by Miata on November 15th, 2013
How to Choose Life Insurance
While your art may be about freedom and creative expression, our lives are full of responsibilities and commitments. That’s what makes life insurance so important: if we can’t fulfill our responsibilities, do we want to leave a pile of unpaid bills and unfinished goals to our heirs?
I was making this argument to a friend recently, who replied, “What do I care, I’m dead!”
While that’s true, is that the legacy you want to leave? I like to think most of us hope for more.
Choosing insurance isn’t easy, but it also isn’t simply “an art.” There is some science we can apply to life insurance decisions to find out whether we should purchase some or not, and then—if we should purchase insurance—determine just how much we need to buy.
Miata’s 5 Steps to Good Life Insurance Decisions
1) List what you’d like to have happen when you pass away.
- Are there bills that need to be paid?
- Are there survivors you’d like to care for, such as children?
- Is there a specific bequest to a charity or artistic group that you’d like to make?
2) Add together what these bequests will cost.
- Amount of your debt
- Total needed to support others
- Sum you’d like to leave for charities or groups
Finding the sum of your debts will be easy. Deciding how much you’ll need for survivors is a little harder, but still can be done. How? Use calculators on sites such as Yahoo! Finance to figure out how big a barrel of money you’d need today to accomplish whatever goals you might still need to fund (college for children or retirement for a spouse are two goals I often hear).
3) Compare the amount of money you have with your need.
If you have enough money in assets, you don’t need life insurance at all to meet these challenges! If you have a shortage, then life insurance is the most cost effective way to meet these challenges.
4) Decide which type of life insurance is best for your goal.
This is the hardest step.
Finding the right insurance isn’t difficult because there are many types, but because there are so many biased people in the market pla
ce. Some marketers only sell certain types of insurance (or they receive a much bigger commission to only sell one type) so they focus on this arena, calling all others bad. On the other side, there’s an equally vocal response from advocates who automatically see the insurance salesman’s profit motive as “bad” and without analysis immediately point to “best” as the most inexpensive type today (regardless of overall cost down the road).
While I won’t be able to thoroughly cover all the types, let’s give you a good head-start on the process:
Term insurance is best for short-term needs. The cost of term is based on your current age, so the cost rises as you grow older. If you think you’re going to need it past age 65, term insurance rates skyrocket quickly. Buy term if you’re sure not to need insurance after you’re 65.
Whole life coverage takes away the threat of insurance running out before you do. However, because the internal policy costs are also high on older people for this type of insurance, you’re going to pay through the nose while you’re young to subsidize a low cost when you’re older (think of it as prepaying). While whole life insurance has a savings component, don’t be fooled into thinking of this as a savings account: the rates of return on these policies can easily be beaten by outside investments over time.
Universal life insurance uses internal term insurance costs while allowing you to vary the amount of money you contribute to the policy. Here’s what you pay: the term cost of insurance plus extra to make sure you don’t have to pay as much later. You can also lower the insurance death benefit over time, which can reduce the overall cost of the policy. This type is more cost effective than whole life but because it’s guaranteed to last until you die, is still significantly more expensive than term insurance. Universal policies lapse far more often than whole life policies because the owners usually don’t understand the complex relationship between funding the policy and increasing rates of insurance cost inside the plan.
Miata’s quick low down: If you need insurance for a short time that ends before you’re 65, choose term. If you need longer term covera
ge, decide how important guaranteed coverage is to you. If you don’t mind flexibility and a little complexity, research universal life policies. If you want so
mething guaranteed to last forever and don’t mind paying for it, whole life is for you.
5) Research only the type of insurance you need. Why do you want to be confused researching three different types of insurance when you only need one? Use online shopping tools to make the process of comparing several different insurance companies easier. Here are a few things to watch out for when shopping:
- Don’t just compare prices. Sometimes a clever agent can make a policy less expensive by removing what are called “riders” on a policy. These “riders” are additional coverages. Compare apples to apples before looking at the price tag.
- Check out the insurance company. Ask about the company’s rating. You don’t buy insurance to pay less….you buy it to be there when you need it, right
- Ask about discounts. Some companies offer discounted policies if you’re super healthy, live an active lifestyle, or for other considerations.
Choosing insurance can be an unnerving task if you’re talking to an insurance agent. Instead of focusing on whatever product a salesman is offering, use this five step process to decide which type is best for you AND THEN involve agents, if necessary. You’re more likely to enjoy the experience and come out of it with the right type of coverage.
by Miata on November 1st, 2013
Leave Your Emergency Fund Alone!
