Why Downturns Are ‘a Real Opportunity to Create Wealth’

Last week, the U.S. stock market finished its best week since 2009, with the S&P 500, a major benchmark for the overall economy, up 10 percent. In normal times, a move like that would be something investors would be more than happy to get in an entire year, let alone in a few days.

Of course, context is important. Amid concerns about the health and economic toll of the coronavirus outbreak, the S&P 500 remains in a bear market, defined as a decline of at least 20 percent from a recent high. And the index dropped again this week: as of April 1, the S&P was down about 27 percent from its February 19 high. But perspective is crucial:

“We will get through this,” says Skip Johnson, co-founder of Great Waters Financial.

He and other experts caution that selling right now could be the most expensive mistake of your investing career.

Here’s why.

‘Decades matter’

The current bear market is the sixth for the S&P 500 since 1970, according to data compiled by Yardeni Research. Looking back at those past five downturns, there’s been a consistent theme: The S&P 500 has always recovered and gone on to new highs. Within a decade of each bear market, the index had gone on to gain an average of nearly 240 percent, according to FactSet data analyzed by Grow.

“What’s happening now doesn’t matter; decades matter,” says Nick Yrizarry, president and chief executive officer of Align Wealth Advisors. “No matter, through thick and thin, you stick with it,” he says.

Investors who continue to invest will find a stock market with lower prices, offering a greater chance of future returns. “That’s where your success is going to come now,” he adds.

Learning from this sell-off

This may be the first bear market you’ve experienced as an investor. But you can expect a handful of these over the next decades.

“For those investors who are kicking themselves asking, Why didn’t I get out?” says Tom Stringfellow, the president and chief investment officer of Frost Investment Advisors. “The reason is simple: There was really nothing out there that said this could happen so quickly.”

Timing the market is nearly impossible. Remember: You’re investing for the long haul. “Changing market conditions doesn’t mean you change your investing philosophy,” Johnson says.

Seven Side Hustles That Anyone Can Do

There are dozens of ways to pick up some money on the side, and the amount of expertise and time required can vary widely. If you’re looking for some side gigs that don’t require a creative streak or a specific skill set, these seven are a good place to start. They’re relatively flexible, don’t rely on additional training and can pay out hundreds per month, depending on the time you put into them.

1. Dog walking

According to Angie’s List, dog walkers can charge up to $30 for a 30-minute walk. Staying active and petting cute animals? That’s a win. Find clients at dog parks or on neighborhood bulletin boards, by spreading the word to friends and acquaintances or signing up for apps like Wag! or Rover (which both take a cut of your earnings).

2. TaskRabbit

On the TaskRabbit platform, you can find hourly or project-based work for all sorts of chores and handyman tasks, from assembling furniture to picking up dry cleaning. Some TaskRabbit users will pay you just to stand in line on their behalf for stuff like theatre tickets or the latest iPhone. One survey estimates TaskRabbit workers’ earnings to average $380 per month.

3. Remote English teacher

If you’re fluent in English and hold a bachelor’s degree (in any subject), consider teaching English online. TeachAway estimates you can make $14 to $23 per hour working with high school students, especially if you’re available during hours that work for students in Asia (such as 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on weekdays).

4. Remote customer service

Basically, you work as a customer service agent for a company for about $10 an hour—but from the comfort of your own home. Check out Remote.co, SkipTheDrive and Indeed for job listings.

5. U.S. Census Bureau temp worker

The Census Bureau is seeking temp workers nationwide to assist with the 2020 Census for roles ranging from census takers to clerical assistance. You must be a U.S. citizen over 18 and willing to complete a background check. Apply online here. Pay rates vary by area, ranging from $12 to $25 per hour.

6. Standardized patient

Standardized patients are used to help teach medical students. Basically, you’re given a list of symptoms to memorize and the students will try to diagnose you—kind of like you’re an actor on “House.” Earnings vary by location, but Nuevoo lists an average pay rate of $17 per hour.

7. Data entry

Typically, you don’t need any special skills or training to get started doing online data entry, which Time says you can make $12.70 per hour doing. Check out listings on Indeed and ZipRecruiter.

BELOW IS A GREAT SIDE HUSTLE. CHECK IT OUT.

IMAGINE HAVING ENOUGH MONEY TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, DRIVING YOUR DREAM CAR, RETIRING SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!

CLICK: understandingmoneypays.com

WATCH THE FREE VIDEO THAT EXPLAINS

THEN CALL OR TEXT ME AT: (954) 317-0430 OR CLICK ENROLL NOW

THAT’S IT.

YOU ARE ALWAYS ONE DECISION AWAY FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT LIFE!

HAVE A AWESOME DAY!      DAVID GRAY

How to Set a Plan to Pay Off Debt

Before you do anything, it’s important to know exactly what your outstanding debts are. Make a list of them, including key details like the interest rate, balances, lender and any important details like the expiration date of a promo rate. Mapping out your repayment needs will keep you organized and help you take charge of your debt.

