Money is Symbolic

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So you’re ready to start budgeting. Congratulations! It’s a big step towards building wealth.

If you’re not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to discover all the steps you need to build a budget.

Know Your Balance Sheet. Companies maintain and review their “balance sheets” regularly. Balance sheets show assets, liabilities, and equity. Business owners probably wouldn’t be able run their companies successfully for very long without knowing this information and tracking it over time.

You also have a balance sheet, whether you realize it or not. Assets are the things you have, like a car, house, or cash. Liabilities are your debts, like auto loans or outstanding bills you need to pay. Equity is how much of your assets are technically really yours. For example, if you live in a $100,000 house but carry $35,000 on the mortgage, your equity is 65% of the house, or $65,000. 65% of the house is yours and 35% is still owned by the bank.

Pro tip: Why is this important to know? If you’re making a decision to move to a new house, you need to know how much money will be left over from the sale for the new place. Make sure to speak with a representative of your mortgage company and your realtor to get an idea of how much you might have to put towards the new house from the sale of the old one.

Break Everything Down To become efficient at managing your cash flow, start by breaking your spending down into categories. The level of granularity and detail you want to track is up to you. (Note: If you’re just starting out budgeting, don’t get too caught up in the details. For example, for the “Food” category of your budget, you might want to only concern yourself with your total expense for food, not how much you’re spending on macaroni and cheese vs. spaghetti.)

If you typically spend $400 a month on food, that’s important to know. As you get more comfortable with budgeting and watching your dollars, it’s even better to know that half of that $400 is being spent at coffee shops and restaurants. This information may help you eliminate unnecessary expenditures in the next step.

What you spend your money on is ultimately your decision, but lacking knowledge about where it’s spent may lead to murky expectations. Sure, it’s just $10 at the sandwich shop today, but if you spend that 5 days a week on the regular, that expenditure may fade into background noise. You might not realize all those hoagies are the equivalent of your health insurance premium. Try this: Instead of spending $10 on your regular meal, ask yourself if you can find an acceptable alternative for less by switching restaurants.

Once you have a good idea of what you’re spending each month, you’ll need to know exactly how much you make (after taxes) to set realistic goals. This would be your net income, not gross income, since you will pay taxes.

Set Realistic Goals and Readjust. Now that you know what your balance sheet looks like and what your cash flow situation is, you can set realistic goals with your budget. Rank your expenses in order of necessity. At the top of the list would be essential expenses – like rent, utilities, food, and transit. You might not have much control over the rent or your car payment right now, but consider preparing food at home to help save money.

Look for ways you can cut back on utilities, like turning the temperature down a few degrees in the winter or up a few degrees in the summer.

After the essentials would come items like clothes, office supplies, gifts, entertainment, vacation, etc. Rank these in order of importance to you. Consider shopping for clothes at a consignment shop, or checking out a dollar store for bargains on school or office supplies.

Ideally, at the end of the month you should be coming out with money leftover that can be put into an emergency fund. Keep filling your emergency fund until it can cover 3 to 6 months of income.

If you find your budget is too restrictive in one area, you can allocate more to it. (But you’ll need to reduce the money flowing into other areas in the process to keep your bottom line the same.) Ranking expenses will help you determine where you can siphon off money.

Commit To It. Now that you have a realistic budget that contains your essentials, your non-essentials, and your savings goals, stick to it! Building a budget is a process. It may take some time to get the hang of it, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run.

Building Your Budget

People often think of money as a source of stress and anxiety.

And while it’s true that money problems can cause a lot of stress, did you know that financial instability can also lead to health problems?

The research is clear—money woes cause health problems.

Negative wealth shocks (losing 75% of your wealth or more) increase mortality risk over 20 years by 50%.¹

The impact grows more pronounced with age. A Yale study tracked older people recovering from heart attacks. They discovered that heart attack survivors with financial problems were 60% more likely to die within 6 months of leaving the hospital.²

Researchers don’t understand the causal relationship between finances and mortality, but here are a few educated guesses…

Losing money is stressful. And stress has been linked to everything from heart disease to cancer.

Losing money reduces access to medical care. Quality care slips out of financial reach. Even little things like transportation to appointments can become unaffordable.

Losing money can cause a low-quality diet. A combination of stress and living in low-income areas make junk food far more convenient and appealing.

The takeaway? Money problems take a toll on your health. That’s why financial stability should be a top priority for everyone. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, don’t despair. There are steps you can take to get your finances in order. And when you do, you’ll be on your way to better health, too!


