Amanda Abella - Make Money Your Honey.+Add.Feed Info1000FOLLOWERS
Hey there! I'm a millennial business coach who teaches online entrepreneurs how to make money their honey with online marketing. My mission is to provide the millennial generation with practical, simple, and effective resources for personal development, business growth and personal finance.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is the blogger behind Making Sense of Cents, an award winning blog that earned $979,000 last year, and is on track to earn around $1.5 million in 2017. She sold her house in 2015 and currently travels full-time with her husband and two dogs. It all started in August of 2011 as a hobby, when she didn’t even know that bloggers could earn a living. She eventually paid off her $40,000 student loan debt in just a 7 month time frame and it all grew from there. She’s been featured on Forbes, Tripadvisor, Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Entrepreneur, and more.
Who are you?
Michelle is the mastermind behind Making Sense of Cents, a blog that made her almost one million dollars last year, by using affiliate marketing. She was featured in Forbes, and has three finance related college degrees, so she knows what she’s talking about. She started blogging five years ago while paying off student loans and working as a financial analyst. After about six months of blogging, she made her first $100, and realized she loved it. She decided to turn it to a side hustle in hopes of making it a full-time job. Now she is making money with affiliate marketing and her blog, and teaching others how to do it too.
How were you able to pay off your student loans in 7 months?
When Michelle graduated with her MBA in finance, she received her first student loan bill. She realized it was more than most of her monthly bills, and she wasn’t earning enough to pay it all and stay above water. She found extra ways to make money, like becoming a staff writer and starting her blog. She also sold items around her house, took surveys, and mystery shopped. After paying taxes on her side hustles, she would throw the rest at her debt. With all of the side hustles she was doing, she was able to pay off $38,000 in 7 months.
So what is affiliate marketing?
Michelle explains affiliate marketing as passive income. She recommends promoting products that you already enjoy or use in your day to day life. When you link to them and someone clicks on the link and purchases the product, you receive some sort of commission.
How long did it take for you to start making money with affiliate marketing?
First, Michelle gave herself a goal to start making money with affiliate marketing. After about two years of blogging, she made her first affiliate sale. After that, her blog began to grow, and so did her affiliate income.
How does someone start making money with affiliate marketing?
Michelle’s top tip for the total newbie is to take her course “Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing”. Not only will it walk you through the ways to making money with affiliate marketing, but it also teaching you about promoting, social media, and even writing emails. If you aren’t ready to take a course yet, Michelle recommends taking products that you already use, naturally talk about them and promote them, and then link to them. Plus, don’t just talk about the positives, but talk about the negatives too (if there are any). This makes everything more real and helps you to become a trustworthy source. Also, don’t forget to provide high-quality content that people will want to read.
What made you want to create your course?
After receiving so many questions about making money with affiliate marketing, Michelle thought it would be best to answer them all at one time. Her first thoughts were to create an ebook, but when she realized how dense the book would be, she decided to turn it into a course. This allowed her to start a Facebook group for motivation and inspiration, and gave her the opportunity to add bonuses.
Can you share some of the success stories from the people who’ve taken your course?
Michelle has over 2,500 members in her private Facebook group, and many of them have shared their making money with affiliate marketing success stories. A brand new blogger was able to receive her first affiliate sale just two days after taking the course. An international blogger doubled her affiliate income, which also shows you don’t have to be in the US to make this course work for you. She’s seen success stories across multiple niches as well, including lifestyle, parenting, cooking, and even fashion blogging.
What is one financial tip you have that could help the readers improve their finances right now?
Michelle’s tip tip is to find ways to make extra money. There is only so many things that you can cut out of your budget, but there is an unlimited potential in how much money you make. By finding ways to side hustle and earn extra money, you are giving yourself the freedom to save, invest, and spend more.
How do you make money your honey?
Michelle likes to make her money work for her. She does this by investing in the stock market and finding ways to make passive income. She now works less than 10 hours a week, and is able to earn a six figure monthly income from her blog. She believes in working now in order to reap the benefits later. Now that she works 10 hours a week, Michelle has more time to devote to travel, which she does with her husband in their RV (they live in it full-time!).
Where can listeners go to find out more about you?
I’m always raving on about how anyone can start a side business by freelancing. I still whole heartedly stand by this because I truly believe that if you put forth your best effort you will start succeeding, especially because our generation maneuvers the online world so well. I created a course around freelancing, wrote a book about it, and even coach other ambitious millennials to establish their businesses.