Pick a pay-off strategy

The “avalanche” method, which prioritizes larger, higher-interest debts, is great for keeping your outstanding balance under control. The “snowball” method, which prioritizes checking smaller debts off your to-do list first, can give you a greater degree of confidence when it comes time to pay off the bigger debts. The “blizzard” method, which means alternating between “avalanche” and “snowball,” can also be really efficient. In addition, it’s important to know how much or how little you can realistically put toward any individual payments. While you consider a method, think about any debt-specific strategies that could help, like reevaluating your student loan repayment options, refinancing your mortgage, or even filing taxes separately from your spouse. Consolidating some of your credit card balances can also make debt repayment easier: You may be able to get a lower interest rate, and you’ll have fewer monthly payments to manage. Personal loans or credit card balance transfer offers (which allow you to move your outstanding credit card balance to a new card with a temporarily lower interest rate) can each be good ways to do this, too. Remember that it’s always smart to compare costs and terms.

Look to a debt-free, more secure future

While you’re paying down debt, keep your big financial picture in mind, and figure out how to avoid owing money in the future if possible. Doing something as simple as tracking your finances in a paper planner can help you visualize and better plan your daily expenses, experts say. Have a plan for any raises or windfalls that come your way, too, so you don’t fall prey to lifestyle creep. And balance debt repayment with saving and investing. Doing both at once means you can deal with unexpected expenses without taking on additional unexpected debt while you set yourself up for a financially secure future

By Ben Jay

IMAGINE HAVING ENOUGH MONEY TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, DRIVING YOUR DREAM CAR, RETIRING SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!

CLICK: understandingmoneypays.com

WATCH THE FREE VIDEO THAT EXPLAINS

THEN CALL OR TEXT ME AT: (954) 317-0430 OR CLICK ENROLL NOW

THAT’S IT.

YOU ARE ALWAYS ONE DECISION AWAY FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT LIFE!

HAVE A AWESOME DAY!      DAVID GRAY

Everything You Need to Know About Financially Going Green

  • Thanks to a demand from a large number of buyers, socially responsible options are more widely available than they used to be, making it easier than ever to live an eco-friendly life.
  • Living with less means you are consuming less and also downsizing to only what you require, so your energy costs and subsequent bills should reflect “living of less” without sacrificing lifestyle.

Global temperatures are up and sea levels are rising, yet we still need to purchase products and maintain a household. With that said, consumers are often faced with the difficult dilemma of how to be environmentally friendly, while still looking out for their wallets. 

However, now more than ever, environmental factors are affecting the minds of both consumers and producers, making saving the environment and saving money increasingly intertwined. We’ll help you navigate the best ways to save, spend, and invest your money while reducing your environmental footprint. 

Why Now?

Animation of multiple eco-friendly stores popping up with more people coming with each one

So, why now? Recently, consumers have started placing a high emphasis on not only the quality of products, but also on what the company that makes these products is doing for the greater good. Ranging from topics of equality to food security to the environment, it’s financially beneficial for organizations and communities to infuse products with a healthy dose of social responsibility. 

Thanks to this demand from a large number of buyers, socially responsible options are more widely available than they used to be, making it easier than ever to live an eco-friendly life as an avid consumer.

Shop Responsibly

Being eco-friendly does not mean you need to stop consuming. Yes—products require energy, but considering the environment does not necessarily mean you need to make sacrifices. 

New Products

When buying new products, the best thing you can do is your homework! Buying from companies that prioritize reducing their environmental impact during production will lead to eco-friendly buying. 

When investigating if a company is environmentally-friendly, it’s important that you do your research. Here are some tips to help you identify authentic environmentally friendly companies:

  • Look for specific claims such as “100% fair-trade ingredients” or “Made at a plant that reduces carbon emissions.” These labels are traceable and more tangible than descriptors such as “organic,” “all-natural,” or “environmentally friendly.”
  • Evaluate the packaging. If a company claims to be eco-conscious, yet uses 10 lbs of bubble wrap and Styrofoam to secure a small item, that raises a few flags. Read up on company news to investigate the organization’s history. Exploring recent press releases and news articles will give you an idea of how long this company’s commitment to the environment has been established, as well as results or reviews.
  • Use third-party apps and resources to vet organizations. There are many resources dedicated to externally scoring organizations on environmental impact, so you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. 

Additionally, if you are unable to purchase from companies that are certified eco-friendly, buying locally can help reduce energy costs. Buying locally cuts distribution and shipping costs, thus reducing the impact on the environment. 

New-to-You Products

Even at the most environmentally friendly companies, producing anything still requires energy. Buying secondhand is a great way to cut down on both financial costs and environmental costs, as opting for used items cuts production and distribution waste. Additionally, if you are on a budget and cannot afford specialty items, buying used is a cheaper alternative that can garner results for the environment.

Local thrift stores, clothing exchanges, garage sales, swap meets/flea markets, local used dealers, and online marketplaces like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and OfferUp are all great places to start searching for recycled items. You can find and buy virtually anything—from clothes to household items to books and more—in great condition!

Sometimes the right option may not be practical, especially on a budget, but weighing your values and impact against cost will help you come up with a compromise to help reduce your environmental footprint.

animation of people shopping at a flea market/swap meet

Invest Responsibly

Environmentally conscious decisions don’t just happen at a register. When deciding how to grow your money in banks and considering investment opportunities, there are several options to allow for an environmentally friendly lifestyle to take root in your finances.

