money lessons http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12371/all en-US 8 Money Lessons I Learned Selling Office Supplies http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-selling-office-supplies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-lessons-i-learned-selling-office-supplies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_working_food_service_21858355.jpg" alt="Woman sharing money lessons she learned selling office supplies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My first real job came when I was 16 years old and landed a position at one of those large <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-office-supply-purchases?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">office supply stores</a>.</p> <p>As jobs for high schoolers go, it was not a bad one. I earned some money to get through the summer, kept myself busy, learned a lot about varieties of printer ink, and made some friends in the process. I also took away some solid money lessons that have proven helpful over the years.</p> <p>So as we enter summer, let me offer these financial bits that I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-i-learned-working-as-a-corn-detasseler" target="_blank">learned from my first job</a>.</p> <h2>1. Work Isn't So Bad</h2> <p>Everyone fantasizes about not having to work. But by having a job at the office supply store, I realized that being employed isn't a bad thing. A job gives you income, which is a pretty important thing to have if you want do stuff. And working at a job allows you to learn and enhance key skills like communication, reliability, and even mathematics. A job, to put it simply, can give you a foundation for life.</p> <h2>2. Investing Is Better Than Spending</h2> <p>I can tell you for sure that the cash from my first paychecks did not go into a Roth IRA, or even a savings account with a decent interest rate. No, it went to movies, trips to Burger King, Stone Temple Pilot CDs, and baseball tickets. If I had enough money leftover for gas in my car, I was happy.</p> <p>I had fun as a teenager, but if I had saved more of my earnings and invested them, the total stash would have grown tremendously, and I'd have a lot more money in the bank now. Even just $1,000 invested in an index fund in 1996 would be worth about $4,000 now. If I had somehow managed to save $5,000, I'd have about $20,000 today.</p> <h2>3. The Government Get Its Cut</h2> <p>My first job meant my very first paycheck, which meant I got a glance at the amount of money Uncle Sam takes away. And it certainly seemed like a lot! By looking at my first check, I came to understand that you can only plan your spending based on take-home pay, not your gross wages. Later on in my work life, this understanding of the tax man led me to learn about 401K, Roth IRA plans, and other tax-advantaged ways to invest.</p> <h2>4. You Can Always Haggle</h2> <p>Everything for sale has a price, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's what you have to pay. There's very little downside to asking if you can pay less for an item if you believe it's overpriced. Often, stores will have price-match guarantees that aren't advertised. And you can always ask a manager to adjust a price if you think you have a good reason. When I worked at the office supply store, we had a small refrigerator for sale that had a damaged handle. It otherwise worked fine, but the manager agreed to cut the price in <em>half </em>simply because the customer asked.</p> <h2>5. Never Stop Learning</h2> <p>When I worked at the office supply store, we had many high-schoolers and college students on staff, but also a number of middle-aged and older employees who had been there a long time. Seeing these older workers made me realize that I did not want to find myself employed as a stockboy at an office supply store for the rest of my life. It was important for me to continue with school and develop a wide range of skills that would give me career options and the chance to earn more money over time.</p> <h2>6. Salespeople Want You to Part With Your Money</h2> <p>Though my primary job at the office supply store was to help with customer service, I also helped with sales of office furniture. I was encouraged to convince customers to buy our brand of chairs, desks, and shelves.</p> <p>Keep in mind, my job was not to ensure people ended up with the best product. It was to get them to <em>believe</em> our product was the best, whether that was true or not. I became a master in the art of spewing baloney, and it somehow worked a lot of the time. I earned a bonus each time a customer bought a product I helped sell.</p> <p>Remember this: A salesperson does not work for you and does not have your best interests in mind.</p> <h2>7. Everything Goes on Sale at Some Point</h2> <p>I worked long enough at the store to know that just about every product was discounted at one point or another. It wasn't always easy to predict when items would go on sale, but I learned that if you waited long enough, a lower price would come around. And certain items went on sale at certain times a year. There were usually deep discounts, for example, on many items at back-to-school time. And the holidays usually meant big <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-ways-to-save-even-more-on-black-friday?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campagin=article">Black Friday sales</a> and other promotions.</p> <p>I learned that the most patient shoppers were the ones most often rewarded with bargains.</p> <h2>8. Americans Love Their Credit Cards</h2> <p>As a teenager, I didn't have a credit card. And my parents were rather frugal people who used cash whenever possible. So it came as a surprise to me when, as a cashier, I would see most customers using credit cards, even for small purchases.</p> <p>It's possible that many of these customers were only using cards to collect reward points or cash back, but I can't help but think they were racking up considerable amounts of debt.</p> <p>We're up to about $1 trillion in credit card debt as a nation, and I can't help but think a portion of that is the result of people using cards for small purchases when they could have used cash.</p> <p><em>What was your first job? What did it teach you about money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-selling-office-supplies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-i-learned-working-as-a-corn-detasseler">6 Money Lessons I Learned Working as a Corn Detasseler</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-people-who-are-good-with-money-never-say">5 Things People Who Are Good With Money Never Say</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-tips-for-introverts">8 Personal Finance Tips for Introverts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career and Income investing life skills money lessons saving summer jobs teenagers working Wed, 08 Jun 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Tim Lemke 1725703 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000045194140_Large.jpg" alt="kids can use new toys to learn about money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last year, my daughter asked for a hamster, and I hatched a nefarious plan. Since I really didn't need another animal in the house, I told her she'd have to pay for it herself, hoping that this would lead her to drop the topic.</p> <p>We went to the pet store and looked at the hamsters, which (to my dismay) only cost a few dollars. Then we priced cages, food, bedding, chew toys, and a hamster wheel. Once we calculated it all, she understood that a hamster costs a lot more than the price of the rodent itself.</p> <p>Instead of giving up like I'd expected (and hoped!), she saved $75 over the next several months, and proudly brought home her new pet, along with all his little hamster accessories, and several months' worth of bedding and food.</p> <p>When my daughter proved me wrong, I realized that we often underestimate kids' capacity for understanding how money works. Here are more ways to harness children's wants to help them learn financial lessons that will last much longer than any toy (or hamster). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids?ref=seealso">4 Bad Money Habits You're Teaching Your Kids</a>)</p> <h2>Don't Shy Away From Discussing Cost</h2> <p>You and your child are in the toy store, and they ask for a new Lego set. Don't just say, &quot;It's too expensive.&quot; Whether you are willing to buy it or not, have the child check the price of the item. Discuss how much time you would have to work to purchase that toy, and what other things you could pay for instead with that amount of money.</p> <h2>Let Them Earn to Learn</h2> <p>Your six-year-old probably won't find a lot of job opportunities on Monster.com, so his pay is probably going to come from you. Whether you choose to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-set-an-allowance-that-wont-ruin-your-kid">pay your child an allowance</a> that is inedependent of chores or jobs they do at home, the important thing is that they get a little cash of their own, so they begin to learn that spending $1 on gum means they no longer have a dollar to put toward a yo-yo.</p> <h2>Let Them Buy Stupid Toys</h2> <p>One of the most agonizing experiences of my life was following my daughters around Chicago's huge American Girl Store, watching them try to decide how to spend a little money I had given them. My older daughter bought something sensible, a folding seat that would allow her to strap her doll to her carryon luggage. My younger daughter wanted a hair-styling set, which included sponge curlers, curling papers, and a plastic spray bottle. It killed me to watch her lay down $20 for a box of small items that would have cost $1 elsewhere, knowing they would soon be scattered all over her bedroom floor.</p> <p>But I let her do it. Just as I expected, she played with the new set for about one day, but I spent years finding the curlers and papers in odd places around the house. Now, a few years later, this daughter does put a litte more thought into how long her toy purchases might last, so &mdash; even though I am still finding those curlers &mdash; it was worth it.</p> <h2>Show Them How to Get More for Their Money</h2> <p>If your child is saving for a specific toy, introduce them to ways they can get there faster, such as using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-teachable-money-moments-to-share-with-your-kids">coupons and sales</a>. Personally, I usually have my kids save enough to cover the full price, then if I have a coupon, I show it to them just before the purchase, and give them back the cash that the coupon saved. Getting cash back in their hands seems to make a big impact.</p> <h2>Practice at Yard Sales</h2> <p>Even if my kids don't have any of their own money on them, I am known to hand them each a dollar or two when we come across a garage sale, because the situation is rife with learning opportunities. It's great practice conducting sales transactions; kids often have to politely ask how much things cost. It's a safe place to make mistakes, because no matter how useless a toy they purchase might be, chances are they only blew a few bucks.</p> <p>And yard sales, of course, offer true bargains. My son recently purchased a toy space shuttle at a block sale using one week's allowance; he would have had to save for months to buy the same toy new. My 12-year-old is getting so confident shopping yard sales that she will actually negotiate with the seller.</p> <h2>Let Them Sell Their Own Used Toys</h2> <p>This tactic takes some supervision, because unfortunately, kids can seriously undervalue gifts adults have purchased for them. I cringed when my son wanted to sell a remote-control dinosaur that he had received for Christmas at our yard sale, where it might have fetched just $5 (it had cost his grandparents about $100).</p> <p>But with a little price research and some talk about the feelings of gifters, kids can resell toys and use the money for something new. Not only is this a way for them to fund their own purchases, it shows them how quickly most new items lose value.</p> <h2>Let Them Choose Gifts for Friends and Charities</h2> <p>Every time my kids are invited to a birthday party, I turn them loose in the toy shop or bookstore with instructions to choose any combination of items that totals $20 to $25. They've learned to check price tags and weigh the benefits of choosing two or three small items versus one big thing.</p> <p>At the holidays, my kids have conducted fundraisers with their service groups to buy gifts for local foster children. First, they raise the money via a bake sale or other fundraiser, then they use the earnings to buy gifts, using everything they've learned about maximizing their money to do the best they can for the kids they're helping.</p> <p><em>How do you teach your kids about money? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-amazon-prime-day-actually-worth-it-this-year">How to Make Amazon Prime Day Actually Worth It This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale">How to Sell Your Kid&#039;s Stuff at a Consignment Sale</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family Shopping kids money money lessons money lessons for kids new toys saving money toys Mon, 06 Jun 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1723704 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Lessons I Learned From Martial Arts http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-i-learned-from-martial-arts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-lessons-i-learned-from-martial-arts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/martial_arts_000064696395.jpg" alt="Money lessons learned from martial arts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>People tell me all the time that it's hard to believe I studied martial arts for six years. I don't know if that's a compliment or an insult to my training, but it doesn't matter &mdash; I loved the time I spent learning how to discipline my body and my mind.