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Above: Signing My Official Book Deal

I am very excited to announce that I have officially signed a book deal with Career Press (@CareerPressInc), an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser Books (@WeiserBooks), for a book release in late 2018.  The last couple of months have been very busy putting the final touches on this deal, and I am extremely thankful to have it finalized.

There will be more information to follow in the coming months, but I thought it was important for my readers to get the news first.  Thank you for your continued readership! This would not have been possible without you.

I look forward to another productive year.

Cheers,

Conor Richardson, CPA
#MillennialMoneyMakeover

The post The Millennial Money Makeover appeared first on Conor Richardson.

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Books will never die.

As a medium, high-quality books contain incredible amounts of curated information. And for some reason, even though access is universal, books continue to remain consistently undervalued investments. A good book has the power to change a life or build a fortune.

Consider the example of The Millionaire Next Door, which you can buy with an investment of $16.95. This book is a handcrafted collection of countless research studies, data analysis, and reflection by two highly educated college professors. These professors present the reader with their life’s work in a distilled, easy-to-read and inspiring format. This book highlights the best of what they know. And the research presented pulls back the curtain on the operating system of real-world Millionaires. You can purchase all of that information for less than twenty dollars. The value is enormous.

Any life hacker or investor looks for tremendous value at a discounted price. Today, books offer multiples of value relative to their purchase price. Many books, if followed correctly, have the capacity to change your thoughts, your actions, and your beliefs. These are the books with the special sauce. They are the immediate moneymakers, new frameworks of thought, or pathways to success laid right out in the open, for anyone to consume.

My belief is that books will continue to thrive as a dominant medium. This is why I consistently give a list of recommended books to read. Well today, I want to add a couple more to the list. Here are some new thought-provoking, inspiring, and potentially life-changing books that I have enjoyed over the past several months.

1) The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko

2) I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

3) The Millennial Money Fix by Douglas and Heather Boneparth

4) Contagious by Jonah Berger

5) Grit by Angela Duckworth

6) East of Eden by John Steinbeck

7) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

8) Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins

9) Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott

If you take the time to carefully read these books, take notes, pay attention, and then have the courage to act on their valuable advice, you just might change. And change for the better.

PS: These books have also been added to my running list of recommended books to read. Enjoy!

The post Books Will Never Die: A Proclamation Of Value appeared first on Conor Richardson.

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Each generation believes it is superior to its predecessors. Millennials are no different. We believe that we have reached a higher plane of thought. And we are dealing with a unique problem set.

Did the generations before us struggle with work, savings, or debt? Are we truly unique?

The novelty of life is only through your frame of reference. Designing the life you want, savings for financial freedom, and getting rid of debt have been issues cast from one generation to the next. How you handle this revolving novelty defines you.

The post Revolving Novelty appeared first on Conor Richardson.

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When you start writing a blog about money, people want to know your thoughts on all sorts of finance related topics. For those new and old to mastering money, the question of what books to consume always seems to make its way to the top of the list.

Well, last week I was sent The Millennial Money Fix. This book, written by Douglas Boneparth (@dougboneparth) and Heather Boneparth (@averagejoelle), offers a glimpse into some of the major financial issues facing Millennials today.

Douglas is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) with his own boutique wealth management firm, and his wife, Heather, is a lawyer. The Millennial Money Fix seems to be their creative outlet for telling their story about dealing with what many Millennials face today – massive student loans. The Millennial Money Fix is a cathartic work that aims to help Millennials win the battle over their debt.

One of the main themes the Boneparth’s highlight early in the book is how Millennials face a different work environment than their predecessors, which requires a change in attitude and outlook. There seems to be a different playing field and rulebook needed for success.

Millennials never had an institution to begin with. We don’t need to reinvent ourselves to survive – we need to invent ourselves to thrive. No templates. No pathways to partner.

My favorite point of the book, as a self-proclaimed debt eagle (read the book), is that you must accomplish the basics of personal finance before you begin investing.

You need to earn the right to start investing.

In other words, have you done the work necessary – through setting goals, paying off credit cards or students loans – to begin investing? Have you truly earned the right? The process by which you build your financial bedrock will define your progress. Savings and building up an investment portfolio is only part of personal finance, albeit an important one.

Lastly, the Boneparth’s tackle the idea of financial independence.

Maybe our retirement is not retirement at all. Maybe it’s called financial independence: the pinnacle of our ability to do what we want.

They highlight a fear among many Millennials, that traditional retirement may be a fleeting concept. The Boneparth’s argue that financial independence should be the new goal and the idea of stopping work altogether may be outdated, or unachievable, for many people.

Overall, The Millennial Money Fix is written in a quick-to-read conversational style. I would recommend this book to anyone who is entering college, seriously contemplating graduate school, or financing any type of continued education. It will serve as a cautionary tale and hopefully encourage you to pause and reflect on what could be the biggest financial decision of your life.

Thank you, Douglas (@dougboneparth) and Heather (@averagejoelle) for highlighting such an important topic and for being part of the solution.

The post Book Review: The Millennial Money Fix appeared first on Conor Richardson.

