Tag: Wealthy Habits

 

6 Habits That Could Help You Get Wealthy, According to Psychologists

Research has shown that 40% of our daily behaviors are habitual. In other words, if you control your habits, you’ll have more control of your life.

When it comes to our finances, however, it’s easier said than done: Saving money requires overcoming millions of years of evolution.

“Our human brain is not wired for good long-term financial decisions,” explains Dan Pallesen, a clinical psychologist and financial advisor who is chief of investor behavior at Keystone Wealth Partners.

“We are wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain in the present,” says Pallesen.

Translation? If you want to build wealth — and stem the tide of Amazon Prime boxes arriving on your doorstep — you’ll need to combat your inner human.

Here are six psychology-based wealthy habits that work with (and around) your complex brain.

1. Determine Your “Why”

Before you can create wealth, you need to figure out why it matters to you.

Do you yearn to be debt-free so you’ll never get another collection call? Do you want to earn enough to go on a tropical vacation each year? Do you hope to retire early to spend more time with family?

“People whose financial goals align with their vision for their lives are so much more successful in achieving those goals than people who just try to build wealth for the sake of building wealth,” says Pallesen.

Before going any further, take out a piece of paper and write down your goals, dreams, and vision for the future. If you live with a partner, include that person in this exercise, too. By naming your “why” — and giving your money a positive purpose — Pallesen says you’ll be less likely to experience burnout on your path to financial prosperity.

2. Picture Your Goals

Remember posting photos in your locker of places you hoped to go, celebrities you wanted to date, and clothes you wish you owned? It turns out your high-school self was onto something: Literally picturing your goals can be extremely motivational.

So think back to the previous step, and surround yourself with visual aides that depict your goals and vision. We’re talking magazine clippings, inspirational quotes, postcards, and maybe even a Statue of Liberty snow globe that serves as a physical reminder of your dream of moving to NYC.

“It may sound gimmicky but you are actually training your brain to consider the big picture rather than focusing on the moment,” says Pallesen.

If you’d like to take a Caribbean cruise, for example, he recommends “taping a picture of a beautiful cruise ship in bright blue water on your bathroom mirror.” That, he says, “will be a continual reminder of what you are working towards.”

3. Prioritize the Future

Buying a flashy new watch. Upgrading your car when your old one still runs. Going out for lunch every single day. While these activities may feel good in the moment, they’re not doing you any favors in the long run.

Which is why psychologist Tamar Blank says that, before making any purchase, you should get in the habit of asking yourself if it aligns with your long-term goals.

“Every dollar spent should be an investment in yourself. One must make a conscious decision to prioritize long-term goals over instant gratification,” says Blank.

She calls this conscientiousness a “core characteristic” of people who build wealth.

Or, as Jennifer Thomas, a psychologist and co-author of “When Sorry Isn’t Enough,” puts it: “Wealthy families don’t go to Disney World now — short-term goal — and hope to start saving later. They live according to their long-term priorities and save a little bit all along the way.”

4. Pay Yourself First

Although consciously prioritizing long-term goals is important, this is difficult to put into action.

So, to sidestep your brain’s natural proclivity toward the present moment, experts say you should “pay yourself first.” This well-known financial concept involves automatically funneling money into your investment and savings accounts before giving yourself the chance to spend it.

Thomas suggests automatically transferring money from your checking account – each week, paycheck, or month – into your retirement and 529 plans. Wealthy families, she explains, “automate the process so it’s painless and they can’t mess it up.”

Pallesen, who supports this approach, also suggests automating when you get a raise.

“If you are suddenly making $200 more per paycheck, it is such a good practice to automatically have that $200 go into your retirement account and keep your lifestyle the same,” he says.

Otherwise, he warns, you’ll end up spending that money, and, ultimately, reverting “to the same level of satisfaction you had in your life” before what he calls “the hedonic treadmill.”

5. Name Your Savings Accounts

To make it a little easier to direct money toward your savings accounts, Pallesen suggests giving them aspirational names, like “Our Dream Beach House” or “Little Claire’s Education.”

“We are not naturally wired to save for the long run,” he says.

“Our brain loves immediate pleasure. But when you name an account, you are placing an emotional value on it and you are more likely to follow through in funding it.”

If your 529 account is named after your child, for example, Pallesen says putting money in it will feel good, because you’re “activating your feeling of love for your child through saving.”

Blank agrees. She says that thinking of who you’re supporting with your money can help you overcome your desire for instant gratification.

“Parental instincts and protective instincts are very strong, and can lead an individual to put their desires and even needs before those of others,” says Blank.

6. Create Accountability

Everything is easier with a buddy — so don’t be afraid to share your financial goals with the people around you.

“We are so much more likely to achieve our goals when we know that other people are aware of them. The thought of someone knowing whether or not you are achieving your goals is incredibly motivating,” says Pallesen.

While friends are a great start, you can consider enlisting professional help, too. Just like a personal trainer, a financial planner can provide education, motivation, and accountability for your goals. Or, if you’d prefer a free and tech-forward approach, try an app like StickK or a virtual financial coach like Charlie.

Wealthy Habits Build Wealth

Humans didn’t evolve to care about 401(k)s, compound interest and 45-year investment timelines. We evolved to care about today.

So, rather than getting upset about your lack of self-control or weak willpower, accept the fact that you’re human — and the fact that, to get rich, you’ve got to make your brain do things it doesn’t really want to do.

By sticking to the six tips offered here, you will hopefully build wealth and achieve your financial goals. Are you ready to give it a try?

 

How to Save Money on a Nurse’s Salary

Nurses perform a valuable service in hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools and other places where on-site medical care is needed.

Being a nurse often means long hours in a high stress job. In return, registered nurses earn a median annual salary of $71,730, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That sounds good, right? After all, it’s more than the median household income of $61,372.

But, there’s more to the story. Namely, 76% of nurses owe undergraduate student loans, while 69% owe graduate school loans. Among nurses who attended graduate school and used loans to finance their education, the majority owe between $40,000 and $54,999.

When you couple this student debt with other bills that go along with a nurse’s daily life, saving money can be a struggle.

So, in honor of National Nurses Day, we’ve put together a how-to guide to saving more money on a nurse’s salary. Take a look.