</p> <p>That's the thing about martial arts: It looks like a sport (and it is), but it's so much more. I learned all sorts of things about life and living it and being a good person, all from my time spent in the <em>dojo</em>. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money?ref=seealso">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a>)</p> <p>I even learned about money. Yup, money. Here are some financial lessons I learned from studying martial arts.</p> <h2>1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings</h2> <p>As I became a martial artist, I became more and more aware of my surroundings. No matter where I was, I started to notice people &mdash; what they were doing, whether it seemed normal, how I felt around them, everything. My sensei drilled it into us: Be aware, be aware, be aware. After all, if it comes down to it, you may not have a chance to use your training if you don't notice what is going on around you.</p> <p>I apply this to my money all the time. By keeping track of what we spend on a weekly basis, I have a good handle on whether or not we are achieving our goals. I also know how much we have available for an emergency and whether something like an odd charge or a bank mistake needs to be handled. My finances don't get away from me because I'm always aware of where we stand.</p> <h2>2. Discipline, Discipline, Discipline</h2> <p>Another concept that is huge in martial arts is discipline. It seems a little strange and unnecessary at first, but students soon learn that, without discipline, they will never be the martial artists they want to be.</p> <p>Similarly, discipline is essential for achieving my financial goals. If I want to go to Mexico this year, I can't buy every shirt or art print or doodad that comes along. So I keep my goal in mind and I use the discipline I learned as a martial artist to progress towards the things that really matter to me.</p> <h2>3. Breathe Through It</h2> <p>Martial artists learn to breathe as they move. They also learn certain types of breath for certain types of movements and situations. And they learn to calm themselves, to still themselves, simply by paying attention to their own breath.</p> <p>Breath helps me financially all the time. When I want something but I know it's not in the budget, I breathe through it. When something bad happens and we have to spend a lot unexpectedly, I take a couple of deep breaths. When I'm worried about our money, when something doesn't seem right with our balances, when the market plummets, I breathe.</p> <p>In all of these situations, breathing helps me make good decisions. It slows me down, calms my body and my mind, and helps me think, rather than just react. It's become second nature now to breathe first when money is an issue.</p> <h2>4. Clear Your Mind</h2> <p>It might sound like a cliche, but a clear mind is essential to being a good martial artist. You have to clear your mind to focus on the one move that is right in front of you, to respond to what your sparring partner is sending your way, and to let your body do what it is trained to do.</p> <p>I have found that it helps me to have a clear mind, too, when trying to solve financial problems. When the budget feels like a tangle, when my husband and I have competing financial goals, when some unexpected expense comes up and we aren't sure how to cover it, I strive for that same clearness of mind. It helps me see solutions that I might not have seen otherwise, and it helps me to take a larger perspective, one in which a single disagreement or setback isn't the end of the world.</p> <h2>5. Sometimes Pain Is Acceptable</h2> <p>Martial artists experience pain. It's not only the sore muscles that come from practice and learning new techniques, but the bruises that come from sparring and breaking, rolling and more. While no one condones long-term injury, most martial artists accept these as par for the course: The bruises are necessary to grow as a practitioner.</p> <p>Sometimes, our financial decisions hurt, too. The pain can be small, like choosing to pay a bill rather than go out on the weekend. Or it can be much bigger, like choosing to help an ailing parent rather than purchase a home. Financial decisions also hurt when they are proven to be mistakes, when we feel like we set ourselves back.</p> <p>This pain, while uncomfortable, helps form who we are. It not only forms us financially, but as whole human beings. Whether we hurt from making a right choice or a wrong one, learning is part of the financial process, and sometimes pain can be acceptable towards that goal.</p> <h2>6. You Can Do More Than You Think You Can Do</h2> <p>Most people (and I say this having been a student and a teacher) come into martial arts wondering if they can really do it. They've seen the movies and it looks impossible, but for whatever reason they are motivated to try. Most of them find that, while they will probably never be Bruce Lee (or even Jackie Chan!), they can do a lot more than they had once thought.</p> <p>I've found that this belief &mdash; that I can do more than I think I can do &mdash; helps me financially, too. There have been times when we were sure we couldn't make ends meet on our income, when we desperately needed a vacation or a car and thought we couldn't do it. And each time I was able to step into believing that there had to be a way, because I'd seen it happen before, during my martial arts journey. We solved each of those problems, which only gave us more confidence in our financial prowess.</p> <h2>7. Progress Comes Slow and Steady</h2> <p>Most martial arts have an established path that takes a person from beginner to expert and beyond. It's a slow path, with motions and movements building on one another in a way that is logical and allows the body time to accustom itself to these new patterns of movement. Some people get frustrated with this, wanting to learn faster or do all the cool stuff right away.</p> <p>It doesn't work that way with martial arts and it doesn't work that way with money, either. Wealth is built one investment at a time. It is built by making one wise decision after another. Most of us won't get rich in a year or two, but we can build our value and our savings the way martial artists are built: slow and steady.</p> <p><em>Have you ever done something that wasn't directly financially related but taught you about money? What did you do and what did you learn?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-i-learned-from-martial-arts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-good-money-management-habits-you-already-have">5 Good Money Management Habits You Already Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance achievements budgeting discipline good habits martial arts money lessons patience perseverance Thu, 26 May 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1717166 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Frugal Living Truths Every Stay-at-Home-Parent Should Know http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-living-truths-every-stay-at-home-parent-should-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-frugal-living-truths-every-stay-at-home-parent-should-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_children_reading_000089633005.jpg" alt="Stay-at-home-parent learning frugal living truths" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Stay-at-home-moms and stay-at-home-dads are usually the queens and kings of frugality. They know how to stretch a dollar, how to make dinners the kids will love that cost less than $1 per serving, and how to rotate the bills as the money comes in so that everything gets paid. They've learned these things because, often, they had to.</p> <p>There are, though, some greater frugal truths that a lot of SAHMs and SAHDs don't know or, more likely, have forgotten. These are some ideas about frugal living that these folks should keep in the forefront of their minds, so that they can remember the value of what they do. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-myths-about-stay-at-home-moms?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Money Myths About Stay-At-Home Moms</a>)</p> <h2>1. Money Isn't Everything</h2> <p>Sure, you know that being there for and with your kids matters. That's why you made the choice to stay at home. But it's really easy to lose sight of why you chose to stay at home when you feel like all you do is change diapers, break up arguments, and generally try to keep small people from certain death. It's also easy to wonder about your choices when you feel like you're always trying to cut corners financially or scrimp until the next paycheck comes.</p> <p>Here's the thing, though: You being there, at home in the daily mess and viewing the daily joys &mdash; it matters. You are giving your kids your time and your presence, and that means more than anything money can buy. You are building relationships that will last until one of you dies &mdash; close, strong, meaningful bonds. Most likely, you chose to stay home because you, yourself, value these things more than money. So live what you believe and remember that money isn't everything.</p> <p>You matter. What you value and what you do matters. And it matters more than any paycheck you might be bringing in if you weren't at home.</p> <p>Note that this isn't to say that being a SAHM or a SAHD is better or worse than being a working parent. But most parents who choose to stay home do it for a reason, and it can be helpful to remember that reason and what you value when financial questions arise.</p> <h2>2. Frugal Choices Are Okay</h2> <p>Many of the stay-at-home-parents I know feel some guilt about the frugal choices they end up making in order to stay home. Maybe they can't feed their kids all organic produce, or they can't afford the art lessons/club sports/individual tutoring that their child really wants. Whatever it is, it can be easy to wonder if you should go back to work in order to make these financial things happen.</p> <p>In the greater scheme of things, though, your frugal choices are okay, especially when they are in line with what you value. If you think that developing close bonds within your family is more important than what sports your kid plays, then focus on those bonds and don't worry about the sports.</p> <p>When you focus on what you value rather than on what others tell you to value, you're teaching your kids a lesson, too. You're teaching them to think for themselves, and to look within for answers, rather than looking at what all their friends are doing.</p> <h2>3. No One Can Give Their Kids Everything</h2> <p>No one. Not even that super-rich couple whose kid is on the baseball team. No one.</p> <p>Most of us want our kids to be happy, to know the value of hard work, to have good friends, and to achieve some degree of success, however they choose to define it. And guess what? Money can't buy any of that.</p> <p>The things that matter most in life are things that money really cannot touch. When you choose to stay at home with your children despite the financial stress and difficulties that can cause, it's easy to feel like you are making them give up a lot of things they might otherwise want. The truth is, though, that if you are showing them what a good life looks like, then you're giving them something money simply can't buy.</p> <h2>4. You Matter, Too</h2> <p>When you're staying at home, not bringing in any income, it's easy to feel like you can't spend any money on yourself. Especially when money is tight, it's natural to feel like you should always buy your kids things before you buy them for yourself.</p> <p>On the other hand, your work has value. Actual monetary value, if the latest research is correct. But beyond that, you are still working hard every day (maybe harder than you've ever worked before!). And you don't need to splurge to the point of creating more debt to acknowledge that. Buy yourself a coffee when you're out and about on a morning when the kids attacked and you didn't get to make your own, and don't beat yourself up over it. Go out with your family and celebrate your birthday.</p> <p>You will feel better about what you do when you celebrate yourself occasionally.</p> <h2>5. You're Teaching Your Kids About Money &mdash; And Life</h2> <p>When you choose to stay at home, that teaches your kids something. When they see you working through a difficult budget, or saying &quot;no&quot; to something you really wanted because the money isn't there, your kids are learning by your example. You can pass on your financial values simply by living them out.</p> <p>You may feel like you aren't doing much, but they're always watching you and learning from what you do.</p> <p>Remember this when times are tough, when everyone is arguing and you feel so poor and you're questioning your decisions. I said at the beginning that what you do matters, that living in alignment with your values is important, and that's true whether you are having a good day or an awful one.</p> <p>So decide what you want to teach your kids and live that out. Live out your financial values and your other ones, too. Live it in everything you do, and you will teach your kids to live the same way.</p> <p><em>What frugal truths help you as a SAHM or a SAHD? How do you get through a bad day at home with the kids?