Previously, I described in great detail my biggest financial mistakes that I made in my 20s. In this post, I am going to explain the counter argument — the smart money moves I made in my 20s.
Millennials have it rough. Most of us graduated college at the time of the Great Recession. This timing really messed up our immediate job prospects out of college. In addition, we had to deal with soaring student debt. On top of that, there really isn’t a guide for Millennials about how to navigate finances. That’s part of the reason why this website exists.
Although I screwed up with my finances in my 20s (especially in my early 20s), I managed to get my act together. Before I hit 30, I accomplished several financial goals that I was really happy with.
Here are five really smart money decisions from my 20s that all young people should follow.
1. I Paid Off My Remaining Student Loans
It’s a shame that our society has burdened young people with incredible amounts of student debt. There are many young people today who are saddled with over $100,000 in loans. It could take some people well into their 40s or even 50s to pay that off. While I had some help to pay for college, I still had to take out some loans. I made it my priority to pay off my student loans before I hit 30. With no more monthly student loan payments, I was financially free to do more with my money. I could put my money to use and I could start investing, which bring me to point #2…
2. I Started To Save For Retirement
This was my proudest accomplishment in my 20s. Before I hit 30, I was able to start saving for retirement. Most people in their 20s are behind in their retirement savings. Many young people have nothing saved in retirement accounts. Although I started to save money in a 401(k), I also turned my attention to saving in an IRA.
3. I Set A Monthly Budget
Many people in their 20s struggle to transition from college into real world due to financial constraints. One of the major problems is that people sometimes waste a lot of money on frivolous things. There are cases where some young people are spending more than what they make every month. I wanted to avoid these financial perils, so I created a monthly budget. Although I occasionally go slightly over some of my monthly goals for certain categories, I do my best to maintain that monthly budget. Having a monthly budget in place provides the peace of mind to know that I am not overspending, and I am saving money every month as part of my smart money moves.
4. I Made Alternative Investments As One Of The Smart Money Moves
In addition to my retirement accounts, which I prioritized, I also dabbled in alternative investments. Some of that includes stocks that I inherited, but I also made my own investments in alternatives. I stayed away from commodities, such as gold, and I focused on investments for real estate and peer-to-peer. So far, I’ve netted some positive income from that. That additional income helps me meet my savings goals every month.
5. I Got A Job With A Higher Salary
No matter how much you avoid spending, you really need to increase your income in order to build your savings. In my early 20s, I made the mistake of accepting low-paying jobs for the sake of experience. By my late 20s, I sought out employment opportunities that paid significantly more than what I previously made. The result was that I increased my monthly income, I found my own place to live, and I am growing my savings every month. People in their 20s who are struggling financially should always try to find new employment or business opportunities to grow income.
This month of June, you can still give dad great personalized Fathers Day gifts 2018 while on a budget.
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend over $15 billion on Father’s Day 2018 gifts. Nearly 40 percent of shoppers will go to department stores to buy a gift, without ever shopping online. That’s why people are spending a lot of money.
Save some money this Father’s Day 2018. Here’s how to score personalized Fathers Day gifts 2018 while saving money. Here are 9 cheap Father’s Day gifts under $30:
This 100 percent cotton shirt is one that Dad will always wear. It has a comfort collar that stretches up to half an inch. It can also be machine washed as well. Dad can never have too many good dress shirts.
This cool wallet contains many compartments and space for cash, cards, and more. The best part is that you can turn it into one of the best personalized Fathers Day gifts 2018 by customizing a message in it from you. Your dad will always remember this gift.
If dad is always breaking his iPhone or if he needs a new case, then check out this one. It is elegant and durable. The case is made out of eco-friendly materials to the highest quality standards with Real Wood and thermoplastic polyurethane bumper. You can choose five different types of wood for the case. And there is a 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed.
This is a two-belt-in-one gift that Dad will really think is cool. One side is brown and the other is black, so it can go with many types of pants. It is adjustable, durable, and made of full-grain soft leather.
As we approach the warm summer months and school wraps up, it is time to enjoy some June 2018 freebies.
June is all about celebrating Dads and Grads. To top it all off, there are several places that are giving away free food and other items on select days. Take advantage of these cool offerings while they last.
Here are 5 June 2018 freebies that will make this season more joyful:
1. Free Burger And Fries At Red Robin — June 5
Teachers, it’s been a long school year and it’s almost finally over. To help celebrate, Red Robin is offering a free Tavern Double Burger and Bottomless Fries to all education professionals — including teachers, school administrators, and bus drivers. All you have to do is show a valid faculty ID.