Set up direct deposit into a savings account

Your employer might offer direct deposit for your paycheck, which is great for convenience. But if you’re dumping all your money into your checking account, consider funneling some of that into a separate savings account each payday.

“Savings accounts are good for nurses because unexpected expenses can really obstruct financial plans,” says Sandy Griffin, a licensed practical nurse and quality assurance coordinator at Hospice of South Louisiana.

“Money set aside in a savings account can cover these expenses, plus provide for your future,” she says.

Griffin says saving money in a retirement account through your job is also a no-brainer. At the very least, you should be contributing enough to get the company match. Otherwise, you could miss out on free money. That’s a mistake 25% of workers make.

Pro tip: Setting up direct deposit into your savings account can keep you on track so you don’t spend the money right away. To determine how much to save, go over your monthly expenses to see if there’s anything you can trim down. Also, pick a set percentage or dollar amount you’d like to save regularly. It doesn’t have to be much to start. The key is to commit to saving consistently.

Be savvy about shopping for nursing supplies

As a nurse, there are certain things you need. Scrubs and quality footwear, for instance, can be big out of pocket costs if your employer doesn’t offer any reimbursement.

Griffin offers some tips for saving money on these items:

  • Comparison shop to find the best prices
  • Wait for sales to buy
  • Buy in bulk as much as possible

You can also look for coupons and promo codes online through sites like RetailMeNot and Coupons.com. Using a cash rewards credit card to pay for uniforms can also save you money. The trick is to pay your balance in full to avoid interest charges.

Ben Huber, BSN, RN and co-founder of finance blog DollarSprout, says you should plan for these costs and save throughout the year.

“Employers generally won’t provide a subsidy or stipend for uniforms or other healthcare-related clothing,” Huber says.

Pro tip: If you’re going through a pair of scrubs and/or shoes every few months, “it may be wise to consider stashing away a few hundred dollars each year in a fund specifically for uniform replacement.”

Meal plan on the job (and off)

When you’re working crazy hours as a nurse, fitting in regular meal breaks isn’t always easy. Huber says it’s tempting to hit the vending machines when you get a craving, especially if you work in a high-stress environment. He has a simple solution for curbing impulse eating while you’re at work.

“Sit down for meals prior to coming on shift and pre-pack the meals you plan to eat,” Huber says.

Pro tip: You can save more money by planning out meals and snacks for the week or the month. Base your meals around what’s on sale each week at the grocery store. Shop with a list and stick to it. And consider using money-saving apps like Ibotta to earn cash back on your supermarket trips.

Consider whether grad school is worth the investment

Getting an advanced degree can mean landing a job with a higher salary, which can help you save more money. The downside is that it can mean more student loans, so you need to weigh the financial pros and cons first.

“If you’re a nurse considering an advanced degree, think about the specific ways higher education will actually pad your pockets,” Huber says.

“Aimlessly pursuing a BSN, MSN or other advanced nursing degree is the recipe for a lot of debt without the potential payday down the road to justify the expense.”

Before you make a decision on grad school, spend time researching median nursing salaries in your state. Then, consider how you’ll pay for a degree.

Pro tip: Ask if your employer offers tuition reimbursement or student loan forgiveness as this can really help.

Start a side hustle to save more money

A side hustle can boost your income, giving you more money to save. And it’s an alternative to piling up more student loan debt if you’re considering going back to school to earn an advanced nursing degree.

“Starting a business takes less discipline than nursing school,” says David Sanchez, a registered nurse who runs two side businesses. But, he says, running a side gig requires more passion, personal sacrifice and willingness to take risks.

If you’re thinking about launching a side hustle to supplement your nursing salary, first ask yourself how much time you can put into it. You may only be able to dedicate a few hours a week if you’re working long rotations.

Then, brainstorm ideas for things you can do in your spare time to make extra money. For example, if you’re a good writer you can try freelancing for medical blogs or websites. Or you might want to do something that’s not nursing-related, like dog-sitting or selling on Etsy.

Pro tip: Pick something you can make time for, something you’ll enjoy and something that will help you earn more money.

You can indeed save money on a nurse’s salary

If you’re a nurse, finding ways to save money can be challenging but it’s not impossible.

These tips can give you a good starting place to help you increase your savings. Are you ready to give saving more money a try?

 

4 ‘Rich Habits’ Millennials Should Start Developing Now

Want to be rich? Like really rich?

Rather than scheming about winning the lottery, or getting paid to invent the next Candy Crush, you might want to take a look at the things you do every single day. Why? Since your habits are the foundation for all your actions, changing them is usually more effective than hoping for a single lucky strike.

Tom Corley would know. He spent five years studying the habits of hundreds of Americans, whom he separated into two groups: the “rich,” who had annual gross incomes of more than $160,000 and net liquid assets of $3.2 million or more, and the “poor,” who earned less than $35,000 and had a maximum of $5,000 in liquid assets.

Based on his discoveries — and the striking differences between each group’s daily activities — Corley wrote a book called “Rich Habits.” Since it was published nearly a decade ago, I caught up with Corley to ask which habits were most important for millennials today. Here are the four he chose.

1. Create Blueprints for Your Life

The most important habit, says Corley, is to begin “dream setting.” (Think: goal setting, except that dreams come first.)

Here’s how to get started:

  • Create a script: Decide what you want your life to look like in five, 10, 20 years. Picture every detail, including your job, salary, partner, house, and lifestyle. Then write it all out — Corley recommends your script be at least 1,000 words.
  • Make a list: From that script, pull each specific dream into a bulleted list. For example, your bullets might be: Earn $100,000 per year, take an annual trip to Hawaii, live in a four-bedroom house on a corner lot. “Each dream is like a rung on the ladder,” says Corley. “When you reach the top… that is the moment you are living the life of your dreams.”
  • Set your goals: For each dream, list the goals that will get you there. If your dream is to live in a four-bedroom house, your goals might be to: 1) Pay off your credit card debt within the next six months, 2) Begin saving $300 per month for a down payment, 3) Improve your credit scores, and 4) Hire a trustworthy real estate agent. Ask yourself if you possess the skills and knowledge to accomplish each goal; if not, determine how you’ll acquire them.