An artist friend named Linda (we’ll call her that to protect the guilty) has a problem. She’s incredibly talented and creates giant, sweeping paintings that, on average, each sell for more than $2,500.
That’s the good news.
The bad news? She never knows when she’s going to sell the next one AND she’s a “frequent abuser” of her emergency fund.
Linda said to me over coffee recently, “I’m hoping I sell a painting soon. Robert and I decided last night to vacation in Aruba and I have to buy the tickets.”
“That sounds fun,” I responded. “But what if you don’t sell one ahead of time?”
Linda sighed, and said a phrase I’ve heard many times before, “I guess we’ll dip into the emergency fund.”
Emergency Funds: How Much?
First, congratulations to Linda for even having an emergency fund. According to Pitney Bowes in a 2012 study, the average family in America only has around 5,923 in savings. Because of her volatile career/passion, Linda has considerably more. Experts agree that you should examine your income sources to determine how much money to place in your emergency account. If you have a steady pay check and little chance of an emergency, three months of expenses may be sufficient. For Linda, she keeps closer to nine months.
It makes sense: Because as artists we don’t know when we’ll book a job or sell one of our pieces, if we aren’t regularly supplementing our income with a day job, we need to know where our meals are coming from for an extended period of time.
Linda’s Problem: How To Use Your Fund
I asked Linda, “What happens if you spend the money on your trip and then you still don’t sell a painting?”
She waved her hand. “I don’t know. We’ll figure it out.”
Sadly, many artists don’t “figure it out.” The reason people have to give up on dreams is because they run out of funds. If Linda isn’t able to sell a painting, she may have to close her studio, find other work, and limit her time painting….in this case, all for an expensive vacation.
Your emergency fund is your life net. For many people, they’ve never saved this much money in their life, so they look at it as a way to purchase items they’ve wanted or buy experiences that they could never afford without it. Using your emergency fund this way, though, is a trap.
To avoid using your emergency fund for everyday expenses, separate it from your everyday budget money. Build up a different account. If possible, try to save money toward it every pay check, or in Linda’s case, contribute a portion of the commission from every painting.
In fact, if you have a spender personality, go one better: save your emergency fund at a completely different bank.
A funny story: One client picked an institution across town from her home (about a forty minute drive) and limited her online, check writing and debit card access. Why? She said that if it was really an emergency, she wouldn’t mind the long drive to retrieve funds. If it wasn’t important, she’d have forty minutes to talk herself out of sabotaging her long term goals.
She never touched the fund.
The Real Point of An Emergency Fund
Emergency funds are all about security.
If Linda decides to use her emergency savings for Aruba, imagine that trip; she may spend the entire time wondering, “What if I don’t sell another painting?” Because she shortened her ability to survive, taking money from her emergency fund may give Linda exactly the opposite of the stress free vacation she desires.
For some of my clients, misusing their emergency fund makes them jittery, nervous, and afraid.
If you don’t yet have an emergency fund, you might be thinking, “I’m used to flying without a net!” You know inside, however, that you have to spend far too much energy and time thinking about today and not enough time planning your future. Most people without savings have difficulty with long term successful planning because they’re too busy looking for their next meal. How many opportunities have come around and you were so busy paying yesterday’s bills that you didn’t even notice?
That’s why it’s so important to build your emergency fund and establish your debt plan, providing the stable foundation of your financial life.
Hopefully Linda doesn’t use her emergency fund for Aruba (I’ll try and let you know what she decides…). However, her story is great in one respect; it reminds us to leave our emergency fund for emergencies.
by Miata on October 4th, 2013
Your Budget and You: Changing Buying Habits
Even though I’m an actor myself, when I watch a film, play or television show, it still fascinates me how the best performers draw me in. For those two hours or so, I believe they’re the character instead of the same person I saw three months earlier playing someone completely different. They make it look effortless. Of course, because of the years many of us spend studying our craft, we know how difficult it is to make something look effortless. Martha Stewart with an apple pie, Meryl Streep as Julia Child, Drew Brees throwing a football…whatever your art, to make it appear easy takes herculean effort.
I have good news: While tightening your budget takes work, you can make it look effortless without having to become the best of the best.