¹ “Financial Ruin Can Be Hazardous To Your Health,” Rob Stein, NPR, April 3, 2018, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/04/03/598881797/financial-ruin-can-be-hazardous-to-your-health

² “In Older Adults, Money Problems Linked to Higher Risk of Death Following Heart Attack,” Ashley P. Taylor, Yale School of Medicine, Feb 23, 2022, https://medicine.yale.edu/news-article/in-older-adults-money-problems-linked-to-higher-risk-of-death-following-heart-attack-study/

³ “Stress Can’t Actually Kill You — but How You Deal (or Don’t) Matters,” Lauren Sharkey, Healthline, Apr 28, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/can-stress-kill-you

The Connection Between Health and Wealth

The most dangerous money mistakes are the ones you don’t notice.

Are buying cars you can’t afford and living paycheck-to-paycheck dangerous? Of course! But they’re obvious. Hard to miss. They’re like a voice yelling into a megaphone “Hey! Something’s not right.”

But what about money mistakes that aren’t so obvious? Or even worse, money mistakes disguised as money wisdom?

Those may not devastate your bank account in one swoop. But they often go unaddressed. And overtime, they add up.

So here are money mistakes you might not have noticed.

Penny pinching. Sure, it sounds like a great idea in theory. But when you’re constantly scrimping and saving, it’s tough to enjoy life. What’s the point of working so hard if you can’t even enjoy your money?

Plus, penny pinching can stop you from taking calculated risks that could save your money from stagnation.

So instead of penny pinching, try moderation instead. You may find yourself far more inspired to budget and save then if you commit to complete frugality.

Under and over filling your emergency fund. A lot of people make the mistake of not having an emergency fund at all. It leaves them vulnerable to unexpected expenses and financial emergencies.

When you have too much money in your emergency fund, it’s tough to make any real progress on your long-term financial goals. A good chunk of your net worth gets sunk into money that’s not growing.

The solution? Save up 3 to 6 months of income in an easily accessible account, no more. Use that money to cover emergencies. If it runs low, refill it.

Once your emergency fund is full stocked, devote your income to building wealth.

Leaving goals undefined. It’s tough to achieve a goal you don’t have. And it’s even tougher to achieve a goal that’s fuzzy and undefined.

That uncertainty makes it easy to fudge good financial habits. You don’t see how lapses impact your big picture because you don’t have a big picture,

So when it comes to your money, be specific. Write out your goals and make sure they’re measurable. That way, you can track your progress and ensure you’re on the right track.

Be on the lookout for these dangerous money mistakes. They may seem innocuous, but they can add up over time and stop you from reaching your financial goals. Stay vigilant and steer clear of these traps!

Don’t Become a Victim of These Secret Money Mistakes

Budgeting is essential. But what if you don’t know where to start?

Whether you’re new to the world of budgets or you just want some help, this article will get you started on the right foot. There’s no one way that works for everyone, but these different methods can give you an idea of where to begin.

Method 1: The old fashion way. First, write down your total monthly take home pay. Next, break down your monthly spending into categories and write down how much you spend on each. Add those numbers together. Then, subtract that number from your take home pay.

The advantage of this method is that it’s rewarding. You get to see your budget grow from the ground up. It connects you to your money like few other projects will.

It can, however, be frustrating. You’ll run into snags, miscalculations, and old fashion human error. And that can nip your budget in the bud.

Method 2: Pre-made spreadsheets. This is an easy way to create a customized budget. There are countless templates from Google Drive, Microsoft Office, the Federal Trade Commission, Nerdwallet, and more!

Unfortunately, they still require some legwork. You may need to customize your budget to your specific needs. And they don’t sync with your bank account, meaning you’ll need to manually input your monthly spending.

Method 3: Budget apps. They come in a variety of different flavors, but they all serve a common purpose—make budgeting as simple as possible.

Typically, these apps handle the categorizing and all the math. You simple enter your monthly income, log your spending into categories, and let the app work its magic.

Not all budgeting apps are the same. Some require you to manually enter your spending, while others sync with your bank accounts. Some are free. Some cost money.

Here are a few of the most popular budgeting apps to investigate…

Mint (most popular)

YNAB (You Need a Budget) (Syncs with accounts, cost $84/year)

PocketGuard (Designed for overspenders)

Honeydue (Designed for couples)

There’s not one particular way to begin budgeting. It all depends on your personal needs and what you’re comfortable with.

With so many options, you should be able to find the perfect method for you.

What do you think? Do you have a simple budget? How did you start it?

How to Create a Simple Budget

The Financial Industry loves debt. They love it because it’s how they make money.

And best of all (for them), they use your money to make it happen.

Here’s how it works…

You deposit money at a bank. In return, they pay you interest. It’s just above nothing—the average bank account interest rate is currently 0.06%.¹

But your money doesn’t just sit in the vault. The bank takes your money and loans out in the form of mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards.

And make no mistake, they charge far greater interest than they give. The average interest rate for a mortgage is 3.56%.² That’s a 5833% increase from what they give you for banking with them! And that’s nothing compared to what they charge for credit cards and personal loans.

