How You Can Save On Your Three Biggest Expenses

“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”– Ryan Holiday

 

For some of us, it’s really hard to financially get to the next phase in our lives. We might have aspirations of one day starting a family, buying a house in a great community, and not to mention being extremely successful in our careers. Although some of these things might seem like a dream now, they can and will one day become reality. In today’s blog I’m going to address three things that people spend the most money on, and how you can save on these expenses. My hope is that by analyzing your financial situation you will realize all of your dreams are more than possible, you just need to go down the right path. Without further adieu let’s analyze your three biggest expenses:

Housing – Housing is probably the biggest expense Americans endure. Rents specifically have skyrocketed and have created a bit of a vicious cycle within the millennial generation. For this reason many millennials are staying with their parents for longer periods of time; they simply cannot afford to move out. Luckily I’m a landlord, and will share a bit of insider information. What we find as landlords is that there are plenty of people who make good salaries, but might have less than stellar credit usually due to outstanding loans. So the question is what can you do about high rents in your area? And how can you save money? I have a few answers for these questions.

1)The most obvious answer is to get a roommate to absorb some of the rent costs. This allows everyone to save a little more money and can really cut down on your living expenses.

2)My next suggestion, which might seem unconventional, is to get pre-approved for a mortgage and try to buy a house (wait a second hear me out). There is little dispute that in parts of the U.S (specifically New Jersey) rents are comparable to what you can buy a house for, so why not go for it? My best suggestion would be to purchase a small multifamily home and live in one unit while renting out the other; this alone can dramatically diminish if not completely wipe out your housing expense.

3)But wait a minute; say you don’t want to be a landlord or manage tenants, then what? Another way that you can come close to eliminating your housing expenses is to actually buy a 3-4 bed single family home; and then get roommates or Airbnb the spare rooms. This again will allow you to dramatically decrease you living expenses, give you the potential to live for free, and you won’t need to manage tenants as you just need to find roommates.

Health Insurance – For the past few years health insurance has been a bit of a topic of discussion. If you are paying out of pocket for Health Insurance, it is probably one of your biggest expenses. Luckily again, I have some experience in the health insurance industry and can certainly shine some light on how you might be able to save on your monthly premium.

First, I should disclose that like all insurance Health Insurance is a game of risk. No one plans on getting sick or injured. The plan you choose is based on calculated risk. With that said when choosing a health insurance plan, be extremely conscience and honest with yourself about your medical history. If you do have a medical history a plan with a high premium and low deductible might actually be worth it to you. Why? Because typically plans with higher premiums and lower deductibles offer better coverage. If you are in the Dr’s office or hospital frequently your insurance would absorb the cost you would have to pay out of pocket if you didn’t have that plan.

Now on the other hand say you’re generally healthy, then you might be able to go for a plan with a higher deductible and lower monthly premium. The logic behind this choice that if you go to the gym, and eat healthy the likelihood of you dropping dead from cardiac arrest shouldn’t be all that high. Taking a plan with a higher deductible and lower premium would allow you to really just have basic coverage and allow you to save on your monthly health insurance premium. Again it’s all based on risk and how you feel about the condition of your health.

*One last item to mention with health insurance plans are in and out of network plans. It’s important to realize not all procedures and Dr’s will be in your medical plans network. So before you do go in for a surgery or any type of procedure make sure the Dr. (specifically any anesthesiologists) are in your network. If not, you could be balanced billed for the cost of the procedure which could be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars based on the procedure. Make sure to really do your homework when dealing with doctors and insurance plans, as it could take a huge toll on your financial health if something is overlooked.

 

Loans/Debt – The last biggest expense that most people have are loans and debt. Whether these are student loans, car loans, or credit card debt. The really great things about loans and debt is that they are extremely controllable and manageable. If you are in massive credit card debt; hide the credit card and continue to pay off your balance with you credit card company. The same goes for loans. If you are facing student loans continue to work on them and pay them down as long as the payment is manageable. Now, in the event you are having trouble making payments on either loans or credit card debt, these items are negotiable with your lender. Here is my story of how I negotiated the terms on my credit card, along with another blog on how you can consolidate and save on your student loans. By both negotiating and consolidating loans your monthly debt can drastically decrease and making for a much healthier financial future.