Savings isn’t hard to understand. It’s the result of a very clear formula:
Money in (your art and jobs) – Money out (spending) = Money Saved
It really is that simple. There are only two ways to save more money…
- Earn more and maintain your spending level
- Earn the same and spend less
Of these two, working more isn’t effortless: it looks (and can be) difficult. You could take on another job, ask the boss for a raise, charge more for your services, or increase the output of your product. Do any of these look effortless? Not so much.
However, the second option on the list hits the spot. You can effortlessly save more money by spending less on things you don’t really need.
Changing Your Habits
To change your spending, you’ll need to help your brain change some associations. Many people have been conditioned to associate the word “fun” with “spending money.”
Don’t believe me? Head to the mall! You’ll see people wandering the floors, clearly not shopping from a list, but just looking at store displays. In our society, retail stores have generously helped us define shopping as “fun.” If we walk into a mall without a plan, we’re helping retailers, who are experts at creating desire where there was none previously. They use colors, smells, display visuals and specials to coax dollars from our wallets. If we walk into a store to “just look around,” we’re going to, in most cases, walk out with something.
Changing Your Associations
A friend of mine wanted to lose a few pounds. She loved her neighborhood mall and decided she would head there first thing in the mornings and walk the perimeter. She later confessed that while she was losing some weight walking, she was also spending more money than ever.
It turned out that there were several paved walking and biking trails in her community. My friend chose to switch her walks from the mall to the outdoors. She was away from the storefront sales and in nature. Not only did she avoid temptation but she was breathing cleaner air, feeling more relaxed and still getting all the benefits of her exercise regime.
If you want to eat at restaurants less, create a meal plan. If you want to watch less television, disconnect your cable. Like my friend, if you want to spend less, stay out of retail shops!
The next time you decide to buy something spur-of-the-moment, wait. Instead, walk out of the store and sleep on it. If you still want it a day or two later, build it into your budget and make a trip to purchase the item on your terms. By building this muscle, you’ll counter a psychologically proven fact that shows we respond chemically in a positive way to making purchases. Before long, delaying gratification will be second nature, and as a result, your savings account will grow.
by Miata on September 6th, 2013
How to Create an Investment Portfolio
Remember when you started the journey toward becoming an actor, singer, writer, painter, or whatever type of artist you may be? You probably didn’t know much about many of the technical aspects of your craft.
Well, it’s similar with investing.
The first question I’m often asked when someone is ready to begin his or her investing journey is, “Where do I start?” That’s always a difficult question to answer because it could mean a number of things:
- How do I pick investments?
- How do I open an account to hold my investments?
- How do I decide when to buy and sell investments?
Today, we’ll cover all three of these questions broadly and in future blog posts I’ll tackle each one in more detail.
How Do I Pick Investments?
Picking the right investment is completely dependent on your goals. Here’s why: once you know how much your goals cost, you can eliminate the 95% of investments that don’t apply to you!
Worried about learning everything about investing? Don’t worry! If you start with your goals and work backward, you’ll only have to learn a little and can still invest like a savvy saver.
Is your goal far away? I’d define “far away” as 10 years or longer. If it is, you probably should start with mutual funds or exchange traded funds, which primarily invest in stocks, real estate, or a combination. These two investment classes historically have beaten inflation by the widest margin. At least in the beginning, it’s probably best to stay away from individual stocks or pieces of real estate. While you might be excited about learning, it’s safer to use a more diversified approach, especially when you’re just getting started.
Is your goal closer than 10 years? Focus on less volatile investments like money markets and CDs. While these won’t give you the huge returns that stocks or real estate can provide, you also won’t risk huge losses, either. Often I’d place bonds in this category, but at this particular time, bonds are in a downward cycle and even FINRA, the financial industry regulatory authority, recommends using caution when buying bonds.
How Do I Open An Account to Hold My Investments?
They say that people freeze when they’re given too many choices to consider, so I’ll try to avoid the fact that you have a ton of options here. Instead, I’ll boil this maze down to a couple of good choices:
- If you aren’t comfortable purchasing investments on your own, you can open up an account with a brokerage house or full service advisory firm. These type of firms will charge you a wide range of fees and you’ll pay higher expenses than if you don’t work with an advisor. In exchange for these fees the advisor will help you choose investments, can open the account, and advise you on which type of account works best for your goals.
Interview several advisors before choosing one and make sure you check the advisor’s FINRA BrokerCheck record to see if she’s been reported for any violations in the past.
