A tip from the new guy

May 02, 2020 // by Nate // , , , , , // No comments

Hello. This is my first post, so I wanted to introduce myself. After that I will be diving into some techniques and strategies to position yourself as an investor. To be clear, this is for those of you that like me, struggle with finances. Living paycheck to paycheck? No savings? Check this out.

My Story

I'm Nate. I'm 26, married with 2 kids, and live in South Dakota in a 6 bedroom house that my wife and I purchased as a house hack. My whole life I've spent everything I had. My savings account never went above $200, and most of that was money given to me by family for birthdays. Mom and Dad would tuck the money away into my "Kid's 'N Coins" account. The only reason the balance existed is because I was unable to get my hands on the money.

Fast forward a few years, and I'm working minimum wage jobs - still living with my parents, and no savings to speak of. I had no bills, no required expenses, and still NO SAVINGS.

I always blamed my lack of savings on minimal income, that is until the past year.

Present day: Over the past year, my wife and I have become landlords. We have multiple savings accounts that don't go below the thousands. And we have investments that are also in the thousands. All of this was accomplished in approximately one year, despite having recurring expenses, 2 kids, 2 cars, and subpar incomes.

TLDR: I've gone from being broke on a couch and borrowing everything, to having a sizable savings. I never need to check my balance before filling up on gas or getting groceries. I own a house that makes me money. I have multiple paper assets that constantly make me money. It all started with a book.

I Will Teach You to be Rich

No not really, but kind of. This is the title of the book that started it all for me: "I Will Teach You to be Rich" by Ramit Sethi. This book is responsible for my financial makeover. If you want to be rich you've got to start somewhere. Success can be broken down into two steps: Learning and Applying. One without the other will not lead you to success. So learn, and apply. If you like to read, you can find copies of this book online by Googling the title. If you're like me and don't like to read - check it out on audible. The book costs $25 if you're a member (or just one credit). It's well worth it. I know, I know, the title is super spammy - but it's worth it. Trust me. Just be sure to get the format that will help you get through the book. For me, that was audio.

A free tip from the book: The Bucket System

The number one financial mistake that we all make is spending too much. I've been there. Living paycheck to paycheck sucks. And it's NOT YOUR INCOME that's the problem - it's your expenses. The only time low income is a problem, is when it's $0. Otherwise, focus on expenses first.

Budgeting

Have you ever tried a budgeting app like Mint? I did. For 3 years I used Mint budgeting unsuccessfully. Here's why Mint didn't work for me:
 1. It's a reactive budget. After you've spent too much, you get to look back and say "oh no, I went over budget again". People that find success in Mint are constantly checking their budget before purchases. I'm not that disciplined, and if you're reading this, you're probably not either.
2. It's a rigid budget. If you go over budget, you go over budget. The funds aren't taken from a different account and you're at a net loss for the period.

The Solution

If you're terrible at conventional budgeting like me, try the Bucket System. This is a flexible budget that helps you manage your finances proactively and avoid going over budget.
Your budget should contain the following categories:

Committed expenses(60%)
    Groceries, gas, monthly bills etc.
Fun Money (10%)
    Dining out, drinking, clothes, shoes etc.
Irregular expenses (10%)
    Vacations, gifts, short term savings
Retirement Savings (10%)
401k, retirement plans etc.
Long term savings (10%)
    Down-payments, large purchases, debt reduction.

To best work this system. You need to make sure that these categories don't exist on the same card. Most importantly, you need to isolate your "fun money" on it's own card/account. That way, when you reach the limit, your card will be declined. The rest of the categories can be put into one account, but they should remain separated using sub-accounts. This success of this system boils down to a simple principle - proactively limiting our compulsive nature. Don't get me wrong, it's tough to deny your compulsive side. Knowledge is half the battle, so if you haven't already, check out Jesse's post about how You're secretly hurting your financial health.

Of everything that got me from the couch to where I am today, the Bucket System is the most valuable. There it is! Now go out and apply this system to your finances. Take a snapshot of your current finances and put an event in your calendar a year from now to reflect and see your progress. For a full financial makeover, get the book and go through it at least twice. Don't forget to apply your knowledge for success!

Thanks for reading! If you like this, keep coming back - there's more coming down the pipeline.
Nate.





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