However, just because you CAN do it doesn’t mean you are meant to. Freelancing is not easy. Sure, it gets easier over time, but freelancing is a huge learning process, and if you aren’t willing to face certain facts and make a commitment then you aren’t going to go very far. Period. Point Blank.
Below you’ll find 9 warning signs that maybe you aren’t cut out for freelancing. Don’t take it personally if you feel that this list describes you. Instead, use it as a learning experience so you start putting your efforts into something else you’ll enjoy and benefit from.
You Aren’t Cut Out for Freelancing If:
FEAR has got you by the balls (or ovaries).
Everyone, to a certain extent, is afraid of something. However, there’s a difference between being scared of something and FEAR having you by the balls. In the former, you’ll stare at the Fear square in the face, tell it to ‘eff off, and start kicking ass anyway. In the latter, you are crippled by your fear, so crippled that you don’t act.
For some people, this Fear exists in their romantic relationships (*ahem*), for others it’s in business. If you’re so scared of the outcome of your side hustle that you can’t even take little actions you aren’t cut out for freelancing. You’ll never succeed because you’ll barely ever get started.
You can’t commit.
Starting a freelancing side hustle is a COMMITMENT, people! You have to really stick to it and go through the motions if you want to see results.
You aren’t willing to do some things for free.
Ok, let me clarify here. I, of course, charge clients for the work that I do. But one of the main reasons I’ve been able to do that is because I give away a lot for free – like this here blog. I’ve committed to writing to some blogs that I really believe in for free. I SHARE some information with others who want to freelance – for free.
Does this mean I’m losing money? No. Quite frankly, there’s enough freelancing work to go around. And besides, it’s because I’ve done so much for free that good paying clients have been able to find me.
I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t really believe in the message behind it. And believe it or not, potential clients can tell whether or not you’ve poured your heart and soul into something. Shitty work shows fast so make sure that you are being as sincere as possible in your endeavors.
You let stress run your life.
I’m not exactly the best person to talk about this because I’ve dealt with some hard core anxiety issues in the past. So, I sought out help to manage my stress. I knew I really wanted to be a writer, and let’s face it, sometimes things get stressful.
Deals fall through. Clients bail. You make mistakes and learn things the hard way. Like I said, this isn’t easy, but if you’re going to let stress totally overrun your endeavors then you aren’t cut out for freelancing.
You can’t say “No.”
Freelancers have a tendency of taking on way too much work – especially in the beginning. We think this will make us more money and get our name out there. A. This isn’t necessarily true. B. The only thing that really happens is that you get spent very quickly. As a result, you’re producing poor work and it’s not beneficial to you.
If you can’t say no, if you’re a people pleaser, you aren’t cut out for freelancing. Why? Because you’re going to find yourself very overwhelmed very fast.
You don’t know your worth.
I will not write 500 words for a buck. Granted, in the very beginning, I made the mistake of thinking the low pay was normal. As time went on and I did more research, I realized these were definitely not acceptable rates. Over time I’ve been able to raise my rates because I know my worth as a freelancer. And you know what? I will continue to increase my rates with my experience and exposure.
You aren’t patient (or at least willing to start cultivating patience).
I have never been a patient person. However, this entire process has forced me to start cultivating patience. If you aren’t even willing to start being patient you’re going to end up very anxious and stressed out.
You don’t have perseverance.
You will undoubtedly get curve balls thrown at you while you are freelancing. Your ability to overcome these curve balls is what will help you succeed in the end, or help show you that you aren’t cut out for freelancing.
I could have given up on the freelancing when I landed a full-time job. Or when my site crashed in December. I could have said “Well, maybe this isn’t right for me” when I only made 5 bucks my first month as a freelancer. But I didn’t.
Instead, I kept letting people know I was available for freelance work. I developed an entirely new branding strategy for the blog and even made it BETTER than before. Also, I kept refining what I would accept as work and have gotten amazing, well-paying clients because of it.
All of this and more because I was able to persevere. Like my mom always says, “Perseverance is omnipotent.”
So now what?
The bad news is that if you have a problem with any of the aforementioned then freelancing is going to be a very very rough ride for you. Now, if you are willing to do the work to overcome these obstacles then I have no doubt that you will be successful in your endeavors. How do I know? Because I had to do the work and overcome a lot of these issues myself.
I would love to hear your take on this. What are some things that have made you wonder whether or not you’ll be a successful freelancer?
When I first started this blog I did it with the purpose of calling myself out so I could start figuring out this whole “adulthood” thing. Since then I’ve prided myself on being transparent – like sharing my income, net worth, and publicly admitting that I’d been through a break-up.
In 2014, I had to call myself out again.