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-living-truths-every-stay-at-home-parent-should-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-you-can-learn-from-your-pets">6 Money Lessons You Can Learn From Your Pets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-teachable-money-moments-to-share-with-your-kids">6 Great Teachable Money Moments to Share With Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family money lessons parents raising kids single income households stay at home dads stay at home moms Wed, 25 May 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1713143 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/married_couple_game_000017059049.jpg" alt="Learning things about money after getting married" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Marriage comes with its fair share of life lessons, and money is among the most prominent of these. Here's what I've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-getting-married-is-good-for-your-finances" target="_blank">learned about money while being married</a> &mdash; for better and worse.</p> <h2>1. Credit Scores and Debt Should Be Laid Bare While You're Still Dating</h2> <p>Money is a taboo subject, in general, and couples &mdash; especially new ones who are still navigating the muddy waters of a blossoming relationship &mdash; don't like to talk about the financial predicaments they may be in. But these conversations are necessary.</p> <p>My husband and I were sort of forced into the conversation as we bought our first home before we got married, but even if that's not on the horizon for you and your partner, it's still good to assess the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly" target="_blank">credit score and debt</a> situation so you both know what you're dealing with. That's not to say that you should dump somebody because their financial standing isn't as great as you might have hoped it would be, but it's certainly a factor to consider as you plan your life together.</p> <h2>2. Discuss Future Financial and Investment Goals Before Saying &quot;I Do&quot;</h2> <p>Before I got married I had plans for my future, but those plans changed (at least a little) when I decided to get hitched. I adapted my strategy to accommodate my husband &mdash; but I didn't derail it altogether, and I don't recommend that you do either. It's about compromise &mdash; it's beneficial to discuss your specific plans and goals ahead of your nuptials. Your partner may not want to open that new business, or carry the potential financial burden that comes along with it. On the other hand, your spouse may be totally on board with how you've mapped out your financial future and/or investments, and vice-versa. But you won't know until you discuss it.</p> <p>Lay it all out on the table before getting anywhere near the altar so you each have a clear idea of where your relationship is headed financially (in theory, at least) once you're joined in holy &mdash; and legally binding &mdash; matrimony.</p> <h2>3. Schedule Uninterrupted Time to Discuss Your Finances in Depth</h2> <p>The only way my husband and I stay on the same page about our finances &mdash; and, specifically, the money that's coming in and going out on a constant basis &mdash; is to schedule time to discuss where we're at financially. We usually have a dinner date once a month where at least part of the conversation is about our budget, expenses, debt, and increases or decreases in expected income.</p> <p>We also have an annual meeting at the end of the year to discuss what we anticipate the next year's expenses to be, and how we plan to meet them. While it's not easy integrating another person into the mix financially &mdash; and it can sometimes be stressful for you if you've overspent or missed a bill and you don't want it to result in an argument &mdash; it's needed so that you can both stay on track and repair snags together.</p> <h2>4. Keep Your Family Out of Your Finances &mdash; Period</h2> <p>In a perfect world, we'd all be rich and nobody would want for anything. That's not the case, however, and sometimes family and friends come knocking for a loan. My general rule is to not provide this type of financial support to anyone, as it rarely turns out well &mdash; and most people will tell you that. My husband, on the other hand, views this subject differently, and there's been at least one time where there was zero discussion about providing the loan to a family member, and I didn't find out about it until after the fact.</p> <p>I wasn't particularly bothered by the amount of the loan or to whom it went &mdash; it was his money and he could do what he wanted with it &mdash; but rather that I wasn't included in the conversation. Even though I wasn't contributing to this particular loan, it could have affected our ability to purchase or finance something we needed down the road, and I felt as if I had the right to be informed.</p> <h2>5. You're Morally and Legally Obligated to Help One Another Financially</h2> <p>Whether you like it or not, whatever happens to your spouse financially also, in a sense, happens to you. This could mean a moral obligation to get out of whatever money pickle you may have gotten into, or, worst-case scenario, it could be a legal obligation, like if you file joint taxes and owe the government money. The IRS debt may be the result of one or the other's financial status &mdash; like if you have taxes taken out automatically each pay period from employment, but your spouse is an entrepreneur (like I am) who pays estimated taxes &mdash; but legally you're both on the hook for the debt. Not being prepared for this situation, or how to handle it responsibly and fairly, can lead to resentment and loads of other issues that you're better off without.</p> <h2>6. Keeping Separate Accounts Can Help Maintain Some Independence</h2> <p>My husband and I keep a joint account for shared purchases, like vacations, but we've also always maintained our own separate checking and savings accounts. For some couples this may seem odd, but for us it's helped us keep a part of our individual independence intact. While we consult each other on major purchases, we don't have to ask one another if we can buy some of the smaller things or little luxuries that we want, which in turn helps us to avoid nitpicking each other about things we don't think the other one should be buying.</p> <p>I can only imagine how couples who co-mingle all their money argue about how many coffees or beers each is buying per week, the 19th pair of new shoes she's bought this year, or the new video game he brought home. The bottom line for us is that the bills get paid and we're still able to save; we're allowed to treat ourselves every now and then without having to ask permission or fear retribution.</p> <h2>7. Debt Can Destroy Your Relationship &mdash; If You Let It</h2> <p>A few years ago I discovered a substantial amount of debt that my husband racked up, and I was completely gutted over the situation. How, why, when, where? So many questions went through my mind, not the least of which was, how are we going to pay this off? I was lucky in that regard as my husband took full responsibility for it and promised to pay it off himself &mdash; and he has. But it may not work out like that for everyone.</p> <p>If your partner isn't capable of paying off the debt, you, in fact, may be responsible for it too if it's attached to a joint credit card or another joint account. When that happens, it will likely put a major strain on your relationship. Old debt is one thing, but new debt &mdash; that is, debt acquired singularly by one partner while you're in the relationship &mdash; has a much more damaging and lasting effect. We were able to get past this and get back on track, but it's not easy. It definitely puts stress on the marriage, which can further worsen an already rocky relationship.</p> <h2>8. Money Doesn't Buy Happiness</h2> <p>All the houses, nice cars, designer clothes, and luxury goods in the world will not make you happy in a relationship you don't want to be in. When you're sitting among all your beautiful things and you wonder why you seemingly have everything but still aren't satisfied, you need to look beyond the bling. There's a deeper issue for which you're trying to compensate. Talk about it; make decisions. Your mental health is worth more than what's in your bank account &mdash; always. Remember that.</p> <p><em>What has marriage taught you about money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-love-not-money-sort-of">Make Love, Not Money (Sort Of)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family Lifestyle budget meetings compromises credit scores debt marriage money lessons relationships spouses Tue, 24 May 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Mikey Rox 1716048 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Bad Money Habits You're Teaching Your Kids http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_hammer_piggy_bank_000070437303.jpg" alt="You are teaching your kids bad money habits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money is a taboo subject in our culture, which means it can be tough for parents to know how to talk to their kids about it. But children are little sponges, and the lessons they learn about money may not be the ones you intend to teach them.</p> <p>Here are four bad money habits you might be passing along to Junior and Sis, without even realizing &mdash; and how to start teaching them positive money lessons. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a>)</p> <h2>The Bad Habit: Entitlement</h2> <p>Every single parent has had this moment. You have made it clear to your kid that they may <em>not</em> have the candy bar or Thomas the Tank Engine figurine or other coveted <em>object du jour</em> &mdash; but the fit they throw in the store is worthy of a gold medal at the temper tantrum Olympics, and it's easier to give in than fight your sobbing child all the way back to the car.</p> <h3>How You Teach It: Caving in to the Tantrum</h3> <p>We all know this is the wrong move, but some days your nerves are stretched to the breaking point and it's just easier to buy the candy bar. However, making a habit of caving to a tantrum can lead to a child who rivals Veruca Salt in feeling entitled to anything and everything money can buy.</p> <h3>The Better Move: Acknowledge Your Child's Wants</h3> <p>The best way to head off an incipient <em>I want it NOW</em> temper tantrum &mdash; and thereby teach the difference between needs and wants &mdash; is to recognize that to your child, this <em>is</em> a big deal.</p> <p>For instance, with my own kids, I will often respond that the candy bar <em>does </em>look delicious, but that it's going stay at the store and not come home with us. Similarly, I encourage my kids to say &quot;bye-bye&quot; to toys or books they want me to buy, giving them the opportunity to make the transition from coveting the item to letting it go. It's not a foolproof method, but it does help them to at least have a framework for letting go of wants that they can't have.</p> <h2>The Bad Habit: A Scarcity Mindset</h2> <p>Knowing how much to tell your kids about big topics is something that all parents grapple with, and money is no different. That's why many parents end up simply falling back on stock answers like &quot;We can't afford it&quot; when their kids ask for something.</p> <h3>How You Teach It: Saying &quot;We Can't Afford That.&quot;</h3> <p>The problem with doing this is twofold. On the one hand, it can make kids feel resentful about how money is spent in the family if they do not understand why you make the financial decisions you do. They might notice that their sibling got new shoes but you couldn't afford the video game they wanted that cost the same amount.</p> <p>In addition, hearing that something is unaffordable can make kids worry about money and start focusing on instant gratification. Kids who hear that their parents can't afford something are learning that money is a scarce commodity, and that it should be used up quickly when it is available.</p> <h3>The Better Move: Invite Your Children to Plan Their Purchases</h3> <p>The big problem with the scarcity mindset is that it leads to zero-sum thinking and takes control out of your child's hands. If your teen wants to go on a ski trip with her friends, saying &quot;We can't afford that&quot; simply shuts down the entire discussion and makes her think that things might be more affordable if it weren't for that bratty little brother of hers.</p> <p>Instead, you could ask your teen &quot;How can you afford this?&quot; and put the control right back in her hands. That will allow her to start thinking of money as something she can earn and control, rather than something that controls her life.</p> <h2>The Bad Habit: Relying on the Bank of Mom and Dad</h2> <p>Your son has spent all of his allowance for the week when he is invited to go to the fair with his friends. Even though you swore you wouldn't give him an advance on next week's allowance again, you hand over some cash so he doesn't miss out on fun with his friends.</p> <h3>How You Teach It: Solving Your Kids' Problems for Them</h3> <p>This is such an easy habit to fall into, but it's a terrible lesson for your child. Watching your kid miss out on something &mdash; even if the problem is their own making &mdash; is tough for parents. You want to give them a fun childhood.</p> <p>But it is so important for children to learn that financial decisions have consequences, and spending all of their allowance money as soon as they have it means there's no money for other opportunities.</p> <h3>The Better Move: Let Your Kids Be Disappointed</h3> <p>It is far better to learn the lessons about financial planning when the stakes are low than when your child is an adult and has to ask you for rent money. Feeling the disappointment of missing out on the fair and understanding that you are not there to bail them out of financial woes is a lesson that will stay with your child &mdash; and keep you from having to maintain the bank of Mom and Dad into their adulthood.</p> <h2>The Bad Habit: Seeing Work as a Chore</h2> <p>Unloading about your terrible day at work is a natural reaction to stress. It's not a big deal to let your spouse and family know that you've had a tough day and that no one is to say the word &quot;spreadsheet&quot; within your hearing for the evening.