- If you are comfortable working alone, check out an online brokerage account through a major firm. While there are many choices (Fidelity, TDAmeritrade, E*Trade, Scottrade, Charles Schwab are a few), they all work similarly. You’ll pay lower costs and can manage your account from any computer. You won’t get individual help, but using online research sites such as Morningstar, you can research funds yourself to get an idea of the best investments for your account.
Which type of account should you open? Again, that depends on your goals. An individual account will give you the ability to add and remove funds whenever you need them. A better choice if you’re saving for retirement would be a Traditional IRA or maybe a Roth IRA. Check with your tax professional to see which is right for you.
How Do I Decide When To Buy and Sell Investments?
Contrary to those talking heads on financial news networks yelling, “Sell! Buy! Sell!” your job is much easier. Statistics have shown that investors sabotage their own results by second guessing their strategy or buying and selling investments often. Instead, try this approach:
- Choose investments that are appropriate for your goal
- Decide on set times to evaluate your funds (every six months is adequate)
- Ignore the financial markets between your evaluation points
When you evaluate your funds, don’t base your decisions on whether an investment has made or lost money. Instead, evaluate your fund against its peers. Is the fund keeping pace? Have there been changes in the way the fund is managed? Finally, and probably most important, ask yourself this: has my goal changed and is this still the right type of investment for my goal. As long range goals get closer, it’s a good idea to begin lowering the risk level of your investments.
That’s it. Picking investments, opening an account, and evaluating whether to buy or sell are much easier decisions to make when you follow a plan based on your goals. Once you discover how easy it is to begin investing, you’ll probably find yourself asking, “Why didn’t I start sooner?”
by Miata on August 23rd, 2013
It’s August Already! How’s Your Plan Coming?
We’re at that time…back to school. The days of summer are nearing an end, and it’s time to evaluate your 2013 plan. Are you where you want to be? Are you going to finish this year with a flourish…both with your art and with your finances?
Now is when I begin tightening my calendar and managing the checkbook a little closer – finding ways to move farther on my career AND savings goals. Here are some priorities to consider for the end of the year:
1) Start an automatic savings plan….or raise it.
Nothing makes savings easier than an automatic plan. Don’t try to save manually, telling yourself, “It’s important enough, so I’ll be sure to do it!” The fact is this: before you know it, the holidays will be here and you’ll be so busy you’ll forget to save.
Even worse, people who save manually often cut corners. If they start a savings plan at $100 per month they tell themselves, “I’ll save $80 now because I might have some big bills come up.” Do you think these people ever save the other $20? Rarely. Do yourself a favor. Pay yourself first.
2) Commit to a debt plan.
The average credit card rate in America is well over 18%. Paying down a credit card at an 18% rate is like gaining an 18% return on your money. Most people would be envious of any fund that could promise that type of return.
Also, paying off your debt will help you clean up your credit score. As an artist, you may need credit in the future for projects. While credit can be dangerous, you want to have the ability to borrow in a pinch. Make 2013 the year that you pay off enough debt to make a difference.
3) Begin or revisit your budget.
Ah, the dirty “b” word. Budgets are actually a great and, believe it or not, empowering tool if you use them effectively. Imagine this: you go out to dinner and know that your budget can handle it. You receive a bill in the mail and you know immediately where it fits in your plan.
Beginning a budget is easy: start writing down what you spend. A habit is formed in 30 days or less. If you just write down your budget for 30 days, there’s a good chance you’ll automatically begin doing it in the future. From there, you’re able to make shifts in what you purchase to better match your income level.
Maybe this is a better question: how will you know where you can trim if you have no idea what you really spend?
4) List your priorities.
I actually love to write down my priorities. Life gets overwhelming and I find that seeing my priorities on paper helps me to refocus. A coach I was working with recently told me to write out everything that I was worried about. It covered two pages! I was worried about everything from the next steps in my acting career, to my daughter starting a new school, to a project I’d like to develop for Abundance Bound. As I wrote out everything….and then kept adding more and more, it felt like a weight was lifting from my shoulders.
What really made a difference was the next step she told me to take. She had me take out a calendar and schedule when I was going to take action on all of the tasks that were on my worry list. Well, that was the key to the entire exercise for me. Now, this fall, I’ll have my strategic priorities in front of me as I attack.
I won’t have to worry about what to do next…I’ll be free to be in the moment.
5) Manage your time more effectively.