For the first time ever, I was in debt.
It was debt accrued from unexpected dental expenses. I had a couple of dental surprises pop up and needed to get a procedure not covered by insurance (surprise surprise) which then led to another procedure.
Long story short I had to get a layer of my back gums on the lower jaw removed or risk serious inflammation or worse, an infection that could quickly spread to the rest of my body. While I had an emergency fund for these occasions, it wasn’t enough to cover the full cost.
So I had to slap the remainder on a credit card and I was in debt to the tune of about $2,000. My very loud financially focused fear based ego was flipping out. Stories about how I’m a financial failure have already crept in mixed with a little bit of imposter syndrome. How could I be a money blogger if I’m in debt?
And then I remembered something important. Teachers are always students. In fact, some of the best teachers are those who had to learn something for themselves.
So instead of throwing myself a pity party or complaining about how a first world country can’t figure out how to make health and dental care more affordable, I’m going to share with how I paid off my debt after an emergency.
If you find yourself in a similar situation I hope you find this helpful. By the way, these tips also apply if you’re in debt over something not related to an emergency.
Look at the bright side and release the guilt.
I’m a silver lining kind of gal and I fervently believe everything works toward our greatest good. So what’s the bright side here? I live in a country where credit is available in the face of an emergency.
Furthermore, I live in a country where I am able to get necessary treatment period. Not everyone is so lucky.
If you are giving yourself a hard time over any debt you accrued let it go. Forgive yourself and be thankful for what that credit was able to get you. In my case it was dental treatment, in your case, it could be your rent or an awesome experience.
This is a lot more empowering and motivating than crying about it. (Though if you really do need to cry please do. I certainly did.) Getting out of debt after an emergency is what you make of it. So push through and realize that it’s not the end of the world.
Look for ways to make extra money.
The beauty of being self-employed is that you can always make more money. No one has to approve you for a raise. So come up with your next offering, brush up on your sales chops or pick up some extra clients.
The point is there are always opportunities to make more money.
“Money For Me” To Pay Off Debt After An Emergency
A “Money for Me” account is a concept by Kate Northrup. Essentially, every time you save money or resist the urge to spend you put that money into a savings account called “Money for Me.” At the end of the month, you can use that money however you wish.
So for example, the other day I got $10 off my CVS purchases thanks to coupons. I put those $10 in my “Money for Me” account and I can now choose to use it toward paying my debt after an emergency.
Essentially this makes the idea of “saving money” and “cutting back” way more fun. So fun that it almost becomes a game to see how much you can save to put into your “Money for Me” account.
Don’t Neglect Your Emergency Fund From Now On
I’m going to call myself out here and publicly admit that I’d gotten lazy about saving for emergencies. I fell into the “I’m running a business and I have variable income, so I can’t save as much” mentality (which by the way is completely false).
I knew I needed to prioritize my emergency savings and did my best to beef up the account. My goal was to have $5,000 in the account by the end of the following year, and I met that goal with ease.
It’s time for the monthly net worth report! This is a new monthly installment where I’ve begun sharing net worth updates to hold myself accountable as I build wealth and show you how money works in real life.
As a refresher, the reason I stopped doing income reports and instead started focusing on net worth is because your net worth is actually more important. If you’re making a lot of money but you’re still spending all of of it, it doesn’t really matter because you’re still broke.
That being said, I will occasionally share my income on these reports as well so you guys get an idea of how much I’m earning, what’s working and what’s not working.
Let’s just say that July was a goooood month.
Despite moving to my new apartment, increasing my living expenses and all the surprise costs that come up the first few weeks at a new place, I actually recovered everything I lost last month and then some. In fact, we’re up almost $4,000 this month!
Not only that but I have been able to get rid of some previous expenses like a gym membership. I’ve also significantly reduced transportation expenses so I’m not spending that much more.
Here’s what worked in my favor this month.
I earned a lot of money in July.
Earlier this year I committed to earning more money. I’ve been working very hard behind the scenes creating systems, running ads, working with mentors and generally busting my behind since January.
I knew what I wanted to earn and I knew how I wanted to earn it. I also knew it would take a few months before I saw a return on my investments so I had to be patient (because it’s not my first time at the rodeo).
Now, I was already starting to see some ROI in May/June, but when I moved it was as if a fire was lit under my ass to earn whatever I could.
It worked because, as I shared with my email list, I earned over $11,000 last month. Better yet, about $9000 was profit and I do believe that’s the highest profit margin I’ve had in my business up until this point.
Below you’ll find screenshots from my Quickbooks account.
