Sure, I’d love to speak to a Career Coach. How much does it cost to get started?
Gulp. Oh…. Well, um, actually, I – uh, was just asking. Not sure it’s something I really want to do, like, now. Thanks for the info though! Bye!
Uh-huh. I get that, a lot. After all, I’m the Career Coach on the other end of the line, listening as you fumble to explain why you don’t have the budget for this kind of work right now. I know. Been there, wondering how in the world people were able to spend hundreds of dollars on figuring out how to make money, when – it costs money, that I don’t have! So frustrating. Ironic, right?
So, let me help you out. Why do I want to help you, instead of insisting that you need to invest money that you don’t have, in improving your career? Because, I know. You just need to get started. We can’t go from zero to 100, but we can go from zero to one, and then ten. I’d like to give you the head start so that you can get out of wondering why everyone around you can afford to buy houses, lease new cars, show off their new jewelry, or watches, or whatever, and you’re wondering how to pay the electric bill (from last month).
When I decided I had had enough of living that way, I started at the library. I picked up every book I could about money. That was obviously the answer, right? I’m a serious reader, and committed to studying those books. Some were good, some not so much. What I learned was a lot of complicated terms about investing and the stock market, that having a business was one of the best ways to become wealthy, and that there were a lot of different opinions based on each person’s personal experience. Suze Orman, for example, had become an investor, and so that’s what her books were about. Dave Ramsey was a saver, and so that’s what he wrote about. Donald Trump (this was years before he became president) boasted about real estate, and Robert Kiyosaki spoke about beliefs. The most useful information to me was from those who themselves are not in the business of investing, but in helping others create businesses and wealth.
I see so many people getting carried away with their investment apps, like acorns, robinhood, and budgeting apps, like mint.com, ynab.com, which are great. But then I ask them if they have a Roth IRA, and they look confused. It’s way more fun to have an app on your phone that makes you feel like you’re a real investor (“just a sec, checking in my portfolio here”, “Oh no! My stocks just halved!) than to do boring things like automatic savings or opening a 401k or Roth IRA.
So what are the most important things I learned and implemented in my life, that you can do too?
Even if it takes you a year to accomplish step 1, that’s a lot better than doing nothing. Based on what I learned, I decided to open an account with Vanguard, an investing platform with no account fees. To open an account though, you need $1000.00. If you aren’t used to saving, and don’t have any extra money, this is your HW. Start with $100 a month, and give yourself 10 months. Preferably (like, very), I’d recommend opening a separate account. If your bank has an online banking app, you can do this for free in a few minutes. Then, set up automatic payments of $100/month to go into that account. If you can’t do that, set a reminder on your phone/calendar, on the same day of every month (day after you get a paycheck is ideal). If you can only do $50/month, do that – in 20 months, you’ll be ready. Anything is better than nothing.
And if you don’t have an extra $50/month – it’s probably not true. That’s $12.50/week. Think about what you spent $12 in the last week on.
Alright, so fast forward 3, 6, 10, 20 months, or maybe you can scrape together $1000 right now. Open an IRA, and then commit to continuing sending your automatic $50, $100, $200, and eventually $500 a month (which will bring you to the maximum you’re allowed to contribute annually).
Step 2, which you can do at the same time, is to start thinking of a business you can do that will eventually make an extra $1000/ a month. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it might be finishing some extra space in your hose and renting it out. It can be something that you’ve been doing as a hobby, but now commit to charging money for.
There are lists of ideas of what you can do to get started. Just google – here, literally, copy and paste: How to make an extra $1,000 a month.
Think about it, talk about it, but most of all commit to it.
The best way to make sure that it happens is to write down a date that you’ll get this done by. Pick a date, any date – in one year from now, 10 years, your next birthday, and then give yourself that amount of time to get it done. For me, I bought a new notebook, wrote down my goal and date on it, and every time I made an extra dollar, I wrote it down there. It took a few months, and BINGO! I did it.
Next, you can go in 2 very different directions with this.
One way is to keep your job, and keep up this side gig, at a steady $1000/month that’s meant to be invested. Even if you just do this, you’ll be better off than most of the American population. (Not scientific fact – but google it, I’m sure you’ll find research to prove this.)
The other option is to decide to make your side gig your long-term full-time business. I say long-term, since it will likely take 1-3 years for you to make enough money on your side business to replace your salary, at which point you can responsibly quit your job and continue to grow your business way past your old salary.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking – but I can barely pay my bills now! I don’t have an extra $100 a month – I’m already in $10,000 of credit card debt. If that’s the case, then you need a new job. NOW. Or a cheaper place to live, less spending, a cheaper car lease, or a second job. Please, decide to do everything you can to get out of the situation you’re in. But, also, if you read this and start your mind going in the direction of building up wealth, then I believe you will not just get yourself out of the pit of poverty, but you’ll begin building your own little pile of wealth. It is a mindset, and that is something you have absolute control over.
P.S. – If you’re young, and reading this before you have a job, hooray! My advice to you is to start out at your first job by putting away an automatic amount, and starting a savings and investment account too. I usually do not recommend starting out with your own business before you have a job, because. If you don’t trust me on that one – go for it, let us know how it goes, and I invite you to write a guest post for us with your experience. For the rest of you, choose a job wisely, and start the habit of saving a bit to invest every month. Let me know how it goes!