</p> <h3>How You Teach It: Complaining About Your Job</h3> <p>The problem is when the only way you talk about work is through complaints. This teaches your children that work is a chore that must be gotten through in order to collect a paycheck. And while work can sometimes be that, it can also be a satisfying career, or even a higher calling that energizes you. Even if you do not have that kind of relationship with your job, you do want your kids to know that it's possible.</p> <h3>The Better Move: Express Whatever Gratitude You Can for Your Job</h3> <p>One of my favorite parts of the truly terrible final episode of <em>How I Met Your Mother</em> was the running gag about how much the character Marshall hated his corporate law job, but refused to say anything negative about it. Instead of complaining, he would say that his chair was reasonably comfortable and that he didn't cry at work more than twice that week.</p> <p>Though this is clearly an exaggeration, it is a good method to adopt when your job is stressful. Not only will you remember the good things in your job &mdash; even if it's just the fact that you're grateful to have a paycheck &mdash; but it will also help you remember that your kids are learning about the world from you. You don't want them to think growing up is the worst thing in the world.</p> <h2>Teach Your Children Well</h2> <p>Money habits are often picked up unconsciously, rather than taught. Instead of letting your children unknowingly learn negative financial habits, make sure you are intentional with your money lessons. It will pay off in the long run, even if it does cause more temper tantrums in the short run.</p> <p><em>Are you teaching your kids these &mdash; or other &mdash; bad money habits? What are you doing instead?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale">How to Sell Your Kid&#039;s Stuff at a Consignment Sale</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants">Best Kids Eat Free Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle allowances bad habits children job stress kids money lessons spoiled Wed, 11 May 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1703949 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Lessons I Learned Working as a Corn Detasseler http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-i-learned-working-as-a-corn-detasseler <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-lessons-i-learned-working-as-a-corn-detasseler" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/corn_on_cob_000017714324.jpg" alt="Learning money lessons working as a corn detasseler" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My first real summer job was detasseling corn when I was 14. The lessons I learned from my hard work in the cornfield that summer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-i-learned-about-money-after-living-in-mexico">shaped my view of money</a> and the economy for a lifetime.</p> <h2>What Is Detasseling Corn, Anyhow?</h2> <p>Here's how it works: Corn plants have a tassel that grows on the top of the plant, sort of like a flower, that produces pollen. Sometimes the goal is to cross one variety of corn with another, so you want only one variety to provide pollen. Some rows of corn are planted as &quot;female&quot; corn that will receive the pollen and produce the hybrid seeds. Other rows are planted as &quot;male&quot; corn that get to keep their tassels and provide pollen to make the desired crossbreed.</p> <p>The job of detasseling involves walking down the rows of corn and pulling each and every tassel out of the corn in &quot;female&quot; rows. In some ways, this is an easy job because the objective is so simple: just pull the tassels. But detasseling corn has its challenges. The reality of working outside in the heat and humidity of a corn field, getting chased by mosquitos, and starting at the crack of dawn every day was a big change from my previous summer routine of staying up late watching music videos, playing Atari video games, and sleeping until mid-morning.</p> <p>Here are some things I learned about money from my summer job detasseling corn.</p> <h2>1. Making Money Is Hard Work</h2> <p>The pay for detasseling corn was around $5 per hour, a bit more than minimum wage at the time. After my first day of work, I figured that I had made about $40. I was dead tired from getting up so early, and my hands were sore from grasping and pulling those darn tassels all day. When I closed my eyes that night, I could see the tassels coming toward me. That seemed like a whole lot of effort to make only $40!</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned that making money took a lot more effort than I thought it would.</p> <h2>2. Awareness of Expenses</h2> <p>Detasselers pack a lunch and take it with them. This makes sense, because there is nothing to eat in the middle of a corn field unless you bring it with you. With my newly found appreciation of the value of a dollar, I started keeping track of how much my lunches cost. I started buying bulk containers of lunch items, like applesauce and chips instead of the convenient, but more expensive single serving sizes.</p> <p>As I started receiving a paycheck and keeping better track of my money, I saw how quickly expenses can burn up any money that you make if you are not careful. I could easily spend a full day's earnings in a few minutes at the mall buying clothes or going to the movies with friends.</p> <p>Since my parents were covering my basic expenses for food, shelter, and clothing, I was able to save almost all of the money that I brought home. I ended up with over $1,000 in the bank from my summer job. This made me realize the benefits of having low expenses.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned that the money piles up if you don't spend it.</p> <h2>3. The Value Chain</h2> <p>The teacher who hired me had a contract with the seed corn company for thousands of dollars to detassel the field. The seed corn company that contracted the detasseling was able to sell the seed corn they produced for hundreds of thousands of dollars &mdash; or maybe more.</p> <p>The value of my unskilled, but hard work was $5 per hour. There were plenty of teenagers in the area who were willing to work hard over the summer for this wage. Why would they pay me more than $5 per hour if the next person was willing to work for $5 per hour?</p> <p>The value of the contract to detassel a few acres of the field was thousands of dollars. The seed corn company was willing to pay to have a contractor hire workers and take care of managing the work. It took more skill and a higher level of responsibility to manage the overall detasseling of several acres to meet a schedule, and there are fewer people competing to be contractors and manage a crew.</p> <p>High quality seed corn hybrids bring top dollar on the market since they produce higher yields and result in more money for the farmers who plant them. There are only a handful of major seed corn producers selling top performing seed corn. Major seed corn companies make millions of dollars selling seed corn.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned that moving up the value chain is the way to make bigger bucks.</p> <h2>4. Limits of Getting Paid for Your Time</h2> <p>Sometimes during the long hours in the cornfield, I would think about how much I was getting paid. How much was I making per minute? How much was I making per tassel? How could I make more?</p> <p>The problem was that I was getting paid for my time, and I only had a limited amount of time to work. Even if I could work twice as many hours somehow, that still wouldn't be much money. I realized that the key was to either make a lot per hour, or to be able to sell something like a product instead of selling my time. If I could sell a product, I would no longer be limited by how much time I had available. Perhaps I could even hire people to help make products. The entrepreneurial fire was lit.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned that selling your time limits how much money you can make.</p> <h2>5. How to Motivate Workers</h2> <p>I'd often wonder, as we trudged through the field, <em>Why is everyone working so hard? Why don't people just goof off or quit and go home?</em></p> <p>One of the reasons that a teacher ended up running the detasseling crew is that he knew a lot of students, and which ones to recruit. The first step toward having good workers is picking the ones who have a positive attitude and will work hard.</p> <p>Another way to motivate workers was the incentive of a bonus at the end of the season. If we met the schedule and were effective at removing all of the tassels, each worker would receive a bonus of hundreds of dollars. Each day it got harder for workers to walk away as the bonus got closer.</p> <p>Another incentive was escalating rates of pay. First year workers got $5 per hour, second year workers got $5.50, etc. If you didn't like your pay of $5 per hour, you could just finish out the year and be set to receive a raise next year.</p> <p>Perhaps the biggest motivation to work hard was peer pressure. When you are on a team with people you know, you don't want to let them down or embarrass yourself by performing poorly. You wouldn't be popular if you quit the job and put everyone's bonus in jeopardy.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned how employers set up workplace situations to get people to work hard.</p> <h2>6. The World Is Connected</h2> <p>As we were working on detasseling the field, a manager from the seed corn company told us that the seed corn produced from this field was headed for France. I realized that something I was doing in a cornfield not far from home was going to make a difference in the world. A farmer in France was going to be able to produce more corn and make more money by planting the corn hybrid that we were producing.</p> <p>The seed corn company I was working for would be making a profit on this field. It could reinvest some of the profit to develop even better corn varieties in the future and keep the local operations running. Even though the world is a big place, we are all connected. Something I was doing in Iowa for a few dollars per hour could impact people around the world.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned that we are all connected through money and by participating in the economy.</p> <p>Looking back now, I realize that those long hours working in the corn field making my first dollars taught me some valuable lessons about how money works.</p> <p><em>What did your summer or first job teach you about money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-i-learned-working-as-a-corn-detasseler">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-selling-office-supplies">8 Money Lessons I Learned Selling Office Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/help-your-teenager-earn-their-first-million">Help Your Teenager Earn Their First Million</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-lessons-people-learn-at-their-first-job">5 Money Lessons People Learn at Their First Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-i-learned-about-money-after-living-in-mexico">7 Lessons I Learned About Money After Living in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career and Income agriculture expenses hard work manual labor money lessons summer jobs value Mon, 09 May 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1703943 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's What I Learned About Money After Using Acorns http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-i-learned-about-money-after-using-acorns <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-what-i-learned-about-money-after-using-acorns" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman _holding_cash_000088024827.jpg" alt="Woman learning money lessons using acorns " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a rich history of being broke. I've always struggled with managing my money properly, and being able to resist the urge to buy things I don't need, rather than saving for my future. The problem with the future is that it's <em>the future.</em> It's off in the distance, a haze that I can't even see. There's no immediate reward in investing or saving. When faced with a new book, a flowy frock, or a delicious meal, the peace of mind that comes with planning for the future has always seemed like the boring, undesirable option. Until now.</p> <p>Now, I'm actually an adult. I've got big plans that go beyond what I'll be doing this coming Saturday night, and they involve retiring comfortably with lots of cash in the bank and lots of grandkids running around my yard. And what caused this shift in mindset was not only age, but also, <a href="https://www.acorns.com/">Acorns</a>.</p> <h2>How It Works</h2> <p>Acorns is a service that takes your electronic spare change, and invests it into a diversified portfolio. A team of experts, including mathematicians, financial experts, and top investors work behind the scenes to make sure your chump change grows into a brilliant little nest egg. You connect your bank account to your Acorns account, and the &quot;spare change&quot; from each transaction in that bank account gets automatically transferred into your Acorns account.</p> <p>So, for example, with the bank I use, I have a checking account with a debit card, a savings account, and a credit card. Acorns sees the transactions of all these accounts, and rounds up the total of each purchase to the next dollar. If I buy something on Amazon and spend $19.60 &mdash; whether I use my debit card or credit card to pay &mdash; Acorns will round that transaction up to $20.00, and invest the remaining $.40. Once the round ups reach $5.00, the funds will be automatically deducted from my checking account, and Acorns will invest it.