03 Feb 2017
Master Your Money in 2017 in 5 Smart Steps
I turned 27 the day I wrote this article and my relationship with money is more tumultuous than Justin and Britney à la 1999. Aside from the fact I chose to reside in one of the most expensive cities in the world, budgeting has never come naturally to me. At the ripe age of 7 I was blowing my last monopoly money on Park Place ending up bankrupt after an unlucky community chest roll. At ten, it was deciding to splurge on that extra pack of Pokemon cards in hopes of unwrapping an exclusive holographic Charizard. At 16 it was opting to spend all the month’s babysitting money on the overly-beaded Prom Gown of my Sixteen-Candles dreams that would be worn once and catch dust in the closet for the rest of eternity… You get the point.
Now that I’m entering my latter twenties and, I suppose according to the masses, an official adult, I am vowing to take ownership of my finances and face scary words like “student debt” and “credit card balance due” head on without assistance of any sedatives.
To help me dive into this pool of former anxiety, I was lucky enough to speak with Sallie Krawcheck – a former Wall Street CEO, published author, and the inspiration for the blockbuster movie Equity as a female financial powerhouse. After listening to her words of wisdom I no longer felt powerless to the green paper. Instead, I felt INSPIRED and eager to put into practice the small, but vital, habits needed to reach Beyonce cash-flow status. And lucky for our FIYD fam, I’m still practicing giving back as part of my New Year’s resolutions, so take heed of these four financially savvy tips below!
1. Assess Your Situation
Regardless of whether you’re bathing in bucks or edging toward MC Hammerdom, everyone has an existing balance and contrary to popular Instagram memes, ignoring your balance and crossing fingers that your card doesn’t get declined isn’t an effective way to keep afloat. There is power in knowledge, and that includes full awareness of where you stand in the spectrum of balance, debt, and credit. Once you have a firm grasp of where you stand, consider your monthly income and the allocation of WHERE your money is going. Sally advised dividing your moo-lah into a nifty 50/30/20 plan. Half your paycheck should be devoted to needs (and no, even though the new Celine bag is heavenly, you can physically survive without its glamorous accessorizing). 30% of your paycheck can contribute toward WANTS, then the remaining 20% should go toward paying off debt (most important) or investing. Go get your calculators ready!
3. Set Goals
For many it seems the government has us handcuffed to a never-ending chain of paying off debt. Be it student loans or credit card accumulation, many become complacent in the hole they’ve dug themselves in… So long as they can keep swiping plastic. Well newsflash, friends! You do NOT want to be 70 years old contemplating retirement and realizing you haven’t built yourself a stable enough cushion to coast through to your grave, so you’re doomed to work yourself to death (quite literally). For those of us in our twenties, it’s more important than ever to invest, since that allows more time for accumulation of interest (And if you’re in your 30s or 40s or beyond, today’s always a good time to start!). Quite literally it can be the difference of retiring before sixty. Good news is, it’s early February and a great time to start fresh with resolutions. Put a number to your goal in order to give your savings more value. For example, completely paying off your credit card balance before you allow yourself to buy that vacation in Tulum. You’ll feel all better sipping margs on the beach knowing you’ve got your shit together!
4. Trim the Fat (Literally)
That feeling when you look at your statement and it resembles your food intake and Seamless history over the past month? Probably means it’s time to pick up the spatula and start being self-sufficient! I’m no Betty Crocker, but anyone who’s been involved with 10+ birthday party dinners is aware of the astronomical cost that goes hand in hand with eating out in the city. While special occasions and best friend birthdays call for some splurging, casual wine-and-catchup girls nights shouldn’t turn into your entire week’s extracurricular spend. Instead of SoHo House and Chill, why spruce up your culinary skills together over a bottle of $5 Trader Joes? (Don’t knock it ‘til you try it). When you add up all that extra avocado, you’re halfway to Havana.
5. Side Hustle
Often times after college your 9-5 grind is valuable from a resume building career perspective, but offers very little when it comes to sustaining a life when your rent is upwards of $1500. At that point you either need to decide on a different life path, or, hustle like HOV until you get that title bump. One of the most successful individuals I’ve met, who also happens to be my mentor, spent ten years grinding at an entry level job for the best talent agency in Los Angeles. By day he was an Ari Gold protégé in the making, by night he was driving taxis around the city of dreams envisioning a better future, which he’d eventually achieve. Point being, this incredibly successful human who I admire wasn’t above side hustling in order to achieve his bigger dreams. If you’re in a creative field this is especially important, as writing, editing, and photography are all freelance based and can become a cash-cushion hobby, on-top of bringing intrinsic joy.
So, now that you’re ready to weigh down the piggy bank, who’s ready to make their money work for them? Personally I’m DONE with stressing about bills and preaching nothing but love for the greenery. Write me below to let me know what you think!
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