So it should be no surprise that financial institutions are doing everything they can to convince you to borrow more money than you can afford.

First, they make sure you never learn how money works. Why? Because if you know something like the Rule of 72, you realize that banks are taking advantage of you. They use your money to build their fortunes and give you almost nothing in return.

Second, they manipulate your insecurities. They show you images and advertisements of bigger houses, faster cars, better vacations. And they strongly imply that if you don’t have these, you’re falling behind. You’re a failure. And you may hear it so much that you start to believe it.

Third, they lock you in a cycle of debt. Those hefty car loan and mortgage payments dry up your cash flow, making it harder to make ends meet. And that forces you to take out other loans like credit cards. It’s just a matter of time before you’re spending all your money servicing debt rather than saving for the future.

So if you feel stuck or burdened by your debt, show yourself some grace. Chances are you’ve been groomed into this position by an industry that sees you as a source of income, not a human.

And take heart. Countless people have stuck it to the financial industry and achieved debt freedom. It just takes a willingness to learn and the courage to change your habits.


¹ “What is the average interest rate for savings accounts?” Matthew Goldberg, Bankrate, Feb 3, 2022 https://www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/average-savings-interest-rates/#:~:text=The%20national%20average%20interest%20rate,higher%20than%20the%20national%20average.

² “Mortgage rates hit 22-month high — here’s how you can get a low rate,” Brett Holzhauer, CNBC Select, Jan 24 2022, https://www.cnbc.com/select/mortgage-rates-hit-high-how-to-lock-a-low-rate/

Why The Financial Industry Loves Debt

Are you one of those people who assumes that you’ll never be wealthy?

It’s a common mindset, and it keeps many from reaching their financial goals. But the truth is, anyone can create wealth. You don’t have to be born into money or have some special talent. It all comes down to making a commitment to start building your fortune today.

So why do so many people put off creating wealth until later in life? There are many reasons, but chief among them is fear.

What if, instead of building wealth, you save your money in the wrong place and lose everything?

What if you can’t access money when you need it?

What if I confirm this deep seated suspicion that I don’t know what I’m doing?

But here’s the truth— you’re better positioned to start building wealth today than you ever will again. That’s because your money has more time to grow and compound today than it will in the future.

That’s especially true in your 20s and 30s. But it’s also true if you’re 45 or 55. The best time to build wealth is right now, this very moment.

So what can you do? How can you leverage this moment to start building wealth? Here are a few simple financial concepts you can use right away.

Create an emergency fund. I know it seems counterintuitive, especially if your credit is in shambles or you have many other debts to pay off. But the truth is, building an emergency fund is one of the best ways to begin building wealth, because it gives you a margin of safety. If you have money saved for a rainy day, you won’t have to turn to expensive credit cards or high interest loans when life throws you a curveball. Instead, you can take care of things with your own savings and move on.

Automate saving right now. The best way to start building wealth is to put something away every month. Forget about how much you’re putting away or your interest rate. For now, just put something away, even if it’s just $5. You can work with a financial professional to boost those numbers later on. The important thing is to start now.

If you want to learn more about how to start building wealth today, let’s chat. I’d love to help you set some goals and create a plan for getting there. We all deserve financial security, regardless of our age or income level. So let’s find out how we can get started today.

Why It's Time To Create Wealth

You can’t afford to live in a world of denial.

If you want to maintain your budget and save money, then you need a plan. The first step is understanding the basics—what is a budget? How does it work? What are the benefits of having one?

To effectively manage your monthly budget, you must take certain steps from day one. This article will provide some helpful tips and tricks on how to get started and keep going strong until payday rolls around!

What is a budget?

A budget is a plan. It helps you set limits for your spending, so that you can track your income and expenses. Having a budget is important because it keeps you aware of when you are spending too much or if there are ways your money could be saved.

It can also help you understand your spending habits as well as identify problem areas, such as overspending on credit cards or buying expensive lattes every day. With a clear understanding of how you spend money every month, you can reduce expenses and even start saving for luxuries or emergencies. You can’t have a goal of saving for your next vacation if you don’t know how much money you’re spending every month.

How to create your budget

The first step is to set goals for yourself for income and spending. When it comes to income, you need to consider all the ways you get paid. Do you have a job? Is your employer cutting back your hours? Do you have another source of income such as side jobs or freelance work?

Be completely honest with yourself about how much money you have coming in. Once this figure is known, you can assess your spending and determine how much of your income goes towards them every month.

Next, make a list of all fixed monthly bills, such as rent or loan repayments. Make a list of variable expenses, such as groceries or gas. Lastly, make a list of all your monthly discretionary spending, or ‘fun money’.

If you struggle with this last step, look at your bank statements. It’s the easiest way to find a complete record of your spending. This will help you pinpoint the areas that you could cut down on or even eliminate.