Your time is your best friend. Think about this: how are you going to make money, and then how can you improve your odds of making more? Often it’s in the strategic use of time.
In the calendaring task above, I first listed all of the tasks on the days where they belonged. However, then I began thinking about my own internal rhythm. I’m a morning person, so tasks that require more thought are scheduled for the morning. Tasks that require little thought (cleaning the kitchen) I save for the weekend or late afternoon when I’m fried. My creative recharging time is in the mid afternoon. I can already see the difference in my productivity….and that means a difference to the bottom line in my pocketbook.
6) Use apps and automatic reminders to help you plan.
I’ll admit: while I’m not super afraid of technology, the idea of downloading a bunch of apps for my smartphone was lost on me for the first few years. Now, however, I love them. I can track my expenses using Mint.com from my phone. My bank has a phone app that will allow me to transfer money between accounts. I have a gasoline app for trips that helps me find the right exit for low cost gasoline. I even use a grocery app that I swear saves me time and money at the grocery store!
7) Review your insurances.
I’ve mentioned this before, but if you’ve not yet looked for money in your insurances, now is the time. If you’re in the market for life insurance or long term care coverage, the cost increases every year you have a birthday.
Of course, every time you have a birthday there’s a chance your auto insurance rates will change (and often for the better). Check with your agent to see if you’re missing out on any discounts, bonuses, or other opportunities to save on your home and auto coverage.
by Miata on July 26th, 2013
Yesterday I was reading a piece about retirement planning. The author, a popular money guru, was making the case that before anything you should save toward retirement. I laughed when I read it because as an artist who also works with artists, I’ve learned to challenge assumptions. Most of the creative people I work with would like to retire, but they’re also into living a balanced life: they aren’t going to give up their art today to put a few more dollars in the retirement bucket.
I believe that we should naturally challenge some of the common assumptions when it comes to finance. Here are a few I could think of, and maybe you’ll have more that you can add in the comments.
“Good” and “Bad” Debt – I’ve heard these terms used too often. Let’s set the record straight: debt is neither good nor bad. A credit card isn’t necessarily bad and a mortgage isn’t necessarily good. Here are a couple of contrary examples:
Credit card as good debt – A responsible person uses credit cards to rack up big points toward airline miles, hotel stays, and other reward. She pays the card off every month and never pays interest. Sure, she owes the credit card company each month, but because she pays it off and earns rewards, I’d consider this “good debt.”
Mortgage as bad debt – A man uses 35% of his income to purchase a house, only because the bank says it’s “okay.” Because he doesn’t have enough for a 20% down payment, he also owes PMI insurance, which costs his family even more money each month. The loan has a pre-payment penalty if he tries to pay it off in the first several years, and because he has bad credit, his interest rate is 9% on the loan. Sure, he gets a tax break, but the high interest rate, high percentage of his income and PMI all combine to make this a “bad debt” in my book.
Here’s another good housing assumption you should challenge: Buying a house is better than renting. Who created this assumption? I often hear mortgage people talk about “throwing money down the toilet.” That may be the case if you buy a home before you’re ready. Remember when you purchase a house to evaluate all of the costs involved. Homeowners routinely shell out money to landscape and buy nice furniture. Homeowners have to purchase appliances and pay property taxes. Also, don’t forget that homeowners have to pay all the utility bills, while sometimes some of these are rolled into the rent payment. Maybe in your situation owning a home equals throwing money away.
Social Security won’t be around when you retire. I heard someone on television say this recently. Then I began to think…what would have to happen for Social Security to become extinct? Our legislators would have to agree to let the biggest social program in America fail. While I don’t nece
ssarily believe that will happen, I have to admit that I don’t mind where this assumption is headed. There may be big changes to Social Security over the next several years, so I’d like to count on it for “extra” things, rather than depend on it for retirement.
Student loans crush students. This has been in the media a ton recently, hasn’t it? While student loans aren’t my first choice when paying for college, sometimes they’re a necessary evil. The real problem? Unrealistic job expectations by students who take on debt. In your creative endeavors you already know that anything can be risky. When you spend money toward increasing your education, you should evaluate the chances that this is going to lead to a higher paying job. If it does, take out the calculator and analyze how much more money you’ll need to make to make the loans worthwhile.
…on the subject of college, if you have children as students you also often find a surprise. While the cost of education is expensive, the fact that they aren’t living at home often becomes a cost transfer. Your grocery, gas, and home spending usually decrease, making some room and board charges a “cost transfer” for people. In this case the assumption that college is expensive is true, but it might not be as expensive as you’d originally imagined.