</p> <p>The investments are spread over large company stocks, small company stocks, emerging market stocks, real estate, corporate bonds, and government bonds. Based on your investing goal and general time frame, you can change your investing style from conservative to aggressive whenever you want.</p> <p>It's easy, convenient, and it really teaches you a lot about money &mdash; especially if you're prone to recklessly spending all your dough. Here's what I learned about money after using Acorns for just three months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-microsaving-tools-to-help-you-start-saving-now?ref=seealso">5 MicroSaving Tools to Help You Start Saving Now</a>)</p> <h2>Investing Doesn't Need to Be Complicated</h2> <p>I've had a few investment accounts through previous employers, and it always seemed like such a complex and intimidating process to make the right investment decisions. It was like learning a new language, and I can't even remember most of the French I learned in high school, so I felt utterly left out.</p> <p>But Acorns breaks it down and lets you see any changes to your investments in real time. You can also make changes to your portfolio at any time, depending on your goals. It could not be a more painless process.</p> <h2>Patience Is Money</h2> <p>They say, &quot;Time is money&quot; but I'd argue that patience, specifically, is way more valuable. Because you can't get anywhere in saving money or investing money without patience. Safeguarding your financial future takes a long time, and you need to be in it for the long haul, if you're going to do it right. Luckily, by using Acorns, and playing with their projection tools, that hazy future is a whole lot clearer.</p> <h2>Saving Is Surprisingly Thrilling</h2> <p>Getting any joy out of spending money used to mean purchasing a tangible thing that I could look at, wear, or play with like a shiny new toy. But Acorns has flipped that habit on its head, by giving me a substantial peek into just how cozy I can be if I save regularly and invest wisely. Being smart is way more fun than being spendy.</p> <p>Since I started using acorns three months ago, I've invested about $300, between round ups, weekly automatic transfers, and occasionally sending over an extra $20 when I'm feeling particularly money-motivated. My total gain is $4.48. It doesn't seem like much, right? But that money was working hard for me over the course of 90 days. And if I hadn't used Acorns, I probably wouldn't have saved that much, and I <em>definitely </em>would not have made any extra. I'm proud of that baby gain, and I'm excited to see where I'll be in six months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use?ref=seealso">The 5 Millennial Money Apps Everyone Should Use</a>)</p> <h2>The More You Earn, the More You Learn</h2> <p>With Acorns, once you start seeing your account grow, you feel a sense of accomplishment that often leads to a hunger for more knowledge. You don't want to worry about losing it all, or your &quot;luck&quot; wearing out. So you want to know more, to become more informed, so you can maybe take what you've learned from Acorns and find other ways to invest in your future.</p> <h2>Your Money Should Never Get a Day Off</h2> <p>You work hard. And your money should always be working hard, too. Acorns makes monitoring your investments so easy that you can check in on everything while on a tropical vacation, sipping blended cocktails in the sun, while your moola is still on the 9-5 grind.</p> <h2>An Automated Life Is a Happy Life</h2> <p>The best part of Acorns, by far, is the automation. You link your bank account to Acorns to get it set up, and then you can also set up recurring deposits, track upcoming round-ups, and make checking on your investments as quick and easy as checking your Twitter notifications. This is now a quick part of your daily routine that leads to zero headaches, and only profitable progress in the right direction. Does it really get any better than that?</p> <p><em>Have you tried Acorns? Has it worked for you? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-i-learned-about-money-after-using-acorns">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/zen-and-the-art-of-hiding-money">Zen and the Art of Hiding Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-amazon-prime-day-actually-worth-it-this-year">How to Make Amazon Prime Day Actually Worth It This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Investment acorns life lessons money lessons rounding up saving money Thu, 14 Apr 2016 09:30:19 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1687439 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Lessons I Learned About Money After Living in Mexico http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-i-learned-about-money-after-living-in-mexico <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-lessons-i-learned-about-money-after-living-in-mexico" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_world_traveler_000051400400.jpg" alt="Woman learning money lessons after living in Mexico" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Commercial trade between the United States and Mexico is very important for both nations.</p> <ul> <li>Just in January 2016, the United States <a href="https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c2010.html">exported $18 billion</a> in goods to Mexico.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>An estimated one million American citizens <a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35749.htm">live in Mexico</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>In 2013, over 20 million U.S. tourists visited Mexico and over 14 million Mexican tourists visited the U.S., spending about $10.5 billion.</li> </ul> <p>For three years, I had the wonderful opportunity to experience what it is to live in Monterrey, Mexico and learned several important financial lessons that I apply here in the United States. Here are the seven lessons about money that I learned after living in Mexico.</p> <h2>1. Invest in a College Degree</h2> <p>Founding Father Ben Franklin said it best: &quot;An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.&quot;</p> <p>My bachelor&rsquo;s degree allowed me to land a teaching job at Prepa Tec, the high school system of the Tecnologico de Monterrey university system, which included a fully-funded sponsorship to complete a master&rsquo;s degree in Education. I was able to complete a postgraduate degree with zero debt and boost my future earnings potential.</p> <p>Given that the Millennial generation is much more interested in traveling abroad than older generations, I would advise my peers to invest in a college degree to combine a passion for travel with the opportunity to earn money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-jobs-for-expats-and-travelers?ref=seealso">The 3 Best Jobs for Expats and Travelers</a>)</p> <p>It's worth mentioning that having at least a bachelor's degree <a href="http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/08/05/how-higher-education-affects-lifetime-salary">increases your lifetime earnings</a> by $1 million over those from folks with just a high school diploma, and increases your <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/p0516_higher_education.html">chances of better health</a>, too.</p> <h2>2. Keep an Eye on Other Currencies</h2> <p>While living in Mexico, I had to keep a close watch on the U.S. dollar-Mexican peso exchange rate for several reasons. For one, I still had a checking account back in the U.S. and crossed the border several times for shopping and tourism. After a couple months of tracking this number, I learned how to simultaneously buy and sell currencies in order to profit from a difference in the price (also known as &quot;arbitrage&quot;).</p> <p>By keeping an eye on foreign currencies, you may be able to take advantage of many financial opportunities. For example, for the past two years, the U.S. dollar has appreciated against several currencies, including the Brazilian real, the Chilean peso, and the euro, making your foreign vacation plans much more affordable.</p> <h2>3. Review Your Employer's Benefits Package</h2> <p>Working for an educational institution may not sound as sexy as working for a hot startup. However, in my case, it offered me comparable benefits and perks. Established in 1943, the Tecnologico de Monterrey has over 30 campuses in Mexico and 13 campuses abroad. The size of this institution allows it to broker great deals for its employees, including layaway programs, discounts at retailers, and financial services at better rates. I had access to all gyms in the six campuses in Monterrey and was able to purchase a laptop at a discounted price through an automatic payroll deduction program.</p> <p>Don't underestimate the ability of your employer to provide you better benefits and take a second look at what you're currently being offered. For example, your employer may provide you an online portal for discounted goods and services, such as electronics and travel options or individual investment advice offered on a one-on-one basis through your retirement plan. Particularly, take ownership of your retirement planning because nearly half of 401K plan owners don't know what their best investment options are.</p> <h2>4. Check the Fine Print on All Your Contracts</h2> <p>A credit card agreement, cell phone plan, or other type of contract can go further than you think. While living in Monterrey, I met several U.S. expats that would still use the same credit cards, cell phone plans, or insurance plans from across the border for several reasons. Here are some examples:</p> <ul> <li>Certain credit cards charge <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation">no foreign transaction fees</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Other credit cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer">free extended warranties</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Most monthly AT&amp;T Go-Phone plans include unlimited text messaging from the U.S. to <a href="https://www.att.com/shopcms/sharedcontent/en/legal/WirelessOffers/PlansServicesFeatures/GoPhone/gophone_internationallongdistancelander/jcr:content/desktoplegal/legalsharedcontent.modal.html">over 100 countries</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Most primary auto insurance policies cover your rental vehicle up to the limits of your policy.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What's not covered through your primary car insurance, such as deductibles and loss-of-use charges, may be picked up through the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card">secondary coverage of your credit card</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>5. File Your Taxes When Living Abroad</h2> <p>If you were to choose to live in Mexico for three years like I did, your entire family would miss you a lot, particularly your good ol' Uncle Sam. He'd miss you so much that he'd ask you to still check in with him every year. Yes, all U.S. citizens and green card holders are still liable to file their federal tax returns, even when abroad.</p> <p>Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside. The good news is that the IRS grants U.S. citizens and resident aliens living outside of the United States and Puerto Rico an <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/U.S.-Citizens-and-Resident-Aliens-Abroad---Automatic-2-Month-Extension-of-Time-to-File">automatic two-month extension</a> to file their return (June 18th in 2016). The bad news is that you would still pay interest on any tax not paid by the regular due date of your return (April 18th in 2016). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/filed-an-extension-heres-what-you-need-to-know?ref=seealso">Filed an Extension? Here's What You Need to Know</a>)</p> <p>Because many countries have tax treaties with the U.S., research for applicable treaties, including tax exemptions for certain professions.</p> <h2>6. Make Your Air Miles Go the Extra Mile</h2> <p>Before I moved to Mexico, I had accumulated a lot of reward miles &mdash; but I had been unable to use them, because of various restrictions and confusing terms. So frustrating!</p> <p>In Mexico, the process was a lot simpler, and I soon realized how much further I could travel with my existing air miles within Mexico and to South America. I was able to score a trip from Monterrey, Mexico to Guayaquil, Ecuador (roughly the same distance as a flight from New York to Seattle) for far fewer points for an equivalent trip within the U.S. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso">12 Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a>)</p> <p>And there's more. You can also redeem frequent flier miles for additional items, including car rentals, hotel stays, magazine subscriptions, and VIP experiences.</p> <h2>7. Seek Additional Sources of Income</h2> <p>Before living in Mexico, I had a very traditional view on work: You only have one full-time job. Through my work at Prepa Tec I quickly discovered that lots more opportunities were available to me:</p> <ul> <li>My native proficiency in Spanish allowed me to translate a couple of course materials at the college level to English;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>My presentation skills enabled me to become an instructor for a graduate level admissions exam; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>My computer skills turned out to be great assets to create music sequences for an electro pop band!</li> </ul> <p>While it may be counterintuitive, people with higher levels of education are more likely to <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/21/states-people-working-two-jobs/4719485/">have multiple jobs</a> than those without. For those who aren't able to get a raise, or got the average 3% salary bump, or are looking to boost their budget or savings, secondary sources of income are a good idea. With the rise of the gig economy, there are many ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-make-money-online-that-arent-scams">make money online</a> that are absolutely legit, including driving your car for Uber or Lyft or becoming a virtual assistant for Zirtual or Fancy Hands.