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How To Manage Your MONEY: Learn Common Cents ☘
To Build Wealth and Fortune, You First Need To Know How To Keep It
By youniqorn Posted in Management, Mindset, Money, Tips on 0 Comments 39 min read
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TL;DR

  1. Adopt the mindset of Common Cents.
  2. Managing your money entails knowing how to save, spend, budget (weekly, monthly, yearly) and invest.
  3. Set/write down savings/investment goals and lifelines.
  4. Use high-interest savings accounts, especially for emergency funds.
  5. Write down the most important things to you to determine what’s worth spending on.
  6. Make the most out of your money by getting as much value as possible: look for sales, discounts, coupons and cashback first.
  7. Write down all recurring necessary expenses.
  8. Get a budget buddy to hold you accountable.
  9. Use an accounting app to track spending and always keep/scan your receipts to be reminded of how much you’ve already spent and to get cash back.
  10. Choose no more than three (3) go-to stores for all necessities.
  11. For every unnecessary expense, put away the same amount into an investment account. Always make sure you have four times (4x) more coming in than going out.
  12. Keep/scan your receipts for cash back/points.
  13. Make sure your priorities are actually priorities which are truly worth spending on.
  14. Learn about and practice investing and decide on the best investment avenues for you. If you’re a beginner, start with the easiest/simplest route.
  15. Keep in mind that your best investment will always be yourself and what you have to give back to the world.
  16. Work on creating multiple streams of income for yourself. Work on one at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself.
  17. Do thorough research when making large purchases for the best outcome and make sure they are actually investments and not just expenses.
  18. Financially distance/cut yourself off from the financially irresponsible. They will hold you back from your progress.
  19. Always stay hungry. Do not rest on your laurels or be content with less and always seek opportunity to invest in yourself.
  20. Teach those who are happy/want to learn, but don’t waste your time lush energies/resources on those who don’t.
  21. *Utilize the templates and printables included in your STAR+er membership and refer to your personal money resource page often.

 

The Nitty Gritty

In order to be wildly successful and win at life, you must know how and be able to manage the three things that will affect you the most: your money, your time, and your relationships. How you manage your money will have a tremendous effect on how you are able to manage the other two. Money is the currency through which we measure value and time (your most valuable asset). Therefore, your money is a reflection of how much of value you are offering in any given space, at any given point.

You absolutely must know how to manage your money if you are going to be successful at life. And, certainly, if you are going to build wealth. A huge part of building wealth is knowing how to keep it. If you do not know how to handle and manage small amounts of money, you will not know how to handle and manage larger amounts. It’s that simple. This is a skill set you must learn and continue to develop throughout your life as you encounter different and more sophisticated aspects of money, currency, and income. Managing money isn’t difficult; it simply takes something of a mindset shift. In the US in particular, there is a cultural and societal emphasis and pressure on using “credit” instead of “debit”. This puts people in the mind frame of borrowing what they do not have instead of using and working with what they do. As much as possible, move away from the mindset of spending money that you don’t have and that is not yours now and paying it back later with insane interest over time. If you are going to participate in the credit lifestyle, do so as a creditor or lender. Not as a borrower. Holding a borrower’s mindset will keep you broke. What you want to adopt is the mindset of what I like to call, Common Cents. This is a mindset of building fortune whilst still staying frugal, i.e., refraining from spending money frivolously and impulsively simply because you have it. If you’re going to spend money, it should always actually bring value and enhance your life. Not just marginally, either. Everyone has something they like to indulge in and spend their money on and that is absolutely fine, however, it’s important not to make it habit of spending excessively on guilty pleasures and items that cannot/do not really add that much value to your life, standard of living, and overall well-being. A $200,000 sports car may be nice to look at and may gain the admiration of a lot of people, however, if it only ever sees the light of day once in a blue moon, it may not be a wise expense even if you can afford the purchase and upkeep.