Filled the seats to my first every group coaching program. This alone will bring in almost $10,000 of revenue once the last installments for payment plans come in. It’s a high-price point offering and since it’s a group offering, it’s scalable. You may recall that I’ve been working on adding more scalability to my business this year so this was awesome validation that I was right on the money. (P.S. Enrollment is currently closed for live coaching, but you canclick here to get more info and get on the wait list for the next round.)
Upped my email marketing and systems game which has increased sales for lower price point offerings.
I’ve increased my close rate for sales. One of my mentors reminded me that I’m actually really good at sales. I forgot this somewhere along the road of my journey so having the reminder was nice. Once I realized this, I started selling to the point where I was getting credit card information for my group coaching program over the phone. I teach my private coaching clients how to do this as well. Interested in coaching with me? Click here to book a free consult.
The other thing that worked was that I didn’t let trends get in the way. The summer is historically slow in my business so I would slack off. Not this time.
The stock market was on FIYAH.
I’ve said time and time again how it’s not enough to have your money saved in cash. I’ve mentioned that here, here and here.
The truth is you also need to invest money. This gives you a higher return, allows you to make money in your sleep and you take advantage of compounding interest.
To give you an idea, aside from my automatic deposits, I didn’t get a chance to dump money into my Betterment account until later on in the month. The money that was already in there kept growing without me even touching it.
Being the finance nerd that I am, I’ve read up on what could come next. Apparently, historically speaking, we’re about to enter the worst time of the year for the stock market. However, since July was so strong and 2017 has generally been a good year (seriously, it’s been crazy) then we may not experience a downturn.
Of course, no one can predict the future or the stock market so we’ll just have to wait and see. Regardless, betting on the U.S. has always been a pretty safe bet over time.
Also, in full transparency, most of my progress this much was mostly because I earned more and saved a big chunk of it. This is why lately I’ve been making the argument that if you really want to up your money game you need to earn more money so you can save and invest more.
Even still, watching my investment account grow without me doing anything is pretty sweet. I earned about $300 in my sleep in that account this month. That beats the hell out of the 0.08% return on my regular savings account.
Here are some of the tools I use to help me invest:
Acorns– An app that rounds up your spare change and automatically invests it into index funds. I’m not using it as much as I used to because I’m testing other apps. I’m generally pretty good about investing, but it’s great for people who want to get started even if they don’t have a lot of money.
Dvdendo– Similar to Acorns but geared toward the Hispanic community. I’m testing this app as well. In full disclosure, I’ve done consulting work for them.
I’m going to continue growing my income over time. After years of scrimping to save, I’ve finally seen the light. It’s easier and more fun to find ways to earn more money. It also allows me to save a hell of a lot more than I’d be able to do otherwise without sacrificing things I enjoy.
The crazy part is this was all mental. All I had to do was make the decision to earn more money and then follow the cues. Often times we’re the only ones standing in out own way.
One day I got into a discussion with a millennial entrepreneur friend of mine about the value of time versus the value of money.
She was going on about how money is so important in our lives and that’s why so many young professionals and entrepreneurs work themselves to the point of burnout.
I mentioned that’s really unfortunate because in the grand scheme of things time is way more important than money. Therefore if we’re spending all of our time working ourselves into the ground to chase money then we’re not really wealthy after all.
At this point, her eyebrow raised with curiosity.
“Think about it,” I said. “Time is a one-time deal. We’re not getting it back. On the other hand, if we spend money we can get it back. There’s always an opportunity to make more money, but we can’t actually ‘make’ more time. We’ve all got our set time in this world so why would we spend it burnt out and miserable to chase a buck. Why not leverage time to make more money?”
Time is more valuable than money.
That being said, we do actually need money in this world. So the task them becomes to learn how to leverage time to make more money. This is something I dive deep into in my course Make Money Your Honey. Here are a few other ways to leverage time to make more money.
Charge more than you think you are worth.
Look, I get it. Charging a lot of money for your product or service is scary. Hell, asking for a raise is scary! We think we’ll get rejected, that we’ll end up broke and that people will judge us. Here’s the deal though: since time is more valuable than money, you MUST charge accordingly.
But consider the alternative. If you undercharge yourself you are an energetic match for shitty clients and price shoppers who are a huge pain in the ass. You’ll also be working your ass off and still not making much revenue. This isn’t a very good way to leverage your time to make more money.
This starts a cycle of resentment that sounds a little something like this “Dammit I know I should be getting paid more for this. This is too much work and I’m still scraping by!” You end up accidentally resenting your clients for not paying you enough when they really have nothing to do with it. YOU’RE THE ONE WHO SETS YOUR PRICES, NOT YOUR CLIENTS.