“The components of your life’s blueprint are all of the things that make a perfect life,” Corley explains.

“Your goals are your construction team. You need to define all of the goals that will make all of your dreams become a reality.”

By dream setting early and often, you’ll understand which goals you should be pursuing — and which roadblocks may stand in your way.

2. Devote 30 Minutes a Day to Learning

When was the last time you read a book? Or took a course? If you’re like most millennials, you probably spend more time with your face in Facebook than real books.

Corley says this is a mistake. He told Kiplinger that 96% of self-made millionaires read 30 minutes each day for education, career, or self-improvement. He also found that, while 77% of poor people spent an hour or more watching TV each day, only 33% of rich people did.

“The successful see time as the most valuable asset they possess,” says Corley.

“They are continuously engaged in some constructive project to increase their skill sets, promote their business or careers, keep their minds sharp, or expand their knowledge…The wealthy invest their time; the poor spend it on wasteful activities.”

So, instead of scrolling through social media or bingeing on Netflix, pick up a book from your local library. Listen to an educational podcast on your way to work. Attend a workshop where you’ll learn skills relevant to your career. Be like the wealthy, and invest your time in educational activities that will pay off down the road.

3. Exercise Every Day

Though exercising might seem irrelevant to gaining wealth, Corley says it’s one of the most fundamental habits for millennials to develop.

Besides the obvious physical benefits of exercise, he cites a range of reasons it could help you get rich. Specifically, Corley says exercise can:

  • Improve mental function by flooding the bloodstream with oxygen.
  • Reduce stress, as well as combat its negative effects (like a weakened immune system).
  • Increase the volume of nerve tissue in the hippocampus, improving your ability to remember and learn.
  • Elevate your testosterone level — and therefore your confidence — prompting you to pursue new and challenging opportunities.
  • Boost willpower and self-control, enabling you to make good decisions and avoid bad habits that can wreck your finances and life.

To turn exercise into a habit, you’ll need to find a regimen that appeals to you. Instead of forcing yourself to run, give yourself the freedom to try a range of options, from yoga to Zumba to Crossfit to basketball. When you make an exercise habit fun, it becomes much easier to maintain.

“Rid yourself of your demons by exercising every day. You and everyone around you will be better off for it,” says Corley.

4. Experiment With New Activities

Corley recommends experimenting with a new activity or skill every six months.

Maybe you try coding. Maybe you volunteer as a tutor for homeless youth. Maybe you take piano lessons. Whatever it is, Corley promises that, “Through experimentation, you will stumble upon something that makes your heart sing — something you will want to devote the rest of your life.”

He believes we all have innate talents that set us apart from everyone else, but that you can only discover them by veering off the typical career paths. When you finally uncover your “main purpose,” as Corley calls it, he says it’ll be easier to excel at your work (and thereby reap the financial benefits that accompany excellence).

Three Mistakes Millennials Should Avoid

In addition to building rich habits, Corley says it’s important for millennials to avoid these common mistakes:

  • Multi-tasking: Do you check your email or phone every few minutes while you’re working? Corley views these constant distractions as detrimental to the success of many millennials. To stay focused (and crush the tasks on your plate) he recommends putting your phone in do-not-disturb mode and closing your email for a two-hour chunks during the workday.
  • Allowing lifestyle creep: When you start earning more, that doesn’t mean you need to spend more. Corley told Kiplinger one of the biggest mistakes people make is increasing their standard of living to match their income. “You don’t want to supersize your life just because you’re making more money,” he said. “Stuff doesn’t make you happy.”
  • Not saving enough: In lieu of spending more, strive to save more. In Corley’s study, 95% of the wealthy people saved at least 20% of their net income each year — a practice they started “long before they became rich.” (Chime’s automatic savings feature can help.)

If you’re feeling discouraged by all the rules and advice, don’t despair. The good news, according to Corley, is that “never in the history of civilization has there been so much opportunity to become rich and successful.”

By making intentional life choices and developing these basic habits, you’ll hopefully find a way to become rich — or, at the very least, to have more money. Because, even if you feel like you’re getting a late start, now is better than never.

As Corley says: “It’s only too late when you are six feet under.”

 

Women and Money: Financial Wellness Advice From Women

In March, we celebrated Women’s History Month and now that it’s April, we’re bringing awareness to Financial Literacy Month.

We wanted to celebrate both occasions by gathering the best money tips from a cross-section of women — from successful female entrepreneurs to women working in male-dominated industries

Here are 6 women who offered up their best tips on women and money, women-owned businesses and more. Take a look.

1. Sandi Knight, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for HealthMarkets

Sandi Knight knows how important protecting yourself is. As the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for HealthMarkets, an insurance marketplace, she works to help consumers get the health coverage they need.

“I think it is important that women start young in their careers understanding finances, the need for insurance and what creates wealth – and on the opposite end, debt. Insurance, especially life insurance, is critical if they have young children and even more so if they are single parents. If something were to happen to them, how would their children be taken care of?” says Knight.

Knowing the type of coverage you need in terms of life insurance, disability insurance and more can protect you from the unthinkable. While many of us don’t want to think anything will happen to us, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Mira Violet, CEO of digital agency Amethyst Design

Mira Violet is the CEO of digital agency Amethyst Design. The agency helps companies with SEO, web design and more. As a woman owned business, she is all about getting paid what you’re worth.

Many women are underpaid with the gender pay gap and it’s key to boost your pay, says Violet.

“Make sure you’re being paid fairly. Ask male co-workers in the same position and experience level what they’re being paid. Look at sites like GlassDoor to compare your income to others in your job position. The culture of not talking about our finances only serves those who seek to underpay and undervalue us,” she says.

So, it’s key to talk to your colleagues about pay. Look up salaries in your area and compare what you’re earning. At the right time, negotiate your pay so that you get paid what you deserve.

3. Deborah Sweeney, CEO at MyCorporation.com

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com, a company that helps other businesses form an LLC or corporation. Her top women and money tip for female owned businesses is to know just how you will fund your business. Funding is the bloodline of any business and you want to be clear how you will get your money.

“Starting a business is not easy, especially if you don’t have the funds,” says Sweeney.

