Cat is the go-to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions, earn more, reach their goals, and take on a more active financial role in their families.Cat was named the Best Contributor/Freelancer for Personal Finance in 2014, and over the past few years her writing and financial expertise have been featured in dozens of notable publications like The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Finance, U.S. News and World Report, and many more.
Reduce monthly debt payments: Not all of us are in such a dire situation that we can just have our debt forgiven. However, you can cut your payments by up to 80% by refinancing. Most credit cards have interest rates above 25% and Credible’s refinance loans are as low as 4%. It won’t change the amount of your debt, but it can reduce your monthly payment significantly.
Sometimes, it takes a little elbow grease to get there. Or, if you are running a business, it might take some late nights. Millionaires are willing to work hard and do things for themselves when they need to. Millionaires are also willing to do what it takes, even if it means taking on an unpleasant job. A millionaire also knows that this includes taking responsibility for his or her financial destiny, refusing to blame others for misfortunes and finding ways to make sure income streams are diverse.
Essentially the same thing happened in China with clocks: one emperor's decision abolished clocks over China. China was also on the verge of building powerful water-powered machinery before the Industrial Revolution in Britain, but the emperor said "Stop," and so that was the end of the water-powered machinery in China. In contrast, in Europe there were princes who said no to electric lighting, or to printing, or to guns. And, yes, in certain principalities for a while printing was suppressed. But because Europe in the Renaissance was divided among 2,000 principalities, it was never the case that there was one idiot in command of all Europe who could abolish a whole technology. Inventors had lots of chances, there was always competition between different states, and when one state tried something out that proved valuable, the other states saw the opportunity and adopted it. So the real question is, why was China chronically unified, and why was Europe chronically disunified? Why is Europe disunified to this day?
If you actually enjoy putting together Ikea furniture or standing in long lines, you may be cut out for doing tasks for others. Websites like TaskRabbit can connect you with people who need help with a variety of things. Moving, cleaning, delivery and being a handyman have the “highest earning potential,” according to the company. Read about how to get started on TaskRabbit.
Central to all of this is redefining what it means to be rich. If you need a huge home and an expensive car to “feel” rich, then this advice won’t work for you. But if you define affluence as the ability to spend time with friends and family, to travel, to do work you love and to stop worrying about money, then living below your means is all it takes.
Or again, what about the contrast between Microsoft and IBM? Again, since my book was published, I've acquired friends at Microsoft, and I've learned about Microsoft's organization, which is quite distinctive. Microsoft has lots of units, with free communication between units, and each of those units may have five to ten people working in them, but the units are not micro-managed, they are allowed a great deal of freedom in pursuing their own ideas. That unusual organization at Microsoft, broken up in to a lot of semi-independent units competing within the same company, contrasts with the organization at IBM, which until four years ago had much more insulated groups. A month ago, when I was talking in the industrial belt of North Carolina, the Raleigh-Durham area industrial belt, I met someone who is on the board of directors of IBM, and that person told me, Jared, what you say about IBM was quite true until four years ago: IBM did have this secretive organization which resulted in IBM's loss of competitive ability, but then IBM acquired a new CEO who changed things drastically, and IBM now has a more Microsoft-like organization, and you can see it, I'm told, in the improvement in IBM's innovativeness.
Net worth is probably the most important financial number you can track. It’s a simple way to see your financial life with a few basic calculations. Every month income comes in, and expenses go out to pay bills and rent. If after all your expenses are paid if you still have some money left over – that’s great. Now you have money to invest and grow.
Being a Loan Signing Agent is a great side hustle because you can make $75 to $200 per hour-long appointment working for yourself on your own schedule. Retired people, working professionals, and students can be signing agents and earn extra cash when they want. The best part is you need nothing more than a notary commission (which can often be attained by simply filling out an application)!
As for other tips, all I can say is “a penny saved is a penny earned”. If you are running out of ideas to make money, start saving. Some quick “low hanging fruit” tips to save some quick cash include – switch to MetroPCS or Boost for cellphone (I only pay $20/month), switch auto insurance to Insurance Panda ($25/month), and start using GasBuddy (saves me like $100/month at least. I drive a lot).
Remember the steps from point 2: Make more money, spend less, and invest wisely. Point 3 covered making more money, and this one covers spending less. Make a detailed budget for yourself based on your projected income and your current expenses. Set firm limits for your expenses, and keep a close eye on where most of your money goes--you might be surprised at some of the areas where you waste the most money. Once identified, you can start refining your budget to spend as little as possible, and funnel the rest into a savings or investment program.
Use your bank’s overdraft protection if you need to make a purchase. If you have a checking or other account with overdraft protection, you might be able to intentionally overdraw on the account and take advantage of the temporary payment, when you are in need of quick cash. The bank will initially cover the cost, but you will have to pay it back.
It doesn’t pay much, but if you’re a healthy person and want to make a bit of extra money online, the AchieveMint app will reward you for doing things like walking, tracking your food, or taking health surveys. AchieveMint works by connecting to fitness apps you might already be using like Fitbit, RunKeeper, Healthkit, and MyFitnessPal and then giving you points for certain actions. For every 10,000 points, you earn $10 with no limit on your earnings.
If this is the first time you are hearing about this, though, then we actually do not recommend trying it. The average skill level of players on the Internet has improved so much over the past few years that it’s virtually guaranteed that a new player will lose money over the medium to long-term. But hey, Ben made upwards of 6 figures playing online in poker in college, so we had to list it. 🙂
Now let's finally apply these lessons to comparing different industries or industrial belts within the United States. I mentioned that when I was growing up, Route 128 outside of Boston led the world in productivity for an industrial belt, but Route 128 has now fallen behind Silicon Valley. Since my book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" was published, I've spent a lot of time talking with people from Silicon Valley and some from Route 128, and they tell me that the corporate ethos in these two industrial belts is quite different. Silicon Valley consists of lots of companies that are fiercely competitive with each other, but nevertheless there's a lot of collaboration, and despite the competition there is a free flow of ideas and a free flow of people and a free flow of information between these companies that compete with each other. In contrast, I'm told that the business of Route 128 are much more secretive, and insulated from each other like Japanese milk-producing companies.