Why do I say charge more than you think you are worth? Because we have a tendency of undervaluing ourselves so go higher than your first initial price number. The rest is just a matter of practice and confidence.
Stop doing everything by yourself.
Hiring a VA is probably one of the best things I’ve ever done. Lynn’s helped me get my entire business running on systems so that it’s actually organized. She’s also been a huge help in building and launching new endeavors. If I had to pick one of the best ways to better leverage time to make more money, hiring people is definitely on the top of the list.
Simply put, without her help, there’s no way I’d be able to keep track of all the leads, prospects and actual clients. There’s no way I’d be able to keep up with my email and I’d be too busy working “in” my business instead of “on” my business.
But let me tell you, I was really late to the outsourcing party. For so long I had the belief that hiring help was a waste of money if I could just do it all myself. Turns out I was really wrong.
What resulted was not pretty. I was stressed, burnt out and even though I was making more money than I had at a regular job I still felt undervalued and underpaid by some clients. Again, this was no fault of my clients. It was my fault for trying to do everything by myself.
You can also read this blog post about how to hire your first VA to help you out.
Keep in mind that hiring help can give you a lot of time. Time that can go to relaxing, talking to clients, building your next big thing, exercising or whatever you want! Hiring a VA proves once again that you can leverage time to make more money.
Start creating streams of passive income.
Passive income is probably one of the best ways to leverage time to make more money. It’s essentially money you don’t have to trade your time for. The work is done upfront and then the income builds over time. Some examples are below:
Investing In the Stock Market
Learning to invest is a solid way to start creating passive income and creating financial freedom for yourself. My personal top picks right now are Betterment for managing most of my investments and then Real Estate Investment Funds (REITs) for my non-retirement investments. I’ve also experimented with Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). They key is to learn to be patient and diversify your investments. You also can’t freak out whenever the stock market dips. This is a long term deal not a get rich quick scheme. If you want to start with something simple like investing spare change, you can do that too!
Real Estate Investing
This is the act of buying property and then renting it out. It is by far how many people have built their wealth and it’s a solid investment strategy if done correctly. This isn’t entirely passive (not like REITs) because it requires maintenance, but it is relatively passive.
Sell Your Own Products
You can sell your own products (courses, books, etc.) on your website. It takes a while to build the momentum but it is well worth it.For instance, I wrote and launched my Amazon best-selling book once. But you can still purchase it even though I’m not actively doing anything. Essentially, I decided to leverage time to make more money.
First, let me state that yes, there are several very shitty network marketing companies out there. Let me also state that the majority of these companies oversell their value and don’t tell people that it takes time to build this business (just like it takes time to build any other business). Let me go a step further and state that several of these companies also take advantage of people in a bad situation.
You will not become rich overnight by selling mascara, but you can build up a decent passive income revenue stream if you are with a reputable company and learn how to run it like a business. Kate Northrup, for example, has built a six-figure income with her network marketing company. I also have a few coaching clients who are consultants for a reputable company and they are doing just fine. It’s up to you to do your due diligence here. Just know that this is also not a get rich quick scheme and that you must do your research.
Again, this takes time to build ( the common theme with passive income), but there are several ways for you to build up website traffic and make money with something like Google AdSense.
Note from Amanda: This is a guest post from fellow FinCon group member, Chris Huntley . Chris Huntley is president of Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services in San Diego. He also owns eLifeTools, a site dedicated to online marketing for insurance agents. He can be reached on Twitter @mrchrishuntley.
If you want to protect your family’s financial future, there’s one piece to your financial plan that’s essential.
Life insurance is not a sexy topic, but it can be an inexpensive way to avoid leaving your family financially devastated if you were to pass away unexpectedly.
In this article, we’ll look at what life insurance is, why people need it, and types of coverage and estimated costs for each.
What is life insurance?
In a nutshell, a life insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay a premium to the insurance company. In exchange, the company pays a death benefit to your designated beneficiaries if you pass away.
Life insurance policies provide financial relief to their beneficiaries. They can use the funds to pay for basic burial and final expenses, pay off debts, and even replace the deceased’s monthly income for a period.
Pretty simple, right? If only!
The life insurance industry offers a number of different types of policies, some that can get really complicated. To make thing simple, here are the main three types of life insurance you need to know:
Your policy lasts for a specific term (e.g. 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years) and your premiums stay the same during that time.
If you pass away while the policy is in effect, the insurance company pays out the death benefit.
If not, the policy will typically move to an “annually renewable” structure, with your premiums increasing each year.