According to Sweeney, here are seven ways women can access funding:

1.   Angel investors

2.   Pitch your business idea to venture capitalists

3.   Apply for grants with the Small Business Administration

4.   Crowdfunding

5.   Donations from friends and family

6.   Open several credit cards and increase the limits on each one. (Remember, you’ll have to pay everything back, plus interest)

7.   Ask your bank for a business loan. (Most business loan applications get rejected. You’ll need to have a high credit score to increase your chances of acceptance. Also, you’ll need a detailed business loan plan. You need to give your loan provider an exact plan on how you will spend the money. Without this information, you will likely be rejected.)

4. Gemma Roberts, Chartered Accountant for a large non-profit organization

Gemma Roberts is an accountant and also founder of TheWorkLifeBlend.com, where she helps others build flexible lifestyles and businesses. The crux of getting your money right starts with seeing where your money goes, says Roberts.

“Carry out a full audit of your spending habits. Do you have any savings? If you had an unexpected expense, could you cover it? Do you have any loans or an overdraft?”

“Once you have a good understanding of your current situation, you can set yourself specific financial goals. It might be to pay off your debt, retire early or save for a house. This can seem like a lot of work, but it’s never been easier to improve your financial wellbeing. There are a variety of apps available that help you to budget, save money and set financial goals. Many of them can access your bank account and assess your spending habits.”

In order to improve your financial well-being, knowing where your money is actually going is the first step. Then you can adjust and set goals that work for you. You can even use a bank like Chime that helps you automatically save.

5. Danielle Kunkle Roberts, Co-Founder, Boomer Benefits

Danielle Kunkle Roberts is the co-founder of Boomer Benefits, an insurance agency that helps people with Medicare. She knows first-hand what it’s like to make mistakes in business. One of her top tips for female entrepreneurs is to be wise about partnering up with others.

“Don’t partner with someone you don’t know very well just because you are nervous about starting a business. I made this mistake in 2005 and it took me two years to buy out my other two partners,” saus Kunkle Roberts.

“It’s vital that you know the work ethic of anyone that you get involved with and that all parties have the same money philosophy,” she explains.

“In my scenario, I wanted to invest all the profits back into the business but my other partners wanted to take it all home every month. This left me doing the bulk of the work to generate sales while having only one-third of the profits – my own – to invest back in. Believe in yourself or partner with someone whose work ethic you are very sure about.”

It can be enticing to want to work with others but don’t use it as a crutch. Going into business with someone is like a marriage and you want to make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to your business goals and financial habits.

6. Daniella Flores, senior software engineer

Daniella Flores is a senior software engineer who works on an all-male team for a credit company. As a 20-something Hispanic and creator of blog ILikeToDabble.com, she believes that when it comes to women and money, it’s all about paying yourself first.

“Pay yourself first every time you get a paycheck and by that I mean, automate transfers into savings accounts and investment accounts so you can grow your money,” says Flores.

“Make payments towards debt every two weeks instead of every month. Automate as much as you can, but always track where your money is going.”

With a Chime bank account, for example, you can automate your savings through our round-up program and also save 10 percent with every paycheck. Putting money away for yourself first is a great way to ensure your financial wellness.

Bottom line

When it comes to women and money, it’s all about advocating for what you’re worth and going after what you deserve.

If you’re a female entrepreneur, you’ll also want to make sure your business is financially healthy, too. Just remember: Financial wellness can provide the foundation you need to weather the storms both personally and in your business life.

 

Money Mindsets That Are Keeping You Poor

The word “wealthy” conjures up images of depraved oil tycoons. Morose and isolated, these rich folks had to enjoy their wealth alone. At least that’s what I believed when I was a kid.

Growing up, I was taught to share pretty much everything with my older brother. To have more than him was considered selfish. And, if you were greedy, that was even worse. I made the assumption that rich people were inherently bad.

This myth blocked me from pursuing wealth. I figured it was better to earn a modest living and be frugal than bear the stigma of being rich and lonely. It was only after doing some inner work that I got past this limiting belief. I realized that having extra scratch doesn’t mean you’re greedy, selfish or unethical. Money merely enhances who you already are. And the more you have of it, the more freedom you can enjoy. To me, it’s all about syncing up your money to your values.

Chances are, you also have your own money stories that get in the way of your financial goals.

Here are five common money misconceptions that may be blocking you from achieving wealth.

You need a ton of money to start saving

While it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a healthy sum of disposable income, it isn’t a requisite to saving money.

The most important thing is to make it a priority and to start somewhere. Do I hear a grumble? Believe you me, saving doesn’t have to be difficult. And there’s a reason why “pay yourself first” is considered a pillar of personal finance. If you’re a Chime member, the Save When You Get Paid feature helps you tuck away a percentage of each paycheck.

By prioritizing savings over spending, you’re taking your financial well-being and your goals seriously.

You need to make a certain amount to get serious about finances

Once again, this is an easy excuse to not save money. It’s far easier to brush off saving until you make, say, $120,000.

When I was making $30,000 at my first job out of college, my rent in Los Angeles ate up a third of my income. But I still wanted to save money, so I started side hustles. And even though my side hustles raked in a mere $1,000 a year, I was committed to saving. By being judicious about what I spent my money on, I managed to save $5,000 my first year on my own.

When I started earning more, I kept the same habits and avoided lifestyle creep. As a result, I was able to make greater headway on my savings goals.

Other people have it easier

As they say, compare and despair. We all know someone who gets a generous allowance from their parents, or is making a cool six-figures at a posh job.

It may seem easier for them to build their worth, but appearances can be deceiving. You don’t know what debt load they carry, or if they struggle to stay on top of their bills like everyone else.

While you’ll need to get real and be honest with your own financial situation, everyone can start small. I’m a big fan of auto-saving, and there’s a reason why it’s recommended by personal finance gurus. Auto-saving is easy and you can start small. Five bucks in a cushion account adds up to $260 a year. Double your auto-savings amount to $10 a week, and that’s $520 annually.

I’m not privileged enough to focus on net worth

This is a bunch of bull. Earning more and spending less is something we’re all capable of. While we don’t have control over greater forces—tax codes, inflation, getting laid off—we do have agency in our saving and spending decisions, and in our ability to earn more.

Thinking that net worth is for a privileged few is getting in your way. If I was able to build my savings making very little, so can you.