</p> <p><em>What money lessons did you learn after living abroad?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-i-learned-about-money-after-living-in-mexico">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-personal-finance-books-you-should-read">6 Personal Finance Books You Should Read</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-get-free-personal-finance-classes">10 Places to Get Free Personal Finance Classes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-make-money-online-that-arent-scams">13 Ways to Make Money Online That Aren&#039;t Scams</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Travel air miles education extra income foreign countries living abroad mexico money lessons Thu, 31 Mar 2016 09:30:30 +0000 Damian Davila 1678004 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Lessons You Can Learn From Your Pets http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-you-can-learn-from-your-pets <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-lessons-you-can-learn-from-your-pets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000047379998_Large.jpg" alt="learning money lessons from your cat and dog" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Each morning, I am generally awoken in one of two ways: either Tivo, our three-year-old greyhound, places his wet nose directly in my face and snuffles with excitement, or our cat Lebowski (a.k.a. The Dude) lays himself across my neck and purrs jet-engine-decibel contentment straight into my ear.</p> <p>I love my pets, and not just because they have made the alarm clock app on my phone completely superfluous. They are great companions and friends, but they are also fonts of incredible money wisdom. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-your-dog-can-save-you-money?ref=seealso">5 Surprising Ways Your Dog Can Save You Money</a>)</p> <p>Don't believe me? Consider the following.</p> <h2>1. Dogs Remind You to Enjoy the Little Things</h2> <p>If you want to make your dog happy, just grab his favorite ball and head outside. A little bit of rough-and-tumble play with Rover, or some scratches behind his ear are more than enough to send him over the moon. He knows that there's no need to commit to a huge, expensive indulgence to have fun, when walkies and a full bowl of kibble get his tail wagging.</p> <p>And researchers have found that dogs are onto something. We derive more happiness from the small, regular pleasures in life than we do from the big, occasional indulgences. That's because of something known as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmill">hedonic adaptation</a>, where we feel less pleasure from something we have become accustomed to. After a day at the beach, you will not be feeling as happy as you were when you got there, and by the end of your vacation, you will be completely accustomed to sand and surf, which means you'll take it for granted.</p> <p>If you emulate your beloved pooch, however, and spend your money or time on smaller and more regular pleasures &mdash; such as weekly drinks out with friends, a monthly manicure, and daily walks with Rover &mdash; then you'll be much happier than if you deny the small indulgences in favor of big purchases.</p> <h2>2. Model Your Investments After Catnaps</h2> <p>Cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day, and will often only move in order to stay in the sunbeam they are napping in. But even with all of that shut-eye, cats are hardly &quot;sleeping on the job.&quot; Even a snoozing feline will twitch his ears if you drop something &mdash; and he can spring into action almost instantaneously if he feels threatened while snoozing.</p> <p>What Mittens is indirectly teaching you with this type of sleeping pattern is how to be a rational investor. Taking a long view and sitting tight on your investments through market ups and downs is by far the smartest way to grow your wealth. Most of us have a hard time doing what feels like nothing during market volatility. This is called the <a href="http://ambiguityadvantage.blogspot.com/2008/02/action-bias-in-decision-making-problem.html">action bias</a>, and it makes us feel as though doing anything, even if it is counterproductive, is preferable to sitting around doing nothing. But listening to the action bias is the reason why people sell when the market is at its lowest and buy when it's at its highest. They are afraid of doing nothing.</p> <p>It's important to note that your cat doesn't just sleep the day away. He always keeps one ear cocked for signs of trouble. Doing nothing may be his default &mdash; as it should be with your investments &mdash; but he is ready to take action when it is necessary, and not a moment before.</p> <h2>3. Dogs Teach Us That Boredom Is Destructive</h2> <p>When we first got Tivo, one afternoon he managed to tear open our locked bread drawer by pulling hard enough on the handle to break the wooden face of the drawer. We quickly realized that our new family member didn't just share our affinity for bagels &mdash; he was also suffering from boredom. Thankfully, increasing our visits to the dog park, and investing in a better drawer lock, helped solve the problem.</p> <p>But Tivo's drawer-breaking tendencies reminded me of the destructive power of boredom. Parents know that bored kids will always find something to do, and generally that something is destructive. Bored grownups, on the other hand, tend to spend money to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-frugal-ways-to-battle-boredom">relieve their ennui</a>. How often have you found yourself browsing Amazon or going out to eat because you can't think of anything else to do?</p> <p>For both dogs and people, the best boredom relief is often exercise. Heading out for a quick walk or even doing some jumping jacks when you are feeling bored can stimulate both your body and your mind, for free. Even better, it won't result in the better part of your kitchen being strewn through your living room.</p> <h2>4. Your Cat Doesn't Fear Failure, and Neither Should You</h2> <p>I have owned cats my entire life, and yet I never cease to be impressed by their ability to leap tall cabinets in a single bound. Cats do not weigh risks or do cost-benefit analysis when trying to navigate a tricky obstacle to the preferred spot on the highest piece of furniture. They simply leap without hesitation. Even if they do miss their target and fall, they simply get up, pretend that they meant to fall, and try again.</p> <p>Of course, cats feel confident making acrobatic jumps because they are uniquely suited to landing on their feet. But human beings are similarly well-suited to adapting to new circumstances and handling the issues life throws at them. We may fear big changes, like leaving a job to become an entrepreneur, or going back to school to learn a new skill. But like the cat's landing reflexes, we have the ability to handle those big changes. We should look at failure like cats do &mdash; as a potential cost you can easily bounce back from.</p> <h2>5. Emulate Your Dog by Thoroughly Investigating Opportunities</h2> <p>When you introduce your dog to a new person, their first instinct is to take a good whiff of the stranger before deciding if he's a friend or a foe. Dogs also thoroughly investigate every fire hydrant and patch of yellow snow on their walks to make sure they are au courant with the neighborhood doggy business.</p> <p>This kind of investigation is an important aspect of protecting your finances. Dogs are known for being easily excitable, and yet they take a moment to make sure they know everything they can about a person or fellow animal's scent before making a decision. Human beings, who are supposedly more rational, will often jump into the &quot;sure thing&quot; investment because they are so excited about the prospect of big money. Only when they discover that there are no tin mines in Bolivia and that they were taken in by a con man, do they remember that they should have investigated the investment thoroughly before writing a check.</p> <h2>6. Cats Know How to Ask for What They Want</h2> <p>Although cats have a reputation for being aloof and dignified, they are also perfectly happy letting the humans in their lives know when they want something &mdash; as anyone who has spent a day letting a cat in and then back out and then back in again, can attest.</p> <p>Human beings have trouble being both dignified and willing to ask for help. We tend to think of dignity as somehow being above asking others for help. But our cats show us that there is nothing undignified in recognizing when you need help getting what you want. Getting help from others is often necessary to meet your career and financial goals. You would hate to miss opportunities just because you were afraid to ask for help.</p> <h3>Four-Footed Friends and Finance</h3> <p>Tivo and The Dude may not have a thriving stock portfolio or even a simple budget. But my dog and cat both show me on a daily basis that they may know a thing or two about money anyway.</p> <p><em>What money lessons have you learned from your pets? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-you-can-learn-from-your-pets">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-affordable-alternatives-to-pet-boarding">5 Affordable Alternatives to Pet Boarding</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-dog-costs-you-should-prepare-for-now">5 Unexpected Dog Costs You Should Prepare for Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-living-truths-every-stay-at-home-parent-should-know">5 Frugal Living Truths Every Stay-at-Home-Parent Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-teachable-money-moments-to-share-with-your-kids">6 Great Teachable Money Moments to Share With Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting Family cat dog family pet lessons learned money lessons Thu, 24 Mar 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1677206 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things I Learned About Money After I Went Freelance http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000085246475_Large.jpg" alt="things she&#039;s learned about money after going freelance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Accurately or inaccurately, I've always considered myself a financially savvy guy. I avoid consumer debt like a pro, keep my wants in check, get all OCD about saving for retirement, and hunt for bargains like a steely-eyed warrior. But when I decided to chuck my 9-5 job eight years ago and commit to building a freelance business, I realized that I still had some serious learning to do. My new venture taught me a few brand-new money lessons and served as a refresher course on others. Here are seven things I learned about money once I went freelance.</p> <h2>1. There's Power in Profit</h2> <p>In a traditional work arrangement, a company produces a good or service and the management team determines how much employees can be paid in order to safeguard or maximize profits. Once you become your own employer, the distinction between payment and profit blurs &mdash; to your benefit. If you control costs and price your labor correctly, the profit can be a powerful force to fund expansion, pursue additional training, or enjoy more free time.</p> <h2>2. Budget or Go Bust</h2> <p>Especially in the early days of any freelance business, income can be unpredictable. That's why knowing how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps">build a budget</a> and live within it takes on a whole new level of importance. A well-structured monthly budget should leave a financial cushion to help you ride out late payments, adjust to unforeseen expenses, and squirrel away money for taxes.</p> <h2>3. Stay Lean</h2> <p>No matter how dogged your determination, lean months are inevitable in any one-person enterprise. Planning ahead, keeping overhead in check, and staying financially disciplined are make-or-break strategies. I apply the same principles to freelancing as I do to traditional employment &mdash; in today's economy, it's smart to be prepared for a layoff at any time and have six months' worth of income set aside for cash flow interruptions.</p> <h2>4. The Taxman Cometh</h2> <p>When I became a one-man enterprise, the level of importance I placed on income tax awareness went from about a two to a solid 10. As part of the freelancing set, your tax obligations can change significantly. Learn all you can and retain a trusted tax advisor who caters to the self-employed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/freelancing-a-beginner-s-guide-to-doing-it-right?ref=seealso">Freelancing: A Beginner's Guide to Doing It Right</a>).</p> <h2>5. Income Is Fluid and Largely Controllable</h2> <p>Money is just labor in physical form, right? As much as I knew this before, going solo helped me understand it far more profoundly. Once my freelance career gained traction, I realized that I had control over my income in a new and direct way, and I could exercise that control to increase my billings and, in turn, grow my savings.</p> <h2>6. Negotiating Skills Are Non-Negotiable</h2> <p>Whether you're buying or selling, negotiating helps you get the best deal possible and it's one of the essential <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">life skills every freelancer needs</a>. Freelancing full-time has challenged my negotiation skills and forced me to take my skill level from &quot;proficient&quot; to &quot;expert.&quot; Negotiating tactical discounts to forge new client relationships, working out the details of retainer agreements, and establishing realistic project timelines require flexibility and fortitude.