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9 Must-have Skills to Invest like a Pro

9 Must-have Skills to Invest like a Pro

When people think of investments, they usually associate the word with investment banking or the stock market. In this information age, there are boundless vehicles for building long-term wealth, like real-estate, information marketing, venture capitalism, business ownership, franchise, and network marketing, to name a few.

With pensions on the decline, and with governments less and less able to support their aging population, a comfortable retirement is increasingly becoming an individual’s personal responsibility. It’s now time, more important than ever, for us to sharpen our investment skills to secure our own financial future and security. While we’re at it, why not go for gold and secure our financial freedom too?

Here are 9 must-have skills to invest like a pro.

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1. Delay Your Gratification

A study gave children two marshmallows. The young participants were promised two more if they waited 15 minutes and didn’t eat the marshmallows. The ones who delayed their gratification were much more likely to succeed in life than the children who caved to instant gratification. Pro investors don’t eat the marshmallow. They practice patience and invest up front to reap long-term rewards.

2. Distinguish Myth from Truth

Pro investors don’t believe everything they hear in the News. They base their decisions on advice from mentors who they know have walked their talk. They base their real-estate decisions on economic fundamentals, their online business decisions on client feedback, and their stock investments on trends – not spikes. They don’t panic about looming bubbles, bursts, or crashes.

3. Become Financial Literate

Financial literacy is not a talent reserved exclusively for math geniuses. As Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, teaches: financial literacy is educating yourself on the relationship between income (what comes in), expenses (what goes out), assets (what you own), and liabilities (what you owe). Pro investors work on their business, not in their business. Pro investors also own assets that work for them, rather than them working for money.

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4. Leverage Your Time

Pro investors work smart, not hard. They leverage time by investing early and for the long-term. They leverage other people by hiring them for their time and expertise. They leverage money by using other people’s money to create more money (via mortgages, venture capital, etc.). Delegating tasks is essential to maximizing profits, a la Tim Ferriss – a pro investor who works The 4 Hour Work Week.

5. Discipline Yourself

In this age of social media, there are shiny distractions everywhere. To succeed in building long-term wealth, pro investors practice daily self-discipline. They “wax on” and “wax off” consistently and persistently on their daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals. They don’t get side-tracked by people who are not on track. They prepare their day the night before. They also conquer one big important task, first thing in the morning before they ever open their inbox.

6. Master Your Emotions

I.Q. (intelligence quotient) has taken a backstage to E.Q. (emotional quotient), says Daniel Goleman. E.Q. is a measure of emotional intelligence: the ability to stay calm under stress, think creatively under pressure, and recover quickly under failure. Pro investors don’t have knee-jerk reactions to external circumstances. They pause, quickly weigh their options, and respond in a way that creates the outcome they want.

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7. Just Decide

From the pages of Think and Grow Rich, the premier guide to wealth and business success, pro investors are decisive. They trust their intuition, decide promptly, and course-correct along the way. They don’t fall into the Black Hole of analysis paralysis. Most people follow the ready, aim, fire motto. Pro investors follow the ready, fire, re-aim motto.

8. Persist

Pro investors plan their work and work their plan – even when they don’t feel like it. Once they’ve chosen their investment vehicle, they go deep, not wide. They become experts in their business or investment vehicle. They maintain enthusiasm between highs and lows, wins and failures. They learn and feed those lessons back into their next action step.

9. Lead Yourself, Lead the Team

Pro investors know who they are, leverage their strengths, outsource their weaknesses, and know why they invest. They have a massive vision for their impact in the world, in their community, and in their families. They seek to create meaning through their investment vehicles. They serve others. True leaders don’t just create followers, they create other leaders.

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Are you operating like a professional investor?

How many of these skills do you currently have? How many of these skills do you want to master? Let’s face it, everyone is busy now-a-days. When you ask them what they’re busy with, they don’t always know. Don’t fall prey to busy-ness! Choose a skill that you’d like to sharpen. Every day, take one small step in that direction.

Remember, we all crawl before we walk.

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Published on November 20, 2018

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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