No matter how many income streams you create for yourself and how much money you have coming in, if you do not know how to manage that money and ensure that you have more coming in than going out, it won’t mean anything and chances are you will likely end up broke. This is why so many professional athletes (the NFL comes to mind) and people who win the lottery end up right back where they started, a.k.a. broke, after an average of only five years. That’s millions of dollars even after tax blown and squandered without any/little to no thought of investment and management in only half a decade. A million US dollars is a finite amount of money. If you do not know how to handle it, you will burn through it, much faster than you think. $10 million is a good chunk of money, but again it is still finite. $1 billion can set you up for life, but again, if you do not know how to manage it, you can absolutely blow through a billion dollars in your lifetime and have nothing of it left to show you ever had it at the end. It has happened. To both people who have been born into poverty as well as wealth. So, it’s not enough to talk about skyrocketing your net worth and multiplying your income streams to build wealth without talking about how to actually manage all that money and ensure that you do not end up losing it frivolously. In fact, you want to manage it so that the money that’s coming in ends up making you more money.

Adopt the mindset of investing over spending. An investment is something that will bring value and not only enhance your life and standard of living, but will likely provide another source of income or a skill set that will allow you to create a source of income from it. Investments pay off and expenses are just that—expenses. What you get is an item short-term. It does not provide any additional value beyond what it gives. An investment provides both short and long-term value and continues to work for you years and years and years and years after you’ve made the initial investment.

So, in adopting this mindset of Common Cents, the three main pillars of money management we’re going to cover are how to save, how to spend (weekly, monthly, yearly budgeting) and, most importantly, how to invest.

 

I. SAVING

  1. Put your money in high-interest savings accounts. If you have access to online banks, they will usually have higher interest rates than brick-and-mortar banks. Good examples are One Finance and Ally Bank. This will allow you get higher interest rates and incentivize you to save more of your money so you get more interest on a larger principal amount. In addition to your personal money resource page, NerdWallet is a great resource to look for different savings account options and they always give up-to-date information and rates for each banking/financial institution. The higher the interest rate you can get, the better you can build your savings systems (as opposed to reach your savings goals). Adopt saving as a lifestyle mindset instead of a goal-oriented endeavor and it will serve you well. It’s important, however, to be actively conscious and intentional about what it is you’re saving for, otherwise, it will simply feel like a chore if you’re not naturally inclined to be frugal or haven’t yet built/fallen into the habit of saving your money. This leads into the next point.
  2. Set and write down your savings target(s). Preferably in your own handwriting. Give yourself very good reasons to save. Make sure that, first and foremost, because of the unpredictability of life, you have an emergency fund for yourself and any dependents you may have. A lot of people do not realize how much they need emergency funds until an emergency happens. You don’t know when it will and it can happen at any time, so it’s not just important but necessary to be financially prepared for one (to at least some extent) at all Aim to have—and maintain—an emergency fund of at least $10,000 if you live in the US (adjust this amount to the general standard of living in your city/country). Then set your other savings targets in order of fundamental importance and value to you. If traveling the world is your lifestyle choice and it’s more important than buying a house, then obviously that should take precedence. But even if you travel the world, you have to think about housing and lodging and therefore need to have a savings account specifically for your housing or lodging. This account will be