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“Without gratitude what is the point of seeing, and without seeing what the object of gratitude.” – Epictetus

Accept the past. Better yet, be grateful for it.

If you are trying to turn around your financial situation by paying off a credit card, eliminating a student loan, or trying to reach a savings goal, accepting your past decisions is the first step towards progress.

Embrace your reality and begin fixing your financial life today.

Be grateful for all that you have and don’t fight the past. Instead, focus on the opportunity for progress.

The post The Art of Acquiescence appeared first on Conor Richardson.

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Launch Your Finances has been named a top 50 Millennial Money Blog, coming in at #30!

Thank you to everyone who readers my articles on a daily, monthly, or sporadic basis! I always look forward to your emails and success stories. Remember, this is only the beginning.

If you are new to Launch Your Finances, sign up for my newsletter to get exclusive tips and trips to accelerate your path to the rich life. You deserve it.

The post Top 50 Millennial Money Blog! appeared first on Conor Richardson.

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As humans, we thrive on expressing our individuality. But somehow, when it comes to banking and saving, the bank system has found the perfect way to dehumanize the entire process and strip out the very thing people crave. Banks assigns us a nine-digit number, and the amount of money in that account tells a hidden story.

If you want to save more and better, get rid of those bank account numbers and turn them into something meaningful. Assign them a name and a purpose. Make them tangible and emotional.

Account#798949409 = Honeymoon Fund to Paris

Account#352484737 = Surprise Trip to Ireland

Account #839481319 = Graduate School Fund

Remove the drag of the unambiguous and assign purpose to your bank accounts. This will help link emotions and visual images to your accounts and help expedite your savings habits.

Be creative. Be specific. Be a saver.

Humanize the process.

The post Turning Numbers Into Names appeared first on Conor Richardson.

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Over the past decade, there has been a shift in the way older generations view Millennials. Initially cast as egocentric, spoiled, and over trophied, it seems the matriculation of Millennials into the workforce has assuaged these initial fears. Plus, academic research shows that Millennials are not that different from their older baby boomer parents. However, there is one element that sets Millennials apart from older generations. Money. While Millennials don’t have a ton of money right now, a historical shift is about to occur. The shift will leave Millennials as the global guardians of capital. This places Millennials at the helm of controlling global wealth. With this control, will come a change in how money is managed. Here are five reasons that Millennials stand to control the future of money.

1. Millennials are about to receive a massive transfer of wealth.

Millennials stand as benefactors to one of the largest intergenerational wealth transfers in history. According to a Boston Consulting Group analysis, in 2015 Millennials were estimated to control roughly 17 trillion dollars of wealth. This is expected to increase dramatically by 2020, as Deloitte has projected that number to rise to 24 trillion dollars. Those are massive numbers!

This transfer of capital will take place in various forms – gifts, changes in business control, inheritance, investment transfers and more. Millennials will soon be responsible for a significant piece of global wealth and that means a change to how wealth is managed.

2. Millennials are digital natives.

To start with, Millennials are technologically savvy. Originally dubbed digital natives by Marc Prensky, a Harvard MBA and author, Millennials, or anyone currently between the ages of 19 and 35, came of age during the technological boom of the early 2000s. And as a result, technology is second nature to them.

As a generation, over 90% of Millennials check their mobile device within 15 minutes of waking up. It is fair to say that technology is ubiquitous in their daily lives. This means that they have become accustomed to sharing personal photos and opinions on Instagram and Facebook, and they are equally comfortable linking private information, such as bank account details, to mobile apps like Venmo or Paypal.

3. Millennials are comfortable sharing data.

Millennials feel safe sharing their personal data because as digital natives, Millennials are incredibly comfortable navigating complex technology and understand the value that technology can play in their daily lives. As a result, they show a greater propensity to share personal information such as age, location, income, or birthdates. The caveat to this exposure is that Millennials expect an advantage in sharing this data. Specifically, they expect fast, efficient, and reliable service and advice.

This expectation manifests itself in a survey showing that 57% of Millennials are prepared to share their detailed savings plans and targets with others because they perceive that doing so would offer a more tailored approach to reaching their financial goals. This openness affects their interaction with online businesses, and Millennials have come to expect a wider and more tailored choice of content.

4. Millennials will use Capital for more social good.

With the proliferation of technology, Millennials have become more mindful of global issues such as poverty and human rights violations. This increased exposure has lead Millennials to become hyper aware of the benefits of using capital for social good. Additionally, they expect businesses to give back to their communities and act in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. This relatively new concept means corporate behavior will have an impact on Millennials investment decisions. Those under 35 are twice as likely to sell an investment if they perceive a display of poor corporate behavior. And over 87% of Millennials believe that corporate success should be measured by more than just financial performance.

This means that we are entering a new era of corporate responsibility and Millennials aren’t afraid to put their money behind their beliefs, or tell their robo-advisor to do so.

5. Millennials will set a new course for money management.

Robo-advising is a relatively new way wealth managers have removed the initial hurdles of investing and mastering the basics of personal finance for the Millennial generation. Business is booming for companies like Wealthfront, Betterment, and Personal Capital who have tapped into the underserved and technological savvy Millennial wealth management market by providing an investment management experience that occurs predominately online. Armed with superior technology and proprietary algorithms, these companies have digitally streamlined the investment, portfolio allocation, and wealth management process.