2. Free Entree At Chipotle — June 5
Chipotle is showing its appreciate for nurses on June 5. On that day, they have a sweet buy one get one free (BOGO) deal on entrees like burritos, bowls and salads. Just show a valid nurses ID and you can celebrate BOGO style.
3. Free LEGO Store Workshop And Gift — June 5 And 6
On June 5 and 6, LEGO Store locations will host a free workshop for kids ages 6-14. This month, kids will learn how to build a LEGO surfer dragon. After the workshop for building it, kids can then take it home for free.
4. Free Old Fashioned Sundae At Wienerschnitzel’s – June 17
On Father’s Day, Wienerschnitzel’s is giving away an old fashioned sundae to all Dads for free. All Dads simply need to do is bring their kids or show a family photo and they can get the free sundae.
What constitutes the best summer jobs for teens? For most applicants, it is all about the paycheck. After all, this is a just a part-time, summer gig.
If you’re not a teenager, then you probably will have an easy time finding good summer jobs. The number of teens in the labor force has dropped 30 percent since 1978, which means there are more opportunities for all people to find summer jobs.
What are high paying summer jobs for college students and for the general public? This list includes some of the top choices based on the median hourly income from PayScale. Here are 7 good summer jobs that pay very well:
1. Pool Technician
Median Income: $13.41 an hour
A pool technician is a very popular job to have during the summer. Essentially, it is a fancy way of saying someone who professionally cleans pools and services equipment for pools. Many pool cleaning companies hire temporary workers for the summer to do this job, or to be an assistant to them.
2. Social Media Coordinator
Median Income: $14.86 an hour
Most businesses recognize the importance of social media marketing, but they usually don’t have a full-time person on staff just to do this. Some companies often hire students to work paid internships during the summer for these positions. If you have social media marketing experience, you can easily land a steady gig.
3. Graphic Designer
Median Income: $16.71 an hour
Just like with social media marketing, most businesses recognize the importance of graphic design, but most don’t have a full-time person on staff for this. It is common for these businesses to hire students to work paid internships or contract gigs with the company. This is perfect for those with graphic design experience.
Median Income: $17.81 an hour
Even during the summer months, tutors are needed. Many educational companies are looking for part-time tutors during the summer. It is the perfect job for students and teachers who need extra cash.
Median Income: $20.20 an hour
Just like with social media and graphic design, many businesses turn to students with writing experience during the summer months. It is really among the good summer jobs for anyone who could use a writing gig this time of the year. Many businesses that need content intentionally wait until summer vacation before hiring young people for these seasonal gigs.
6. Yoga Instructor
Median Income: $24.82 an hour
Most wellness or fitness facilities only hire yoga instructors on a part-time basis anyway, and the summer is no exception. Most people will probably need to be trained in order to get hired for these roles.
7. Sign Language Interpreter Among The Good Summer Jobs
Median Income: $25.35 an hour
When looking for good summer jobs, keep an eye out for a sign language interpreter role. It can be very important during the summer months for different camps and tours. It pays to be trained in sign language, because this can be a very lucrative summer gig.
It’s that time of year when people are getting married, which means that shoppers are searching for cheap wedding party gifts.
It’s not easy to find a low cost wedding present like cheap personalized gifts. Often, wedding guests find themselves in one of two scenarios.
The first scenario involves breaking the bank for the wedding. In addition to other expenses, you might feel the need to spend more money than what your budget allows on a gift with your credit card. Maybe you wanted to show off or maybe you wanted to impress the happy couple. Either way, your debt will increase.
The other scenario involves being really cheap on wedding party gifts. Instead of spending money on a normal present from the gift registry, you find yourself giving the couple a very cheap present that doesn’t even cover the cost of your presence at the reception.
You should avoid both of these scenarios. Here are 4 tips about how much to spend on wedding party gifts:
1. Consider Your Relationship To The Couple
The amount of money on the price tag of the gift that you are giving to the couple largely depends on your relationship to them. The closer you are to them in your family or if they are a close friend, the more money that you will likely fork over in a gift.
FiveThirtyEight ran an analysis on these comparisons. They found that you might give anywhere from $20 to $100 for an average friend, and $200 could be given to a close friend. And the money spent on a gift for an immediate family member ranged from $30 to $500.