To figure out your net worth, tally up your debt. This includes student loans, credit card debt, and car loans. Next, add up your assets—money you have sitting in savings, retirement accounts, savings apps, and so forth. Then, subtract your debts from your assets to determine your net worth.

It might be an unpleasant endeavor to find you have negative net worth. But it’s only in taking an honest look that you can work toward being in the green.

I’m an artist and will always be poor

Just because you have creative pursuits doesn’t mean you will always be stuck in the poor house. By fusing your vision and talents with entrepreneurism, you can make a decent living.

From freelancer marketplaces to online platforms, there are tons of resources to help you build your own business. Granted, being a self-employed creative or artist does come with its own host of challenges. For one, you’ll likely have to deal with variable income. Because your cash flow can change month to month, it’s tough to stay on top of bills and save for anything.

Chime can help. With its Get Paid Early feature, you can get direct deposits up to two days early. In turn, this can help you pay your bills on time.

Bust those myths today

Busting harmful money mindsets can help you earn more, save more, and land you in positive net worth territory. Just remember: Building your net worth may be a slow and steady climb. So, stay the course and over time, you’ll move closer to your financial goals.

 

5 Money Management Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

In our digital age, podcasts are the continuation school for busy grown-ups. They’re snack-sized audible lessons packed with digestible information.

What better way to learn about the world and satiate your curiosities? Consume them during your morning commute, your lunch break, or listen to them while doing household chores.

For those wanting to level up on their money management skills, an easy way to go about it is to check out a podcast. Want to know what are all the money nerds listening to these days? Here’s a roundup of our favorite shows about the mighty dollar.

Harsh Truth

Art and money is rarely talked about. For artists or creative freelancers such as myself, you may want to learn the ins and outs of art as a business. The Harsh Truth podcast, co-hosted by artists Gondek and Frankzilla, does just that. How do successful creatives make a living and what money struggles do they face? What changes are taking place at the intersection of culture and commerce? Plus, there are also some amazing stories on how guest artists developed their craft and unique styles.

What it teaches you about money: Most artists aren’t trust fund babies. And contrary to popular belief, they don’t hate money. In fact, they want more of it, and don’t typically struggle with the fears of being a sellout. It turns out that most artists think hard about how to make a dollar and run their own businesses. Making money is an important sign of career validation. An artist’s journey is tough and they run the risk of getting ripped off, both in terms of money and intellectual property.

HerMoney

Sorry, boys. But Jean Chatzy’s HerMoney is one for the ladies. Featured topics and guests run the gamut from how to earn more to money and relationships to overcoming your fears about investing. Chatzy taps into her powers of being a personal finance celebrity and has some big-deal guests come on her show, notably Jen Sincero, Daniel Pink, and David Bach.

What it teaches you about money: Achieving financial wellness requires looking at the big picture, such as earning more, learning how to negotiate, and mastering your money mindset. It also means you’ll need to focus on the nitty-gritty, like the importance of auto-saving for your goals and keeping tabs on your account balances with a bank app. There’s so much to get your head around. It requires an open mind, focus, and commitment.

Bad With Money

Those who live, eat, and breathe money get a bad rap about living in an echo chamber. As nearly half of Americans struggle to save $400 for an emergency, the “I am going to retire at 30” and “I have half a million saved for retirement” leads to many an eyeroll.

That’s why voices like Gaby Dunn are so important. Her podcast Bad With Money views money from a feminist and queer perspective, and chats about finances for those who suck at money. By offering a platform for different voices to share their qualms and struggles with money, Dunn’s show helps you you face your money woes and improve your relationship with it.

What it teaches you about money: Many people are bad with money. Don’t be fooled by the swarm of personal finance blogs and tales of success. More people are drowning in debt than touting positive net worths. There are more underemployed folks than those earning six-figure incomes. That being said, there’s room to better your situation.

But avoiding thinking about the topic altogether won’t help. By being honest with where you’re currently at, you can take the steps to form positive habits and learn how to make improvements.

Afford Anything

I’ve long been a fan of Paula Pant and her motto: “You can afford anything, just not everything.” Pant’s podcast Afford Anything is an extension of this truism, and she explores topics that run the gamut from strategies for saving for retirement to how to live a meaning life.

As Pant is well-known for escaping her day job and achieving financial independence through rental properties, you can find a handful of episodes on FI/RE (financial independence, retire early) and house hacking. But beyond how-tos, Pant also delves into quandaries people might face: How to give to charity while achieving financial independence, and how to be happy with less.

What it teaches you about money: As someone who is financially independent, Pant offers a unique perspective on what money represents. What happens after you’ve worked hard, and were clever enough to aggressively save so you can retire early? For Pant, it’s not having fancy things, or slaving away at an office job. It’s about spending time with your loved ones, and doing what you enjoy, whether it’s traveling, spending time in nature, or reading a good book. How you spend your resources, particularly your time and money, defines how you spend your life.

Beyond the Dollar  

As the name implies, Beyond the Dollar takes a deep dive at the emotional aspects of money. How does debt affect mental health? And can one create a money-life manifesto? Entering its fourth season, I’m eager to check out new episodes as Sarah Li Cain is flying solo – sans former co-host Garrett Philbin – as the host of this thought-provoking, soul-digging show.

What it teaches you about money: Financial wellness just isn’t about information, numbers and math. There’s an emotional, even a spiritual component with money. Li Cain’s show helps you understand the role your emotions and mindset play in to your decisions, and what might be getting in the way of reaching your goals.

Learn More, Improve Your Money Situation

There’s no shortage of ways to consume information, and these podcasts make it easy to learn more about money.

In turn, you can form positive habits, change harmful money mindsets, and educate yourself on how to save for your goals and build wealth. Dig in!

 

The Important Relationship You Shouldn’t Overlook

Less than one-third of Americans feel confident in banks, according to a Gallup poll. This is about the same level of confidence Americans have in the criminal justice system or the presidency. Yikes.

If you’re wondering what’s to blame for this, you might consider the 2008 financial crisis, which was engineered by Wall Street. Or the cascade of bank scandals, which have besieged stalwarts like Wells Fargo and Citibank. Or the abundance of banking fees, which cost the average American $329 per year.