If you cancel your policy, you get nothing in return. In this sense, it’s similar to renting vs. buying.
This type of policy has no specified term; it’s for life. Your premiums typically stay the same the whole time.
Part of the premium you pay is for the death benefit and and the other part goes into a cash value account, which grows at 2.6% per year on average.
You can borrow against the cash value, but must pay it back with interest. And if you cancel the policy down the road, you receive the cash value balance, also called the cash surrender value.
Universal life is a form of permanent insurance, like whole life.
The premiums can be more flexible than a whole life policy. You can even use your cash value to cover your premiums if you’re in a financial bind.
If your cash value account performs poorly, the insurance company may increase your premiums. If you can’t afford the higher premiums, you could lose coverage.
This kind of insurance can also be much more expensive than term insurance.
For most of the people reading this, term life insurance is your best option. It’s the cheapest of the three and, if you really need permanent insurance down the road, most term policies allow you to convert your policy to a permanent policy.
People usually choose to do that if they end up with health issues that keep them from re-qualifying when their term policy is up.
A family ravaged by death: The Hanna Boykin story
Losing a loved one can be devastating, but not having to worry about finances afterward can prevent even more havoc in your life.
Hanna Boykin, the recipient of our inaugural “Huntley Wealth Cares Scholarship,” lost both her parents in a 14-month span. With five other siblings also left behind, it was a devastating blow for the family.
Because her parents had no life insurance coverage, Hanna’s family didn’t have enough financial support to stay together.
…they were forced to split up, moving into different homes with different families.
A life insurance policy on her parents could have allowed her siblings to save their home, pay for necessities, and to go to college.
Even if you don’t have children, you may need life insurance. It all depends on the costs you may be leaving behind for a significant other or family members. Even basic burial costs can be covered by a small policy.
How much term life insurance costs
When it comes to life insurance, the younger and healthier you are, the better.
… and because women tend to live longer than men, they usually get lower premiums.
For example, say you’re a healthy 30-year old woman needing $250,000 of coverage for 20 years. You’d be looking at a premium of approximately $12 per month.
Compare that to a whole life policy for the same coverage amount, which would cost you about $207 per month.
Term life insurance also gets cheaper by the thousand the more you buy. For example, increase that coverage to $500,000 and the premium would be closer to $18 per month.
That’s double the coverage, but only a 50% cost increase. Not bad!
To get the best rates for your policy, I recommend comparing quotes from multiple companies to get their best offers.
How to get life insurance
If you’re interested in getting life insurance, you can easily get online quotes from multiple companies. Before you enter your personal information, though, make sure the website you’re using gives you access to your quotes immediately.
…otherwise, you may get inundated with calls and emails from insurance agents.
Some websites, like Huntley Wealth, give you quotes as soon as you submit your information. No hassle and no having to deal with multiple agents blowing up your phone.
Just about every life insurance company and agent want your business. But while it’s nice to feel wanted, there’s one problem.
…not all of them have your best interests in mind.
Some agents work for certain life insurance companies that allow them to sell policies only from that company. So, there’s no way to tell if you’re getting the best premiums or not.
It’s best to work with a knowledgeable, independent insurance agent or website that can give you the best offers on the market, period.
John and David of the Debt Free Guys are the foremost authority on LGBT finances. Not only did they get out of $51,000 of credit card debt, but they are also a great resource for the LGBT finances community, and love supporting their fellow LGBT community. They travel all over the country, and stay very busy with David still working a traditional job and trying to run their business.
David and John met in the early 2000s, when a friend of John’s introduced the two at a club (on the dancefloor!). Just three short years later, they decided they wanted to be together forever.
Were you always financially savvy?
Even though both John and David worked in financial services for about 15 years combined, both agreed that they were financial messes. They were so busy helping other people with their finances, that they weren’t helping themselves. They lived in a rented basement apartment in downtown Denver, and had $51,000 of credit card debt between them. For John and David, that started the process of Debt Free Guys.
What was your come-to-Jesus moment like?
When John and David went on vacation in the mountains with friends, they decided they wanted to build a home on the mountains themselves. But as they went home after vacation, they realized that with their debt, building a home wouldn’t be very feasible. As doubt washed over them, they thought that maybe their dream home in the mountains would just be a home they rented for vacations.
As they asked themselves why they weren’t getting the things they wanted in life, their come-to-Jesus moment hit them. They realized their finances weren’t working, so they decided to change it. David created an Excel spreadsheet and the two decided that they wanted to pay off their debt within 3 years.
How long did your debt payoff take?
