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The good, the bad, and ugly – David Sager – Medium

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

We all run into trouble when it comes to finances. A bad decision at the wrong time has the ability to make us fall into a pit that is hard to dig out: Debt. It doesn’t have to be this way, but honestly, how does anyone trained in Western schools after 2000 know? Especially in America where credit is power and we stand on a $22 Trillion USD mountain (http://www.usdebtclock.org/index.html).

So I thought I’d give you some tips and recommendations based on my own experience. Telling you the good things I did, and the mistakes I’ve made so far in 25 years of life and the 2 going on 3 times through college.

I want to start out with what NOT to do, this is simply my opinion but based on recent mistakes, and troubles I’ve had up till now this is what I would tell you not to do.

  1. Do not, unless there is no other way, trust private student loan agencies.
    > So I’m dealing with Sallie Mae, a private student loan company, because my second college didn’t take federal loans for the first 1.5 years I was there. That might not sound too bad, but when you get hit with 10.375% compound interest rate on $20,000, let me tell you, you understand how you will never pay off your debts.
  2. Do not use credit cards for large purchases. 
    > We’ve all been there, you see what you want, you calculate it, you can buy it on credit and then pay it off in 6 months. Just don’t. If you have to buy on credit, go get a loan, and pay for it that way. You can find personal loans with interest lower than 11%. Whereas your credit card may have an interest rate of 20% or more. You don’t think about it too much until you make a $400 payment on your $2,000 purchase, only to have your interest rate kick you back up to $2,000 because your bank transferred the money slower than you expected and you paid after the new interest was added in.

Now on to the good stuff. No, this isn’t Dave Ramsey’s 1) Get that Emergency fund, 2) Set up that 3–6 months of expenses, 3) Pay off that debt! These are other steps that I think will help you accomplish those goals. Perhaps at a slower pace, but at a potentially better end result. These have been the best financial decisions I’ve made, even though I haven’t always followed them, and why you need to make them.

  1. Open that long term and short term investment account
    > Dave Ramsey said wait, pay it all off then start. But at the same time, he shows how starting this early can reap 10 fold later on. You can always look into Acorns, or somewhere to start. My first investment account I did $50 a month.
  2. Put some money in not so easily accessible accounts
    > Clarity Money an app, has a nest egg fund, so does Simple and many more, that allows you to just throw small amounts of money away in an easy to access, but just slightly out of the way place to keep you from spending it. Use that to your advantage. If you know you can put $10 a week away, you’ll have $520 at the end of the year.
  3. Start out with a Credit limit 1/2 of your monthly income
    > If you’re starting out, have no credit, and need to establish credit guess what? The best way to keep yourself out of trouble is to make sure you keep your potential limit to half of your monthly income. So if you make $3,000 either one or your total credit limit equaling $1,500. It’s bad to use 100% of your credit because guess what? Interest if a monster. That is why if you can always potentially pay off your card(s) twice over, especially while you get in the habit and discipline of paying off those cards you’ll be safer.
  4. Budget, Budget, Budget
    > This one has killed me every single way I’ve done it. Either I didn’t have money to budget because I was paying for school, or I had money, but budgeted so badly that I ended up with $1,000+ a month of “unbudgeted” money. Tell a shop-a-holic they have at least $1,000 to blow every month without consequence… and what do you get? No savings. 
    >> You should also Budget for the sake of never getting out of the habit. I went from making $3,000-$4,000 a month to nothing for 9 months, and then $600 a month for the next 2.5 years in college (round 2).
  5. Put $50 into stock apps like Robinhood
    > Honestly this one is just good to learn about. If you can put $50 into a stock app such as Robinhood and play with the market. It helps you understand global markets, what the economy is doing, and you have the potential to make a pretty penny… or lose it all.

Before you go I’ll give you a final tip that recently I decided to follow with because a friend of mine who works for Northwestern Mutual helped me with it. Get life insurance. Do it. Should something happen to you, and you can’t work, who’s gonna pay the bills? You? If you have money stocked away for that, cool, why did you read this article? Here’s why you should be getting life insurance early: You can get in. Let me break this down how my friend did, the younger and healthier you are, have a chance of entering into a life insurance plan with significantly more ease than people later on. Think you have diabetes? Get life Insurance then get yourself checked out. Gonna have a baby? Get that life insurance before the baby pops out. You can upgrade your plan as life goes on, but you can’t always get in. The older you get, the more the company risks on you not paying a significant amount into the plan. For example, I pay less than $40 a month for a $500,000 Life Insurance plan. If I had signed up in better health, or even younger, I could potentially be paying less.

You get insurance for your car, your house, for all your precious things. But what about you, are you investing in yourself?

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