Category Archives: Money

There’s No Get Rich Quick Scheme to Build Wealth

Most people have a near-constant desire to keep up with our neighbors or what we see on television, to live a slightly more glamorous life. We might think our house isn’t big enough or our car isn’t fast enough. So we seek to attain a lifestyle that doesn’t fit our income or our budget.

With the right planning, you can achieve those goals and dreams. But there is no get rich quick scheme. There is no Nigerian prince who will give you two million dollars if only you give him your bank account information. There is no 2 a.m. infomercial that will make you a millionaire overnight.

But you can become a millionaire. You can win with money and become ridiculously wealthy. Even if you are solidly middle class and never make six figures.

The path to prosperity is paved by the choices you make today when you are planning for tomorrow. Here are proven strategies that will make you wealthy, beginning when you are 18 years old.

  1. Choose a College Major or Trade that Makes Sense

When you are just 18, you have your life ahead of you. There is nothing worse than spending four or five years in college, receiving a diploma and not knowing what you are going to do. Whether you are going to a four-year college or have a career lined up, choose wisely. And this is more than just choosing the career that will make you the most money tomorrow.

Look for a career field that is growing. Look for a career that is booming in an area you want to live. Find something you are passionate about and something that will provide value for a company. If you do that, you’ll be on the right track.

  1. Live Within Your Means

We are all familiar with the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses” for a reason. We have an addiction to material possessions that we don’t really need just to impress our friends – and people who aren’t even our friends.

Have a budget. Live in a house that is right for you. Drive a car that will meet your needs. If you spend your life making a $500 car payment each month rather than putting that money into retirement, you will live to regret it. Is it really worth it?

  1. Begin Investing Today

The sooner you begin investing, the better it will be thanks to the magic of compound interest. Here are some numbers to keep in mind: If you invest $5,000 a year beginning at age 22, you can a little more than $2 million in savings if you work until you are 67 years old. And of that, you will have contributed just $200,000.

Oh, and if you wait until you are 30 because you think retirement is so far down the road, you will have about half that, a little over $1 million. Nice, but could be much better by planning earlier.

  1. Don’t Try to Get Rich Going into Debt

Investing in property is a great path to wealth. But it is something you should pay cash for. We often have this belief that you get rich by going into debt, and then going further into debt.

Perhaps you can, but you can also lose it all. The way most men and women become millionaires is by following the path we have outlined: Live within your means, work hard, invest and don’t go into debt.

  1. Think About the Future

People have criticized the book “The Millionaire Next Door” because they don’t think it is applicable today. That isn’t the case. It is more relevant than ever.

It just requires a major commitment and some sacrifice to see what the future can hold. Think about your life. Think about your family. Think about the generational change that can occur. No, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen because of the choices you made.

Getting a Credit Card Late Fee Waived

Setting up auto pay is the most effective way to ensure your bills get paid on time each month.

In some instances however, you may want to review the monthly charges in detail before blindly allowing the company to help itself to funds from your checking account. Credit card bills are a good example – fraudulent charges in small amounts are easy to miss in a large balance if the bill is not reviewed line by line.

Late Fees And Interest Charges

The downside of this practice however is the possibility of forgetting to pay your bill on time, thus incurring not only a late fee but possibly interest charges as well. Even if you remember to make the payment the very next day after the due date, you are still looking at a late fee in the range of $25 to $35. The finance charge will depend on your balance. In any case, this little slip of the memory could cost you $50 in just a day – a pretty pricey mistake!

Now if this happens to you more often than not, you definitely want to consider taking advantage of auto pay. Another option would be to find a credit card that does not charge late fees. Yes, nowadays amongst the plethora of credit cards offering all sort of benefits and rewards, there are options tailored to the forgetful ones of us.

Calling Customer Service Regarding A Late Fee

If you do pay on time however and just happen to have a memory lapse one month, do not fret! Your past accountability and a quick phone call to your credit card company’s customer service line can resolve this unpleasant situation and put some money back in your pocket.

Just dial the number listed on the back of your card and explain the situation to the customer service agent. Make sure to mention that you have been a customer for a while (of course if you have) and have been paying on time month after month. Tell the agent how much you enjoy using their credit card and would love to continue doing business with their company.