Leverage your budget

Now that you have your budget, you can take action. You can save money by leveraging your budget to meet your monthly goals.

The first way is to leverage your income. If you have a job, talk to your employer about working extra hours, or ask for a raise. This will give you more money without having to spend any more than you already are through increased expenses.

Beyond the extra income from a job, there are many other ways to add to your budget.

You can start small and pick up some side work—babysitting, another job or delivering pizzas etc. If you can turn your free time into money, go for it! This all depends on your financial situation and what you feel comfortable with, so take the time to plan accordingly.

You can also think about reducing your expenses. Cutting back on luxury items can save money every month without having to work an extra job. Just think of all the things you could do with the money that’s currently going towards cable TV or eating out at expensive restaurants!

Don’t forget to have some fun every once in a while. Just find creative ways to have it on a budget. Plan more outings with friends, rather than going out every evening, or go to free local events.

A budget is a way for you to track your expenses and income each month. You can leverage your budget in a number of ways, by increasing income or decreasing expenses. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to save more and plan for the future.

Managing Your Monthly Budget

Need an income boost, but not sure where to start? Then you need to encounter the Cash Flow Quadrant.

It’s a concept pioneered by Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad Poor Dad fame. And it’s one of the best explanations of creating income around.

Here’s what it looks like…

Employee——Entrepreneur

Freelancer—–Investor

The employee and freelancer trade their time for money.

The entrepreneur and investor create or purchase income generating assets.

Think about what an employee does. They show up, punch in, and work for a set number of hours. In exchange, they either get paid by the hour or a set annual salary.

If they’re extra conscientious, they may get a raise or bonus as a reward. But their income is entirely dependent on the good graces and success of their boss. They never directly enjoy the fruits of their labor.

The same is true for the freelancer. Sure, they enjoy greater independence than an employee, but they’re still trading their time for money. Think of them as a mercenary rather than a soldier.

Compare that with the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur creates a system for delivering a service that’s duplicatable.

Let’s say you start a lemonade stand. You put up a few bucks to buy some lemons, sugar, cups, a cooler, and stand. It’s a risk—there’s no guarantee that’ll find any customers.

Fortunately, it’s a hit—the neighbors line up to enjoy your refreshing beverage!

After a few days, you’re swimming in cash. In fact, you earn enough to open another lemonade stand. So you buy the same supplies, and hire a friend to run the new location. Just like that, you’ve scaled your lemonade business.

Eventually, you have so many lemonade stands that you don’t have to manage one yourself. Instead, through initiative and upfront commitment, you’ve created an income stream. That’s how entrepreneurship works.

But now suppose that a friend comes along. She’s been eyeing your success and wants in. She’ll put up the cash to open another ten lemonade stands across the neighborhood (it’s a BIG neighborhood).

In exchange, she gets a slice of the profits from all the stands. She takes on some risk by giving you money in exchange for some income. In other words, she’s an investor. She’s using her money to earn more money.

There are two critical points to notice about the entrepreneur and the investor.

They take risks. Starting a business is a risk. Giving money to an entrepreneur is a risk. Being an employee is consistent—you give X amount of time, you get X amount of money. Entrepreneurs and investors commit resources to projects with no guarantee of success.

They have far greater potential. There are only so many hours you can trade for money. When successful, entrepreneurs and investors have far more resources at their disposal to trade for money.

Simply put, entrepreneurs and investors face greater risks, and greater potential rewards.

Which quadrant generates most of your income? Is there a quadrant you would like to explore further?

The Cash Flow Quadrant

The goal of this article is to empower you to take bold action.

You want to increase your income and be your own boss. Who doesn’t? You just need the practical know-how to overcome your fear and start the journey.

So turn off the YouTube videos and fire up Google Docs. Here’s how to choose the right side gig for you.

Step 1: List your hobbies. Passions make excellent side gigs. Why? Because they leverage skills you already have, and likely command your attention and interest. Those are critical ingredients for success.

It doesn’t matter how niche or strange your hobby might be. Write it down. In fact, the more oddball your interest, the more potential you may have more monetizing it.

Step 2: Evaluate the market. Simply put, can your skills solve a widespread problem? If so, then you have a potential client base at your fingertips.

Those problems may not seem obvious at first. But you will certainly be surprised by what people will pay for.

Not knowing how to play an instrument is a huge problem for music lovers.

Lacking time to decorate and organize is a huge problem for type A personalities.

Social Media illiteracy is a huge problem for older people starting small businesses.

All of those problems are opportunities to boost your income, if you have the skills to solve them. It just takes some time and creativity to identify problems.

Step 3: Size up the competition. But here’s the catch—there might be hundreds, or even thousands, of others seeking to solve the same problems as you. In fact, your competitors might have a stranglehold on your target market.

However, if your skills or niche are highly specific you could have a rare opportunity on your hands. You could eventually scale your side gig income to replace your day job!