Whole life insurances are bad. While I’m usually a fan of term life insurance over whole life coverage, I don’t believe this assumption because there are cases where whole life makes more sense. If people are estate planning or have a need for coverage later in life, whole life coverage can be the right choice. How do you know? Rather than use a rule of thumb like “whole life insurance is bad,” consider how and why you need coverage. In fact, this is an important tip for all of your insurance needs.
Luckily for you, assumption crushing is in your genes. If you’ve been an AbundanceBound reader for any length of time, you’re probably not the type of person who works “inside the box.” Keep challenging and you’ll find good things happen to your financial plan!
by Miata on June 28th, 2013
It’s always fun heading to a theme park, but when you’re out of money, riding the paycheck-to-paycheck merry-go-round is frustrating.
When several financial experts make similar statements, it’s probably the truth. Dave Ramsey, Liz Weston, Jean Chatzky….what do they all have in common? They all say that if you just sock away between $500 (Weston) and $1000 (Ramsey), you can then get your entire financial life under control.
I know that when you’re balancing home commitments, your artistic career, and maybe a side job, finding extra money is difficult. That’s why most people stay on the merry-go-round. It’s easier to live paycheck to paycheck over the short term than it is to face the fact that you need to change. However, over the long term, you know it’s exhausting. Finding those few dollars to barely make a rent payment, clean up overdraft fees, or afford groceries makes it impossible to focus on the real struggle: doing what it takes to succeed as an artist.
The fact that saving an amount of money between $500 and $1000 is the key to your financial problems almost sounds too good to be true. Here’s why the $500 – $1000 is important. When you don’t have this money, you only have a few options. If you still have money left on credit cards or bank loans you can borrow. If not, you have to hit up friends, colleagues, or family for money. All of this cash has to be paid back. Then you find yourself the next month with extra money….and it has to pay for last month’s problems. You’re always solving last month’s problems, followed by any problems cropping up right now, and there’s never any time to look toward the future.
The key isn’t $500 – $1,000. It’s about buying yourself breathing room to think strategically instead of tactically.
I don’t want to get too cerebral, but tactical thinkers are stuck in the rut of “I’ll borrow this $500 and then pay it back next month. That’ll take care of this short-term problem.” Strategic thinkers are able to sit back and say, “What’s going to benefit me the most here? Maybe I’ll focus on showcasing my work to these casting directors. Maybe I’ll meet this script writer for coffee….” See the difference? Strategic thinkers are already off the carousel, while the tactical thinker is figuring out how to ride the best looking horse on the merry-go-round.
It isn’t easy to get to $500 – $1,000, but here are some suggestions:
1) Challenge yourself to write down your expenses. It’s so, so difficult to write down what you spend, but it’s very helpful. For most of us, if we have to write it down, we might not spend the money in the first place. Do you need motivation? Some bloggers on the internet detail their expenses to hold themselves accountable. Check out GiveMeBackMyFiveBucks for a peek into someone’s life who’s always thinking about what she spends. Try to have “no spending days” as often as possible, like Krystal. Every day without money leaving your pocket is a small win!
2) Invest your tax refund. Don’t use your refund for a new television (I’m talking to someone in particular here…). The average refund is around $2,000, and that’s enough to create that reserve you need to get you on solid footing.
3) Cut extra expenses. Often people are able to limit expenses by turning off air conditioning, cutting the cable bill or the home telephone line. Dig into your financial life to see what cuts might be best for you.
4) Save your change. While you won’t get to $500 in a hurry this way, every bit helps. Pay cash for expenses and then save the change into a jar. Paying cash alone will save you money. Recent studies have shown that people who pay cash tend to spend less money than people who use a debit card.
5) Sell your junk. If you’re like me, you’ve been thinking a garage sale might be in order. I have everything from old electronics to rarely used kitchen supplies that could fetch some money. By selling stuff and depositing the money in my emergency fund, I’m completing two goals. Productivity experts say that clutter is an energy drainer. Selling stuff brings in cash and frees up your mind for the things that really matter to you!
Once you have your $500 – $1,000, you’re on the road to success. Yes, you still have plenty of miles to cover. But by making that first step, you’ve opened up your financial potential far beyond what you might imagine if you’re stuck on the month-to-month carousel.