Banking

Ethical banks, also known as sustainable banks, are banks concerned with the social and/or environmental impacts of its business. When considering one of these banks, it’s important to not only choose one that’s socially responsible but specifically addresses environmental issues. 

“Social responsibility” means that individuals and companies have a duty to act in the best interest of society as a whole, so socially responsible institutions with an environmental focus will have greener practices in general. It also encompasses many social issues such as equality or workers rights, so if you are seeking a specific cause, you may consider checking to see if your bank addresses this specific issue. 

There isn’t a definitive standard as to what an ethical bank looks like, but generally speaking, banks that are Certified B Corporations or Members of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values are going to be ethical banks. To gain either of the titles above, the bank would need to be vetted by a nationally recognized third-party organization that specializes in grading organizations on social responsibility.

Joining an environmentally focused bank not only encourages good behavior, but can financially reward your green habits as well. Some benefits are:

  • Accessing exclusive or well-researched eco-investing opportunities
  • Having credit cards that can benefit charities on your behalf
  • Providing you lower interest rates for financing low emission cars or eco-friendly purchases

While these banks offer environmental benefits, they may come with a few trade offs such as charging fees for non-sustainable practices like printing statements, or being limited in scope and amenities due to their smaller size.

Investing

Eco-investing or green investing is a form of socially responsible investing that supports companies with environmentally friendly policies or products. 

Similar to ethical banking, there’s no official standard as to what constitutes a green investment, but there are several tools you can use to evaluate the impact of an organization. For example, several non-profit organizations do independent evaluations of mutual funds and stocks to evaluate them based on the company’s impact. 

Additionally, apart from investing in organizations with eco-friendly policies, there’s a wealth of opportunity to invest in green products. Some key fields or industries for eco-investing are1:

  • Water Conservation and Energy
  • Wind Power
  • Solar Energy
  • Pollution Control
  • Green Transportation
  • Waste Reductions
  • Organic Products
  • Aquaculture
  • Geothermal Energy
  • Green Policy Advocacy 
animation of wind turbines, solar panels, and green factories

Investing in a company in these fields can be a great way to put your money where your mouth is, and invest in your environmental agenda.  

Save Responsibly

If you’re living on a budget, you’re likely always looking for ways to save. Maybe that means going on one less coffee run a week, or transitioning to home-brewed coffee altogether. Either way, small changes can add up to big savings for anyone, so why not bundle cutting fiscal slack with reducing your environmental footprint? Let’s take a look at some ways to save responsibly. 

Energy Cuts

Making small adjustments to how you get your energy and use it can have large payoffs over time. In the field of energy, a little can go a long way, if you know how. 

  • Shorten your showers—With every minute you cut, you save 5 gallons of water!
  • Decrease your fuel usage by strategizing a route when planning errands, using public transportation, and carpooling
  • Unplug appliances such as toasters, fans, lights, etc. when not in use
  • Use smaller appliances such as a toaster oven or traditional toaster rather than an oven
  • Wash your laundry in cold water or in the sink
  • Recycle cooking water and use it to water your plants
  • Tap into alternative energy sources by installing solar panels at your residence, switching to an electric car, or exploring turbine energy
  • Eliminate using single-use items and opt for alternative items like reusable water bottles, silicone or metal straws, and/or sturdier storage containers

Some of these options may cost more upfront, but your investments will pay off in the long term!

Food Savings

With food having such a large impact on both our wallets and the world’s energy, it’s no wonder that grocery decisions are ripe for saving opportunities. 

  • Shop at local food retailers or farmers markets to decrease the footprint you leave from distribution and shipping costs
  • Start a garden—If you’re lacking a green thumb or the time to nurture a large garden, an indoor spice garden is a great way to get started
  • Buy dented or “ugly” produce to get a good deal and reduce food waste—Even if your local grocer doesn’t participate in ugly produce sales, there are several online resources that point you to places that do!
  • Make coffee at home—pour over coffee is in, and it’s a great way to brew your cup of joe without using any electricity!
  • Eat less meat—While this may not work for everyone’s individual nutritional needs or preferences, doing so can make large strides in both your environmental impact and wallet
  • Make a shopping list and purchase only what you need to reduce wasted food energy and costs

Live Responsibly

While there are plenty of options to shop and utilize your finances to be more eco-friendly, there’s also several lifestyle hacks that can be beneficial to the environment as well as your wallet. 

Less is More, Minimalism is In!

Living with less means you are consuming less and also downsizing to only what you require, so your energy costs and subsequent bills should reflect “living of less” without sacrificing lifestyle.

Minimalism, when carried out to its full extent, involves not only reducing the amount of items you own, but committing your environment, home, and amenities to its bare minimum. Some more extreme ideas for carrying-out minimalism are downsizing to a “tiny home,” reducing all clothing to essentials, and cutting out fuel dependency and opting for a bike. That being said, while these are all great ways to reduce costs, and environmental impact, these adjustments are large lifestyle changes.

One way to live minimally without overhauling your entire life is to evaluate your housing needs. Think about those tall ceilings in your house or that empty bedroom. Now think about how much it takes to heat or cool that space. Opting for living situations that have less “dead space” will cut utility costs as well as usage.

Another way to live minimally is to “Marie Kondo” your things, and do so moving forward. For those who aren’t familiar with this term, it involves going through your items, and only keeping those that “spark joy.” This is great for understanding what you use, or what you should buy. Adopting and maintaining this method can help cut new purchases and reduce the number of things you store. 