for your home rent, mortgage, maintenance, home insurance, etc. It’s worth taking the time to write down the most important things to you to determine what’s worth spending on. Again, if you do not know who you want to become, you cannot know what you want and what you don’t want. It will save you so much time and money if you put in said time up front to critically think about the person you truly want to be and what you want out of life so that you can make the best and wisest financial decisions for yourself instead of making financial decisions for the type of life and person someone else thinks you should/wants you to be (that’s the shit that cruises plenty a folk to the destination spot called Midlife Crisis, by the way). So, get yourself a separate Financial Journal (with erasable pens to keep things neat) or use your STAR+er membership journal printouts and write down the type of lifestyle you want for yourself ideally (do not hold back or place restrictions on your dreams here, “realistic” expectations be damned) and research/find out how much money that will require on daily, weekly and annual basis for you. This will be your guide to figure out what you can do to increase your net worth to afford that lifestyle. Again, don’t sell yourself short. Don’t be afraid to want nice things or live in luxury. If you want it badly enough, you will work toward it and you will do so consistently—until it becomes your reality. And, if you stay consistent, your chances will only keep getting higher. Seriously. The power of compounding is both financial and habitual. And, yes, it is staggeringly powerful.
  3. In writing down your savings targets as part of your savings system, also set savings lifelines. Instead of using the word “deadlines”, I choose to use “lifelines” because the way you use words tremendously affects your mindset and the way you think about them. If you think of it as a lifeline, it is actually a positive reiteration instead of a negative and daunting one, encouraging you to meet it so that you can gain something to add to your life instead of feeling like you could lose something to a self-imposed, arbitrary date (i.e., reward versus punishment). Optimism and positivity will always trump pessimism, negative pressure and even “being realistic”. So, set lifelines for your targets and give yourself a specific window to save so that you do it actively and consciously and are incentivized to act sooner than later. In setting lifelines, giving yourself a shorter amount of time/window is often better than giving yourself too much time. As with other habits, when you give yourself a longer amount of time to build/accomplish something, you will tend to not do more than you feel is required because you subconsciously feel—and know—that you have more (than enough) time so you won’t push yourself as much as you otherwise would. This is Parkinson’s Law in effect. If you give yourself a shorter amount of time, you will compensate, both consciously and subconsciously for the shorter window and do everything in your power to reach your target within that smaller timeframe—which, incidentally, will make you even more resourceful as a result. One thing you may be tempted to do is give yourself a larger window for a larger target but, sometimes, giving larger targets a relatively short window might actually be the best thing you could do because it will create a sense of urgency and immediacy and drive you to take action now, work faster and smarter, and force you to think of things in creative ways and thoroughly research/exhaust all options and possibilities to get to that target that you may otherwise not have bothered to do because you were not incentivized to. When you don’t have as much time to do something, it forces you to think outside the box and to get out of your comfort zone and look for other ways to do things. It also forces you to work and be more efficient and streamline your process(es) and environment(s) in order to achieve that target. So, give yourself a shorter amount of time to reach your savings targets so that you save actively instead of passively, which can make it harder for a lot of people to do consistently. This will up the odds of reaching your savings targets much sooner than later which will further encourage and motivate you to do it again because of your success. Progress is the biggest motivator, so set yourself up to make, see, and feel progress.