</p> <h2>7. The Devil's in the Details</h2> <p>As with all things financial, the details matter. Keeping track of contracts, hours, rates, outstanding invoices, and expenses means the difference between success and failure. Likewise, knowing how to project income from month-to-month based on accurate record-keeping helps me plan for major expenditures, invest in my business, and pay estimated taxes each quarter. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-time-and-money-saving-apps-for-freelancers?ref=seealso">16 Time and Money Saving Apps for Freelancers</a>).</p> <p>Remember, we keep learning (and relearning) money lessons as our lives and careers evolve. And when it comes to freelancing, experience is a quick and able teacher. The goal is be open to the lessons and broadly apply what we learn to build more financially independent lives.</p> <p><em>Do you work freelance? What has it taught you about making and managing money? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-freelance-jobs-that-pay-surprisingly-well">11 Freelance Jobs That Pay Surprisingly Well</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-side-benefits-of-your-side-hustle">5 Unexpected Side Benefits of Your Side Hustle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-as-an-ebook-writer">Can You Really Make a Living as an Ebook Writer?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-part-time-jobs-to-do-while-your-kids-are-at-school">17 Part-Time Jobs to Do While Your Kids Are at School</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Entrepreneurship Extra Income freelance freelancer hustle independent contractor money lessons side gig side job Mon, 21 Mar 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Kentin Waits 1675899 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Beyoncé http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-beyonc <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-beyonc" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beyonce_knowles_000016852365.jpg" alt="Learning lessons about money from Beyonce " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Beyoncé Knowles is a wealthy person. With a net worth of more than $250 million, she clearly knows a little something about generating and keeping money.</p> <p>Not all <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-money-savvy-rap-stars">celebrities have the financial wits</a> to keep an eye on their cash, but Beyoncé has not only built an empire, she has also protected it. And her lyrics offer great lessons for women looking to become financially independent.</p> <p>Here are seven ways that Beyoncé has offered some sound money lessons.</p> <h2>1. Men Don't Have to Be the Breadwinner</h2> <p>Beyoncé's husband, rapper Jay-Z, is very successful in his own right. But rest assured, she doesn't need his income to get by. And many of her songs convey the idea of women being responsible for their own finances. Consider the song &quot;Flawless:&quot; <em>You can have ambition, but not too much...You should aim to be successful, but not too successful...Otherwise, you will threaten the man...I took some time to live my life...But don't think I'm just his little wife.</em></p> <h2>2. Invest Wisely</h2> <p>Unlike some notoriously spendthrift celebrities, Beyoncé has taken time to think about the future, so she's set financially even if she decides to stop working. &quot;I have a lot of property. I've invested my money and I don't have to make any more, thank God, because I'm set,&quot; she told the UK Mirror in 2009. &quot;I'm now able really to be free and just do things that make me happy.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Beware of the Moocher</h2> <p>Back when she was a member of Destiny's Child, Beyoncé warned against the partner who casually borrows your money and things. Remember &quot;Bills, Bills, Bills?&quot; <em>And now you ask to use my car...Drive it all day and don't fill up the tank...And you have the audacity...To even come and step to me...Ask to hold some money from me...Until you get your check next week. </em></p> <h2>4. Know Your Worth</h2> <p>Beyoncé knows how popular she is. Her most high-profile shows have been at halftime of the Super Bowl, the most watched television event of the year. A few years ago, she dropped a new album on Apple's iTunes without warning and made it impossible to buy just a single song. (The album sold more than 828,000 copies in just three days, setting a record.) Now there's speculation that she will drop her next album exclusively on Tidal, a streaming music service that she partially owns.</p> <h2>5. Diversify Your Skill Set</h2> <p>Do you want to make yourself irreplaceable like Beyoncé? Learn more than one skill. Beyoncé is a great singer and songwriter, but she can also dance better than nearly anyone on the planet and has acted in movies and television shows. What's more, she has fashion lines for adults and kids, and makes millions off of endorsements. Her diversity can serve as a lesson to the rest of us, who might benefit from finding different ways to leverage our skills and talents to make money.</p> <h2>6. Financial Independence Is Satisfying</h2> <p>In her song, &quot;Independent Women, Part 1,&quot; Beyoncé touts the good feeling of building your own wealth. <em>If you're gonna brag make sure it's your money you flaunt</em>, she sings. <em>Depend on no one else to give you what you want.</em></p> <h2>7. Capitalize on Opportunities</h2> <p>Ms. Knowles recently released a sexually-charged song called &quot;Formation,&quot; in which she talks about taking a man to Red Lobster. Red Lobster then saw a 33% spike in revenue after Beyoncé performed it at the Super Bowl. And the uptick may have been even more had the restaurant not been a tad slow in mentioning the song on social media. You never know when an opportunity will present itself. When it does, be prepared to strike.</p> <p><em>Anything else we've learned from Beyonc</em>é<em>? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-beyonc">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-selling-office-supplies">8 Money Lessons I Learned Selling Office Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-people-who-are-good-with-money-never-say">5 Things People Who Are Good With Money Never Say</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-tips-for-introverts">8 Personal Finance Tips for Introverts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-celebrities-with-shockingly-low-net-worths">6 Celebrities With Shockingly Low Net Worths</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Life Hacks Entertainment Beyoncé Destiny's Child investing Jay-Z money lessons women Wed, 09 Mar 2016 11:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 1666847 at http://www.wisebread.com The 9 Most Important Lessons I Learned About Money When I Became a Landlord http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-most-important-lessons-i-learned-about-money-when-i-became-a-landlord <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-9-most-important-lessons-i-learned-about-money-when-i-became-a-landlord" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_landlord_apartments_000065988327.jpg" alt="Man learning important lessons about money as a landlord" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With 30 years under my toolbelt as a landlord, I've had my share of lessons learned &mdash; so I thought it was about time I put some of those learnings down on paper. Previously, I've written about key considerations when <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-location-isnt-king-how-to-choose-income-rental-property">shopping for a rental property</a>. Here, I focus on money lessons learned <em>after</em> closing the deal and actually managing the property.</p> <p>The real estate properties that form the basis of my experiences are a two-family property my wife and I have owned and managed for 30 years, and a rental condo we managed for 20 years then sold. Now on to those lessons...</p> <h2>1. Learn to Be Handy</h2> <p>Owning rental properties is all about building &quot;sweat equity.&quot; The less you pay others to do maintenance and make repairs, the more you keep for yourself. But when you make the repairs, <em>do</em> buy items of higher quality that will last longer. Having to return over and over to make the same repair gets old quickly and winds up costing you more in the end.</p> <h2>2. Be Respectful and Responsible</h2> <p>Remember that both landlord and tenant have responsibilities. I try to put my best foot forward with a new tenant by making sure the unit is in excellent move-in condition, and by responding promptly when they reach out to me. More often than not, they return the favor by taking better care of the property. In other words, &quot;What goes around comes around.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Get a Good Lease (From a Lawyer)</h2> <p>Your lease is a legally binding contract. Make sure you read, understand, and agree to every word. Who is responsible for lawn care? Who shovels the snow? Does it require tenants to be responsible for small repairs (say, under $20) and basic maintenance such as replacement of light bulbs? How much notice do tenants need to give you that they are leaving? (I suggest at least one month.)</p> <p>Consider the lease a flexible document that can be improved over time to address lessons learned. For example, we've found a month-to-month lease works better for us than an annual term, because it provides more flexibility for tenant changes.</p> <h2>4. No Pets! No Exceptions</h2> <p>It took a double-whammy for us to learn this lesson. The downstairs unit of our two-family has very nice Andersen casement windows with stained wooden sills. The upstairs has wall-to-wall carpeting to cushion sounds between the floors. Our very first choice of tenants to occupy the downstairs unit had two cats. Even today, if I close my eyes, I can clearly see images of the deep gouges in those (previously) beautiful sills, and the rips in the Anderson screens.</p> <p>Upstairs, the culprit was a dog. He used the carpeting as an opportunity to mark his territory &mdash; and he did a thorough job, extending into the hardwood flooring underneath. After spending thousands of dollars to repair the windows, replace the carpets, and sand and refinish the wood flooring, it has now become very easy to answer the question we've since been asked many times: &quot;Do you allow pets?&quot; Without hesitation, the answer is always the same: &quot;NO!&quot; I take pride in even sticking to my guns when a recent prospect offered to add $300 per month to the rent if we allowed him to keep a pet piglet.</p> <h2>5. Check Tenant References &mdash; And Their Car</h2> <p>Banks and other lenders often use the &quot;5 C's of Credit&quot; to determine whether or not a borrower qualifies for a loan. One of those &quot;C's&quot; is Character. You want to rent to someone of strong character, who is responsible and honest. So ask for and check both employer and personal references. Do Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn searches while you're at it. Look for other clues, as well. For example, when meeting a prospective tenant, I always look at their car to see how clean they keep it on the outside, and how cluttered it is on the inside. Unlike a banker, you're not just lending money; you're lending someone your house.</p> <h2>6. Check Tenant Finances: Trust but Verify!</h2> <p>Another of the &quot;5 C's&quot; is &quot;Capacity.&quot; Capacity answers the question, &quot;Do they have enough income to afford the rent?&quot; As a general rule of thumb, your rent plus utilities should be no more than 30% of your gross monthly income. Ask for their most recent pay stub, and call their employer to verify their employment. It's human nature to want to trust other people, but in this case you need to back it up by verifying.</p> <h2>7. Wait for the Right Tenant</h2> <p>This one falls under the &quot;Pay me now or pay me later&quot; category. I do admit, it's easy to yield to the taunts of the devil on one shoulder (&quot;Live for the moment and take the money now!&quot;) rather than heeding advice from the angel on the other shoulder (&quot;Wait for a better candidate!&quot;). Trust me, it's much more costly &mdash; not just financially, but also in time and aggravation &mdash; to remove a bad tenant than to forego one or two months' rent in order to find a good one. Do yourself a favor and take the advice of your better angels.</p> <h2>8. Get an Umbrella Insurance Policy</h2> <p>Being a landlord elevates your risk of being sued. It only takes one lawsuit &mdash; perhaps involving a tenant falling down stairs or slipping on driveway ice &mdash; and you could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. So take out a general liability, or umbrella, insurance policy. Don't risk getting wiped out. Paying $50 per month for umbrella insurance is a small price in exchange for sleeping soundly at night.</p> <h2>9. Take an Honest Look in the Mirror</h2> <p>Do you have the people skills to deal constructively with tenants? Are you willing to be on call 24/7 to respond to complaints big and small, or to drop everything for the repair of a furnace, toilet, or hot water heater? At times these things are a true test of patience and perseverance.</p> <p>Self-awareness is key. If you have a spouse or partner, and if the demands of property management begin to weigh more and more heavily on either or both or you over time, it could drive a wedge in your relationship. No amount of rental income is worth that price.</p> <p>So, taken as a whole, has our experience been worth the effort? Yes. The two-family has worked out better, and we still have it. It generates a regular monthly stream of positive cash flow (over $1,000 per month after all expenses). Granted, it requires time and attention (isn't everything in life a tradeoff?), but in return we've received the equivalent of a modest monthly pension payment since our early 40s. Not many other investments can do that.