Rather than looking backwards, however, we’d prefer to focus on the future. We’d like to zero in on how Americans can change their relationships with banks. So, we’d like to start with a simple question: If your bank was a person, would you remain in your relationship?

Indeed, just like a bad boyfriend, a negative relationship with your bank can damage your entire perspective — and a good relationship can make everything better. Here’s how (and why) to ensure you and your bank fall into the latter category.

How Your Finances Affect Your Mental Health

While there’s no denying your finances have an impact on your psyche, a recent survey from Northwestern Mutual revealed just how much:

  • 25% of people feel anxiety about money “all the time” or “often.”
  • 44% call money their main stressor — more than their personal relationships (25%) or job (18%).

These statistics are not surprising, according to financial planner and money coach Debbie Sassen.

“Money management skills are something a lot of us are missing,” says Sassen.

“We didn’t learn them from our parents — it was a totally taboo topic of conversation — and we didn’t learn them in school… So from the outset, as adults, we feel vulnerable and intimidated about money,” she says.

With high fees, scandals and impersonal customer service, many of the big banks exasperate these feelings. “Generally and broadly, there’s a lack of trust among millennials in the financial industry, and it’s deserved,” financial planner Ariel Anderson told Fast Company.

“We constantly read headlines about the missteps of banks like Wells Fargo; we lived through the financial crisis,” states Anderson.

One such millennial is Valerie Stimac, a travel writer for Space Tourism Guide. At her traditional bank, she paid an estimated $7.95 per month to maintain her checking account.

“It felt like they were taking advantage of me, rather than providing a service. “It was frustrating to have a bank I felt like I couldn’t trust,” says Stimac.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

One Gallup poll found that, at the least trusted bank, a mere 12% of customers strongly believed the company had their best interests at heart. At the most trusted bank, more than five times that number (64%) felt the same way.

Clearly, where you bank matters, and not all banks are built the same way. (Some never even charge fees.) Sassen, the financial coach, says a trustworthy bank “can be your friend” and “help you create a good safety cushion.”

In search of that “friend,” travel writer Stimac left her bank after more than a decade.

“Switching banks has been the best decision I’ve made,” she says.

“[Now] I trust my bank to look out for me as a customer — and to look out for my money, which is the foundation of my financial future.”

Stimac is far from alone when it comes to switching banks. Dan Pierson, founder of Bolt Travel, says he “got really tired of paying $12 a month for my checking account, then getting hit with $35 overdraft fees on $2.50 coffee purchases.”

So, after moving to a new city where his brick-and-mortar had no physical branches, Pierson switched to an online-only bank.

“My banking has been much simpler since moving online, and the customer service is significantly improved. It feels great to be backed by a bank that’s aligned with my financial goals,” he says.

Ready to Break Up With Your Bank?

Banking doesn’t have to be a miserable, fee-ridden chore. It can be free, and easy – and maybe even fun.

Obviously we’re biased, but we think Chime is all that — and more. By charging zero fees, offering early direct deposit, and encouraging automatic saving, we strive to overturn the negative experiences you may have had with other institutions.

We thrive off trust and transparency; on working with you, rather than against you. And we want you to like us as much as we like you.

In our opinion, that’s the way every relationship — whether it’s with a business or a human — should be. Don’t you agree?

 

Daily, Weekly, Monthly Habits to Help Your Finances

Just like dirty laundry that tends to pile up if left unintended, keeping your financial house organized can feel like a gargantuan task. As my former boss used to say before we tackled a huge project: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

As you step into the new year, boosting your finances will come down to creating manageable tasks.

Here are a handful of simple habits you can form, in both in the short- and long-term, to improve your financial situation on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Read on to learn more.

Daily: Check Your Balance

Checking your bank balance achieves several goals: You can check for fishy transactions, make sure your transactions are accurate, and glean insights on your spending patterns and habits. More importantly, keeping tabs on your bank account balance can help you see if you’re in financial hot water or if you’re in danger of incurring overdraft fees. No bueno.

I check my bank balance through a bank app every morning. It takes all but five seconds, and gives me an idea of how much I have left to spend until the end of the month.

Daily: Auto-Save

While you technically only need to set up recurring transfers once, setting your savings to auto-pilot is something that will help you with both short- and long-term goals. I auto-save for pretty much everything: vacations, musical instruments, writing retreats, a down payment for a car, and so forth. I even auto-save into a splurge fund that I use to spend on whatever I darn please. Setting this up is easy and only takes a few minutes. Even five dollars a week adds up to $260 a year. And trust me, that money can certainly come in handy down the line.

Speaking of this: If you’re a Chime member and set up direct deposit, you can even auto-save a percentage of your paycheck.

Weekly: Create a Weekly Spending Plan

Behavioral economics have shown that you’ll gain greater control over your finances if you review your budget weekly. Because you’re dealing with fewer transactions, it’s more manageable to see what is coming in and out of your accounts. And even though a lot of bills are paid monthly, breaking up your budget into weekly increments will help you anticipate and predict your expenses. What’s more, if you get paid bi-weekly, you may have less money the second week than the first.

I budget for everything the week ahead. If I know I’ll be going out for dinner or out with friends for happy hour, I’ll factor this in and scale back on, say, how much I spend on groceries that week.

Here’s another idea: Set aside a certain amount for your recurring, predictable bills. Then divvy up the remainder for your discretionary spending. Over time, you’ll be able to gauge how much you roughly spend each month for groceries, gas, eating out, entertainment, personal items, and so forth.

Weekly: Commit to Changing One Small Thing

What’s one minor adjustment you can make to improve your finances? It might be brown-bagging it to work a few days out of the week, or perhaps taking public transit. Spend a tad too much time on Instagram following your favorite influencers and brands? Try unfollowing for a month and see if you can rein in your purchases.

Small changes I’ve made include creating a “want” list of items I’d like but don’t necessarily need. Then I wait about a month to see if I’m still feeling the urge to splurge. I’ve also stopped eating out while I’m out and about on my own. Instead, I’ll typically dine out with company.

Monthly: Do a Budget Check-In 

While it’s best to create a spending plan every week, check in at least once a month to see what tweaks you can make it the coming months. For instance, last year I realized I’m far better off paying for a series of yoga classes than joining a gym. And because I rarely used my Deskpass subscription, which is the ClassPass equivalent of co-working, I canceled my membership.