This leads to a critical principle for deciding which side gig is right for you…

Opportunity lies at the intersection of high demand and low supply.

The more people demand a service, and the fewer competitors already providing it, the greater your likelihood of success.

There’s just one factor left to consider…

Step 4: Weigh costs against rewards. Starting a business requires a combination of time, effort, and money. No exceptions. The question is whether—and when—the rewards will outweigh the costs.

Starting a car manufacturing business? Good luck—you’ll require a huge amount of capital, and won’t see profits for years.

Refurbing curb-side furniture with tools and skills your grandpa left you? Hats off—your start up costs are almost zero, beyond some time and energy.

In summary, you want a side gig that…

• Aligns with your skills and passions

• Solves a major problem for many people

• Lacks competitors

• Offers high rewards with small costs

Which side gig fits that bill for you? Whatever it is, let’s chat about it. We can discuss what it would look like for you to start pursuing it today.

How to Choose a Side Gig

You walk out of the office like a brand new person.

That’s because you’ve done it—you’re going to be earning a lot more money with that raise. The first thing that pops in your head? All the fancy new things you can afford.

Dates. Your apartment. Vacation. They’re all going to be better now that you’ve got that extra money coming in.

And to be fair, all of those things CAN get substantially fancier after your income increases.

But one thing may not change—you still might end up living paycheck to paycheck.

Why? Because your lifestyle became more extravagant as your income increased. Instead of using the boost in cash flow to build wealth, it all went to new toys.

This phenomenon is called “lifestyle inflation”. It’s why you might know people who earn plenty of money and have nice houses, but still seem to struggle with their finances. The greater the income, the higher the stress. As Biggie put it, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.”

The takeaway? The next time you get a raise, do nothing. Act like nothing has changed. Go celebrate at your favorite restaurant. Keep saving for your new treat. But you’ll thank yourself if you devote the lion’s share of your new income to either reducing debt or building wealth.

Rest assured, there will be plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the future. But for now, keep your eyes on the most important prize—building wealth for you and your family’s future.

How NOT To Spend Your Next Raise

Wealth, simply put, is the stockpile of resources you have at your disposal.

The rarer the resource, the “wealthier” you are.

On a surface level, that definition conforms to the common stereotypes of wealth. Can we all agree that a stacked bank account is a rare and precious resource?

But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that wealth takes many shapes and forms.

Your knack for finding the right word at the right time?

Your secret talent for creating with your hands?

Your indestructible support network that’s there for you, no matter what?

Those are all resources. Those are all rare. Those are all wealth. They just don’t have a dollar value… yet.

To be fair, you shouldn’t monetize all of your assets, especially if those assets are people. Leveraging your network for money is something that must be done with the utmost care and respect, if at all.

But the fact remains that you likely possess an abundance of resources that could be converted into increased cash flow. Your talents, your ability, and your time are all precious assets that have the potential to boost your income.

The takeaway? When you break it down, you’re wealthier than you may think. The real question is, how will you monetize the resources you’ve been given?

Deconstructing Wealth

It’s official—Americans aren’t going back to work.

Even though there were 10 million job openings in June of 2021.¹

If you’ve been out and about, you’ve seen firsthand that jobs aren’t getting filled.

You may have noticed the signs at your local grocery store. Or the longer wait at your favorite restaurant. Or slower service from businesses you depend on.

They all stem from the same source. Americans aren’t rushing back to work.

But why? The COVID-19 pandemic caused mass unemployment and havoc for millions of American families. Wouldn’t they want to start earning money again, ASAP?

It’s not the unemployment benefits holding them back. For many, those dried up months ago, and the numbers still haven’t budged.²

And again, it’s not that there aren’t jobs. There are millions of opportunities out there!

Here’s an idea—many people have woken up to the fact that most jobs suck.

Most jobs leave you completely at the mercy of your boss. If they mismanage the business, your job’s in danger. If you want a bigger bonus, your job’s in danger. If another pandemic breaks out, your job’s in danger.

They give you no control over your hours, your income, your location, or your future.

Who would want to go back to that?

Instead, Americans are looking for a better opportunity. They want control of their future, their wealth, and their hours. They want to replace the insecurity of a 9 to 5 with more reliable sources of income.

If they see an opportunity that checks those boxes, they’ll be willing to re-enter the workforce.

Americans are looking for a better path. The million dollar question is, who will provide it for them?


¹ “Many Americans aren’t going back to work, but it’s not for the reason you might expect,” Paul Brandus, MarketWatch, Aug 14, 2021, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/many-americans-arent-going-back-to-work-but-its-not-for-the-reason-you-might-expect-11628772985

² “What states are ending federal unemployment benefits early? See who has cut the extra $300 a week,” Charisse Jones, USA Today, Jul 1, 2021, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2021/07/01/unemployment-benefits-covid-federal-aid-ending-early-many-states/7815341002/

Why People Aren't Going Back to Work

“Money can buy you happiness.”