Explain the situation that prevented you from paying on time, even if it is just simple forgetfulness. A little kindness and honesty still go a long way in the business world. Then ask nicely if they would consider waiving the late fee and accrued finance charges as a one time favor. Chances are you won’t have to ask twice.

Why Credit Card Companies Waive Late Fees

Credit card companies love long term customers and the possibility to make money off you in the future justifies waiving the late fee and interest charge today. Keep in mind however that the refunded charges will most likely appear as credit on your next month’s bill.

Late Fees on Other Bills

Even though we have only tested this technique with a credit card, it would be worth the phone call to the customer service of any other company that may have added a late fee to your monthly bill. In today’s day and age of empowered consumer (think social media), most companies recognize the importance of keeping the customer happy and are willing to bend the rules in favor of the consumer.

Can you go to College Without Massive Debt?

We’ve all watched the news and read the stories. College is just becoming too expensive. Our country has a student loan debt problem.

And because of the stranglehold of student loan debt many young adults can’t take the next steps to adulthood like buying a house, or even a newer car. Many are putting off marriage because of the debt. None of this is good for our future.

But is there anything we can do about it? Is it just the fault of the college that is raising tuition each year or maybe the federal government that guarantees these massive loans? Can you really go through college without acquiring debt?

Yes.

That is actually the answer to each of those questions. And if you follow these steps and are willing to sacrifice some of the “college experience,” your college experience won’t saddle you with debt for the next decade or two.

Is a Four-Year College Right for You?

In our country, there is a push in elementary and secondary schools to put everyone on track for college. And unfortunately, many young adults go to college for a year or two (maybe more), don’t receive a diploma and only have student loans to show. And they are essentially back at square one as they were when they graduated high school (but with debt).

So, while it isn’t the popular thing to say, college might not be for you. Maybe there is a trade you could excel at simply by going to community college for a year and receiving an industry certification. And you’ll probably walk out with a good-paying job. And that year of community college could likely be bankrolled fairly easily without going into debt. Many high schools even offer programs to receive certifications. Do some research and see what options are available around you.

Don’t Choose the Most Expensive School

We often think that to land our dream job we need to go to a prestigious school that comes with a price tag that matches. For the most part, that isn’t true.

You can start at a local community college and often attend for next to nothing. In many instances, your local municipality or county will cover the cost of tuition at community college. And because it is “local,” you can live at home and save money. I know it’s not the dream of every 18-year-old to live at home, but it’s better to live at home while you are in college than after you’ve been out of college for a few years. Do it now and save. You’ll be happy you did.

And then when you complete your time at community college, look at state universities to complete your degree. They will generally be a much cheaper alternative while getting you the degree you need.

Look for Scholarships

Starting your senior year of high school, begin applying for scholarships. There are literally thousands of scholarships out there with multiple websites that will sort them for you. Apply. Apply. Apply. And for good measure, apply some more.

You will miss most that you apply for, but it will be worth it for those scholarships you do receive. Look at it this way, if you spent 500 hours applying for scholarships and received $25,000- you just made $50 an hour. And paid for a year or two at an in-state school.

Work While You are in College

No, you are not too busy to work while you are in college. (Yes, there are certain fields where you can’t work, but for most people that does not include them.)

And don’t just settle for a minimum wage fast-food job. Think like an entrepreneur. Cut grass. Babysit. Tutor. Walk dogs. Drive for Uber. Start a blog about how you are going to college debt free. Be a resident advisor and get free room and board. Just be creative.

Think About Your Major

Finally, what are you studying? What application does it have for the real world? This isn’t meant to discourage you from majoring in art history or theater or anything in liberal arts, but what are you going to do with that degree? What career will you have because you received that degree?

Money doesn’t need to be everything. You need to do what you have a passion for. But you also need to make a living. There are a lot of actors in Los Angeles who make a living waiting tables. That’s okay. But you need to have realistic expectations for when you do enter the real world.

College is a fun time. But it could also be a fun time without leaving with piles of debt. By approaching college like a business and being okay with being a little weird, you can leave with a degree that has prepared you for your career, all while being debt free.