</p> <p><em>Do you own rental property? Any of these lessons sound familiar? And if you rent, how's it look from the other side?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keith-whelan">Keith Whelan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-most-important-lessons-i-learned-about-money-when-i-became-a-landlord">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-need-to-know-when-renting-to-own-a-home">5 Things You Need to Know When Renting-to-Own a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease">8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing insurance landlords leasing money lessons rental properties Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:00:06 +0000 Keith Whelan 1650518 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Personal Finance Lessons Women Learn in Their 20s http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-lessons-women-learn-in-their-20s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-personal-finance-lessons-women-learn-in-their-20s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_summer_000023077770.jpg" alt="Woman in her 20s learning personal finance lessons" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being in your 20s is amazing. It's filled with change; most women enter the decade as college students without any idea of what to do with their lives, only to end their 20s much more settled &mdash; oftentimes married, sometimes with kids, and frequently well into a career. Here are the eight financial lessons women in their 20s learn.</p> <h2>1. Love Has an Enormous Impact on Your Money</h2> <p>I entered my 20s dating the person I thought I would marry. I first moved across the country for them, and eventually to the other side of the world to Russia for that person. But by time I was 21, I was dating someone new. This time, it <em>was</em> the person I did marry. But going into a relationship you never really know where it is headed, and you don't know the impact it will have on your wallet. The reality is that love will impact your financial situation tremendously. It's not just about who pays for dates, but whether you share the same financial values, what type of job the other person has, whether you move or switch careers for that person. So choose your significant other wisely.</p> <h2>2. Take Big Risks With Your Job</h2> <p>Your 20s are the best time to grow in your career. In fact, a brand new study has revealed that most of your <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/10/your-lifetime-earnings-are-probably-determined-in-your-twenties/">earning potential</a> is determined in your 20s. So, it's best to find work that is meaningful and enjoyable, but that will also earn you a decent living. Now is the time to move across the country, try something totally new, go to law school or get an MBA, or quit a stable corporate job to start a business or work for a start up. What you do with your career this decade, will impact your finances for the rest of your life.</p> <h2>3. Plan for the Future: Settling Down Happens Quickly</h2> <p>Ask any 30-year-old woman what has happened to her Facebook feed in the last two years. She'll tell you it has gone from friends posting wedding and travel photos to a feed filled with her friends' baby photos. You start your first job at 22 thinking your 30-year-old coworkers are so old because they don't go out to happy hours and instead head home to be with their familes. Before you know it, you are 30, and you're the one going home to your kids and spouse, instead of out for drinks. So, use your 20s to save for this settling down that will likely happen by the time you're 30. Start saving for your wedding, for your house, and for your future children.</p> <h2>4. Spend Enough to Enjoy the Present</h2> <p>While you should save in your 20s, don't save so much for the future that you fail to enjoy the present. If you want to quit your job to travel the world, do it. It's going to be 1000 times harder to do when you're 34 than when you're 24. Plus, society is far less accepting of a 30 or 40-something year-old woman who quits her job to travel (unless you've experienced a traumatic divorce and are soul searching, a la Eat Pray Love). So spend on the big things, but also on the small. Go out for drinks with friends, to concerts, and sporting events, because you'll never be more able to than you are when you're an unsettled twenty-something.</p> <h2>5. Find a Job With Good Maternity Leave</h2> <p>Setting down happens quickly, and often when you're not even looking. You likely won't be thinking about your job's maternity leave when you say &quot;yes&quot; to your first or second or third job offer of your 20s. But you should. Chances are that you'll stay at that place of employment longer than you plan, and you'll want to be covered if you become pregnant. Choose a company with a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-29-companies-with-the-best-maternity-benefits">good maternity leave policy</a>.</p> <h2>6. Women Still Earn Less Than Men</h2> <p>My mom likes to tell me about how when she was my age, women lawyers could wear nothing but skirt suits and pantyhose. Pant suits were simply unacceptable. At a dinner interview where spouses were invited, people assumed it was my dad interviewing, not my mom. Granted, things have changed for women since 1984; but not as much as we'd like. Women only account for 20% of corporate board seats, 20% of US Senate and House seats, and about 33% of doctors and lawyers. And women still earn about 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.</p> <h2>7. It's Good to Live Somewhere Cheap and to Live Frugally</h2> <p>Every woman in her 20s should live somewhere that is far less expensive than she can afford, and spend far less money than she reasonably could. Why? Because someday later on, when you are worried about the job market or what would happen if you got a divorce, you'll have confidence that you can get by on a lot less. It's much easier to gain this confidence at 25 than 45.</p> <h2>8. No Matter How Much You Learn About Personal Finance in Your 20s, You Don't Know It All</h2> <p>Most women learn an enormous amount about money in their 20s. We earn our first paychecks, start our 401(k)s, pay medical bills, taxes, mortgages, and more. There is a lot to learn and we mostly learn it out of necessity. But, by the time you reach your 30s, you realize that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-lessons-women-learn-in-their-30s">there is still more to learn</a>. Thankfully, by this point, even if your finances are in rough shape, you have confidence that you can learn more and have the resources for doing so.</p> <p><em>What financial lessons have you or did you learn in your 20s?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-lessons-women-learn-in-their-20s">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-mistakes-two-popular-board-games-teach-kids">Money Mistakes Two Popular Board Games Teach Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/slam-dunk-personal-finance-tips-from-the-nba">Slam Dunk Personal Finance Tips From the NBA</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-lessons-from-parks-and-recreation">8 Personal Finance Lessons From &quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-these-5-financial-lessons-most-people-learn-in-their-40s">Do You Know These 5 Financial Lessons Most People Learn in Their 40s?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stupid-things-my-parents-taught-me-about-money">5 Stupid Things My Parents Taught Me About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance age and money financial education money lessons women and money Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:00:08 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1314827 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Lessons Everyone Should Learn by Kindergarten http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-lessons-everyone-should-learn-by-kindergarten <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-lessons-everyone-should-learn-by-kindergarten" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child-business-suit-money-finance-Dollarphotoclub_63769669.jpg" alt="child finance" title="child finance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We each grasp financial lessons at different points in our lives, but we're never too old &mdash; or too young &mdash; to start learning. Some lessons, however, are so basic that understanding them is nearly a prerequisite to financial survival. Whether you need a refresher yourself, or are responsible for shaping a young person's relationship with money, here are five financial lessons everyone should learn by kindergarten.</p> <h2>1. Money Represents Labor</h2> <p>At its most basic level, money is just labor in physical form. Whether you worked for it using your mind or your muscle, the green stuff is the result of some form of effort. And without making your six-year old mop the floor for a bowl of mac 'n cheese, there are ways to gently and positively make the connections between effort and financial reward.</p> <p>Of course, the secondary value of this lesson is how it can alter spending behavior. The &quot;aha moment&quot; you want to encourage goes something like this: &quot;If money is labor, then the <em>things</em> I buy with my money also represent my labor.&quot; Fully grasping that concept is the root of healthier spending behavior for life (and if you're like me, you know a shocking number of adults who still don't quite get it).</p> <h2>2. Spending Is Not the Same as Investing</h2> <p>Though each may drain our wallets and bank accounts for a period of time, <em>spending</em> and <em>investing</em> are entirely different animals.</p> <p>Dropping $3500 for a leather couch is <em>spending</em>, but using that same amount to buy a good used car that will get you back and forth to work is <em>investing</em>. Think of it this way. If the item or service you're buying will provide some sort of tangible dividend (such as the ability to stay employed, advance in a career, sell at a profit later, etc.) , it's an investment. If it doesn't meet that simple criterion, it's just plain old spending. If you haven't already, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investing-basics-that-can-make-you-rich">learn the basics of investing</a> and put its power to work for you sooner than later.</p> <h2>3. Consumer Credit Is Dangerous</h2> <p>It may not seem this way, but every time we use a credit card, we're taking out a loan. Granted, it might be a mere $3.89 for a hamburger, but it's a loan. And let's face it, the last thing credit card issuers want their customers to do is pay off their balances every billing cycle (credit card companies have an endearing term for those who do &mdash; &quot;deadbeats&quot;). They'd much rather have all those hamburgers, shoes, smartphones, and haircuts add up at a 17% percent interest rate.</p> <p>Teach your kids the dirty secrets of credit cards. Tell them about the evil geniuses that lurk behind the magnetic strip. You know, the ones who conceived the evil formula of convenience + frequent use + low minimum payments = long-term debt and high returns. Create a bedtime story about an overspending prince who became a pauper because of plastic. It's a cautionary tale for the ages.</p> <h2>4. Understanding the Difference Between Wants and Needs</h2> <p>When I was a kid, I desperately wanted a green plastic toybox shaped like a large frog. I don't remember the brand name, but I do remember wanting to own one so badly that every fiber of my 40-pound body nearly vibrated with green-plastic-frog-toybox desire. I never got it. Kids want things with such wild enthusiasm that it's difficult for them to distinguish what they want from what they need. Had I been asked way back when, I'm sure I could have made a case why that frog toybox was essential to my survival &mdash; because it certainly felt that way.</p> <p>But at any age, being able to clearly <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-vs-what-you-want-and-how-to-tell-the-difference">distinguish wants from needs</a> is an essential skill. Why? Because we live in an economy that's made a science of confusing the two. Indulgence and denial aside, it's the identification that matters and it's the first step of being able to live within our means.</p> <h2>5. Money Can't Buy Happiness, But It Can Buy Choices</h2> <p>The value of money rests not in its ability to make us happy, but to buy us options in life. Authentic, well-financed choice is a rare bird these days. Many of us feel like we have choices, because we're presented with so many options as consumers every waking minute. But to me, most of these sorts of choices feel low-value &mdash; &quot;trinket choices&quot; manufactured purely to encourage spending. Only the most financially disciplined can afford to exercise a potentially life-altering choice like switching careers, moving across the country, starting a business, or retiring early. This level of choice gives us the power to reinvent ourselves at any stage of life.</p> <p>Granted, these are only five lessons in a long list of financial fundamentals. But together, they form a great foundation for building security and wealth. If you're still learning, let your curiosity motivate you. And if you're helping a young person learn, be patient and avoid instilling a sense of fear about money. Remember, real power comes from understanding that money is not mysterious, wealth is not always the result of dumb luck, and financial security is within our control.</p> <p><em>What financial lessons did you learn early in life? Who taught you and how? Which ones are you still learning?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-lessons-everyone-should-learn-by-kindergarten">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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