John and David were able to payoff their debt in 2 ½ years, and they were able to do it on a middle class income. Combined, they both took home about $51,000 a year, so the payoff was an incredible feat for the both of them. On top of all of that, they were able to add an extra $10,000 to their budgets because they weren’t paying interest on the credit cards anymore.
John and David admit that LGBT finances can sometimes take a hit when LGBT peers are living fabulous and amazing lives. It instills a sense of “keeping up with the Joneses”. But all John and David were getting was debt and temporary gratification, both of which they realized weren’t worth trying to keep up for.
What made you start Debt Free Guys?
Towards the end of paying off their debt, John and David wanted to share what they failed at, what the learned, and what they did right during their debt payoff journey. They first started with writing a book focusing on their LGBT finances and debt payoff story. It took them 10 years from start to finish, and from there they reached out to publishers.
As they were pitching their book to several publishers, they were being told that they didn’t have enough influence. One of the publishers they spoke with told them to consider getting a blog or podcast and to start creating a social media following. John and David took her seriously, and created their first blog “Debt Free Principles” on Blogger. Six months after that, Debt Free Guys was born.
Why did you decide to focus on LGBT finances and LGBT money issues?
John and David realized that their was a gap to be filled with helping their community and peers learn to manage their LGBT finances. Taxes, retirement, and even dependents (i.e. children) are different for the LGBT community. John and David wanted to not only help their peers, but also raise awareness within the community and LGBT supporters.
Once they decided to really focus on Debt Free guys, John quit his job so that he could spend more time on their website and really making an impact. Since then, they have traveled to speak at different engagements, started a podcast, and even helped with different studies on LGBT finances.
While John and David are aware that you don’t have to be LGBT to have financial woes, they want to highlight the financial nuances and differences that their community faces and deals with on a regular basis. They take on the bad and celebrate the success, and they have become one of the number one resources for LGBT finances.
What is one financial tip you have that could help the readers improve their finances right now?
John and David’s number one tip is to cut your social media usage in half and to instead use that time educating yourself on your financial situation. He encourages at least doing it once or twice a month, but you can do it as often as you like.
How do you make money your honey?
John and David make money their honey by giving back to their community, and talking more about LGBT finances. They consider it one of the greatest opportunities that they could do for their happiness and money.
Where can listeners go to find out more about you?
In case you’re new to the blog, I started tracking my net worth a few months ago because I decided I’m going to be a millionaire someday.
I’m also using it as a learning tool to show you all how money works in real life.
This month, we’re down about $3,000.
What in the hell happened?
Don’t worry, I didn’t lose money in the market and my business didn’t experience a lean month.
Actually, I just had a huge positive life change.
Not only did I move, but I moved into a great apartment on the bay in Miami.
The $3,000 I lost this month was first month’s rent and a security deposit.
It’s money I’d been saving in a taxable investment account for some time as I started looking for places about a year ago.
Actually, I’m surprised my net worth didn’t go down by way more.
I felt like I was bleeding out money all month because – even though I’d been saving for a move like this for a long time – it was pretty sudden and moving costs add up.
At the same time, I invested in a group coaching program with one of my mentors which was the price of one month’s rent.
The only explanations I can think of are a) I must have had a good month business wise (won’t know for sure until my accountant reconciles) and b) my investment accounts keep making money.
Most of that $3,000 was actually from returns on my investment accounts, not even the money I’d initially put in there.
After spending many years living with family because of a down economy and then choosing to start a business, it felt DAMN GOOD to be able to take an opportunity like this.
I didn’t have to hesitate when the opportunity arose.
I didn’t have to worry about how I’d be paying rent.
I didn’t have to worry about scrambling the money together for a security deposit.
I didn’t have to worry about moving costs.
As soon as I saw the view from the apartment, I wrote a check and said I was moving in.
Within three weeks, I was fully moved in.
The power of getting your financial shit together.
When you get your financial life together, you can take risks. You can take advantage of opportunities. You can do things without having to worry.
To me, getting my financial life together has looked like the following:
Personal finance education. This is what helped me overcome the fear of investing, because I learned how it actually works. It’s also what’s kept me out of debt and on the constant lookout to create streams of income.
Learning how to leverage financial tools (like credit card points for cash back and free flights).
Slowly creating streams of passive income through investments and affiliate sales through the blog.
Starting a business. It’s taken me a while, but I know I can earn whatever I want. I can pay my rent with one retainer coaching client. Once you start doing the math you start thinking, “Shit! This is the way to go!” There’s a lot of money out there and those who know it will find the opportunities to make some.