 

Conclusion – Housing, Healthcare, and Debt can be a brutal vicious cycle with no end in sight. These three expenses are what prohibit many people from moving on to the next stages of their lives, but if approached with a different mindset can really have a massive effect on your financial well being. Let us know what you think in the comments below! Are these your three biggest expenses? What are some other expenses you could do without?

How To Network And Interview While Having Social Anxiety

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems”-Epictetus

 

Social Anxiety is no joke. For some, social interaction comes so naturally and effortlessly. Yet for some, social anxiety can be absolutely crippling and a huge obstacle to overcome. So how exactly can suffers of social anxiety put themselves out there? Specifically when it comes to creating and building a career that revolves around meeting, networking, and interviewing with other people? In today’s blog I’m going to explain how I overcame my own social anxiety and some tips and tricks I still use to this day that help me relax in social situations:

 

Just Breathe – Personally I hate it when people tell me to “just relax” obviously if your anxious you would love to relax, but you just can’t. What really helped me with anxiety in social situations was realizing what my body was telling me. Basically when we are under stress (or in some instances distress) our bodies go back into primal mode (think fight, flight, or immobilization ie.. deer caught in the headlights). When we become stressed or anxious our bodies think there is something wrong which triggers our sympathetic nervous system to react in a primal way. However to anxious people, we perceive a lot of situations as threatening, when in reality they really aren’t; which causes us to kinda freak out. So how can we beat this? The next time you’re feeling anxious in a crowd while networking, or before an interview, take deep breaths and concentrate on slowing down your breathing. Be sure to not breathe from your chest, but breathe from your diaphragm (you’re lower stomach) and feel yourself fill up with oxygen and then exhale the anxiety out (I actually visualize me exhaling whatever is causing my anxiety out of me and this helps). After a few breaths you should feel a little less tension in your shoulders and neck and hopefully have a clearer mind.

 

Visualization – As I touched upon in my last point visualization techniques have helped me quite a bit in social situations. It’s really important to note that if you do suffer from social anxiety, ironically the only way to feel better is by putting yourself in social situations. Putting yourself in situations that your brain doesn’t want you to be in is going to feel really weird and you are not going to want to do it, but it’s literally the only way for your brain to rewire and correct itself from past experiences. Specifically in interviews it can be crazy easy to feel that you are being judged; which I know causes me anxiety. A simple visualization technique that I use, is to envision the words that people say as water and they just drip off of me. This helps prevent me from not only absorbing other people’s feelings or needs but helps me acknowledge what they say and let it go. This really comes in hand during interviews as some interviewers might come off as more of interrogators than actual formal interviewers. It’s a great way of reminding yourself no one can judge, or critique you without your consent.

 

Practice – When I’m feeling socially anxious the last thing I personally want to do is picture myself in the same situation again, and again. However, it’s almost a necessity to get out of your comfort zone. Think from a biological standpoint what the brains purpose is. The brains purpose is to protect us, to make us feel comfortable. The problem with that is we can’t grow if we’re always comfortable. If not talking to people makes us feel good and safe that’s wonderful, but we won’t get anywhere in a professional career, interact with clients, or be able to create great things without the help of others. In essence these comforts our brain loves are holding us back. When you’re matched with social anxiety take a step back, reflect on why you maybe felt that way, or what triggered you; but get out there. Practice always makes perfect and the more you interview, and network the more you will become considerably more comfortable in social atmospheres.

 

Conclusion – Social anxiety can be absolutely horrible, but I truly believe in many instances it can be controlled through the natural reworking of the brain. Next time you are in a socially anxious situation remember to take deep breaths, visualize, and view the situation as practice. It’s ok if an interview or networking event feels awkward or doesn’t go the way you want it to go; it’s simply practice and there will be plenty of other opportunities for you to shine. I would love to hear your thoughts on this? What are some ways you might cope with social anxiety or stress? Leave us a comment below!