2. Know Your Budget For Wedding Party Gifts
It is not uncommon for guests to go into debt because of weddings. A guest could easily spend hundreds of dollars on a wedding for gifts and other expenses.
Instead of going into debt, you should set a realistic budget for the wedding and stick to it. Allocate how much you can spend on a gift and try not to go over that amount.
3. Calculate A Price Based On Numerous Aspects
When picking out wedding party gifts, there are couple of ways that you can figure out a good price to spend.
First, a general rule of thumb is that you should spend at least the cost of hosting you at the wedding. This normally includes food and other things. If the cost is $125 per guest, then you should spend about that on a gift. If you are bringing someone with you to the reception, make that $250.
Next, you should factor in your own expenses. If you attending a destination wedding and had to pay for travel and a hotel room, then you should feel free to deduct part of that from the price of the wedding gift.
You should also consider if your family has any traditions with gifts. For example, Jewish people tend to give checks in amounts that are multiples of 18, a lucky number.
4. Consider The Engagement Party and Bridal Shower
In other words, the total amount of money on gifts spent for all three events should be combined for a reasonable total. So if you wanted to spend about $200 on the couple, that $200 should be divided between all three events.
When you’re done with college, you will often hear people say “congratulations, graduate,” but you probably won’t hear a lot of important advice about personal finance.
Graduating college is exciting, but it is also a little scary because you will soon enter the “real world” and you’ll have to make important decisions with your money. Out of all the possible graduation words that you will hear, this is the most important advice for graduates.
If you make smart financial decisions as a graduate, then you will reap the benefits. But, a couple of rotten decisions could delay your financial success. Congratulations graduate, here are the 7 best examples of personal finance advice that you need.
1. Plan To Move Out Of Your Home (Eventually)
There’s nothing wrong with moving in with your family after college. More than one in three graduates will live at home after their education is over.
While it is acceptable to live at home upon graduation, you need to create a plan to move out. Organize a budget, get a job, and determine the cash flow that you will need to move out. It is part of “adulting” and it will help grow your personal finance skills.
2. Pay Off Your Student Loans ASAP
The longer that you have your student loans, the more you will probably regret it. Most students graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, plus interest. The sooner you pay it off, the more financial options you will create.
Credit card companies are known for targeting young people and college students. As tempting as it might be to get a credit card, you really shouldn’t plan on doing that. Credit card debt is at a record high in the United States, and the interest rates for credit cards are ridiculous. You don’t need a credit card to achieve lasting financial success.
If you’re trying to raise your credit score, then you don’t need the credit card. The simple act of paying your student loans will help with that.
4. Congratulations Graduate, Start Saving For Retirement Now
As soon as you get a job and your finances in order, you need to start saving for retirement. Whether it is a 401(k) or an IRA, you should start the process now. If you start saving $5,000 a year at age 25 in a investment account for retirement, then by the time you hit 65, you will have $1 million. Congratulations graduate, you might be rich some day.
If you want to get started with investing for retirement and you want to make a positive impact in the world, sign up for Swell Investing.
5. Build An Emergency Savings Fund
If you want to move out, then you should have an emergency savings fund of at least three to six months worth of expenses. This money will help if you lose your job or have expensive medical bills.
The money in your emergency savings fund should be stashed away in a savings account or a money market account
6. Start Tracking Your Expenses
Before you move out, you need to create a budget for your living expenses. That will require tracking of all your spending. It might seem difficult to do, but it help you determine what expenses you could eliminate, which helps save you money.
Try using online financial software like Personal Capital, which automatically tracks all of your expenses.
7. Look For A Job With The Right Benefits
You’ll be lucky to get any job in your field when you graduate — even an internship. But the day will come after you graduate when you will have a full-time job offer. In addition to salary, the benefits are what really matters. Some of the top benefits offered by employers include commuting benefits, a 401(k), and help with student loan repayments.
The most important benefit might be health insurance. Even if you are still under your parent’s health insurance plan, eventually you will be on your own. Start planning for that now by seeking a job with good benefits.
Congratulations graduate, you are now entering the “real world.”
If you’re spending a lot of money just to keep up with your friends’ lifestyle, then you already know what does FOMO stand for, and you know how problematic it is.
What Does FOMO Stand For?
FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.” It is type of a social anxiety that develops when you are seeing someone else enjoying life and you can’t help but wonder if you should partake in the fun.
This fear of missing out phobia may not sound like a big deal, but it can be very costly for some people. A recent study from Credit Karma found that many Millennials are overspending and going into debt just because of FOMO. Among the findings:
39 percent of Millennials went into debt just to keep up with friends.