While this list may be small, it can have reaching effects in your life such as determining if a car in a new city truly “sparks joy,” or if paying more rent for a smaller place is actually a waste when you factor in wasted utilities. 

So while extreme minimalism may not be for everyone, small odes to the minimalist lifestyle can be infused to help save for most anyone.

Reduce, Reuse, but Above All, Recycle!

We’ve already discussed ways to reduce and reuse waste in the sections above, but in addition to that, the third R (recycle) is a key way to live responsibly. 

Recycling is the act of collecting used materials that can be used to make new materials, and it’s a way to continue to produce new products without paying the total cost of energy production.

Animation of a woman carrying recyclables and putting them into a slot which spits out new items created from the recycled materials

Now, recycling may appear to have little cost repercussions, but when you break it down, energy costs money, so by reducing the energy production cost of an item, the cost should decrease to the consumer. For example, recycled aluminum costs significantly less to make than new aluminum, so products reliant on recycled aluminum should cost less to the consumer. 

To make sure you recycle effectively, it’s important to understand what you can recycle and cannot recycle. Generally speaking, you can recycle rigid plastics and plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, metals (e.g. tin, aluminum, steel can), and whole glass objects (e.g. beer or wine bottles, jars, food containers).

On the other hand, things that are not usually recyclable are loose plastic bags, plastic stretch wrap, polystyrene (Styrofoam) products, soiled food items (food-soaked containers or paper products), and broken or sharp glass.

While this is just a basic list, it’s best to also research what can and cannot be recycled in your area, as this can vary from region to region. 

In addition to the literal sense of recycling materials, you can creatively recycle or “repurpose” obsolete household items into new items, giving old materials new purpose. Some examples of this kind of recycling are:

  • Using paper towel rolls as storage units or pen organizers
  • Melting old toothbrushes into funky jewelry
  • Reusing stale bread as a baking ingredient
  • Turning old soda bottles into a bird feeder
  • Making light decorations out of empty glass bottles 

All in all, there’s a wealth of opportunity available for living a fiscally sustainable lifestyle, so whether you’re looking to save, spend, invest, or just continue to form good habits, turning the green in your wallet “greener” is always an option.

IMAGINE HAVING ENOUGH MONEY TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, DRIVING YOUR DREAM CAR, RETIRING SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!

CLICK: understandingmoneypays.com

WATCH THE FREE VIDEO THAT EXPLAINS

THEN CALL OR TEXT ME AT: (954) 317-0430 OR CLICK ENROLL NOW

THAT’S IT.

YOU ARE ALWAYS ONE DECISION AWAY FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT LIFE!

HAVE A AWESOME DAY!      DAVID GRAY

How 5 Common New Year’s Resolutions Can Impact Your Wallet

It’s a new year, and everyone has big plans to finally do all those things they’ve been saying that they are going to do. However, according to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of Americans will fail by February.1 Trying to inculcate a more optimistic mental perspective will certainly be helpful in reaching those New Year’s resolutions, as will these tips that can help you save when meeting your resolutions. Let’s look at some of the most common new year’s resolutions and tips to help you stick to them and save on costs.

1. Working Out

For most people, their number one goal for the New Year is to exercise more. I personally am hoping to run a half-marathon for the first time this year. Obviously, exercising takes a lot of physical discipline, but it doesn’t have to require a lot of money. U.S. Today found that 67% of gym memberships go unused, and that’s an average of around $60 a month that people are wasting by not going to the gym!2

If your new year’s resolution is to work out, you might consider foregoing a gym membership. Instead, explore low-cost or even free options such as following exercise videos on YouTube, renting videos from the library, or looking up exercise programs on the internet. Often times, you can find effective exercises already put together for you, and you won’t have to do any thinking at all. 

You could then use that $60 a month toward a reward for yourself. Maybe if you know that you’ll get a nice dinner at the end of the month for staying consistent with your workout schedule, that may motivate you. Or you could use the extra money to pay for a race fee like I am. Since I know that I’ll be spending $100 to participate in the half-marathon, I’ll be motivated to reach my goal and not waste that money. 

2. Eating Better

Whether you want to cut down on all those sugary drinks at Starbucks or start a new paleo diet, eating better is another common new year’s resolution. But before you spend lots of money on a diet plan, you might consider looking into ways you can get those foods at your local grocery store. With Pinterest, Youtube, and recipes online, you are sure to find everything you may need for your new diet. If you purchase a diet plan through a company, it could be very expensive, but if you make the same recipes on your own, it could be a fraction of the cost of a diet plan. 

I would recommend finding a grocery store where you can get fuel rewards and can purchase a variety of produce and goods. Since you will likely be doing most of your grocery shopping at this store, you will become very acquainted with the store and their sales. You can save a lot of money if you base your meals for the week around their sales. When I lived in Virginia and North Carolina, my store of choice was Harris Teeter because I got fuel rewards, lots of discounts, and normally spent less than $200 a month on groceries. Don’t think that using coupons is too provincial! It may seem cheap, but I’ve found that it saves a fair amount of money in the long run.