Does It Make Sense To Include Your GPA On Your Resume?

“My priority is not about grades. I yearn for knowledge, skills and wisdom.”– Lailah Gifty Akita

 

After graduating with your degree, along with thousands of others, how do you set yourself apart from the person next to you? What can we put on our resumes that makes us unique? Especially if we have no experience in our area of study. One possibility is your GPA. Your GPA is virtually treated like the be-all, end-all in high school and especially college. It is the standard to which you are held and hold yourself. Many educational institutions often have a minimum requirement to get accepted, a minimum you must maintain to be accepted to a program, and a minimum requirement needed to ultimately graduate. So you’d think that mentioning your GPA on your resume is an absolute must, right? Well… not so fast! In today’s blog we’re going to tackle some GPA myths and lay to rest if it actually makes sense to include your GPA on your resume. Stay tuned…

 

Is The Standard The Same? – In college, the GPA is sacred. It is the number which we define ourselves in rank and we can use to measure our success (which is baloney). In the real world, does it really have any value anymore? Is there any standard in which your GPA would matter? After all, does a 3.5 at an Ivy League College mean the same as a 3.5 at a Community College? My theory is that your GPA is only of utmost importance when you are applying for your first full-time job out of college and need to give a reference as to “who you are.” Look at your GPA like your credit. If you have good credit you’re viewed as being reliable when paying your bills. When you have a decent GPA you’re viewed as being a reliable, hard worker, etc.. Yet, there are certain caveats in which you should not list your GPA…

 

Be Honest – First, if an employer asks for your GPA when applying, you must list it… and don’t lie. Many graduates forget employers can always request your transcripts as proof. On the other hand if an employer doesn’t ask, don’t tell. The one time listing your GPA may help you out is when you have a rather high GPA (above a 3.5) and need to set yourself apart. For example, submitting your resume to your first job as a Programmer while listing your GPA as being a 3.8 may give you the one-up you need. In this case, it is worth listing. It’s so important to remember it’s the skills that you bring to the table are what set you apart, not a silly number. Sell yourself on your strengths, personality, and who you are. That is your brand and a number could never do justice to that.

 

Established Career – Once you’ve been working for a few years and are ready to move on and advance your career whether internally or externally, will your GPA matter as much? In most cases employers most likely could care less about your GPA after you are established and settled in. If you have the experience and the degree the position requires, the GPA seemingly loses its value. Once you’ve established yourself in your career your experience takes over and employers look at you based off what you did in your Industry; not necessarily how you did in College. Need proof? Check out Employment Specialist

Alexandria Bellivan’spost on LinkedIn about GPA’s. You’ll find some incredibly insightful information there from real recruiters and employers.

 

Conclusion – Do you think GPA matters? Is it possible that how you did in academics could follow you around your whole life? You already know my thoughts and take on expressing your GPA. Now I want to know yours! Let us know what you think in the comments below!

How Interning In High School Can Save You 100k

“Nothing ever becomes real ’til it is experienced.” -John Keats

 

I’m a man of many theories, but one of the strongest theories I have is about interning in High School. I find it absolutely fascinating how internships in and of themselves were really created for the College student as a means to gain exposure and experience in their area of study. Yet, with college debt on the rise what happens for people who didn’t get it right the first time? Or those who thought they knew what they wanted to do, but quickly fell out of love with their careers? Most go back to college and pick up another degree or advanced degree; which results in more debt. You see, Higher Education is no longer something that chooses what career path we will go down, it starts to dictate our financial future at the tender age of 18. A career can be changed; money owed to a lender cannot. In today’s blog I’m going to share my theory with you a little more in depth, and explain how interning in High School can save you 100k:

 

Testing The Waters – Knowing exactly what you want to do by 18 years old is nothing short of crazy impressive. The adolescent brain isn’t even developed, so it only makes sense to go ahead and make one of the biggest financial investments of your life (#sarcasm) So if you don’t know what you want to do or your passion, how do you find that? The answer lies in trying different things. In High School you might be crazy into music or art; on the other hand you might like teaching and helping others. I would highly encourage you to try any and all career paths; you’ll quickly realize if it is for you or not. It’s through this game of trial and error that we realize if a certain career is something we’d truly like to pursue. Look at it like dating a career. If something doesn’t pan out, explore other options. Now I know what you might be thinking “where the heck can I intern that allows High School students?”