 

II. SPENDING

  1. Make the most of your money by getting as much value as possible. When you do spend, look for sales, discounts, coupons and cashback options first. Never pay full price if you do not have If companies and manufacturers offer discounts and coupons, take advantage of that. There is no shame or wrongfulness in doing so. Matter of fact, it’s smart. At its core, saving is not spending. In this case, not spending as much (but getting the same value). This is particularly true for recurring expenses like food, clothing, housing, entertainment, etc. Using “receipt reward” apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards, cashback programs like BeFrugal, and discount sites like RetailMeNot can save you a lot of money over time. Again, do not pay full price if you do not have to. This is not cheating or hacking. It’s simply common sense (cents). You don’t get a medal or cookie or kudos for paying full price when you don’t need to. There is nothing to prove. It does not mean that you cannot afford it at full price. It simply means that you’re smart about your money. Why spend $50 on one item when you can spend it on three different things offering the same value with coupons and sales? Get as much bang for your buck as possible at any given time. This holds even truer for larger financial purchases like investments, education, travel, healthcare, etc.
  2. Write down all your recurring, necessary expenses. Use an app tracker to track your ongoing expenses so that you can incorporate and practice financial accounting very easily and keep track of how much you’re spending on a day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month basis. It can be quite easy to lose track of how much you spend, even if you’re frugal, and little expenses here and there can add up very quickly. If you’re not aware of where your money is going, it’s that much easier for things to slip through the cracks and impede your saving plans. Hold yourself accountable and learn to account for your money (i.e., become your own accountant as though you were someone else’s). You need to know how much money you actually have at any given time and how much of it is going out versus coming in. A solid money tracker is the best way to do this. Stick to one good, comprehensive accounting app to track spending and always keep/scan your receipts to be reminded of how much you’ve already spent and to get cash back on your purchases. Again, apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards give you cashback and/or points on everyday expenses like groceries, travel/transportation, restaurants/dining, movies/entertainment, etc. which can be redeemed for gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Target, eBay, etc. and this has the added benefit of scanning your receipts to see how much you’ve spent, especially over time. So, it’s cashback (saving) and accounting all in one. A win-win.
  3. Get a Budget Buddy to hold yourself accountable for your expenses and to keep you in line. It’s very hard for a lot of people to manage money because it’s difficult for them to hold themselves accountable. In general, trying to reach targets, especially if you never have before or, is harder to do by yourself. But your chances of reaching targets is exponentially increased when you have somebody else there to hold you accountable and actually check up on you and make sure that you’re on track and doing what you need to do. This is especially crucial if you know that you have issues with overspending and mismanagement. A huge part of self-development is self-awareness and it’s really good to have self-awareness about your weaknesses and what you’re not good at so that you can get help and assistance for those things. There is no shame in not knowing how to better handle your money but it is important to ask for help in some form if you know that you cannot do it on your own. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help and it is far better to do than continue with poor money management behaviors and choices. Two great options for accountability buddies are GetMotivatedBuddies and the upcoming Youniqorn S+ELLAr membership.
  4. Choose no more than three (3) go-to stores (online and brick-and-mortar combined) for all your ongoing, basic necessities. I say this because you are more likely to spend when you feel like you have more options and opportunities to spend. When you limit your options for spending, you are less likely to spend and definitely less likely to spend frivolously. Again, this is mainly for necessities, so things that you buy/purchase on a regular basis. This includes food, clothing, and other items for your day-to-day, week-to-week and month-to-month maintenance. Comprehensive stores like Amazon and Walmart are great for getting everything you need but can be a double-edged sword precisely because they have everything, so be wary of the temptation to add stuff to your cart willy-nilly.

