Why You Should Be More Like Me

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I’m not kidding.

Oh, that sounded vain?

I’m sorry.

I only wanted to get your attention.

What I meant to say was, your finances are a mess, ahem, I mean, congratulations on that new BMW you financed, that new $400 tablet you just bought, and the wedding you’re planning on credit.

Sounds like you’ve got it all together.

But…just for a second, please, put your new tablet, car keys, and wedding magazine down, and let’s have a chat.

You know when you’re in an interview and they ask where you see yourself in 5 years?

Well, let’s take it a step further.

Where do you see yourself in 30 years?

How much money is in your bank account?

What house do you live in?

What car do you drive?

What are you doing with your time?

You’re probably hoping to have plenty of money in the bank, a nice house, a nice car (or two), and 4 weeks paid vacation at your dream job doing something you love,

I’ve got news for you.

If you keep up your current financial habits, there is an alternate reality that’s in store for you, and it goes like this.

You’re in debt up to your nostrils, you have zero savings, and you spend more than you make. You live paycheck to paycheck trying to float the overwhelming monthly payments. You barely (or don’t) contribute to a 401k, or IRA. You don’t have any investments, and your student loan debt is somehow still looming.

Basically, you’re one accident away from bankruptcy and a life full of stress instead of the bliss you imagined.

Yikes, right?

But right now, you’re young, so you think all that saving and investing stuff is for old, serious people. When you get older and a lot less fun, then you’ll start thinking about responsible things to do with your money. But now? Nah. YOLO!

Ya, I agree, YOLO. So don’t you want your one chance at life to be a raging success? Don’t you want to actually live that life you pictured?

I know I do. That’s why I’m committed to the following financial habits. Feel free to emulate.

My Freaking Awesome Financial Habits:

1. Save like it’s 1929.-This, of course, was the year the Great Depression got off to it’s infamous start.  It was a dark cloud in the history of the United States, but even dark clouds have silver linings. People that lived through it learned how to save. They went to extreme measures out of necessity.

You might argue that their situation was different than yours. But is it? Looks to me like both of you are on the verge of financial ruin. So maybe it’s time to get your frugal on. Don’t know where to start? Start eating at home, quit shopping, and move to smaller living quarters or back in with your parents.

2. Make more money - Again, your YOLO argument also applies here. You only live once, so why would you not work as hard as you can? You already have to work, so why not give it your all?

Making more money doesn’t mean you have to work longer hours. It just means you have to work harder and smarter. Start a side hustle, ask for a promotion, or go job hunting for a better paying position. You could even start selling some of your stuff online or have a garage sale. Every little bit counts.

3. 401k or Bust!- If you tell me you don’t have a 401k, watch out, because I’ll probably smack you. This is one of the easiest ways to set yourself up for success. Most likely your employer will be able to automatically deduct this amount from your paycheck each payday. That way you never even see it. It’s doesn’t get any more brainless than that.

If you don’t have a 401k available, set up an IRA at Vanguard and do the same thing.

4. Knock out debt, then get your invest on. Getting out of consumer debt is priority #1. Those interest rates on consumer debt are going to make it impossible for you to do anything positive with your finances. So, once you get out of high interest debt, start thinking about investing.

Then, in the future, we can sit on our wrap around porches drinking mojitos, eating fajitas, and listening to great music (or whatever your dream looks like) instead of worrying about whether or not your next paycheck will cover your car payment.

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