 

Small Businesses and Mentors – Now I’m about 100% sure you probably won’t be interning at IBM in High School; however there are tons of small businesses who need help, would appreciate your help, and greater yet you can talk to and get real world experience from a business owner in the field you are looking to study. So say IBM isn’t looking for High School students to Intern for them; but it’s possible Joe’s Computer Shack down the road is; I’d go talk to them. Keep in mind it’s really tough to Intern with some careers; such as a Police Officer’s or Teaching. However it never hurts to seek out a Police Officer or Teacher, and ask for their time to talk about their career, and seek a mentor ship opportunity. It’s from hearing other people’s experiences mixed in with you experiencing different things, that allow you to make a sound choice about what path you might want to go down.

 

The Two To Five – The biggest reason I highly encourage High School students to Intern is to gain experience. The issue I have with our workforce system is that an entry level job requires 2-5 years experience. The problem is, even if you intern in college, you have nowhere close to 2-5 years experience! By starting to intern in High School you are gaining experience, and more importantly gaining contacts and networking. Whether you intern seasonally or part time in High School, by the time you graduate College you’ll have the 2-5 years experience in a certain area of study that the market requires. By utilizing this strategy you will without a doubt have a tremendous edge over other entry level applicants.

 

Conclusion – I think most people are wondering “ok, so how can all of this save me 100k?” In essence your education is a matter of “doing it right the first time.” By not going back to College for a different degree, or pursuing a higher degree just so you can get some movement in your career, can save you over 100k without question. If you are a High School student looking to intern remember to look at the small businesses around you. It takes alot to run a small business and by interning at one you will be guaranteed to learn alot about the subject matter you’re interested in. Most of all remember you have time. When you are in High School time is your greatest asset; if you use it wisely it will pay extraordinary dividends down the road. What do you think? Do you feel starting to Intern earlier will get you further ahead in the workforce? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Why It’s Important To Not Be The “Right” Person For The Job

There is a story in Native American history of an Indian chief who one night talking to his tribe tells them there are two dogs inside his mind. One a white dog who is good and courageous, the other a black dog who is vengeful and spiteful. He tells the tribe the dogs are fighting to the death. A brave, not able to wait for the end of the story asks "Which one of them will win." The chief responds "The one I feed."
Let’s face it, sometimes it’s really easy to be someone who we’re not. Humans are the ultimate adaptation machines. Yet, it’s because of this adaptability that many of us end up working in the wrong environments. In complete honesty, the interview process that most businesses go through is inconsistent, to say the least. Many companies have online filters; which filter applications, resumes, cover letters, you name it. More concerning are companies who vet applicants based off online personality tests. All of these mechanisms have the core common purpose to bring the right candidates to the company for an in person interview. What I’ve come to find, is that despite spending buko bucks on the latest technology, and application filters; businesses are forgetting that humans are the ultimate adaptation machines and know exactly what interviewers want to hear. In today’s blog we’re going to talk about why it’s important to NOT be the right person for the job; but rather be the right person for the company environment:
The Mindset – I have a slight confession… at one point in my life I probably could have qualified as a professional job applicant and interviewer. I used to send out a ton of resumes and as a result of a

good resumewould get a decent amount of interviews. What I realized during the interview process is that I could be anyone who I wanted, and my answers to each interviewer reflected that. I consciously and subconsciously knew what interviewers wanted to hear based on their questions, but mostly tone of voice, facial expressions, etc… Now, some might be thinking, what’s the secret!? But what I’m about to tell you, is that knowing what interviewers want to hear is no superpower at all!