73 percent of Millennials who went into debt because of FOMO, and kept it a secret from their friends.
27 percent of Millennials don’t want to feel like an outsider, and 26 percent don’t want to lose their friends.
Millennials should not be going into debt because of FOMO. Here are 5 things that you can do to prevent FOMO from killing your finances:
1. Shop Around For Better Deals
Keeping up with your friends doesn’t mean that you have to spend the same amount of money. For example, if you feel pressured to buy the same outfit that your friend has, see if you can get it somewhere else at a discounted price. As another example, if you feel pressured to keep up with your friend’s incredible vacations, do some research to see if you can book a similar vacation at a discounted prices. Remember, you don’t have to overspend to keep up with your friends.
2. Limit Social Media
Social media is a big reason why some Millennials are going into debt over FOMO. At times, people will see photos of their friends on social media doing cool social activities or buying expensive items. It turn, a person might feel tempted to replicate the same experiences just so they don’t feel like an outsider. To prevent this from happening, limit your social media usage.
3. Budget In Some Fun
It is totally acceptable to allocate some money for discretionary spending or for fun as part of your monthly budget. Some people go as far as to treat fun, extravagant purchases as a reward for keeping the rest of their budget in check. If you are able to accept some FOMO in your budget without going into debt and while building your savings, then that is fine.
4. Pay With Cash (Or At Least A Debit Card)
Some people trying to keep up with their friends’ spending habits simply don’t have enough money, which creates a dependency on credit cards. Simply put, credit card spending will exacerbate your financial problems. As a best practice, don’t use a credit card just to spend as much as your friends. Credit cards charge an insane amount of interest that could destroy your finances. Pay with cash, or perhaps a debit card, so that you won’t spend money that you don’t have.
5. Get New Friends
When you can’t keep up with your friends’ expensive lifestyle, be honest with them. If they are truly your friends, then they will understand — and perhaps you can convince them to save some money too. If they do not understand, then you need to find new friends who better fit your lifestyle. When you figure that out, you’ll know what does FOMO stand for and how it affects friendships.
If you wanted to infuse your money in a socially responsible manner years ago then you were out of luck, but thankfully there are impact investing opportunities in the market.
The ESG investing definition means investments that follow environmental, social, or governance standards. This is also known as socially responsible investing (SRI), sustainable investing, or impact investing. No matter what you call it, this style of investing is becoming more popular, especially with Millennials. It combines high-profit investing with good moral standards.
Here are 5 reasons why ESG investing is here to stay:
1. Impact Investing Outperforms The Market
Yes, it’s true that socially responsible investments have been a safer bet than sin investments. Over the past 25 years, the MSCI KLD 400 Social Index has outperformed its benchmark by 0.06 percent annually. And this is not an isolated incident. Many funds have outperformed the S&P 500 for decades now, even if the average investor doesn’t notice it.
2. It Is In High Demand
As a result of the high performance, there is a growing demand for SRI investments. Numerous firms have seen a huge increase into impact investing during the last few years, with one firm saying that 10 percent of new money during the past year was for SRI.
The biggest push into SRI might be from Millennials. A 2017 poll from Morgan Stanley found that 86 percent of Millennials are interested in social responsible investing.
3. SRI Companies Follow Strict Criteria
In order to be considered a socially responsible investment, there is a list of criteria that must be followed first. Some of these guidelines include investments in firms that follow water conservation standards, encourage diversity on the board, or champion human rights. Each investment firm will have different criteria to determine if a particular stock meets these strict standards.
Companies that generally follow environmental or social standards tend to be successful. In fact, these SRI standards allow firms to screen out the bad investments and to focus only on the good ones.
4. Companies That Don’t Follow These Guidelines Might Be Shunned
One of the biggest reasons why impact investing is here to stay is because of public support for it. Consumers will tend to support those companies that follow SRI standards. In turn, consumers might also shun away companies that don’t follow these guidelines.
For example, in 2018 there were calls from young gun rights activists for investors to boycott investment management firms BlackRock and Vanguard because of their holdings in gun companies. This shows that young people don’t want to invest in companies that have questionable track records. Instead, they will support companies that have higher standards.
5. There Are Platforms Devoted To Impact Investing
Perhaps the most important reason that impact investing is becoming more mainstream is because there are platforms dedicated just to these types of investments.