It comes as no surprise that robo-advisors have become the new craze in Millennial money management. Millennials have observed the costs of the old way of managing money, face-to-face meetings and high fees, but don’t see the benefits. This has created a void, and Millennials once again looked to technology for the solution. And it delivered. With relatively low costs and leveraged technology, it looks like robo-advising is here to stay.

Millennials are in control of the future of money, whether older generations like it or not. Armed with the knowledge that a massive transfer of wealth is about to occur, Millennials need to prepare themselves for this new found responsibility by increasing their knowledge about personal finance now in order to effectively manage the tide to come. With education and practice, they will be able to rely on their digital savviness to master money in a fresh and exciting new way. By doing this, Millennials will control the future of money.

The post 5 Reasons Millennials Control The Future Of Money appeared first on Conor Richardson.

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“If something is built to show, it’s built to grow.” – Jonah Berger

When a marketing professor from the Wharton Business School writes a book on making things catch on, you read it. In his New York Times best-selling book, Contagious, Jonah Berger explores why things catch on. For more than a decade, Berger has been researching why certain products sell more than others and why some products leave behavioral residue while others immediately leave our thoughts. Berger claims that “Virality isn’t born, it’s made.”

In Contagious, Berger introduces Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winner in Economics, who is famous for his research on a concept called “prospect theory”. Simply put, prospect theory is the idea that the way people actually make decisions is different from how they should make decisions. While this may seem intuitive to some, it runs juxtapose to key assumptions in economics. One of the basic assumptions of economics is that people make decisions that are rational and optimal. In contrast to this, Kahneman’s prospect theory suggests that we often do the exact opposite.

In fact, his theory becomes amplified when we are dealing with large numbers and high dollar purchases (think car or home purchase). What we know from Kahneman’s research is that people do not always evaluate things in absolute terms. Here is an example. Let’s say you are in the market to buy a new alarm clock. You walk into a store and are about to buy the perfect alarm clock for $35. Right before you swipe your card someone in line tells you that you can buy the same alarm clock for only $20 if you go to a store right down the street. What would you do? Most people would immediately head to the other store. Now, let’s say you were at Costco about to buy a $700 TV. But right before you swipe your card, someone tells you that you can buy the same TV for only $685 if you go to a store right down the street. What would you do? Most people would proceed with their check out at Costco. In other words, forego the $15 in savings. But why does our behavior differ over the same $15 in absolute savings? Because how we actually make decisions about purchases is not always economically optimal, even when the absolute dollars are the same.

One of the key messages from Kahneman’s research is that people don’t always think about purchases in absolute terms ($15) but rather we evaluate purchases by a “reference point”. In both scenarios described above, the reference point is zero dollars. But the further away we get from zero, the less inclined we are to feel the impact of absolute dollars. The $15 seems more significant savings when purchasing a $35 alarm clock. But not so much when purchasing a $700 TV.

This is why people get into trouble when it comes to big purchases. We tend to lose sight of absolute terms. For example, if you are looking to buy a house, and are mentally prepared to spend $200,000 (roughly the national average) to purchase the house, sliding several thousand dollars up in price becomes less painful. At the end of the day, what’s really the difference between $200,000 and $240,000? When signing for the mortgage, it won’t feel like that much. But in absolute terms, you are spending a difference of $40,000!  As a stand-alone number, $40,000 becomes more pronounced. In order to protect yourself from your natural inclination to purchase more than you should, it is imperative to create budgets and stick to them. Decide what you are going to pay before you walk into any major purchase and use prospect theory to your advantage.

As professor Berger points out, “Practical value is about helping.” If we arm ourselves with knowledge about how we actually make purchases, perhaps we can make better decisions and spread the word along the way.

The post Jonah Berger, Prospect Theory, and Large Numbers appeared first on Conor Richardson.

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Where you live matters. Not only does it affect your daily life, where you grab a coffee or your daily commute, but it also influences your personal finances. This is especially true if you are trying to become debt free. If you are aiming to eliminate debt fast – credit card debt, student loans, or auto loans – then the city you live in can have a tremendous impact on your ability to pay it off quickly (especially for student loans).

A recent survey, by my friends over at Credible, shows the top five best and worst cities to live in for paying off student loan debt.

Top 5 Best Cities:

1) Dallas, TX

2) Jacksonville, FL

3) Houston, TX

4) Columbus, OH

5) Austin, TX

Based on the nearly 9,000 survey participants, Credible has determined these cities are the best places to live for paying off student loan debt due to their low debt to income ratio and low cost of living.

If you can combine this geographical arbitrage with socioeconomic downsizing, then you have the potential to dramatically improve your financial health. Once your debts are paid off, and you cross the line from red into black, then setting goals and building a flash savings budget will be the natural next steps.

You have the power to eliminate your student loans quickly. But knowing is only half the battle.

Are you willing to make the move?

The post Top 5 Cities For Paying Off Student Loans appeared first on Conor Richardson.

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