The Environment – After getting multiple job offers and taking several jobs I found out one pretty important thing: The answers I gave during my interview didn’t reflect who I was. As a result I stuck out like sore thumb in company culture. I soon realized being the “right” person for the job really had no impact; it became more about who I was working with that determined my overall enjoyment of being at work. We’ve all been there, when working with people who fit into our tribe and share our goals and interests time flies; yet when working with people who don’t agree with our values and mindset, time can go freakishly slow. After going through a few jobs and learning this the hard way, I started to customize and cater my interview questions of my personal and professional beliefs, to the company I was interviewing with.
Your Questions – At the end of every interview the interviewer always asks, “Do you have any questions?” Quick interview tip: Always have questions prepared, and don’t let the first question you ask be about you. My questions would always be directed more towards company culture such as: “what are some of the core values and beliefs of the business?” or ask the interviewer “what is it about this business, that you like working here?” nine times out of ten the interviewer will reply “I love the people I work with” and then you can ask “what is it about the company culture and people that you like so much?." Conversation like that gives both you and the interviewer the tools necessary to make an educated decision to see if you would be a good fit for the company.
Conclusion – Never interview for a job; but interview for a

company. I have a firm belief that humans can do any job they want, and it’s not pay or a job title that determines their happiness in doing so; its the company culture and the people who they spend the most time with that brings them the most happiness. As described in the quote above, we all have the power to be happy but it’s a matter of continuously feeding that happiness is what makes the ultimate change and difference in our lives. What do you think? Is being a “right” fit for a job more important than being the “right” fit for the work environment? How does your environment define you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

What’s Your Value Proposition?

"Ask not what your country can do you for you – ask what you can do for your country." -John F. Kennedy
The quote above is perhaps one of the greatest quotes in American History. It clearly defines what it means to be an American, but also a member of something greater. If everyone follows the mindset of improving whatever it is they are a member of, the outflow of results will benefit all members. Essentially, the whole is greater than the individual parts. Similarly, when interviewing for a job, it is important to present yourself in such a way that you are not there for what the company can offer you, but for what you can offer the company. That notion is critical to a successful interview. Because, while yes, we clearly want the job for a higher paycheck, better benefits, more interesting work, a shorter commute, etc., the company you are interviewing at does not want you for any of those reasons. They are looking to hire you because they see value in what you may bring to the company. The question is, what value can you bring to the table?
In other words, what is your value proposition? In marketing, the value proposition is that special quality that ensures people will want to look further into whatever is being marketed. When it comes to yourself, you need to create a value proposition for yourself. What will ensure, Recruiters, HR and Hiring Managers want to give you a chance upon first reading through your job application, resume and eventual interview(s)? This value proposition is what needs to separate you from the rest of the competition. If you present yourself in such a way that is perhaps good, but still identical to 3 other candidates, what would make you a better fit than any of them? It only takes that one person a step above the rest who will be offered the job.
A strong value proposition really encompasses two major parts. You need a strong enough application/resume with the appropriate qualifications and attributes to even be considered. There are previous blogswritten for doing this correctly which I highly recommend you check out. However, once you get into that interview you need to drive home the value proposition you’ve fostered so you do not just “look good on paper”. This is truly your time to shine and the chance for you to sell them on what it is that makes you an amazing fit. Therefore, remember, anything you present to a company should always align with how you can make the business better- not yourself. Likewise, any questions you ask, allow them to reflect on what you’ll be able to do to help the business. A question such as, “How often are promotions given out?” suggests a selfish, “what’s in it for me” attitude. Ultimately it gives nothing back to the company. Asking something like, “What sort of culture does the company foster?” is much more business-centric and shows your willingness to embrace the company. The interview is about proving you will be worth the value (your salary) they are paying you to join the company.
Ultimately, don’t forget to think about what it means to apply to a company. You are applying to work for them after all. While it is easy to think about all the benefits they may bring to you, you can enjoy those possibilities after you get the job. The key is the correct value proposition from the start.