Well, not exactly. But money CAN help remove stressors that impact your happiness.

A new study by Penn State University revealed that happiness increases with income. On the surface, that may appear obvious.

But in fact, people who equated their self-worth with money were LESS satisfied with their lives.

So it’s not the money itself that brings happiness.

Instead, money can provide security and freedom. It helps eliminate the fear of going without, and opens up choices for how to live your life.

Think of it as a foundation for investing in the things that matter most, like…

- Your relationships

- Your career

- Your life mission

If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be this…

Money itself isn’t the goal. It’s a tool to help you achieve your goals.

So keep your eyes on what matters most, like your family and mission. Then, take an inventory of ways money can help you safeguard and pursue the things you value. That’s how money can help you “buy” happiness.

The Truth About Money And Happiness

Diversification is a key strategy for anyone who’s serious about building wealth.

That’s because no single source of income or wealth is perfect. They’re all subject to ups and downs, highs and lows.

Think of it like going to the golf range and handing the caddie an armful of drivers. You’ll make powerful drives every time, but what happens when it’s time to putt? Even worse, how will you escape bunkers?

It’s a classic case of too much of a good thing. If you’re a serious player and plan to play for the long run, your golf bag needs a variety of clubs—a few different irons, wedges, and putters—to handle whatever challenges you’ll face during the game.

The same is true of building wealth.

You need…

-Different accounts that each leverage the power of compound interest.

-Income streams besides your main job.

-Savings that feature at least some protection against loss.

It’s not a silver bullet. But diversification can offer a layer of protection against the ups and downs of the economy. It can also provide you with supplemental income during lean times.

So how can you start diversifying today? Here are a few ideas…

Start a side hustle.

This simple strategy can diversify your income sources. Regardless of what’s happening at your 9-to-5 job, you can count on your side hustle to help generate cash flow.

Meet with a financial professional.

A licensed and qualified financial professional can help you implement diversification in your savings. This could make a huge difference in protecting your wealth from the ups and downs of a changing economy.

Contact me if you want to discover what this strategy would look like for you. We can review what you’ve saved thus far and check your opportunities for diversification.

Too Much of a Good Thing

“I want passive income!”, said the community of struggling entrepreneurs (and retirees).

“But what exactly is passive income?” they asked. A simple Google search revealed thousands of articles with a common theme—passive income is money you make while you sleep!

But is passive income really possible, or does it just live in the dreams of people looking for a way to make money without working?

To answer that question, let’s look at what passive income is (and isn’t). Then you can see if it will work for you!

Passive income, generally speaking, is a product or service that requires an upfront investment of time, effort, or wealth to create.

Examples include…

Rental properties that require wealth to purchase, and are cared for by a property manager while creating rental income

Books, music, and courses that required time and creativity to create and now generate income without regular upkeep

Investing wealth in a business as a silent partner and taking a slice of their revenue

Can those income sources generate cash flow while you sleep? Of course! But notice that all of those opportunities require either work or resources that can only be acquired by work.

Does that mean you shouldn’t prioritize passive income sources? No! They can sometimes provide the financial stability you need.

Just don’t expect a passive income stream to effortlessly appear in your lap.

Remember, there is no such thing as free money. All wealth building opportunities require time, effort, and energy to reach their full potential.

If you want to learn more about creating passive income sources, contact me. We can review your talents, your situation, and your dreams to determine smart strategies for developing passive income.

Passive Income Requires Work

Does retirement income sound like an oxymoron? It’s understandable—most people’s only source of income is their job.

But by definition, your job ceases to become your source of income once you retire.

Instead, you’ll need to tap into new forms of cash flow that, most likely, will need to be prepared beforehand.

Here are the most common sources of retirement income. Take note, because they could be critical to your retirement strategy.

Social Security. It’s simple—you pay into social security via your taxes, and you’re entitled to a monthly check from Uncle Sam once you retire. It’s no wonder why it’s the most commonly utilized source of retirement income.

Just know that social security alone may not afford you the retirement lifestyle you desire—the average monthly payment is only $1,543.¹ Fortunately, it’s far from your only option.

Retirement Saving Accounts. These types of accounts might be via your employer or you might have one independently. They are also popular options because they can benefit from the power of compound interest. The assumption is that when you retire, you’ll have grown enough wealth to live on for the rest of your life.

But they aren’t retirement silver bullets. They often are exposed to risk, meaning you can lose money as well as earn it. They also might be subject to different tax scenarios that aren’t necessarily favorable.

If you have a retirement savings account of any kind, meet with a licensed and qualified financial professional. They can evaluate how it fits into your overarching financial strategy.

Businesses and Real Estate. Although they are riskier and more complex, these assets can also be powerful retirement tools.