Monthly budget check-ins also help you plan for one-off expenses, like insurance premiums and spending over the holidays.

Monthly: Go on a Money Date

Carve out some dedicated time each month to go on a money date—either with yourself or with a partner or friend. It’s a great time to check on the progress of your goals and envision what you ultimately want. You can even populate a vision board with what you want to achieve with your money. For example, maybe you want to take time off to work on a passion project, manifest a magical vacation to Bora Bora, or purchase your first house.

Money dates are also a great time to iron out challenges. If you anticipate a rough financial patch, drum up solutions on how you can get through the coming months. Or, if you and your partner disagree about your financial goals, a money date is a good time to hash things out.

Monthly: Autopay Your Bills

If you can swing it, set up autopay on as many bills as possible. Of course, that’s far easier if you have a steady paycheck. If you’re a freelancer or gig economy worker, and get different income at varying times, consider syncing up your bills to retainer clients. For instance, let’s say you’re a freelance graphic designer. You have one client who pays you a certain amount each month, and the money typically drops into your bank account on the 15th of the month.

Because that’s money you can count on, assign that paycheck to your “big rock” bills (aka rent or credit card bill).

Another tactic? Get ahead one month on your bills. This means that by the end of any given month, you’ll have enough cash in your account to cover the next month’s bills. While this seems like a tall order, you can get started by saving up a month’s worth of living expenses to get the ball rolling.

Break It Down Into Bite-Sized Pieces 

Tending to financial well-being is definitely more feasible if you chunk things down. By following these tips and committing to an hour or two a month to organize your finances, you’ll be on your way to forming better money habits.

 

How to Set Intentions for the Year That Will Make You Wealthy

With the new year quickly approaching, this is a great time to consider your goals for 2019.

With this in mind, have you ever considered setting intentions instead of resolutions for the new year? Intentions are anticipated outcomes. They help to guide your actions, both big and small throughout the year. Intentions also allow you to push yourself beyond simply thinking about desirable outcomes.

Want to learn more about intentions and how they can lead to personal growth and financial wealth? Read on to see how you can implement intentions into your life.

Resolutions versus intentions

Still confused about the difference between resolutions and intentions? To further explain, here are the definitions from Vocabulary.com:

Resolution: A decision to do something better or to behave in a certain manner.

Intention: An anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions.

Based on these definitions, resolutions are based solely on desirable outcomes, while intentions use desirable outcomes to guide your actions. For instance, instead of setting a resolution, such as losing 10 pounds this year, you can set an intention to focus on your health. This intention, in turn, may result in you losing weight – maybe even 10 pounds. In a nutshell, intentions guide your actions, which may include committing to exercising, eating more wholesome foods, and focusing on self-care. See the difference?

Tips for setting intentions for the new year

Now that you know how intentions differ from resolutions, you can start to set them. Here are 6 tips to get started.

1. Split your life into categories

Not sure where to start? Consider focusing on an area of your life that you’d like to improve upon this year. Life categories are different for everyone, but some may include:

  • Relationships
  • Finances
  • Career
  • Personal Development
  • Religion/Spirituality
  • Health
  • Personal Interest/Hobbies

2. Find your why

Next, pick one of the life categories above. It’s not enough to just say you want to improve something – you’ll have to discover what you’d like to improve and why.

So, say you want to improve your finances this year. Then ask yourself “why”? Take some time to really think about this. If you journal, you can even try writing out your answers.

Once you find your why, write it down and make it visible. This is the fuel that will drive you throughout the year, so refer back to it often to stay motivated.

3. Set goals

Let’s continue to use the example of improving your finances. Now it’s to time to break this down even further to consider what specific areas you want to improve upon. For instance, you may include outcomes such as:

  • I want to pay off my debt
  • I want to build my emergency fund
  • I want to pay all of my bills on time

Now that you know what you want to do, you need to set SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that suggests goals that meet the following criteria:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

An example of a SMART goal would be to pay off $10,000 of student loans in 12 months. That goal is specific (it indicates what kind of debt you will pay off), measurable (it specifies how much debt), achievable (assuming you have some income this year), relevant (it provides results), and time bound (to be achieved within 12 months). Got it?

4. Break down your goals

Now that you have a SMART goal or two, break it down to determine what specific actions you must take every month, week, and even day in order to achieve your new year’s intention.

For instance, if you want to save $6,000 in an emergency fund this year, you will need to commit to saving at least $500 a month. That equals $125 a week, or about $17 a day. By doing this, you’re more likely to stay on track throughout the entire year.

5. Commit to rejuvenating yourself

You’ve been down this road before: You commit to a goal 100 percent, and then a few weeks later, you find yourself tired, bored and burned out.

If you can relate, you likely didn’t give yourself enough breaks. It’s hard work to achieve all your goals, so give yourself some rest!  Need some self-care tips? Check out this article from Psychology Today for a few ways to get started.

6. Create space

Having a hard time concentrating on your goals? Try creating space.

Creating space helps eliminate clutter. Whether it’s physical or emotional clutter, ridding yourself of it can only help clear your mind and surroundings to focus on what really matters.

With fewer distractions, you can focus on your intentions. You’ll be less likely to become run-down, give up or get distracted. To create space, Prevention Health suggests starting small. Even decluttering a single drawer can go a long way in reducing stress.

Take advantage of helpful tools

Whether your new year intention is to grow your finances or improve yourself in another way, Chime’s mobile wallet and money transfer features are here to help. By socking away your hard-earned dollars into a fee-free online savings account, you can watch your cash grow.

And just think: Saving more money allows you to more readily reach your financial intentions this year. Are you ready to make this year your best year?

 

How to Change Your Money Mindset Next Year, According to Science

This year you’re going to do things differently. That fancy cappuccino you buy every day? You’ll make coffee at home. That no-fee bank account you said you’d sign up for? This is the year you’re going to open it.

If all goes according to plan, you’ll accomplish these financial goals, as well as all the others you’ve set over and over, year after year. Yet, have you ever wondered why, despite your good intentions, you haven’t accomplished them already?