The Three Biggest College Expenses (Aside From Tuition) And How To Eliminate Them

“The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what seems to be an instant.”– Robert T. Kiyosaki

 

Nowadays, when college comes to mind the first thing our focus is drawn to is the tuition. Without a doubt this is for good reason. College tuition has skyrocketed in recent years causing a massive bubble, and not to mention incredible turmoil in America’s future economy. Due to students who are riddled in debt; the future economy will see (and to some point has already seen) delays in home ownership, and the decision to start families. Although it may seem virtually impossible to save on college costs, I’m here to tell you there is! In today’s blog I’m going to discuss college costs that we can control specifically textbooks, commuter costs, and housing. Stay tuned, to find out the Three Biggest College Expenses and how you can save and prepare for them:

 

Text Books – Textbooks are probably the biggest college expense next to Tuition. If you take enough classes you can easily rack up a 1k bill in text books in a semester. However I have a few ways you can take on this expense so that it is virtually no cost to you.

 

The first rule is to never buy your books from the University bookstore. Many times bookstore prices are crazy inflated, and for a book you will need for 15 weeks it’s usually not worth it. Instead your first stop should be your town library or university library. Essentially if the library has the book, you can keep renewing the book for 15 weeks; this results in you never having to spend a dime on your text book. Now it’s possible, the library won’t have your textbook, or worse, the right edition required for your class. No worries at all! Still steering clear of your University Bookstore, the next stop is to try Google Books!

 

Many times Professors will only require you to read a few chapters from an entire book. Luckily Google Books has previews of many chapters of educational texts. I would use google books to see if you can locate those chapters, or the book in it’s entirety, as you might not need to spend any money at all on a textbook.

 

Another idea should be a site like Amazon or my go-to, Ebay. Both Amazon and Ebay allow you to purchase books from outside vendors which allow for the pricing to be competitive; and for you to get a better deal.

Lastly, many times you can also find students who have previously taken your class who are selling their books; many universities have Facebook Pages dedicated to educational items for sale by students which again can lead to a great deal. The bottom line is that tuition is expensive enough; you should be spending anything on educational textbooks in 2018!

 

Commuter Costs – Ah the days of being a commuter. Going to a mostly commuter school I realized and started to appreciate the art of creating an accommodating schedule for myself. The last thing you want to do is have to constantly leave campus to go to work or because you have massive downtime. To respect your time, energy, and gas money; you want to focus on optimizing your schedule. What that means is scheduling your classes on 2-3 days out of the week. So say instead of taking a class a day, pack your schedule full of classes so you are only on campus just a few days a week; this will respect your time and the amount of gas you spend getting to campus. To take things a step further apply for an on campus job. What this does is it really maximizes your time and availability on the days you are on campus. If you do have any downtime in between classes you can put in a few hours at work! By just taking this approach you’ll save thousands of dollars in gas money and wear and tear on your car over the course of your college career.

 

Off-Campus Housing Costs – Housing is one of the biggest expenses a person can endure, whether in college or not. Yet in college how can you beat or drastically reduce this expense? Assuming you do not have the option to stay at home close to rent free (that’s a no brainer!) there are some ways to make a smart financial decision all the while achieving your autonomy. The first step should be getting roommates to split the cost of rent. This makes it really easy for everyone to save some money while having a roof over their head.

 

I know what you might be thinking; in my area rents are so high I’d need like 8 roommates to afford rent! Being from New Jersey, and a Landlord, I get it! Here is a little insider information that might help. Landlords love people who will watch after their property. To get a reduced rent ask the landlord two things: Can I help be your property manager; I’ll make sure the property is in good condition, field tenant phone calls, remind people to pay on time; do this in exchange for cheaper rent.

 

The next question you might want to ask is if you can sublet the space. So say you pay 1k/mo for a 2 bedroom unit; what would happen if you started to AirBNB out the second room? This way you could potentially make your rent back and live for free. Of course you want to run all of these ideas by your landlord first as there might be certain stipulations in your lease and location.