3. Giving Up a Bad Habit 

No matter how long you’ve had your bad habit, the new year seems like a great time to make a fresh start. Cutting out a bad habit often means that you’ll be spending less money, and you should plan to reward yourself by putting that money toward a good habit or something you’ve always wanted to do.

While I’m not here to be a moralist, it’s true that giving up smoking is good for your physical and financial health. According to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, if you smoke one pack of cigarettes a day, that’s roughly $2,000 a year.3 By giving up this habit, you could have a substantial amount of money to put toward your retirement fund or go on that trip to New Zealand!

Similarly, your resolution may be that you want to spend less money on alcohol or even cut it out entirely. Huffington Post reports that one man was able to afford a down payment on a truck by not drinking for a month while another man saved $1,000 a month just by cutting out coffee and alcohol.4 If you are like these men, you could save thousands by cutting out alcohol. Even if you want to cut down your drinking habit by one less drink per week, you will see substantial financial benefits. Now you extra money to put toward paying down your debt or buying a house.

4. Expanding Your Mind 

If you’re a lifelong learner like I am, you might like resolutions that expand your mind. For example, maybe you want to read more. In 2017, I set a goal of reading 52 books, meaning that I would average one book a week. I’m proud to say that I met my goal, and I didn’t have to break the bank to do so. I read a lot of e-books on my Kindle that I got through my library. I also went to my local library and bought some books in the bargain corner for 50 cents to a $1 a piece. I probably spent less than $10 and was still able to meet my goal. If reading more is your goal this year, try these tips to save on costs.

If you want to learn a new language, renting books from the library is always a great option that is easy on your finances. Additionally, you can look into free apps like Duolingo, which I’ve been using to learn French, or Rosetta Stone. 

If you want to expand your cooking skills, there are many recipes available online that make it easy to learn how to cook. Youtube is also a great free resource.

On the other hand, if you want to try a new hobby, include that in your budget. For example, I decided I wanted to try rowing one year, so I budgeted about $100 and looked into a variety of rowing classes and organizations that would allow me to fit into the money I had set aside. 

If you want to dress with style, shopping sale racks and Goodwill are options to get great deals on clothing. If you want to be easier on the environment, Rent the Runway is an excellent way to try a lot of new clothing by renting instead of buying it.

Finally, if you want to travel more, seek out discounts. For example, you may be able to receive a discount if you fly on holidays, during the week, or during the slow season. You may also be able to get free hotel stays through a travel rewards loyalty program.

All in all, expanding your mind and developing a new positive habit doesn’t have to be costly if you look into inexpensive or even free alternatives!

5. Being Happier in Life

Every year, we hope that the next year is better than the last one, so maybe your New Year’s resolution is to be happier in life. Maybe you want to make new friends. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, though. Consider looking into Meetup groups that will be inexpensive or even free like book clubs or social groups. If you’re religious, you may be able to find a small group where you can meet friends without spending lots of money.

In the end, though, what we need to be happy in life aren’t material things. It’s what money can’t buy: time with family and friends. As you begin this New Year with eager expectations for all that it could be, remember that you can make good financial decisions as you meet your New Year’s resolutions!

START THE NEW YEAR BY STARTING A BUSINESS THAT EVERYONE NEEDS!

IMAGINE HAVING ENOUGH MONEY TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, DRIVING YOUR DREAM CAR, RETIRING SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!

CLICK: understandingmoneypays.com

WATCH THE FREE VIDEO THAT EXPLAINS

THEN CALL OR TEXT ME AT: (954) 317-0430 OR CLICK ENROLL NOW

THAT’S IT.

YOU ARE ALWAYS ONE DECISION AWAY FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT LIFE!

HAVE A AWESOME YEAR!      DAVID GRAY

How to Save Money on Food Over the Holidays, According to Celeb Chefs

Even celebrity chefs can think frugally. At the recent Celebrity Chef Golf Tournament, chefs Geoffrey Zakarian, Michael Symon, and Daniel Boulud shared tips for saving money on groceries and hosted holiday dinners.

Buy smaller protein portions

It’s easy to overspend on animal protein because it’s priced by weight. To spend less, think smaller: Instead of an 8-ounce piece of protein, eat a 4- or 5-ounce piece, suggests Zakarian, who owns several restaurants, holds the title of “Iron Chef” and stars on Food Network shows including “Chopped” and “The Kitchen.”

“It’s about portion control,” he adds. And a 4- or 5-ounce portion is often enough to fill you up.

Get creative with leftovers

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, nearly three times as much food is thrown out than during the rest of the year. Last year, an estimated 204 million pounds of turkey meat was thrown out over the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.

To make every penny in your holiday food budget count, Symon suggests you get creative about your dishes: “When you think about any protein or a dish, think about the secondary use for that dish so that you can use it continually.”

Combine leftover sweet potatoes and turkey with eggs, for example, and you’ve got a delicious turkey hash for breakfast, he says. Another strategy is to make family-style portions of Italian food for your guests. Guests will just dish out what they can consume, and you should have plenty of leftovers to pack up that only require a quick reheating.

Cook at home more

“Learn how to cook. Buy some good cookbooks from chefs who will teach you to not make food waste,” says Daniel Boulud, owner of seven restaurants in New York City, including the Michelin-starred Daniel. “When you’re making delicious food you save money, but you also feel better.”