Knowing what I value. I’ll pay a premium to live in a fantastic city and have a great view, but the furniture is second hand and I have a roommate to split costs with. I also don’t own a lot of stuff because I don’t care to.
My life wasn’t always like this though…
I started blogging back in 2010.
I was broke.
I was unemployed.
I moved back home into my childhood bedroom (same furniture too).
But even back then I made a decision.
I was not going to be another statistic.
I was not going to be another unemployed millennial ridden with debt who had to move back home.
I decided I would be wealthy someday.
That one decision at the age of 22 changed the trajectory of the rest of my life.
Am I “wealthy” yet?
Well, I’m not a millionaire.
But I’m on my way there.
And I know making this decision in my 20s, and then taking the necessary action to move in the direction of my dreams, puts me way ahead of the game.
The new challenge…
The new challenge for me is to keep earning more.
The last couple of years have shown me that knowing how to manage money will only get you so far.
That’s why I switched gears and started focusing on earning money so I could have the things I want – like being able to afford living in an apartment by the water.
I’ve also noticed that a lot of people – particularly people who are attracted to my coaching – get stuck in the money management stage.
They can manage the shit out of money, but earning is a problem. Taking risks is a problem too. Because of this, they still struggle in many ways.
The reality is if you really want to live a life on your terms, it’s going to cost money so you’d better learn how to earn.
If you’re ready to commit to earning more, I’ve opened some spots on my calendar for private business coaching.
Aspiration is a financial firm with a conscience. It began as a way to help people and do good, and to help people start trusting financial institutions more, especially when it comes to online banking. Andrei quotes that “Only 8% of Americans say they trust the financial industry”, and to him, that’s scary.
Andrei feels that Aspiration is really set on making money when a customer succeeds, vs. when the customer fails. Instead of making money when a customer overdrafts or uses an ATM, Aspiration decided on a different business model.
What Is Aspiration’s Business Model?
Andrei and Aspiration believe the customer should pay what’s fair. In other words, the customer decides what they want to pay Aspiration. If a customer wants to pay $0 for online banking, investments, or really anything, they can. Aspiration is all about building customer trust.
Over 90% of Aspiration’s customers are choosing to pay Aspiration on their investments on a consistent basis. To Aspiration, this shows them that although their customer could pay $0, their customers trust them enough and their products to pay them something consistently.
Aspiration also gives 10% of the money they make towards charitable giving. They give micro-loans to people in the U.S. to help them establish their businesses and grow the economy.
Tell us about more about your bank accounts.
Aspiration is one of the best online banking options. Not only are they FDIC insured, so you’re money is safe, but they also offer a 1% interest rate on their checking & savings account. Plus, they don’t have any monthly fees, and you can use an ATM in the U.S. (or overseas) for free.
What is AIM?
Aspiration launched the AIM project last month, and the goal was to show each of their customers their personal sustainability score. Every time a customer makes a purchase with their debit card, Aspiration will show them their impact on people and on the planet, and show them a score based on where they are shopping and spending their money.
Each company has a rating based on how they treat their employees and the planet. With these scores, Aspiration can then show you how you are doing as a consumer. Aspiration is giving consumers an opportunity to see how they are voting with their money, by being transparent and showing customers how ethical a company is.
Even Aspiration’s investing is as ethical as possible. They never invest in the DAPL, as well as other unethical practices, because they want to grow sustainable and moral companies and funds. Another perk to investing with Aspiration is you can start with as little as $100, which means even the new investors can get started.
Do you have plans to offer any other products?
Aspiration is constantly working to develop their app (for Apple & Android phones) as well as offering more development for their online banking. They hope to offer options for lending, credit, and insurance to round out their services. Andrei, and Aspiration, hope to start changing the views of the financial industry, as well as changing the industry itself, to serve people better.
What is one financial tip you have that could help the readers improve their finances right now?
Personally, Andrei doesn’t want you to pay for fees when you don’t have to, especially when it comes to online banking. He also throws in a bonus tip and says to start investing today. He believes in compounding interest and that the younger you are, the more benefits it can offer you. This doesn’t mean that you can’t invest as you get older, it just means that you will have more catching up to do if you wait. Andrei believes anyone can start investing, no matter their financial situation.
How do you make money your honey?
Even though Andrei runs an online banking and investment company, his biggest motivator in life is not having a lot of money. He wants to provide for his family and be able to live a good life without worrying about money. As the child of immigrant parents, he knows what it’s like to struggle. But he makes money his honest by living a sweet life and not letting money be his master.
Where can listeners go to find out more about you?