 

Bonus – Just for getting through this longer than usual blog I have a little bonus on how you can allocate money for Textbooks, commuter costs, and housing costs all before stepping foot in college. The answer lies within investing. As some of you might have guessed by now, I love my low cost ETF’s and index funds. The reason I love these types of funds is because they can see a growth rate of 5-10% if not more! But they take time to grow. So let’s talk hypothetical here: say in high school you worked really hard part time and were able to make 1-2k. Now by investing that 1-2k in a mutual fund (529 college savings plan) or index fund, your money can continue to grow exponentially. Which means that your money continues to replenish itself. Without a doubt, that money which will continue to grow can help with textbooks, housing, and commuter costs. Additionally the money that you save from the aforementioned costs is really just money back in your pocket that you can save, spend, or invest.

 

Conclusion – When attending any higher education institution tuition is, and should be, your main financial focus. However other expenses that we might not realize creep in. These other expenses with some planning and creative thinking can all but be drastically reduced or completely eliminated. What are your thoughts? What are some strategies that you think students can use to reduce their college expenses? Let us know in the comments below!

What Is Your Plan For The Next Financial Meltdown?

“Only I have no luck any more. But who knows? Maybe today. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.” – Ernest Hemingway

 

Last week was a rough week for the stock market. After the Dow plunged over a thousand points during a trading day most investors, including myself, proverbially shit ourselves. However after the Dow had it’s meltdown and the market starts to rebound most will lose their focus; yet, what if I told you last week was just the tip of the iceberg? A storm is coming and you need to be prepared to weather that storm. In today’s blog I’m going to make some market predictions for the years to come and more importantly explain some practical investment options you have to not only save your wealth, but how you can create more:

 

Start Saving – The best way to prepare for a market downturn is to start saving your money, because those with it are going to score big. We know the best time to invest in housing, and stocks is when the market is collapsing. As people are feverishly taking their money out of the market trying to save their losses; that is when you are going to strike to pick up stocks and other investments at a discounted rate. It’s easy to forget that we have been in a bull market for the past 10 years. However, what goes up must come down. So if you’re thinking about making a big investment now; I would really consider to think about that investment. In a few years your money and liquid cash might be able to get you much further.

 

Welcome Back Interest Rates – Here’s what we know: interest rates are going to rise. The Fed has to raise them to fight inflation. Right now with rates sitting at just above 4% we still have it really good. However when those rates start to get to the 5-6% range we will see some changes in several markets. The housing market will probably take a generally big hit. Higher rates will more than most likely deter home buyers, and as a result will make the rental market considerably strong around the country. So what does that mean? It means if you were thinking about selling your investment property, you might want to hold on to it for a few more years as rents will increase. On the flip side if you were thinking of buying a home, now might be a good time to do so to avoid higher rents, and capitalize while interest rates are still moderately low.

 

We will also see student loan interest rates go up as well. This is going to result in a sticky situation because there are many who already have issues paying back student loans. Higher interest rates may make the probability of default more likely; which is never a good sign.

 

Yet, rising interest rates aren’t always a bad thing. With increased interest rates we will see the return of investment vehicles such as bonds and CD’s (welcome back!). For the past 10 years the best investment vehicles to rely on has been real estate due to low interest rates, and the stock market due to consumer confidence. Bonds and CD’s are a wonderful way to tie up money and watch it grow over 5-10 years. Those with liquid money can really cash in with this investment vehicle by making interest rates work for them!

 

Patience – The next financial collapse that we see will involve a much larger portion of the millennial generation. During the financial crisis of 2008 many of us were still attending high school or college and certainly didn’t have money to play with in terms of investments. For the instant gratification generation, it will be extremely easy to see how our patience plays out when timing the market. My prediction is that in the next 3 years we start to see more market declines. Not to be a real buzz kill, but the next financial crisis will be worse than the financial crisis of 2008. Why you might ask? Well I have a strange feeling that student debt is going to play a big role in how the economy responds.