By Sofia Pitt

IMAGINE HAVING ENOUGH MONEY TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, DRIVING YOUR DREAM CAR, RETIRING SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!

CLICK: understandingmoneypays.com

WATCH THE FREE VIDEO THAT EXPLAINS

THEN CALL OR TEXT ME AT: (954) 317-0430 OR CLICK ENROLL NOW

THAT’S IT.

YOU ARE ALWAYS ONE DECISION AWAY FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT LIFE!

HAVE A AWESOME DAY!      DAVID GRAY

WHY YOU NEED A FUN FUND

Spending on “fun” could help you reach your other financial goals

If you’ve ever been on a workout or diet plan, then you know many incorporate a “cheat day.” Once a week, you ditch your clean eating and indulge in a slice of pizza, a cheeseburger or an ice cream cone (if not a full container). It’s a way to reward yourself for sticking to your plan six days out of the week and to ensure you aren’t depriving yourself, which is why many people fall off the wagon. A fun fund is like a cheat day for your finances – a sum of money that allows you to, in a somewhat organized way, go off the rails.

How it works

Fun money often gets lumped into your entertainment, restaurant or even your miscellaneous fund. But a fun fund is none of these. Rather, it’s a separate amount to spend however you want, whenever you want – i.e. on impulse. The point of having the fund is to keep you from whiffing on reaching your other financial goals.

How big should it be? 

“It’s a balancing act, obviously if you’re off track for retirement or you don’t have a safety net, your fun fund should not be big at all,” says Nick Holeman, Certified Financial Planner at Betterment. Start small – by putting aside $20 a week. If that doesn’t seem to be getting in the way of your other financial goals, including the emergency cushion you’re trying to build, the credit card debt you’re paying down on schedule, and the 401(k) contributions you’re making, you can slowly bump it up.

Why you need it

Even if you’re on a strict budget or debt repayment plan, if you don’t build a little fun into your budget you’re likely to blow it. “If you don’t take the time to spend on yourself or someone else, you are going to get burnt out,” says Holeman. “It’s a way to recharge your batteries so to speak.” That’s important because saving for long term goals like retirement – when the reward is 20, 30 even 40 years away – is difficult. We do it because we know we have to, but it’s also easy to wonder what you’re getting in real time for all of the hard work you’re doing. Having the ability – permission even – to indulge yourself in the short term can help you stave off the feeling of deprivation and therefore help you stick to your goals.

How to build it

The best way to build your fun fund is the way you build any other fund – automatically. New York-based Certified Financial Planner Randy Breidbart suggests: “Treat it as another 401k plan with a shorter horizon and with fun as your goal.” As I noted earlier, the amount you budget could be $10 or $100. It all depends on your income, debt and long-term goals.

You can also kick in your fund with windfall money, perhaps a portion of that forthcoming tax refund, or the check Grandma still sends every year on your birthday. (Thanks, Grandma!)

Where you keep the fund may depend on how you plan to use it. “For a short term fun fund, you can put it into an everyday [savings] account,” says Breidbart. “For longer term goals [more than three to five years away] or more expensive fun stuff, you could put your fund into a low to moderate risk diversified mutual fund.”

And if you spend your fun money and find yourself back at square one? That’s okay, that’s what it is meant for. Start replacing it the same way you built it — bonuses, tax refunds, unexpected windfall and automatically setting money aside from your paycheck.About the AuthorJean Chatzky with Hayden Field,

IMAGINE HAVING ENOUGH MONEY TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, DRIVING YOUR DREAM CAR, RETIRING SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!

CLICK: understandingmoneypays.com

WATCH THE FREE VIDEO THAT EXPLAINS

THEN CALL OR TEXT ME AT: (954) 317-0430 OR CLICK ENROLL NOW

THAT’S IT.

YOU ARE ALWAYS ONE DECISION AWAY FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT LIFE!

HAVE A AWESOME DAY!      DAVID GRAY

Setting SMART Goals To Get Out of Debt

 Jean Chatzky Apr. 2, 2019  4 min read

Are you setting Specific-Measurable-Attainable-Relevant-Time Bound Goals? Success begins with setting your financial targets the right way and applying them towards paying off your debt.

Do you remember studying for an exam when you were in high school or college, and in an effort to better remember the correct answer, coming up with an acronym that could jog your memory? Acronyms can be helpful like that, but not just during finals week. Here’s one to keep in mind when you’re setting financial — or, for that matter, any — goals.

SMART Goal Setting 101:

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. It refers to a process that helps you not just establish your goals but succeed in reaching them. Here are the five components.

Specific

Good goals are clearly stated, and they lay out both the outcome and the actions that must be taken in order to achieve the goal. When a goal seems too complex, it should be broken into sub-goals that can be clearly expressed. This can help you go into more detail about what it is you want to achieve, says London-based career coach Nicola Simpson. So, for example, if your goal is to become more financially healthy overall, SMART would ask what the first step is to getting there. That question may inspire you to realize that you should start by reducing your credit card debt,thereby going from a very general to a more specific goal that’ll prove easier to achieve with the following steps.