    It is essential that you are always honest and transparent with yourself about what is a necessary purchase (investment) and an unnecessary purchase (expense).

    Remember: INvestment = INcoming. EXpense = EXiting.

    If you do catch yourself making unnecessary purchases, then for every expense, put away the same amount into a savings or investment account. This will ensure that you get into the habit of, one, being more cognizant of your spending tendencies and the things you may want to refrain from spending on, two, actively thinking about and critically analyzing what is actually valuable to you and worth your money, and three, correcting and making up for poor financial choices. This is specific to money, but practicing this can bleed into other areas of your life and shift your mindset toward correcting mistakes and, therefore, learning from them instead of continuing to repeat them. For instance, if you impulse-buy a new sweat shirt or blouse for $20, and you know that it is an unnecessary expense (i.e., you have more than enough of those items for work, outings, special occasions and everything in between and you’re not intentionally updating/upgrading your wardrobe or reinventing your look, etc.), put away $20 in your high savings or investment account. This will, at the very least, make you think twice the next time you see another top or clothing item you’re tempted to buy. You will be less likely to make that purchase on impulse and more likely to give it some thought. The more you do this, the more you build the habit of becoming aware, strategic, intentional and particular about what you choose to buy. A lot of people end up wasting so much money on impulse buys, especially when they do not keep track or account of it. Do not throw hard-earned money away when you can put it somewhere that it will make you more.
  5. A good rule of thumb, if you want to adopt the mindset of Common Cents, is making sure that, on average, you have four times more money coming in than going out. Meaning, you’re spending at most, one quarter (25%) in total of your overall income. For instance, if you make $60,000 a year (after tax), at the moment, make sure you are not spending more than $15,000 a year. This means that you have to take into account your housing costs (rent, mortgage, utilities, maintenance, insurance, etc.), transportation (car/bike insurance, gas, maintenance, public transport (cab, bus, train, subway, etc.)), food (at-home cooking, restaurants, take out, etc.), entertainment (movies, book/audiobook/music/TV show subscriptions, etc.), and other miscellaneous costs that pop up on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. This may seem excessive, but it truly incentivizes and encourages you to be resourceful and make the most of the money do you have and learn how to do more with less as you build more. This is not about being stingy with or starving yourself of things you want. It’s actually about cutting out the things that do not actually enhance your life (even if the packaging promises just that) and are time and money wasters at best. In our example, $15,000 would basically be what you would live on (of course, this differs depending on where in the world you live and whether or not you have dependents, etc.), but for the sake of simplicity, say you’re a single individual responsible only for yourself on a consistent basis. Sometimes, that means that, in order to get to a better financial position and save/invest more money, you may have to get a roommate/housemate or multiple to bring your housing costs down even if you can currently afford to live by yourself. I understand that this is not ideal or even practical for everybody at every point, but if you do have the option, prioritize saving and investing that extra money that you would have spent to getting more money in the future over greater comfort right now. It serves you more in the long run to use what you currently have as best as you are able to get yourself into a better financial position tomorrow than to live super comfortably today. Again, this is not to say you should deny yourself comfort or a comfortable lifestyle, especially if you like living alone or just need your own space (trust me, I get it) but sacrificing a year of comfortably living alone for much better financial prospects will actually enhance your quality of life when you finally choose to live by yourself/have your own solo space and privacy. This is particularly true if you are young(er) and coming out of college and just starting to get into the workforce. But this is also true for a lot of Millennials who’ve had to go back to living with their parents/relatives after graduating and working as young adults, even into their thirties. The less you have coming in, the stricter you have to be about this. Of course, you can only do so much with minimum wage income and will have to spend some amount of your income on basic living necessities, so the best thing you can do, again, is increase your net worth by increasing your income streams by, in turn, increasing what you know and who you know. Be careful, however, of falling into the trap of wanting to spend more when you initially see more money coming in, especially if you’ve never made that amount of money before. Save and invest over spend, no matter your financial status. This fundamental principle—and choice—will always serve you well.
  6. Make sure your financial desires are actual desires and actually worth spending on/investing in. This is why it’s critical to physically write down your financial targets and aspirations and be candid with yourself about what they really are and why you’ve chosen them. If you do not consistently want something, chances are, it is not a deep desire, and more of a superficial one. Your financial targets, like any other targets, are things you have to reassess constantly. Preferably, on a daily basis. Writing down your 3 fundamental financial desires in your Money Journal every single day will constantly remind you of what you want—and, therefore, what you need to do to get it—and force you to revisit and examine whether that is what you truly desire over time. You will likely find yourself editing, amending or completely changing one or even all of those targets to things you realize you truly want. Expect this to be a gradual process. So, financial journaling is a fundamental activity to practice on a daily basis and will help you discover what your financial targets and desires really are over time. Doing this one hundred and twenty (120) times (the general number of repetitions I find is needed to form a solid lifestyle habit) will definitely force you to get to a place where you are a lot more certain about what you want, why you want it, and what you are willing to do to procure and achieve those things. Remember, write it down. If you don’t write it down, it won’t happen. And don’t just write it down once. Keep writing it down again and again. In your own handwriting. Not someone else’s (i.e., typing/texting). This is how you reinforce things into your psyche and subconscious. This is how you force yourself to think about these things and keep them at the forefront of your mind. This is how you think about and analyze them actively versus passively. If you don’t do anything else, do this.