One of the best examples is Swell Investing. The platform connects like-minded investors with high-growth companies solving global challenges. Swell Investing offers many portfolios such as renewable energy, green tech, clean water, and healthy living. And it only charges investors a 0.75 percent annual fee. In other words, if you invest $1000, it will only charge you $7.50 a year. Click here to get started with Swell Investing today.
Now that April is over, it is time to focus on the next month with some great May 2018 freebies for all to enjoy.
May has many great holidays, including Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. As a result, there are many opportunities to get some free food and other things. Take advantage of the May 2018 freebies.
Here are 5 examples of May 2018 freebies that you need to get:
1. Free Comic Book Day — Saturday, May 5
This might be the greatest day of the year for comic book fans. Every year for the first Saturday of May, comic book stores hold major family-friendly festivities. Many stories welcome comic book creators to greet loyal fans. And of course, there are plenty of free comic books to give away to fans. Check out a comic book store near you that is participating in 2018.
2. Free Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream — Tuesday, May 8
If you’re on a diet, you can make May 8 your cheat day. Haagen-Dazs is giving out a free ice cream cone at participating locations across the United States. It is during the hours of 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday. And remember to use the hashtag #HDFreeConeDay.
3. Free Garden Tours — Friday, May 11
May 11, 2018 is National Public Gardens Day. The public is invited to visit national public gardens for free. The event is a great way to kick off Mother’s Day weekend. It is also used to build awareness about the importance of community gardening.
4. Free Weinerschnitzel Food — Sunday, May 13
This one is just for moms — because they deserve so much for all they do. Weinerschnitzel is giving away on Mother’s Day a free meal that includes a chili cheese dog, small fries and a small soda to moms. All that’s required is that you have to show proof of “Mom-bership” to get the free Mother’s Day feast.
5. Free Frozen Yogurt for Moms — Sunday, May 13
The mom appreciation continues all throughout Mother’s Day. TCBY is giving out a free 6 oz frozen yogurt to Moms on May 13. In addition, tag a mom in a social media photo with the hashtag #TCBYMOMents for a chance to win a $50 gift card. Moms everywhere will surely enjoy the free frozen yogurt.
With the amount of college debt soaring in the United States, it only makes sense to seek out student loan help from professionals. Unfortunately, some of the student loan debt advice is not good.
It’s only natural to get some student loan debt help, but be careful where you get it from. There are some myths and rumors floating around out there, with cases of people being told that they don’t have to actually pay back their student loans.
Don’t believe everything you read out there. Check with a professional before you make changes to your college debt. Here are 5 examples of student loan help that is just wrong:
1. You Only Need To Make Monthly Minimum Payments
Many people are satisfied with only making their monthly minimum payments, but this is not a viable strategy. Unless there is a penalty, your goal should be to pay off your student loans as soon as possible. Paying off your student loan early means that you won’t have to pay anymore interest (even if it is low and tax deductible). Additionally, paying it off early means that you will have more time to invest your money so that it can grow.
2. You Don’t Have To Actually Pay Your Student Loans
People seeking student loan help might discover that they can avoid paying their debt by deferring it. In fact, more than 3,000 people default on their students loans every day for various reasons. There are numerous repercussions when you don’t pay your loan. First, your credit score will likely drop and you could end up with major legal problems. More importantly, you will not be eligible for student loan forgiveness programs. Also, any loan that is not subsidized by the government will have interest that continues to accumulate.
3. You Shouldn’t Invest In A 529 Plan
529 plans are great way to pay for upcoming college expenses, and thus lowering your need for student loans, because of the tax benefits. However, some people don’t save in a 529 plan because they are afraid that it might diminish their potential federal aid. What most people don’t realize is that if the 529 plan is owned by the parents, it will only impact about 5 percent of financial loan eligibility. In short, more money in a 529 plan means that you will have to borrow less money for college.
4. You Should Get More Student Loans Because You Want To Improve Your Credit Score
There are cases of people who might take out more student loans than what they actually need just to improve their credit score. The problem with this is that the amount of student loans does not impact the credit score. In fact, making timely loan payments has a bigger impact on credit score. Also, it should be noted that a credit score is not the most important financial number.
5. You Should Turn To Credit Cards For Student Loan Help
As a way to get rid of student loan debt, some people might be told to pay off the loans with a credit card and then just pay the credit card off as time goes on. This is a pretty silly move. Interest rates on student loans are low and interest rates on credit cards are high. For the sake of student loan help, please don’t use your credit cards.