Measurable

Now that you have your objective, you have to measure and evaluate your progress towards reaching it. A good goal always has a desired outcome and milestones that can be unambiguously measured. You’ve established that you want to reduce your credit card debt, but how exactly are you going to do that? Well, you could start by identifying how much you want to reduce it. Maybe you want the new number to be 50% smaller, or maybe you’d like to eliminate it altogether. Alternatively, instead of an end-number, you could decide to reduce the debt by increasing your monthly payments by a set amount. For example, if you were paying $100 before, maybe you’ll pledge to double that figure and contribute $200. Whatever you decide, this step forces you to put numbers around your goal and your progress, making it easier for you to stay on track.

Attainable

This step asks you to fact-check the numbers you’ve come up with to ensure that you’re being realistic about them. In other words, can you afford to increase your credit card payments by $100 each month? This forces you to ask yourself “What could go wrong?” and decide if you could deal with those possible circumstances. “[This step] is great because it’s about being realistic,” Simpson says. Good goals have an attainable outcome that will inspire a sense of commitment. There are two ways to set attainable goals. The first is to set a goal that can easily be reached, and once it’s reached, you can move it towards more challenging targets that do not sap your motivation. Another approach is to start off with a moderate goal that entails pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone – but only slightly. Once these initial milestones are achieved, your confidence will rise, and then your chances of successfully tackling more challenging goals will be higher.

Relevant

What could stand in your way when it comes to achieving any goal? Deciding it’s not so important for one thing. This step encourages you to ensure your goal is meaningful in your life, and significant when you consider your broader life goals. For example, how might your goal aid you in reaching another bigger goal, such as buying a house? How might it impact your health? For example, if another of your goals is to lose weight, then packing your lunch every day to save money can also help decrease your waistline. By the same token, eating out less might negatively impact your social life, so SMART asks you to acknowledge all the possible changes that might occur when you make a change, so they don’t deter you from sticking to your plan.

Time-Bound

Good goals are time-bound, which means they have a specific target completion date that is neither too long nor too short. Set a realistic timeframe to reach your goals that will inspire confidence, but still give you a sense of accomplishment when reached. “It’s important that your goal isn’t open-ended, as this may inspire a sense of drift,” says Simpson. A deadline forces you to check in with yourself frequently in order to evaluate your progress.

IMAGINE HAVING ENOUGH MONEY TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, DRIVING YOUR DREAM CAR, RETIRING SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!

CLICK: understandingmoneypays.com

WATCH THE FREE VIDEO THAT EXPLAINS

THEN CALL OR TEXT ME AT: (954) 317-0430 OR CLICK ENROLL NOW

THAT’S IT.

YOU ARE ALWAYS ONE DECISION AWAY FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT LIFE!

HAVE A AWESOME DAY!      DAVID GRAY

5 Sneaky Ways You Can Spend Less Money

Let’s get one thing straight: saving money isn’t much fun when it feels like you’re reducing the quality of your life by sacrificing a lot of things. Indeed, if you had to choose between a new iPhone and saving money, chances are you’d go for the gadget because that’s what you really want. 

Does that also mean that saving money isn’t something you want? Well, maybe, but your desire may be constantly destroyed by calls to spend because they’re everywhere we go. Unfortunately, most of us, especially young people, cannot combat the urge to spend, so we end up with a zero or an insignificant amount in savings. 

A recent Bank of America survey, for example, revealed that only 16 percent of Millennials (people between the ages of 23 and 37) have $100,000 saved for retirement,1 which is a very low percentage compared with other generations. 

In this article, we’re going to learn how to resist the urge to spend money by using mental tricks. No more impulse purchases and overspending!

1. Pocket Your Fives

Saving every five dollar bill you get is an easy way to save money without significantly affecting your ability to buy. Most people see such small bills as perfect cash for spending, but what they miss is the fact that saving them is just as simple and painless. 

This trick has already proved to be effective to accumulate some impressive sums. For example, a former Boston Globe journalist Marie Campagna Franklin has been saving every $5 bill she got since 2005, and by 2018, she had $40,000.2 

Franklin made this decision after she received several five dollar bills in change. “I took the money, I tucked it away, I put it inside a part of my wallet, and just left it there,” Franklin told NBC. “And a couple of days later, the same thing happened.”

Once the fives became hundreds, she put them into a savings account to avoid spending. You could do the same, and this method likely won’t have an appreciable effect on your budget.

2. Wait a Day Before Making a Purchase

Have you ever been in one of these situations? You saw a product you liked, you bought it immediately, but in a week or so after that, you realized that you should’ve spent that money on something more practical or important. In some cases, the purchase is simply useless, so you shouldn’t even have spent that money at all.

If you feel like that’s something that could happen to you, how about creating a mandatory waiting period for all your new purchases, say, above $50? For example, if you see something you like, don’t just go and buy it, but wait for at least a day and think about it. Do you really need that product? Do its benefits outweigh the cost for you in the long-term? 

As a result, you may be able to avoid a lot of impulse buys. 

3. Unsubscribe from Marketing Emails

According to this CoSchedule analysis of twenty email marketing studies, an average digital marketer sends around two promotional emails to their subscribers per week.3 This means that if you’ve subscribed to receive emails from just 5 brands, you may be getting 10 emails with sales and discounts per week!

