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How to Find Your Freakin’ Footing and Start Making Money on Your Own Terms

How to Find Your Freakin’ Footing and Start Making Money on Your Own Terms

    “Riches come, if they come at all, in response to definite demands, based upon the application of definite principles, and not by chance or luck.” – Napoleon Hill

    Making millions of dollars would be great – but right now, you’re more concerned about paying your cable bill so that you don’t have to steal Wi-Fi from Starbucks in order to write your new blog post.

    Landing on the New York Times Bestsellers list would be stupendous—but right now you’re just trying to find an hour to write amidst working to support yourself and doing the damn dishes and all of those other responsibilities that get in your way.

    Yes, having it all – “the babe, the boat, the bucks” as Danielle LaPorte (http://www.daniellelaporte.com) so bluntly puts it—is ideal. But right now, you’re just trying to make ends meet. If only you could make enough money to live off of, you could quit your job and focus. But right now, that seems totally unrealistic. A pipedream.

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    One: Exactly How Much Money Do You Need?

    “Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say ‘I want plenty of money.’ Be definite as to the amount.” – Napoleon Hill

    Want to make enough money to support yourself? Tell me, how much do you need?

    You don’t need to think about how much money you need for the rest of your days on planet Earth. That’s ridiculous. How could you possibly predict what you’ll want in 15 years?

    Instead, reel in your ambitions and make a plan for one year from now. To get crystal clear, ask yourself the following questions:

    1. In one year, what does your life look like? (Write as much detail as possible the place you live, how often you go out to eat, what you do on the weekends).
    2. How much money will it cost for you to live reasonably?

    That’s it.

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    In order to figure out your monthly expenses, try Tim Ferriss’ Monthly Expense Calculator.

    Then, once you have an exact figure…

    Two: Decide what you’ll exchange for the cash.

      If you want the money, you’ll have to exchange something for it.

      To figure out what to exchange for money, ask yourself the following questions:

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      1. What are my strengths + skills?
      2. What types of products + services can I provide?
      3. What will people actually pay for?

      Not sure what you’re good at? Here is a Skills + Strengths worksheet that I created.

      Don’t get bogged down trying to find your one-true-love. Once you’ve come up with 10 ideas, start testing them immediately. You’ll find your passion eventually, but doing so requires action.

      Do your research. Ask people what they’d pay you to do. Test your new service on them for free first.

      Don’t think you have what it takes? Hmm… I think this article titled “How to Really Start a Business” will make you think twice.

      Three: Plan and take Action!

      Once you’ve stumbled on a workable idea? Set some concrete goals, kid. I’ve personally just created my own concrete plan called “Project Moolah”.

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      Break it up into chunks. If your plan is to start earning $1,000 a month by this time next year, you’ll want to figure out how much money you’ll need to rake-in every few months until then.

      When you have a plan, you’ll have motivation on the not-so-inspired days. When you have a plan, you’ll know what steps to take every day. When you have a plan, you reach your goals.

      Making money is hard work, and I guarantee that you’ll have to make some uncomfortable phone calls. But if you want a great life, you have to do great things.

      You can see my Project Moolah breakdown here.

      Does the thought of starting your own business have you feeling totally overwhelmed? You don’t have to use the word business just yet! Think of it this way: you are on a journey to create financial freedom. You’re breaking through the barriers of mediocrity. You’re starting the life that you’re supposed to be living.

      Bombs away!

      (Photo credit: Fresh Leaf Growing on Gold Hill via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on June 6, 2019

      The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

      The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

      Are you on track for retirement?

      If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

      Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

      But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

      If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

      What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

      Saving for retirement is tricky.

      Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

      Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

      Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

      Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

      20’s – $16,000

      During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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      Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

      30’s – $45,000

      At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

      Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

      40’s – $63,000

      This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

      50’s – $115,000

      During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

      60’s – $172,000

      By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

      Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

      The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

      Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

      First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

      Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

      Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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      How to Save Money Each Month

      By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

      But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

      Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

      Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

      Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

      Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

      Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

      To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

      How?

      By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

      Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

      If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

      Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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      Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

      Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

      When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

      Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

      Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

      If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

      Why?

      You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

      Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

      Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

      Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

      After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

      You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

      By starting a side-business.

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      This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

      The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

      So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

      Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

      Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

      What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

      My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

      Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

      For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

      If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

      Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

      Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

      Reference

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