an innate sense? Do we choose passions based on the environment they will allow us? In today’s blog I’m going to discuss why it’s so important to choose a career that matches your personality and temperament; and more importantly how to find that career.

 

Dig Deep – Like most revelations choosing the right career that matches your personality takes tons of introspection. You need to really connect with yourself and think not only what you enjoy doing; but what environment you like doing it in! For instance it’s wonderful that you love numbers, but if dealing with stressed people during tax season isn’t going to give you gratification it might be worth trying to find another career that allows you to foster your love of numbers while providing an environment that isn’t so stressful. You can kind of see what I’m getting at here; your passion is what you love doing, but your temperament dictates the environment you like doing it in. So how can you find the healthy balance!?

 

Learn From Experience – Honestly the best way to find that healthy balance is to put yourself in various environments dealing with your passion or interest. Say you are so passionate about music. Take time learning and asking questions from music teachers, musicians, recording artists, acoustic engineers, instrument builders, etc… There are so many possibilities for each career. If your temperament is highly sensitive to stress and judgement you need to find a career that will allow you to feel relaxed while feeling like you have an impact. If you thrive under pressure you might love setting up for a big rock show minutes before it’s announced.

 

The key here (and I’ve said this before) is that our passions certainly are a driving factor; but I believe the human species is more impacted by the environment we do our passions in. In essence, are you geared to do your passion with people or alone? Do you prefer to travel or do you enjoy the safety of your own space? These things might not seem like important factors when deciding on a career; but they can become factors that might affect your happiness down the road. It’s important to ask: will this career/position fit my personality? Asking this question is just as important as asking about salary, benefits, or a 401k match.

 

Going Against The Grain – One thing I truly believe is that humans, in an anthropological sense, are the best adaptation creatures earth has ever seen. We went from discovering fire to creating the most unique ways to find a mate (#swipeleft?) but what we need to look at is what happens if you go against the grain. In essence what happens if you’re an introvert in an extroverted career? And vice versa. Is it possible? Well I have a little experience with this and would love to share that this is completely possible.

 

As I hope some of you know from reading the blogs on this site; I’m a real estate agent. Sales in general is perceived as one of the most extroverted careers there are. You are constantly talking to people, networking, meeting new clients, and mortgage reps. For me (one of the most introverted people on the planet) it wouldn’t appear to be a good match for a career. However, surprisingly I love sales! and another surprising thing is that I’m good at it! So how can this be? How can a person who really can get overstimulated easily make a career of being around people all the time?

 

The secret is looking into your career and aligning your passion. My passions are helping people, forming deep connections, and creating lasting relationships. A career in sales, somehow, meets all of my passions and needs. Being introverted, I admit, I’m not much of a talker (that’s why I write!) but this makes me a great listener; and it turns out people love to be listened to! Finding a passion is one thing, but digging into your values and personality traits and deciding how you are going to bring them out in a career is another story. Be creative, be innovative, but more importantly be yourself.

 

Conclusion – The important takeaway and message I want to convey is that when choosing a career it is incredibly important to not just follow your passion, but evaluate your temperament and environments that you thrive in. What values has your temperament gifted you? And how can you incorporate those gifts and values into your career? Let us know your thoughts and comments below, we always love to hear from you!

How To Know How Much You’re Worth

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Mark Twain

 

Knowing what you’re worth is an age old question. On the one hand you don’t want to over price yourself that you don’t deliver on what a company is willing to pay you; but on the other hand you don’t want to undervalue yourself! So what is the right answer here? As you might have guessed knowing your worth is a bit of a loaded question. It’s super important to realize that there is no correct answer. There is no numerical miracle that will make the value of your time worth it if you are doing something that you simply don’t like doing. In today’s blog we’re going to discuss how to determine how much you are worth, what your salary expectations should be in different parts of your career, and why you might put a higher price tag on your time doing things you don’t like doing:

 

Experience Talks – When you’re coming out of college and might not have experience, it is without a doubt really easy to undervalue yourself. For some, they might look at their college debt and look at how much a company is willing to pay them, and make their best educated decision if an offer sounds fair. Yet, what if I told you that calculating your worth in the workplace is a tad more complicated than that? When coming out of college and having debt on our tails we seem to only look at the bottom line and forget the opportunity. The opportunity and how fast we grow in a company is extremely important to our worth and should be taken into consideration. It’s super important to realize there is a glass ceiling in many organizations; a point that you reach and can no longer grow both financially and personally. When coming out of college employers are going to take into consideration that you don’t have any “experience.” However, it is your job to convey to them that you do! Every deadline, every exam, and every achievement has been an experience and you need to convey to employers the skills you have developed from the environment you have been in for the past 20 years. Keep in mind that experience is nothing more than a set of skills you have set out to acquire. When meeting with a potential employer it’s important to outline those developed skills and show an eagerness and willingness to learn more!

 

Experience Talks…Again – What I’ve come to find in my experience, is even if you work at a company for 5 years and want to shift a subtle direction in your career, your experience talks and weighs much more. Unlike having no “experience” coming out of college, you now have the 2-5 years experience that the market craves. You’ll find yourself being able to qualify for more positions, and this is where you can start to become competitive and really think how much your time is worth. You’ve created leverage and have proven experience of why you are an effective linchpin and why any company would be lucky to have you. With that said when coming up with an offer for salary it’s extremely important to be reasonable. What I’m saying is that if the company is absorbing all your benefits, plus offering great work-life balance, etc.. it’s important to show the company how much you appreciate that. Remember you’re there to create value not milk them for everything their worth. As you grow in your career you’re going to have more opportunities than ever before. The skills that were new to you coming out of college are going to be greatly honed now; and it’s because of those skills that you will be able to really dive in deep earning not just more money but more fulfillment as well. However fulfillment can only happen if you are doing something that excites you! Which brings up my last point:

 

What’s The Number – What interests me the most is how we value our time. The way I look at it, is that if you feel you should constantly be getting paid more there is a really good chance you might not like what you are doing or it might not be a challenging fit for you. It’s so important to keep in mind the goal is to be challenged, not stressed. When we feel challenged we feel good about our work and environment. When we feel stressed we assume feelings of being unappreciated or as the saying goes “I don’t get paid enough to do this.” When putting a dollar value on our time and calculating our worth I think there is a big piece that we are missing: It depends on what we are doing! If someone paid me $5.00 to sit on the couch and watch TV that would be amazing! But yet if someone is willing to pay me 30k to sit in an office with no windows and make cold calls all day to people who are difficult on the other end of the line, it might be a different story. See what I’m getting at? Your worth isn’t a magical number, it’s the price tag you put on your time. Find meaningful work, and you’ll see the price tag for your time won’t matter as much.

 

Conclusion – As the quote that opens this blog reads “find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” These words couldn’t be truer. When we come up with our worth I have a firm belief it isn’t about money as much as we expect; its the price we put on our time when we do things we don’t want to do. As we progress in our careers it’s so important to take a step back and evaluate not only where we are financially but where we are on a level of happiness. What are your thoughts? How do you value and put a price tag on your time? Let us know in the comments below!