 

Whenever I see “loan forgiveness” or lengthy deferment programs; I cringe. The reason I view loan forgiveness as signs of a weakening economy is because the financial institutions aren’t getting paid. I get it “banks have enough money, why do they need yours?” Well just like the 2008 financial crisis was brought on by careless lending in the housing market, the next financial crisis could very well be brought on by careless lending for student loans. If loans aren’t being paid back due to increased interest rates, lack of jobs, or a decrease in wages; the economy will certainly feel that.

 

Conclusion – Financial meltdowns are inevitable. However individually and as a society we need to roll with the punches that the market might have in store for us. The best we can do is always be preparing and protecting our assets and hard earned money. Always assessing our risk and evaluating the market conditions is a great start. We know the financial dip of the stock market last week was just a taste of what’s to come. By taking the above steps you can start to plan and hopefully get a sense where the market might be headed in the upcoming years. Where do you think the market is going? How do you plan to prepare for a market decline? Share your thoughts and comments below! We’d love to hear them!

Three Signs You Need To Start Looking For A New Job/Career

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan

 

Things have been busy here at The Thrive Vine. We’re launching a reading list of really helpful books, starting a YouTube channel, and might even be bringing some merch to the site (stay tuned!). Yet amidst all the excitement, reality has gotten a little much for me lately; and I started to think that I’m due for a change. I’ve been at the same job for just about 5 years and it pays decent, allows me to explore an active real estate career on the side, and provides a wonderful work environment. So I started to think to myself, “what the hell is wrong with me?!” There are so many people who would give so much for the things I have, yet I’m thinking of moving on? I’ve come to find when it’s time, it’s time. Here are my three signs you need to start looking for a new job/career:

 

Being Challenged – For me, the biggest reason I started looking for a new position is because I’m not feeling challenged. Keep in mind feeling challenged is not the same as feeling stressed. When in a position for awhile I find that I grow extremely fast, but then it stops; and that to me is paralyzing. I need to be growing and learning at all times or the feeling of being trapped kicks in and I can’t have that! If you’re not sure if your feeling trapped really evaluate the goals that you have. It’s also important to not evaluate yourself when you’re having a bad day at work. Take some time, clear your head, and think about what you want for yourself from a sober balanced place.

 

Frustrated – Have you ever been at work and it just seems like everything ticks you off? From the way someone moved something on your desk, to even a harmless conversation; some things can just throw us over the edge. This has started to happen to me lately and I started thinking about it a little more in depth. I attribute some of these feeling back to the environment. Now here’s the thing, I work in a great environment. The people are supportive, the offices are clean, etc.. However I think that we forget that people are the ultimate adaptation machines. There is a reason we’ve built methods of transportation to go to different places, and above all, why we use the phrase “get out of your comfort-zone.” It’s because our environments are meant to be changed and challenged. Some of us are more open to change than others, but by being in the same environment doing the same things often times doesn’t appeal to most of us. If you’re feeling frustrated or maybe even held back where you are at; it is more than most likely time for a change!

 

Time Vs. Salary – I’d be an absolute liar if I didn’t include this in today’s blog. It’s the elephant in the room that most people attribute to their decision of looking for a new job/career. The all mighty “I don’t get paid enough!” I thought about this alot when I was deciding if I should start looking for other jobs. I started to think to myself “why do I feel I should be making more money?” The answer that came back wasn’t one I was necessarily expecting. The answer was: because I put a high price tag on my time when I do things I don’t want to do. For instance, no one is paying me to do this blog. However I love to share my experiences and hope that it will help people who read it; just the notion that it mighthelp makes it completely worth it to me. If you’re in the position where you might be thinking about changing jobs or careers really think to yourself what your time is worth. Sure you can take a job for more money, but if you truly aren’t doing something you get value from, you will continue to job hop until you find that something that gives you meaning.

 

Conclusion – Making the decision to change jobs is a big one. Yet, the most important part of the process is having the self awareness of why you are changing jobs. Maybe it is financially related or maybe it is because you currently aren’t being challenged. By recognizing your needs you will be able to pick up on patterns within yourself and start to realize faster when change is needed. What do you think? Would you work for less money in a job that made you feel more valuable? How do you put a price tag on your time? Let us know in the comments below!

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!