 

III. INVESTING

The core idea here is to work on creating multiple streams/sources of income for yourself, over time. This number depends entirely on you and the type of lifestyle you want for the person you want to become.

  1. Learn about the different avenues for investing and decide on the best one(s) for you. If you are completely new to financial investing, start with the easiest/simplest route. It’s wise to do one at a time until you become comfortable with each so you don’t overwhelm yourself or get, what I like to call, “Bank Brain Burnout”. High-interest savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), retirement accounts (IRAs/Roth IRAs), standard brokerage accounts, and education accounts are all great launching pads into investing that you can start with your current bank. Your personal Money page lists Youniqorn-curated books, blogs, apps, and websites that are fantastic resources to get you started and to learn more about the different types of investment options available to you. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the info but, again, take it slow and go with one at a time. Seriously. Do not try to take everything in at once and overwhelm yourself into inactivity and paralysis. The most important thing is to learn in order to actually take action. There’s no point in trying to learn a hundred things in a week just to end up doing/applying none (or half-assing two or three). Learn one. Act on it. And then repeat. NerdWallet, again, is a great central, financial resource that’s practically educational, offering up-to-date knowledge and tools to save and invest wisely. Two great apps to get started are M1 Finance and Fidelity Investments.

    Keep in mind, however, that your best investment will always be yourself. This is why, if you want to skyrocket your net worth, you have to increase what you know (your skill-set) by turning your hobbies into your hustles and your pain points into your power points, and increase who you know by learning how to forge healthy, happy and heartfelt relationships. So, invest in your own mind and body by educating yourself through this blog and others, reading books, listening to podcasts, and consuming content that caresses your curiosity and not only provides you information but empowers you to act on it—sooner than later, in ways that get you results sooner than later.
  2. Following the previous point, one of the most lucrative financial investments you can make is starting your own business—especially a digital (online) one. Write down all your ongoing interests and aspects of your life you love, enjoy and feel strongly about. Write down things you already do (in addition to those you’d like to). Chances are, a sizable chunk of people aren’t able do them nearly as well as you, if at all, and, because you have a passion for and/or a lot of experience doing them, you are in a position to either teach those people how to do those things or do it for them—which they’ll be happy to pay you for. This is how to turn your hobby into your hustle. Actively practicing your passions and the things that make you happy can allow you to go from being just a hobbyist to a paid pro. For instance, if you are passionate about puppies, interior design, and being organized, you can start a blog for each of those passions and grow each into three different businesses. You can even start multiple businesses around a single passion. If you’re passionate about puppies, you can build a blog about training, adopting and raising puppies, start a dog-walking/sitting service, and create a monthly puppy subscription box that includes dog food, toys, and a treat for the human puppy parent. These are only a few examples. With the Internet, you truly do not have limitations. Not really. Even if something starts off as just a hobby, it has the potential to become a massive income stream if you are willing to put in the time and effort (which, if do your research/due diligence up front, may not be as arduous or take as long as you think). Pick things you both enjoy and are lucrative (meaning, a lot of other people enjoy them, too). Happiness and money are not mutually exclusive and it’s important that you get away from that way of thinking if that is a mindset you hold. If you have a passion for something or something makes you happy, chances are, at least one other person finds value/happiness in that thing, as well, and, again, money is a byproduct of value. Not everyone who shares your passion(s) and interest(s) will want/have the option to invest their time into those things on a professional/commercial level so, therefore, they’ll be happy to give you their money in return for the professional investment (time, money and effort) you put in. There are numerous digital business ideas and possibilities. You need only to explore different ways of/routes to making money online and get started. Again, do one at a time. Beware of “New Shiny Idea” syndrome! If you try to jump on every idea or skip from one business idea to the next without actually establishing your foundation in your choice of business, you’re simply wasting your time (your most precious asset) and brain cells (your second most precious asset).