If you own a business or real estate, it’s possible that they can sustain the income generated by their revenue and rents, respectively, through retirement. Best of all, they may only require minimal upkeep on your part!

Again, starting a business and buying properties for income carry considerable risks. It’s wise to consult with a financial professional and find experienced mentorship before relying on them for retirement cash flow.

Part-time work. Like it or not, some people will have to find opportunities to sustain their lifestyle through retirement. It’s not an ideal solution, but it may be necessary, depending on your financial situation.

You may even discover that post-retirement work becomes an opportunity to pursue other hobbies, passions, or interests. Retirement can be about altering the way you live, not just having less to do.

You can’t prepare for retirement if you don’t know what to prepare for. And that means knowing and understanding your options for creating a sustainable retirement income. If unsure of how you’ll accomplish that feat, sit down with your financial professional. They can help you evaluate your position and create a realistic strategy that can truly prepare you for retirement.


¹ “How much Social Security will I get?” AARP, Jun 21, 2021, https://www.aarp.org/retirement/social-security/questions-answers/how-much-social-security-will-i-get.html#:~:text=The%20amount%20you%20are%20entitled,2021%20is%20%241%2C543%20a%20month.

Common Sources of Retirement Income

“Opportunity cost” refers to what you can potentially lose by choosing one option over another – even when you aren’t thinking about it.

Nearly every choice you make precludes something else that might have been.

Opportunity cost exists in everything from relationships to finances to career choices, but here we’ll focus on that last one. Over a lifetime, the cost of career decisions can be massive.

The math. For opportunity costs that can be measured, usually in dollars, there’s even a math equation.

Return on opportunity A / Return on opportunity B = Opportunity cost¹

Let’s say you have two career choices. One is to work as a mechanic at $50 per hour and the other is to work as a karate instructor at $20 per hour.

Opportunity A / Opportunity B = Opportunity cost

Here it is with numbers: $50 / $20 = $2.50

To translate that, for every $1 you earn as a karate instructor, you could have earned $2.50 as a mechanic. The ratio remains the same whether it’s for one hour worked or 1,000 hours worked because it’s based on earnings per hour.

Adding a time element. We can only work a certain number of hours in a week and we can only work for a certain number of years in a lifetime. Adding time into the discussion doesn’t change the math relationship between the opportunities but it does recognize real-world constraints. Sometimes these limits are by choice. You could be both a full-time mechanic and a full-time karate instructor, but most people don’t want to work 80 hours per week. Something has to give, and that’s where considering opportunity cost comes in.

If you only want to work 40 hours in a week, you’ll have to choose one career over the other or split your time between the two. But even in splitting your time, there is an opportunity cost. Think about it like this: Every hour spent in a lower paying job costs money if you had an opportunity to earn more doing something else.

The bigger picture. In our example using the mechanic vs. the karate instructor, the difference in annual income is over $60,000 per year ($104,000 minus $41,600). Over a 40-year working career, the difference in earnings is nearly $2.5 million, and it all happened one hour at a time.

Life balance. Your career choice shouldn’t just be about money – you should do something you enjoy and that gives you satisfaction. There may be several other considerations as well – like opportunity to travel, the kind of people you work with, and the greater contribution you can make to the world. However, if there are two choices that meet all your criteria but one pays a bit more, just do the math!


¹ “How to Calculate Opportunity Cost for Each Business Decision,” Brex, Oct 26, 2021, https://www.brex.com/blog/how-to-calculate-opportunity-cost/

Opportunity Cost And Your Career

So you’ve set some financial goals. Good for you!

But not all goals are created equal. Planning to win the lottery is a foolish objective that won’t help you fulfill your dreams. Spending hours clipping coupons worth a few dollars is probably a waste of time.

Fortunately, establishing proper goals is actually incredibly straightforward. You want to pursue objectives that are SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Formulating these types of goals can radically focus your energy and increase your ability to get things done. Let’s start with the first criteria!

Specific. The more specific your goal, the more clearly you’ll understand exactly what you need to do to achieve it. It’s the difference between a vague daydream and a solid plan.

When writing out your financial goals, be crystal clear on exactly what you want to accomplish and why. Outline the steps and people needed to bring about your vision. Something like “I want to make more money” becomes “I want to earn a raise at work by taking on more responsibility.”

Measurable. How will you know if you’ve accomplished, exceeded, or failed your goal? Including a clear metric gives you insight into how close or far you are from completing your objective.

Decide on a clear numeric goal you can shoot for. Take a vague notion like “I want to save more money” and transform it into “I want to save 15% of my income this year for retirement.” You’ll have a clearer idea of what steps you need to take to meet that benchmark and feel a deep sense of reward once you hit the target.