Perhaps it’s because you haven’t addressed the roots of your financial behavior: your money mindset. That’s right: What you believe about money has a powerful effect on what you do with your money. With that in mind, here’s how to make changes that last in the upcoming new year.

Accept Your Starting Point

Your money mindset has been brewing for a long, long time.

“We all develop and suffer from certain money beliefs, biases, and behaviors that are developed based on our family history and how we approach money decisions,” says Victor Ricciardi, a finance professor at Goucher College and co-editor of “Investor Behavior” and “Financial Behavior.”

It should come as no surprise that if you’ve had positive experiences with money, you’re more likely to have better money habits, says Ricciardo. And if you’ve had negative experiences, chances are you have poor habits.

So, consider how the past may have shaped your current mindset, then release yourself from blame — and accept that the only thing you can control now is the present. That, in turn, will help shape your future.

Recognize Your Biases

Cognitive biases are a core part of your beliefs, and Ricciardi says behavioral finance research has revealed several common ones. Take a look at these two beliefs that may affect your biases:

  • Representativeness: This theory, according to Ricciardi, posits we have an “automatic inclination to make judgments based on the similarity of items, or predict future uncertain events by taking a small portion of data and drawing a holistic conclusion.” When it comes to your money, that might mean assuming one tech stock is a good investment because other tech stocks have performed well. Or it might mean avoiding stocks entirely because the market crashed in 2008.
  • Anchoring: Ricciardi says this involves “selecting an initial reference point and slowly adjusting to arrive at a final judgment.” Say you see a pair of jeans for $300, and then later find those same pants marked down to $150. Whether or not $150 is a good price for jeans, you might think they’re a bargain simply because of the original (anchor) price.

“We need to make an individual effort to understand our biases and how these mistakes might result in poor investment outcomes,” explains Ricciardi.

Are you scared of the market? Are you addicted to the sales rack? Analyze the biases that might be contributing to those behaviors, and then do your best to address them.

Explore Your Beliefs

When determining which biases you hold, it also helps to reflect on the past. Ricciardi recommends recording how you’ve responded to previous financial events, and then considering which biases might have shaped your reaction.

You should also write down your current money beliefs by answering questions like:

  • What did your childhood teach you about money?
  • How does spending money make you feel? How about earning money?
  • What do you think about being “rich”? What about being “poor”?
  • How do you wish you felt about money?

If you want to keep going, financial planner and success coach Natalie Bacon offers more thought-provoking suggestions on her blog, including this one from life coach Brooke Castillo: “How would you spend $1,000,000… if you received it right now? Would you tell people? Why or why not? What would you make this money mean? What would other people make it mean?”

Before changing your money mindset, you’ll need to fully understand it — and these questions will help you uncover the truth.

Choose Abundance Over Scarcity

What did your beliefs reveal? If you’re like many people who struggle with money, you may discover that you focus on scarcity rather than abundance.

“A person with a scarcity mindset believes there is a finite amount of money to go around. A person with an abundance mindset believes there is plenty for everyone,” explains financial therapist Lindsay Bryan-Podvin.

To change your mindset from scarcity to abundance, you’ll need to consciously reframe your everyday thoughts. Here are some examples of how to do this, according to Bryan-Podvin:

  • “$50 isn’t going to save me in a crisis, so there’s no point in starting an emergency fund” → “While $50 probably won’t help a ton in a crisis, by starting to save I’m investing in my future safety.”
  • “I could die tomorrow, so why wouldn’t I book this weeklong excursion through South America?” → “That South American trip has been on my bucket list forever! I bet I can start saving money and stocking up on airline miles now, so I’ll be able to go in a year or two.”

You can also practice money affirmations. A few of Bryan-Podvin’s favorites are: “I release all negative energy over money,” “I am aligned with the energy of abundance,” and “Money expands my life’s opportunities and experiences.”

Educate Yourself

Regardless of what you may think right now, you are not doomed to be “bad with money.”

Vicki Bogan, who teaches finance at Cornell University and directs The Institute for Behavioral and Household Finance, says this all-too-common belief can usually be attributed to insufficient education.

“People who lack financial literacy often become scared or emotional about financial decisions and as a result do not do anything to actively manage their finances,” she says.

To combat this, she recommends learning about common topics like budgeting, money management, and financial planning.

Bryan-Podvin agrees. Rather than making a blanket statement about your financial ability, she suggests getting specific about what you’re struggling with — whether it’s investing in retirement or understanding your taxes — and then educating yourself in those areas.

“We aren’t taught about money, and yet we’re expected to know how to create a spending plan, set aside money for retirement, and save for children’s futures. Often, going over personal finance definitions and concepts can help,” she says.

Determine Your Values

Even with all the education in the world, you’ll never stick to your goals unless you figure out why you’re working toward them in the first place.

“Saying ‘I want to save’ because a blogger said it was important doesn’t do much,” explains Bryan-Podvin. Likewise, “Thinking about opening up a Roth IRA is meaningless if you don’t have a why behind it,” she says.

So, before taking the next steps toward financial freedom, ask yourself what you value. If it’s health, for example, you’d probably be fulfilled by buying fresh produce instead of fast food, or rock climbing shoes instead of high heels. If you value adventure, you’ll feel more fulfilled saving for a big trip than racking up big bar tabs.

“Once a person has their values figured out, creating a plan that sticks becomes so much easier,” says Bryan-Podvin.

Create a Financial Plan

One essential part of being human is making mistakes. And when you inevitably slip up, having a financial plan will help you stay on track. So think about  how you want your life to look, and how money plays a role.

Because you’ve taken the time to understand your biases, beliefs, and values, you’ll be able to develop a plan that isn’t like everyone else’s — a plan that makes sense for you. Maybe you want to become a homeowner, retire early, or stop living paycheck to paycheck. Whatever it is, Ricciardi says creating a long-term plan will help you make better financial judgments.

The Future Depends on You

If you want to change your future, you’ll need to change your mindset first.

“Making money a positive force is best done by reminding yourself that money is powerful,” says Bryan-Podvin.

“If you don’t control it, it will control you. Finding a healthy, empowered view with money can make a huge difference,” she says.

And that, right there, is the key: empowerment. By combining thoughtful reflection with ample education, you can gain financial confidence and control – once and for all.

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