    As we touched on under spending, do thorough research beforehand when making purchases (one-time or recurring) toward your business (education, equipment, software, space, advertising, etc.) for the best outcome and results. Make sure that large purchases, in particular, are actual investments (which will pay for themselves) and not just expenses (that won’t make you back your money). It is foolhardy (not to mention, disappointing as hell) to spend time and energy saving your money just to spend a lot of it, and an attempt to make an investment, on something that does not pan out to be worth the cost. Just because something has a high price tag does not mean that it is always worth its weight in gold. It may be to someone (at some point in time), but that same item may not be to you. Even if you have money to blow (this is another mindset you’ll need to blow off), do your research beforehand and make sure that what you’re getting is genuinely worth it to you and your business(es), both short and long term. If you have any hesitations, it’s better to wait and get a second, third, fourth, or however-many-eth opinions you need to get. Peruse in-depth reviews from everyday people who’ve made your potential purchase and trustworthy, professional review sites that offer updates for over-time use so you have a better idea of how it might perform weeks and months after you first buy it. And, if you do make large purchases, make sure that they come with trials and reasonable money-back guarantees (usually at least 30 days), warranties, etc. so that you get refunded/partially refunded at the very least if you are not happy with your purchase/investment or if it does not live up to it promise(s). This is true with education and courses online, with physical items like electronics, transportation, and even housing. It will save you a ton of headache to just do your research beforehand, read reviews and ask as many questions as possible. Prevention is always better than cure, so prevent any future migraines born of buyer’s remorse by doing your part to the best of your ability in advance.
  3. Financially distance or cut yourself off from and the financially irresponsible. They will hold back from your financial targets and progress. This is why it is extremely important to pick your life partner/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other wisely, because their spending habits and financial mindsets will highly influence and impact yours on a fundamental level. This point is extremely important and cannot be overstated. Like we’ve talked about in How to Have Happy, Healthy, Heart-felt Relationships, one of two things happens when you’re around someone consistently: you either click with them or clash with them. The absolute last thing you want is to end up clicking with someone who is financially irresponsible and adopting their poor financial habits and decisions or clashing with them and having your fundamental difference in mindset and habits wear on you, your relationship and your own financial desires. It is just. Not. Worth. It. This is something you’ll have to practice with the people in your life you did not choose (blood relatives, extended family, work colleagues, etc.) as much as those you did/do (friends, lovers, acquaintances). You can maintain a relationship with certain people but completely exclude talking about, sharing or bringing up finances/money in any way. Keep your financial systems, targets, habits and discussions to yourself. Do not become the anchor or bail-out-wo(man) for people in your life who are financially reckless. If they see you as somebody who will bail them out/come to their rescue after making a financially-fucked up decision (such as borrowing money (from you or someone else) and never paying it back, getting into debt for unnecessary expenses they aren’t able to pay off thereby forcing you to incur their debt, asking to get things (they likely don’t need) on your credit because theirs is shot to hell, etc.) they will continue to behave irresponsibly and carelessly because, at the back of their minds, they know that you will be there to parachute their fall when they need you to. This is one of the things that sets too many people back from their financial targets and building wealth. It’s not their lack of commitment, discipline, or work ethic toward those targets but, unfortunately, that of the people around them. If you allow others to derail your financial habits, plans and targets, they will. It is absolutely fine and sometimes necessary to help those around you in need because we all need help in some way, shape, or form at some point in our lives, but you have to differentiate between someone who genuinely needs your help and someone who simply abuses your generosity, kindness and willingness to assist them. The latter is a parasite who will continue to take and take and take from you until there is nothing left to take and would not do remotely the same for you if your roles were reversed. Be wary of such people and stay far, far away from them—while keeping your money even farther. Teach those who are happy and want to learn about financial responsibility and management, but don’t waste your time, energy and resources on those who don’t. Being a good judge of people’s (financial) character is definitely one of the top ten habits you need to learn if you’re going to be wildly successful in life. Aligning yourself with those who share your financial mindset(s) and target(s) will help you reach those targets much faster and make the process a lot more streamlined, easy and enjoyable. And, in sharing your journey with those who share your mindset, you reinforce the habits you build around your money and learn from the positive financial habits and systems of others, as well. However, there will always be some people who will simply never (want to) learn, no matter how much time passes or how successful they see you becoming from adopting good money habits and making wise financial decisions for yourself. Oftentimes, these will be people around you and in your immediate environment. There is nothing to prove to anybody and people are essentially only ready to learn when they are ready to learn. Spend your time and energy on yourself and those who do.
  4. Always stay hungry for more. Do not rest on your laurels or be content with (less than) what you currently have. Always seek opportunity to invest in yourself. There is nothing “greedy” about wanting more money. The pervasive idea that money is this corrupt thing is based on a religious attempt to keep the poor content in poverty and okay with simply getting by/barely keeping their heads above water. Basically, surviving—and no more. It is no coincidence that the top-funded establishment in the world is the Vatican, so, if “Big Religion” tells you that “money is the root of all evil”, why the heck is Vatican City the wealthiest construct/institution on the planet? Do not fall for the BS and do not be fooled into believing that there is any nobility in having less or that if you want or desire more money for yourself, you are greedy or there is something inherently wrong, bad or evil about you. Never feel ashamed for wanting to improve your life, live in luxury and buy yourself nice things. There is no dignity in poverty. There just isn’t. Humility is not linked to your financial status or buying capacity. Wanting better for yourself in every way is the ultimate mindset of self-care, self-value and self-worth. That’s what self-development is all about, and money is no exception. Money affects all our lives, no matter where in the world we are or come from, so we both need it and need to become accustomed to having it. Money enhances your life and opens up/creates more avenues and opportunities for you to become the person you want to be and do the things and live the type of life you desire. Don’t let anyone ever guilt, shame or convince you into wanting less of it (or anything else that adds to you) or trying to attain more. Money is a good thing. Because, again, it is a byproduct of value. Wanting more money for yourself simply means you want more value for yourself and in your life. That’s the furthest thing from evil. That’s smart.

    Finally, use the templates and printables included in your STAR+er membership and your personal money resource page as you embark on/scale up your money management journey. Go forth and handle your green!
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