Achievable. Trying to attain an ill-defined, pie-in-the-sky goal will only lead to crazy behavior, incredible discouragement, or both. If you’re aiming for something huge (which is admirable), break it down into mini goals and focus on one at a time. Achieving a goal like “I want to start a multi-million dollar business” takes careful planning, a lot of research, and loads of help, but there are many, many people in the world who have done just that. How do you eat an elephant? (One bite at a time!)

Relevant. Are your goals appropriate? That seems like an obvious question, but it’s a critical one to ask when establishing objectives. For instance, saving up $1,000 so you can buy your new niece a Swarovski crystal, gold-plated baby rattle (yes, that’s a real thing) might be really memorable, but do you have an emergency fund in place? Make sure you’re meeting those practical, basic financial goals before you start aiming for the non-essential ones.

Time-sensitive. Knowing that the clock is ticking is one of the most powerful motivators on the planet. You’ll want to establish a realistic time-frame, but deciding that you want to buy a house in two years or be debt free in six months can increase your intensity, narrow your focus, and inspire you to start working on your goals as soon as possible!

Do your financial goals meet these criteria? If not, don’t sweat it! Spend 15 minutes reviewing your objectives and work in specific details or break down some of your more ambitious targets. Remember, I’m here to help if you hit a financial goal roadblock and need some professional insight and clarity!

Setting SMART Financial Goals

Debt is expensive.

Americans spend about 34% of their income on servicing their mortgages, car loans, and, of course, credit cards.¹

Assuming a household income of $68,703, that translates to roughly $23,359 going down the drain each and every year.²

Obviously, converting that money from debt maintenance to wealth building would be a dream come true for most Americans. But there’s more at stake here than retirement strategies.

The true cost of debt is your peace of mind.

Take the example from above. A third of your income is going towards debt and the rest is split up between everyday living and transportation expenses. You feel you can make ends meet as long as the money keeps coming in.

But what happens if a recession causes massive layoffs? Or if a pandemic shuts down the economy for months?

The sad fact is that the hamster wheel of debt prevents a huge chunk of Americans from saving enough to cover even a brief window of unemployment, let alone a shutdown!

That lack of financial security can have serious repercussions, including bankruptcy. And feeling like you’re always one unexpected emergency away from a financial crisis can result in a myriad of mental health issues. Numerous studies have shown that high levels of debt increase anxiety, depression, anger, and even divorce.³

Conquering debt isn’t about changing numbers on a page. It’s about reclaiming your peace. It’s about securing financial stability for you and your family. Your income is a powerful tool if you can protect it from lenders.

If you’re stressed about debt and seeking some relief, let me know. We can review your situation together and come up with a game plan that will recover the financial security that’s rightfully yours.


¹ “Study: Americans Spend One-Third of Their Income on Debt,” Maurie Backman, The Ascent, Mar 6, 2020, https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/credit-cards/articles/study-americans-spend-one-third-of-their-income-on-debt/#:~:text=And%20recent%20data%20from%20Northwestern,feel%20guilty%20about%20their%20predicament

² “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2019,” Jessica Semega, Melissa Kollar, Emily A. Shrider, and John Creamer, United States Census Bureau, Sept 15, 2020, https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2020/demo/p60-270.html#:~:text=Median%20household%20income%20was%20%2468%2C703,and%20Table%20A%2D1)

³ “The Emotional Effects of Debt,” Kristen Kuchar, The Simple Dollar, Oct 28, 2019, https://www.thesimpledollar.com/credit/manage-debt/the-emotional-effects-of-debt/?/186

The True Cost of Debt

We’ve all probably heard someone talk on social media about their “hustle” or “side gig.”

It’s in style; and it makes sense—and cents? Gigs are now just a click or tap away on most of our devices, and a little extra money never hurts! Here are a few things to consider when starting up a side hustle.

What are your side hustle goals? We typically think of a side hustle as being an easy way to score a little extra cash. But they can sometimes be gateways into bigger things. Do you have skills that you’d like to develop into a full time career? A passion that you can turn into a business? Or do you just need some serious additional income to pay down debt? These considerations can help you determine how much time and money you invest into your gig and what gigs to pursue.

What are your marketable skills? Some gigs don’t require many skills beyond a serviceable car and a driver’s license. But others can be great outlets for your hobbies and skills. Love writing? Start freelancing on your weekends. Got massive gains from hours at the gym and love the outdoors? Start doing moving jobs in your spare time. You might be surprised by the demand for your passions!

Keep it reasonable. Burnout is no joke. Some people thrive on 80 hour work weeks between jobs and side hustles, but don’t feel pressured to bite off more than you can chew. Consider how much you’re willing to commit to your gigs and don’t exceed that limit.

One great thing about side hustles is their flexibility. You choose your level of commitment, you find the work, and your success can depend on how much you put in. Consider your goals and inventory your skills to get there—and start hustling!

Pro-Tips for Side Gig Beginners