Clearly, that’s a lot of temptation, and you can avoid it by unsubscribing from these emails, especially from the stores you spend the most money at. Just look for an unsubscribe link in the email (it’s usually located at the bottom), and let the brands know that you’re no longer wishing to receive offers from them. 

4. Have a “No Spend” Day

How about making one day a week dedicated to studying, spending quality time with the family, watching a movie, cooking, or just resting—but not going out and buying things? This could be your “No Spend” day, and it can help you to save a lot of money by focusing on other things that matter. 

5. Pretend that You Make Less

Yes, this is a legitimate technique that could be huge for you. For example, you can set up an automatic transfer of money from your checking account into your savings account and pretend that no transfers are made.

This means that you’ll be blinding yourself to your true income, but it may just work by setting the upper limit of spending and making some part of your money unavailable for purchases.

Conclusion

Changing the way you think about spending money could be a powerful strategy that’ll help you to save a lot. Feel free to use the above tips to avoid overspending and increase your savings, and you’ll see results in just a week! After that, you’ll realize that you can easily combat the temptation to spend, and become a much more effective money saver than you ever thought you could be.  

IMAGINE GETTING PAID HELPING OTHER’S IMPROVE THERE FINANCIAL SITUATION. CLICK

understandingmoneypays.com

FOR FREE VIDEO THAT EXPLAINS.  THEN CALL OF TEXT ME A

(954) 317-0430.  THAT’S IT.

YOU ARE ALWAYS ONE DECISION AWAY FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT LIFE.

HAVE A AWESOME DAY.   

DAVID GRAY 

How to build credit when you’re just getting started

After you finish high school or college, when you’re developing your financial independence, you’ll probably have several essentials on your to-do list: find a job, rent an apartment, maybe buy a car. But one often-overlooked item can be a prerequisite to all of the others: Establish good credit. As you get your life together, landlords and potential employers are likely to review your credit report, and lenders will check your credit score.

Get ahead of your finances today

Kevin Laskey, a graduate student in Philadelphia, was pleasantly surprised when the subject came up during his search for an apartment. “I had to do a credit application,” says Laskey, who discovered he’d built a strong credit score by paying his bills on time.

But that’s the point: If you want a good credit score, you have to earn it, says Josh Palmer, the Executive Director and Head of JPMorgan Goals-Based Advisory and Support.

Here are some steps that can help you get there.

Know your financial terms

Three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) track your credit history, which is used to calculate your credit score. VantageScore, a score developed by the three major bureaus, considers the following six factors:

  1. Payment history
  2. Credit age and types of credit
  3. Percent of your credit that you use
  4. Total balances
  5. Recent credit behavior and applications
  6. Available credit

VantageScores run from 300 to 850, and a score of 720 or higher is very good.

Take steps to establish good credit

You may hope to have a perfect score right off the bat, but that seldom happens, says Todd Friedhaber, a certified financial counselor for Cambridge Credit Counseling Corporation, based in Agawam, Massachusetts. “Most young adults start with no credit at all,” he says.

Begin establishing your financial identity by opening a basic checking and savings account at a solid institution, advises Palmer. Although your checking and savings accounts won’t factor into your credit score, they’re the basic building blocks of your financial framework, enabling you to do everything from depositing your paycheck to paying your bills—which will help you build a strong credit score.

Paying utility bills on time can be a great way of building your credit history, says Friedhaber, because some utility companies report customer behavior to credit bureaus. Keep a record, especially if you lack other evidence of your creditworthiness. Or you could buy on layaway, as making timely payments will testify to your reliability. Paying your student loans on time can also help build your credit score.

You might also consider asking your parents to add you as an authorized user on one of their cards, suggests Palmer. You’ll be able to use the card, and in some cases the credit history of the account will appear on your credit report.

Polishing up your score

According to VantageScore, being 60 days late on a payment can drop your score by 100 points or more, so it’s vital to make on time payments for each of your accounts. Setting up automatic payments or alerts can help you remember to pay on time each month.

And don’t be discouraged if your credit score isn’t where you want it to be. Most credit histories go back only seven years, and even within that time frame, Friedhaber says, “what you do today has greater weight than older events.””Checking your credit score yourself does not impact the score, so check it regularly to stay on top of your credit health.”

Pam Codispoti, Head of Consumer Branch Banking at JPMorgan Chase Bank

Avoid credit surprises

Many online tools let you keep tabs on your credit score. Contrary to what you may have heard, there’s no harm in looking it up regularly. “Checking your credit score yourself does not impact the score,” says Pam Codispoti, Head of Consumer Branch Banking at JPMorgan Chase Bank. “So check it regularly to stay on top of your credit health.”

Laskey has followed that advice, signing up with his credit card company to monitor his score. “I don’t check it religiously, but I take a peek if I’m online,” he says. “It’s something I’m careful about.”

Keeping your credit score up is just one part of defining who you are financially during your first years on your own. But good credit can have a snowball effect, helping you move toward long-term financial goals—whether it’s starting your own business, buying a home, or just having a big, exciting vacation. Whatever your objective, says Palmer, having a positive credit history can help you get the best interest rates and cement your reputation as a reliable, creditworthy adult.

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC

© 2019 JPMorgan Chase & Co.

CLICK understandingmoneypays.com

AND IN LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES LEARN HOW TO CHANGE YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE FOREVER